Greetings from Three Lives & Company!


As anyone who entered the shop in December can attest, it was another very busy holiday season at Three Lives, and we have you all to thank for it. Our first holidays back at 154 West 10th passed in a rush of books and giftwrap, and now weÕre enjoying the relative calm of deep winter. (A prime book-reading season, we think!)


There are plenty of exciting new books to browse even in these icy days, including many from authors beloved at Three Lives: new work by Zadie Smith (The Wife of Willesden, February 14), Paul Harding (This Other Eden, on sale now), Sebastian Barry (Old GodÕs Time, March 21), Ayobami Adebayo (A Spell of Good Things, on sale now), Salman Rushdie (Victory City, on sale now), and Will Schwalbe (We Should Not Be Friends, February 21) will be filling our shelves through winter.


A little lagniappe for you before we get to our reading roundups. Longtime customers know that we have been sending out newsletters for many years now, and we recently came across our winter edition from 2008. Times may have been somewhat different fifteen years ago – we still listed the V as one of the closest subway lines to the shop and made a push for our then-new Three Lives t-shirts (grey print on maroon, and 100% cotton!) – but some things havenÕt changed much: the staff wrote up Dominique FabreÕs The Waitress Was New, the Òcharming French novelÓ that is still a fixture on our Favorites table, and recorded as bestsellers the new titles from Andre Aciman (Call Me by Your Name), Zadie Smith (editor of The Book of Other People), and Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men), authors who have made repeated appearances since. (Our online archives donÕt go quite as far back as 2008, but you can browse newsletters from the past three years on our website if you feel so inclined.)


~ Recent Staff Favorites ~


2023 is off to an impressive start – I have yet to read a book this year that hasnÕt earned at least four out of five stars. My first read was Ghost Music by An Yu (Grove), a new release that has flown somewhat under the radar. Our protagonist, Song Yan, is grieving her neglected career in piano while also dealing with her frustratingly aloof husband. When her mother-in-law moves in with them, so does her husbandÕs murky past. Soon after, boxes of mushrooms start appearing at their doorstep from an unknown sender. ThatÕs when things take a turn towards the surreal. This book was a trip, reminiscent of Paradise Rot by Jenny Hval and The Seas by Samantha Hunt, two of my absolute favorite reads.


While sick for a week straight, I took it upon myself to read as many tiny books as I could. This included A Meal in Winter by Hubert Mingarelli (New Press, translated by Sam Taylor), a quiet yet striking novella that follows three German soldiers as they question their humanity in the frozen Polish countryside. Given what these soldiers are being sent out into the wilderness to do, this book was at times uncomfortable to read. The complexity of their guilt is a heavy thing to witness. Your heart breaks for every character in the novella as it reveals what the machine of war does to peopleÕs morality. 


My other tiny read was Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson (Vintage), a retelling of the Greek myth of the winged giant Geryon, set in the present day. This is, first and foremost, a coming-of-age tale. We watch our winged monster go through the turbulence of first love, first heartbreak, self-loathing and, finally, self-acceptance. It is a seismic, mythical journey that is all too relatable. Sarah



In 1987, Isabella Tree and her husband, Charlie, inherited Knepp Castle Estate, CharlieÕs grandmotherÕs 3,500-acre farm in Sussex, England, and set about returning it to profitability after years of decline. It didnÕt work. Facing bankruptcy in 2000, they made the radical decision to return the land to the wild. Wilding (New York Review Books) is TreeÕs fascinating account of just what it entails to rewild their land, including reintroducing large herbivores such as wild cows and pigs, the complications and battles with established pastoral protocols, and the dynamic natural forces between flora, fauna, and geography. Ultimately, Knepp becomes an astonishing showcase of how our interconnected environment evolves and works together in a holistic existence. As we break down life into ever smaller areas of study and discovery, it is a wonder to see the whole grand system working as one and to celebrate the return of so much wildlife to Knepp.


After an estrangement of thirty years, Johanna returns to her native Norway to pursue some sort of relationship with her mother in Is Mother Dead (Verso, translated by Charlotte Barslund), the latest novel from Vigdis Hjorth (Will and Testament). Increasingly desperate to meet her mother, Johanna begins stalking her, but her mother rebuffs every attempt. Intense, brutal, feverish, both mesmerizing and horrifying, this is a novel that was thrilling and discomfiting and had me reflecting deeply on family and history. What is it we expect, demand, desire from our parents, in particular our mothers? Is there a truth that will give one release? Is excavating our histories, examining our lives, interrogating our memories, regardless the cost or upheaval, the work necessary to shed the past and allow one some sense of liberation? There is a lot to ponder, not always comfortably, in this potent novel, a mental and emotional wrestling match.


