Luc Sante

“Photography, like murder, interrupts life,” says the author, who also wrote Low Life. “The pictures would not leave me alone.” Presents an amazing documentation of NYPD crime photography between 1914 and 1918. Saved only by accident, it’s the “true record of the texture and grain of a lost New York, laid bare by the circumstance of murder.” Most taken with a wide-angle lens, and many taken from high above a sprawled corpse, the photos compare to a nightmare journey through a surrealistic city, always lonely, always night, and always death in every room. “Time in its passing casts off particles of itself in the form of images, documents, relics, junk.” Some can be forgotten, some cannot. GR

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Paperback: 99 pages

Beyond Psychology: Letters and Journals, 1934-1939

Wilhelm Reich

Documents drawn from an interesting period of transition for Reich, from Marxist dialectician-psychoanalyst to biophysicist and natural scientist. FLA

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Hardback: 320 pages

Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn

David Hajdu

A provocative biography dutifully illustrating the life of Billy Strayhorn, jazz’s long overlooked musician, composer and visionary. Overshadowed by his lifetime associate “Duke” Ellington (“Ellington referred to Strayhorn with cryptic aesthetic intimacy as ‘our writing and arranging companion’”), he was the force behind many Ellington compositions. Strayhorn easily allowed himself to fall into the background. Now is the time for the mysterious, complex, shy, openly homosexual, always graceful legend to receive his due.
Descriptive and refreshingly lyrical, the text encapsulates with various corrective metaphors the lost truths of the jazz composer who sat back as his peers and community reveled in shame and laughter. Cut short when he was one of jazz’s leading practitioners, Strayhorn left behind an unmatched legacy. His life overlapped and deeply influenced many jazz legends: Horne, Holiday, Hodges, Pettiford, to name but a few. Lush Life is as bittersweet as the tune itself. OAA

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Hardback: 306 pages

Revolution of the Mind: The Life of André Breton

Mark Polizzotti

Rightfully called the “pope” of Surrealism by his critics, André Breton controlled the movement with a strong hand. He was also one of the major figures of cultural life in the 20th century. One cannot imagine not having Breton to kick around in this world as he brought up major themes for this century—spiritualism, radical politics, psychology and the occult, and had the personality to gather a group of writers, poets and artists into the movement known as Surrealism. He was also an underrated poet and critic, and was witty in his critique of his culture. The reader learns that for such an outrageous, sexually minded artist, he was also a prude. Although he was one of the first to check out sexuality in a so-called scientific, objective matter, he was extremely homophobic and had a strong distaste for brothels. Breton demanded a “work ethic” yet banned the Surrealists from working day jobs. He suffered great financial burdens. Breton was a romantic who put his women on a pedestal… and, in the course of his many marriages, often left them there.
This biography by Mark Polizzotti (who also translated many of Breton’s works into English) captures Breton in his glory. There are also revealing glimpses of Tristan Tzara; Breton’s troubled relationship with his one-time best friend Louis Aragon (somewhat of a rat!); Antonin Artaud; Dali; and other greats in the movement against the rational. TB

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Hardback: 754 pages