April Classics May 02, 2011
In the summer of 1959, three paranoid schizophrenics living together at Ypsilanti State Hospital in Michigan had only one thing in common: each believed himself to be Jesus Christ. Milton Rokeach’s stunning psychological narrative, The Three Christs of Ypsilanti, is now available to readers again for the first time in over 25 years.By Milton Rokeach
Introduction by Rick Moody Steeped in the words of the three “Messiahs” themselves, Rokeach’s incredible book transforms the ordinarily dry and impenetrable genre of psychological study into an engaging, novelistic account of truly thrilling proportions. As Rick Moody writes in the introduction to the NYRB Classics edition: “The dialogue with literature conducted within The Three Christs of Ypsilanti lofts it into the company of such great psychological and medical case histories as Freud’s Dora: Fragments of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria, A. R. Luria’s The Man with a Shattered World, Oliver Sacks’s Awakenings, Daniel Paul Schreber’s Memoirs of my Nervous Illness.”
Throughout the book, Rokeach layers his unpretentious clinical observations with sharp and compelling recreations of the patients’ daily interactions, arguments, and repeated attempts to prove their delusional identities. Rokeach’s fascinating portrait of the men is sure to stay with readers long after they have left the haunting rooms of the Ypsilanti State Hospital behind.
By Penelope Mortimer
Introduction by Daphne Merkin
Penelope Mortimer’s The Pumpkin Eater explores the interior life of one very unusual woman and, with sharp deadpan humor and unrelentingly honest prose, uncovers a strange and haunting world filled with domestic darkness, celebrity, and madness. Mortimer’s novel approaches the unanswerable questions that surround marriage, sexuality, and reproduction with a striking sensitivity to the absurd and the truly traumatic.
Mrs. Armitage, now in her third marriage, is the mother of many children. Her current husband is a successful and philandering screenwriter and the family has just begun construction on a glass tower in the countryside where they hope to live tolerably, if not happily, ever after. Mrs. Armitage has some stories to tell, and when The Pumpkin Eater opens in a dingy psychiatrist’s office, she unleashes a biting, bizarre, and occasionally hilarious narrative of her incomparable past. Drawing from her own strange and exemplary autobiography, Mortimer’s story combines wit and tragedy, public and private, to yield an exploration of memory and the human psyche unlike any other.
By Jean-Patrick Manchette
Afterword by Jean Echenoz
A new translation from the French by Donald Nicholson-Smith
Jean-Patrick Manchette’s Fatale embodies all of the qualities that made its author far more than a mere crime novelist. Written with grit and gristle, Fatale breaks the boundaries of the typical roman noir and transforms killers and victims into passionate, compelling, and occasionally farcical pictures of a conflicted, post-war society.
When a beautiful newcomer, Aimée, arrives in the unassuming French burg of Bléville, few suspect that she is anything but a lovely young woman. So, when Aimée, a professional killer, sets her eyes on her next victim, the scene is set for manipulation and murder. But then she falls prey to an unexpected passion, and her identity and characteristic tenacity begin to unravel in a dizzying and delicious descent into mayhem. Bristling with Tarantino-esque thrills and biting satire, Manchette’s masterful story-telling style and unforgettable murderess are sure to transport readers with its heart-stopping energy and inimitable wit. To be sure, Fatale stands among the best and the boldest of the crime genre.