In the late eighteenth century, the formerly enslaved Benjamin Honey and his Irish wife, Patience, settled a small island off the coast of Maine and began a racially integrated community, strivers and misfits alike, living simply and without bother. Generations later, in 1912, the state of Maine forcibly evicted the descendants in the name of progress, science, and the greater good. In This Other Eden (W.W. Norton), Paul Harding, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his first novel, Tinkers, has fashioned a beautifully imagined and wondrously written fiction from these real events – a deeply moving story of the island residents and the end of their home on the sea. – Toby



The only upside of the never-ending rain this winter is that rainy days are the best for a good book. Gabrielle ZevinÕs hefty new novel Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow (Knopf) is the perfect bad-weather read. The premise is intimidating – I know less than nothing about video games and coding languages. But tech takes a backseat to the story of several decades of friendship between three colorful, and often frustrating, people. Their relationship has a tangible quality; I felt for them as their careers flourished and failed, as they fell in and out of love.


On the opposite side of the spectrum, but equally enthralling, was Patrick Radden KeefeÕs Say Nothing (Anchor). Keefe pushes the boundaries of how beautiful and animated nonfiction can be. His reporting of the Troubles, the IRA, and the murder of single mother Jean McConville reads like fiction. The hardest part of reading this book was the knowledge that it is all real, not just part of KeefeÕs imagination. Michaela CoelÕs Misfits (Holt McDougal) deserves a shoutout as well. Partially derived from one of the screenwriterÕs lectures at a Scottish conference, this short read packs a punch. A narrative of CoelÕs upbringing in London public housing and journey through the world of theater and television, the book is honest and quirky and odd and beautiful in all the right places. Mia



I have something for everyone this month (well, maybe not everyoneÉ)! Allow me to be your carnival barker of books. Craving a fabulous literary work in translation? Look no further than Jenny ErpenbeckÕs The End of Days (New Directions, translated by Susan Bernofsky) or Hanne ¯rstavikÕs Love (Archipelago, translated by Martin Aiken, I cannot recommend this slim and chilling Norwegian novel enthusiastically enough). ItÕs the dog days of winter, and all you can stand to pick up is a funny, light read? I bet you havenÕt heard of Barbara TrapidoÕs Brother of the More Famous Jack (Bloomsbury) or Claire LuchetteÕs Agatha of Little Neon (Picador). Scandinavian mysteries and small-town serial killers more your cup of tea? The recent standout is Blaze Me a Sun by Christoffer Carlsson (Hogarth, translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles). Tempted to chuck twenty-first century literature to the side and pick up a classic? I recently read Mikhail BulgakovÕs The Master and Margarita (Penguin Classics, translated by Pevear and Volokhonsky) for the first time, and it is one zany, fun, wild ride. A close friend described the novel as Faust on acid, and sheÕs not wrong. Hope your reading in 2023 is off to a similarly eclectic, enjoyable start! Miriam



Fans of Min Jin LeeÕs Pachinko – and we know there are loads of you, because the book still sells six years after its publication – will want to check out Elisa Shua DusapinÕs Pachinko Parlor (Open Letter, translated by Aneesa Abbas Higgins), and not just for the obvious titular parallel. DusapinÕs short novel deals in many of the same themes as LeeÕs – cultural identity and dissonance, the Korean diaspora, the concept of han and generational pain – but its scope is the opposite of PachinkoÕs grand panorama, zoomed in on a young woman visiting her relatives on the outskirts of Tokyo. Through the hot summer weeks, Claire tutors a local girl, tries to make peace with her own fractured heritage, and makes plans with her grandparents for a homecoming trip to Korea that might never happen.


The genre of postwar expats behaving badly in exotic locales is well-worn, but Paul BowlesÕs Sheltering Sky (Ecco) did it early (1949) and did it well. This tale of a trio of self-obsessed Americans traipsing through northern Africa with their piles of luggage and national hubris is both darkly satirical – these friends all seem to despise each other, to some degree, and they all hate the penurious Britishers who dog their steps across Algeria – and insightful, as the narrative descends into a nightmare of cultural incompatibilities and resentments. – Ryan



In the days leading up to Christmas – or Advent, as itÕs called in Jon FosseÕs The Other Name (Transit, translated by Damion Searls) – a painter named Asle drives into town to buy some supplies. He thinks about his past, his neighbors, God. Then he passes the home of his old friend, a painter named Asle. This Asle isnÕt doing so well, is he? No, heÕs drinking too much, heÕs all alone, something terrible might happen to him. Should Asle keep driving, or turn back to face his dying doppelgŠnger? From this choice, Fosse unleashes a torrent of memory, a celebration of the ethereal light that shimmers from deepest darkness – like the surface of an oil painting. Profound and full of mercy, FosseÕs novel is one of my new favorites.


Reading Wilson HarrisÕs Palace of the Peacock (Faber) is like falling into a trance. First published in 1960 with support from T. S. Eliot, HarrisÕs novel seems to tell a familiar tale: led by a mad and vengeful captain, a crew of sailors takes a dangerous expedition in pursuit of their leaderÕs fantasy. But the place is Guyana, the captain is called Donne, and the language is so bizarre and forceful that it seems to emerge from your own dreams. A prose poem of strange visions and dark auguries – and a blistering indictment of slavery in the Caribbean – Palace of the Peacock is an ode to those drowned by history: the doomed, the damned, and the fugitive few who escape to paradise.


