The 10 Best Books of 2007
MAN GONE DOWN
By Michael Thomas. Black Cat/Grove/Atlantic, paper, $14. This first novel explores the fragmented personal histories behind four desperate days in a black writer’s life.
OUT STEALING HORSES
By Per Petterson. Translated by Anne Born. Graywolf Press, $22. In this short yet spacious Norwegian novel, an Oslo professional hopes to cure his loneliness with a plunge into solitude.
THE SAVAGE DETECTIVES
By Roberto Bolaño. Translated by Natasha Wimmer. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27. A craftily autobiographical novel about a band of literary guerrillas.
THEN WE CAME TO THE END
By Joshua Ferris. Little, Brown & Company, $23.99. Layoff notices fly in Ferris’s acidly funny first novel, set in a white-collar office in the wake of the dot-com debacle.
TREE OF SMOKE
By Denis Johnson. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27. The author of “Jesus’ Son” offers a soulful novel about the travails of a large cast of characters during the Vietnam War.
IMPERIAL LIFE IN THE EMERALD CITY: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone.
By Rajiv Chandrasekaran. Alfred A. Knopf, $25.95; Vintage, paper, $14.95. The author, a Washington Post journalist, catalogs the arrogance and ineptitude that marked America’s governance of Iraq.
LITTLE HEATHENS: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression.
By Mildred Armstrong Kalish. Bantam Books, $22. Kalish’s soaring love for her childhood memories saturates this memoir, which coaxes the reader into joy, wonder and even envy.
THE NINE: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court.
By Jeffrey Toobin. Doubleday, $27.95. An erudite outsider’s account of the cloistered court’s inner workings.
THE ORDEAL OF ELIZABETH MARSH: A Woman in World History.
By Linda Colley. Pantheon Books, $27.50. Colley tracks the “compulsively itinerant” Marsh across the 18th century and several continents.
THE REST IS NOISE: Listening to the Twentieth Century.
By Alex Ross. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $30. In his own feat of orchestration, The New Yorker’s music critic presents a history of the last century as refracted through its classical music.