9 New Books We Recommend This Week

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Doctors are more intimate than most of us are with mortality. But does that make it easier or harder for them to accept their own impending deaths when the time comes? The retired British neurosurgeon Henry Marsh (the author of two excellent memoirs about practicing medicine) faces that stark question in his new book, “And Finally,” in which he stares down a diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer and concludes, more equably than I might, “I have had my time in the sun, now it is the turn of the next generation.”Other books we recommend this week include, in fiction, a couple of mysteries, a historical novel about the struggle for gay equality, a rediscovered Italian classic from the 1950s and a novel about climate change that calls into question just how palatable the next generation’s time in the sun will be anyway. In nonfiction, we like Edward J. Larson’s history of slavery at America’s founding, Costica Bradatan’s celebration of failure and Cheuk Kwan’s tour of Chinese restaurants around the world. Happy reading.—Gregory CowlesMarkley’s second novel confronts the scale and gravity of climate change, tracking a cadre of scientists and activists from the gathering storm of the Obama years to the super-typhoons of future decades. Immersive and ambitious, the book shows the range of its author’s gifts: polyphonic narration, silken sentences and elaborate world-building.Simon & Schuster | $32.50Born in Hong Kong and raised in Singapore and Japan, the Canadian-based filmmaker embarks on a tour of Chinese restaurants across 15 countries and five continents, on the theory that “there’s no better way to tell the story of the Chinese diaspora.”Pegasus | $27.95Harper brings back the federal investigator Aaron Falk, the hero of two previous novels, to probe what happened to a 39-year-old mother who vanished from a small-town festival in Australian wine country with her infant daughter left unharmed in a stroller beneath the Ferris wheel.Flatiron | $27.99This dazzling Hollywood crime novel centers on a “black bag” publicist, paid to mop up celebrities’ messes and spin bad news into — well, if not gold, then at least something no longer resembling straw.Mulholland | $28This strange and bracing book recounts the stories of a handful of thinkers — Gandhi, Simone Weil, E.M. Cioran and Yukio Mishima — who rejected worldly success in favor of struggle. Against the emollient platitudes of self-help, Bradatan, a philosopher, encourages actual, painful humility.Harvard University | $29.95This thorough work by a Pulitzer-winning historian engages with one of the more divisive topics of our times: slavery and the country’s founding. Bringing a measured gravitas to a conversation often dominated by passions, Larson’s book is ambitious and his conclusions sobering.Norton | $32.50A best-selling novelist and prominent anti-Fascist in her native Italy, de Céspedes has lately fallen into unjust obscurity. Translated by Ann Goldstein, this elegant novel from the 1950s tells the story of a married mother, Valeria, whose life is transformed when she begins keeping a secret diary.This debut novel reimagines the real-life efforts of two researchers who advocated for acceptance of homosexuality in the 1800s, decades before the gay rights movement. In exploring their story, Crewe asks: What’s worth jeopardizing in the name of progress?Scribner | $28AND FINALLY:Matters of Life and DeathHenry MarshIn this highly personal study of mortality, Marsh — a British doctor who has been called “the Boswell of neurosurgery” — receives a terminal diagnosis and confronts the end of his own life as a doctor and thinker.

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