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Fiction: The BEST OF 1982: Books

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Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa. One of Latin America’s leading writers transforms the vagaries of his youth into a daring, multilayered novel about love and art in Lima, Peru.

Bech Is Back by John Updike. Henry Bech, an exquisitely blocked author, returns, marries and almost accidentally produces a bestseller in one of Updike’s most adroit and lively comic performances.

The Collected Stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer. The Nobel laureate chooses 47 tales of demons, dybbuks and exuberantly flawed men and women, set mainly in his native Poland and his adopted Manhattan.

The Dean’s December by Saul Bellow. In a tale of two cities, Bucharest and Chicago, another Nobelist meditates on the dual natures of freedom and totalitarianism. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler. The family that dines together declines together in this bittersweet novel of a brave and eccentric Baltimore household.


Bronx Primitive by Kate Simon. A leading travel writer voyages back to her childhood for an unsentimental assessment of immigrant life and her coming of age in New York, circa 1920.

Isak Dinesen by Judith Thurman. Karen Blixen, a modern Scheherazade, lived as a baroness in Denmark and a farmer in Africa; along the way she produced haunting stories, none more complex and intriguing than the one of her own life.

Late Innings by Roger Angell. Baseball’s unofficial scorer replays five turbulent seasons and still finds plenty of warm memories in the summer game.

Poets in Their Youth by Eileen Simpson. The first wife of the late John Berryman looks back at the years she spent among a brilliant and damaged generation of poets. The Last Kings of Thule by Jean Malaurie. An Arctic adventurer in the tradition of Peary, Cook and Rasmussen poignantly describes the lives of Greenland’s Eskimo nomads as the 20th century encroaches on their Sahara of ice and snow.

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