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Book News: Newly Found Pearl Buck Novel To Be Published This Fall

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • A never-before-seen novel by Nobel Prize-winning author Pearl Buck that was discovered in a Texas storage unit will be published in October. Publisher Open Road Integrated Media describes the book, titled The Eternal Wonder, as "the coming-of-age story of Randolph Colfax, an extraordinarily gifted young man whose search for meaning and purpose leads him to New York, England, Paris and on a mission patrolling the DMZ in Korea," according to The New York Times. The newspaper reports that Buck "is believed to have completed the manuscript for the book ... shortly before she died of cancer in 1973, said her son Edgar S. Walsh, who manages her literary estate."
  • Mark Ford writes about Vladimir Nabokov and his greatest creation, Humbert Humbert, for The New York Review of Books: "The golden-tongued Humbert, one must always remember, is possibly the greatest rhetorician since Milton's equally persuasive and dangerous Satan."
  • At first glance, you might think that The Washington Post actually liked Martin Amis' widely-detested novel Lionel Asbo. The front cover boasts a Post blurb stating: "Amis is a force unto himself. ... There is, quite simply, no one else like him." But as Ron Charles points out, the newspaper eviscerated Lionel Asbo, and the blurb comes from a review of another Amis book that The Post reviewed 23 years ago. There's something almost impressive about that level of shamelessness.
  • Ayad Akhtar, who won the Pulitzer Prize for drama this year, is publishing three new plays with Little Brown, publisher Reagan Arthur announced Monday. (Check out Akhtar's essay for NPR Books about the literature of faith in America.)
  • The Paris Review excerpts from Martin McLaughlin's new translation of the letters of Italo Calvino: "Although I am small, ugly and dirty, I am highly ambitious and at the slightest flattery I immediately start to strut like a turkey."
  • A first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone hand-annotated and illustrated by J.K. Rowling sold for a spectacular $227,421 at Sotheby's on Tuesday, in an auction to benefit the free-speech group English PEN. As we noted Monday, Rowling's marginalia explain the origins of Quidditch (a fight with her boyfriend) and reveal the original mascot of Hufflepuff House (a bear, instead of a decidedly non-menacing badger).
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