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The Sports Novel is Enjoying a Renaissance

In the beginning, it was just for boys. Originating in the late nineteenth century as a popular, morally instructive piece of entertainment for preteen males, the sports novel has had a long, slow climb to respectability. Ever since it began to encroach on more elevated terrain in the middle of the twentieth century, the genre has maintained an uneasy relationship with the higher claims of literature. With its cast of larger-than-life characters, its central place in the lives of so many fans, and its mirroring of the world beyond the field, the sports universe is a rich site of inquiry for the receptive novelist. Yet the novel of athletics has only sporadically taken advantage of these possibilities. Now a wide range of writers have picked up the thread again, employing a dizzying array of stylistic and thematic approaches that have gone a long way toward refreshing the genre. Read more

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Miniseries Based on ‘Lady in the Lake’ by Laura Lippman Coming Soon

When the disappearance of a young girl grips the city of Baltimore on Thanksgiving 1966, the lives of two women converge on a fatal collision course. Maddie Schwartz (Natalie Portman) is a Jewish housewife seeking to shed a secret past and reinvent herself as an investigative journalist, and Cleo Johnson (Moses Ingram) is a mother navigating the political underbelly of Black Baltimore while struggling to provide for her family. Their disparate lives seem parallel at first, but when Maddie becomes fixated on Cleo’s mystifying death, a chasm opens that puts everyone around them in danger. From visionary director Alma Har’el, “Lady in the Lake” emerges as a feverish noir thriller and an unexpected tale of the price women pay for their dreams. Watch trailer

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‘The Heart in Winter’ by Kevin Barry

“The Heart in Winter” sees Barry once again attempting something new — and pulling it off with aplomb. His first novel to be set in America is both an Irish-flavored western fraught with danger and brutality and a love story filled with caustic humor and pathos. It wears its influences well — the raw flintiness of Cormac McCarthy, the dizzying exuberance of Flann O’Brien, the taut storytelling of Charles Portis — but Barry’s signature touches predominate and render the narrative propulsive and immersive. Read more

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What Happened to the Well-Mannered Cat Burglar?

Though he sounds like a screenwriter’s invention, Arthur Barry was real. Life magazine called him “the greatest jewel thief who ever lived.” And, as Dean Jobb notes in his delectably entertaining new biography, “A Gentleman and a Thief,” Barry was a triple threat: “a bold impostor, a charming con artist and a master cat burglar rolled into one.” Read more

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