cover image News from the World: Stories & Essays

News from the World: Stories & Essays

Paula Fox. Norton, $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-393-08128-2

Though the original publication dates of the work compiled for this collection span from 1965 to 2010, many of the personal narratives included cover an even wider swath of Fox's life, making for a delightful read. An insightful and sturdy writer, Fox (Desperate Characters) remains humble, curious, and thoroughly likable across decades and genres. While the story "The Broad Estates of Death," published in Harper's in 2004, will be wonderfully familiar to many readers, her essays often seem even more original and telling. Particularly poignant is "Way Down Yonder," in which Fox recalls moving to New Orleans in 1940 and the writer couple from whom she rented a room. In it, we see the city, the segregation, and the early inklings of Fox's own life of letters. Equally captivating is the remembrance of a gay friend whom Fox met while she was a single mother in Manhattan, working as a teacher. With such a rich life history from which to draw, Fox is both wholly singular in her perspective and as knowable and trustworthy as a favorite neighbor. (Apr.)