Another novel championed by a literary giant and now tragically under-read is Corregidora (Beacon), Gayl JonesÕs 1975 debut, which Toni Morrison acquired and edited while working at Random House. Set in Kentucky in the 1940s, Corregidora is the story of a blues singer whose life is haunted by violence. Descended from a demonic slaveholder whose name she carries, and commanded by her ancestors to make generations – more women to bear witness – Ursa drifts through the world like a weary ghost. JonesÕs landscape is muted and malignant; hands reach out from every doorway, groping, striking, threatening. Corregidora is truly a novel of the blues, a testament to our national treasury of suffering and invention. – Lucas



If I hadnÕt been making marmalade, IÕd be much further along in the revelatory debut novel The New Life by Tom Crewe (Scribner). In the late 19th century, two men, each married and living in London, dare to write a book in defense of gay love and a new way of living. This is their remarkable story.


Meanwhile, Rick RubinÕs new book The Creative Act (Penguin Press) is an instant must-have. After listening to RubinÕs conversation with Ruthie Rogers from River Cafe in London, I got up from my sofa, walked to the closest bookshop, and bought it! Eight years in the making, RubinÕs book speaks the language understood by the artist in each of us. ÒCreativity is not a rare ability. It is not difficult to access. Creativity is a fundamental aspect of being human. ItÕs our birthright. And itÕs for all of us. Creativity doesnÕt exclusively relate to making art. We all engage in this act on a daily basis. To create is to bring something into existence that wasnÕt there before. It could be a conversation, the solution to a problem, a note to a friend, the rearrangement of furniture in a room, a new route home to avoid a traffic jam. What you make doesnÕt have to be witnessed, recorded, sold, or encased in glass for it to be a work of art. Through the ordinary state of being, weÕre already creators in the most profound way, creating our experience of reality and composing the world we perceive.Ó


Lastly, exciting news: New Directions is publishing The Caretaker by Doon Arbus in paperback this week, and I am thrilled that it is being reintroduced to readers. – Troy



~ Staff Favorites Now in Paperback ~



Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi Andreades (Random House)

The Caretaker by Doon Arbus (New Directions)

Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarzcuk (Riverhead, translated by Jennifer Croft)

The Hummingbird by Sandro Veronesi (Harpervia, translated by Elena Pala)



Lost & Found by Kathryn Schulz (Random House)

Kingdom of Characters by Jing Tsu (Riverhead)



~ Signed Editions ~



The Shards by Bret Easton Ellis (Knopf)

Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor (Riverhead)

To the Realization of Perfect Helplessness by Robin Coste Lewis (Knopf)

Lessons by Ian McEwan (Knopf)

Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng (Penguin Press)

Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter (Graywolf)

Flight by Lynn Steger Strong (Mariner)

Brutes by Dizz Tate (Catapult)

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Penguin)

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles (Viking)

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (Penguin)



Dinner in One by Melissa Clark (Clarkson Potter)

Delectable by Claudia Fleming (Random House)

Mr. B by Jennifer Homans (Random House)

Women Holding Things by Maira Kalman (Harper Design)

Feral City by Jeremiah Moss (W.W. Norton)

A Book of Days by Patti Smith (Random House)

Via Carota by Jody Williams, Rita Sodi and Anna Kovel (Knopf)



~ The Three Lives & Company Bestseller List ~


1. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (Knopf)

2. Spare by Prince Harry (Random House)

3. The Creative Act by Rick Rubin (Penguin Press)

4. The Maid by Nita Prose (Ballantine)

5. A Book of Days by Patti Smith (Random House)

6. Women Holding Things by Maira Kalman (Harper Design)

7. Trust by Hernan Diaz (Riverhead)

8. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (Doubleday)

9. The New Life by Tom Crewe (Scribner)

10. Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver (Harper)


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A reminder that we specialize in special orders. In our small shop itÕs always a challenge to find room for all the new, notable, and exciting books; if youÕd like a book that we donÕt have on hand, we are always happy to order it for you. We place orders almost daily and the usual turnaround time for a special order is two business days. For some books it may take longer, but weÕll be sure to discuss the particulars with you before we place an order. Additionally, we can ship books to you anywhere within the United States. Give us a call, send us an email, or stop in any time.



We are happy to take preorders for forthcoming titles, and we will let you know as soon as the book arrives. We are all too familiar with the fervid desire to possess a new book at the first possible moment, and we will do everything in our power to make sure the book lands in your hands hot off the presses.



We offer gift certificates, which you may purchase in any amount.  



Three Lives & Company, Booksellers

154 W. 10th St.

New York  NY 10014