Taking a cue from Thomas at My Porch and Damion Searls (NYRB editor, translator, introducer and back cover writer), I decided to do a post on my favorite NYRBs so far. I actually haven't read a lot of them but already five have become firm favorites.
The Post-Office Girl is both exhilarating and devastating and if a book can conjure those emotions in a reader then isn't that amazing? Christine, a poor, young postal worker in post World War I Vienna is whisked away by her wealthy aunt and uncle to a luxurious Swiss mountain resort. Here she gets to spend a few days as Cinderella. This is a fairy-tale story without the happy ending.
The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley has probably one of the most famous opening lines in literature: "The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there." I read this years ago in a non-NYRB edition and it has a permanent place in my list of all-time favorite books. It's the summer of 1900 and 12-year-old Leo spends the summer at the country estate of one of his friends from school. While there, he falls in love with his friend's older sister, Marian and naively helps her deliver secret letters to her farmer lover and vice-versa thus becoming the go-between of the title. This is quite an emotional novel heightened by the fact that it's narrated by Leo, now in his 60s as he looks back on a time of innocence lost and coming of age in a tragic way.
Hons and Rebels by Jessica Mitford. I'm been fascinated by the Mitford family for years so if given the chance I'll definitely pick out any book by them or about them. Hons and Rebels is Jessica Mitford's own autobiographical account of growing up in a very unconventional family, her marriage to her first husband and running away together to join the Spanish Civil War. This is definitely a must-read if you're a fan of the fabulous Mitfords.