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13 New Books We Recommend This Week

John Williams
Assistant Editor

YEAR OF PLAGUES: A Memoir of 2020, by Fred D’Aguiar. (Harper/HarperCollins Publishers, $26.99.) I LIVE A LIFE LIKE YOURS: A Memoir, by Jan Grue. (FSG Originals, $17.) BLIND MAN’S BLUFF: A Memoir, by James Tate Hill. (W. W. Norton Company, $25.95.) Three new memoirs about affliction have a lot to say, our critic Dwight Garner writes, “about desire and pain and depression and shame and unlikely sources of joy, among other topics.” When D’Aguiar, a poet, novelist and playwright, learned he had prostate cancer, he had no idea what was in store: a year of tests and probes and radiation treatments and surgery that had to take place under fear of Covid, and under strict Covid protocols. His is the “wildest” of these books, Garner says. “His rage to live shivers in every sentence.” Grue, a Norwegian writer and academic, lives with spinal muscular atrophy, diagnosed at age 3. With a shrewd, pared-down and epigrammatic prose style, he has written “a quietly brilliant book that warms slowly in the hands.” Hill’s memoir is about how, while in high school, he learned he had a condition that left him legally blind. Garner writes of this amiable book: “It’s been a long time since I met such a thoroughly normal guy in a memoir.”

ALL THE FREQUENT TROUBLES OF OUR DAYS: The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler, by Rebecca Donner. (Little, Brown and Company, $32.) Donner’s new book is a biography of Mildred Harnack, an American woman sentenced to death by the Nazi regime for her resistance activities while

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