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John Freeman

John Freeman is the editor of Grantamagazine. A former president of the National Book Critics Circle, his criticism has appeared in publications around the world, including The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times Book Review. His latest book is The Tyranny of E-mail: The Four-Thousand-Year Journey to Your Inbox.

  • William H. Gass' fiction has been a secret handshake among brainy readers for years. Critics universally adored The Tunnel, his 1995 opus, even though it was nearly impossible to read. With Middle C, Gass has given us another dense, suffocating novel about language and the self.
  • Tomas Transtromer, Swedish poet of still and solitary landscapes, is this year's winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. A private man in his work and life, Transtromer has nonetheless been one of Europe's most translated poets of the last 50 years.
  • With grace and compassion, French writer Emmanuel Carrere tells somber stories of loss. Lives Other Than My Own demonstrates that narrative is not just a vessel for what is considered off-limits in life. It can be a vessel for knowledge one never wished to possess.
  • The impact of Sept. 11 sent shock waves through every aspect of modern American life, permeating and defining the culture of a generation. Grantaeditor John Freeman recommends three novels that examine the attacks of that day, and the lives that were forever altered.
  • Two things are shared in common by the five thrilling books that make up Granta editor John Freeman's list of the best debuts of 2010: A chaos that reflects dark times and an urgency to tell these mysterious stories — from East Africa, South America, Kashmir, New Jersey — with clarity and beauty.
  • Granta editor John Freeman picks the year's top five debuts by fiction writers. The list includes three collections of short stories and two novels. Freeman says the era of the splashy debut might be gone, but these authors demonstrate, despite their short publishing histories, that first-time writers can still make a big impression.
  • Nonfiction can be every bit as exhilarating and illuminating as novels. You just have to pick the right books. Here, then, are five works of history, journalism and biography that will shock, inform and delight.
  • In her journals, Susan Sontag exhibits the fierce intelligence that distinguishes her work — along with a vulnerability that may surprise. The result is an absorbing chronicle of emotional and intellectual self-discovery.
  • Humorist Elizabeth McCracken explores the landscape of grief in this wrenching, clearsighted memoir of the year that follows a son's death in utero.
  • How do we live with the knowledge that death comes to all? Julian Barnes mixes memoir with philosophy as he zigzags briskly through the scientific, religious and emotional significance of living finite lives.