The Broken Road: From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos, by Patrick Leigh Fermor. Edited by Colin Thubron and Artemis Cooper. (New York Review Books) In 1933, an 18-year-old Leigh Fermor set out on a walk across Europe, from Holland to Istanbul. Decades later, he recounted that life-changing journey in “A Time of Gifts” (1977) and “Between the Woods and the Water” (1986). “The Broken Road,” posthumously published last year, covers the final leg of his travels, through Bulgaria, Romania and Greece. In her absorbing biography “Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure” (New York Review Books), Artemis Cooper adds further details and intrigue to the British wayfarer’s life, including his heroic efforts in occupied Crete during World War II.
Snow Hunters, by Paul Yoon. (Simon & Schuster) In Yoon’s piercing first novel – all the more powerful for its brevity – a Korean War refugee named Yohan arrives in Brazil seeking a fresh start after two years in a prison camp. The story alternates between Yohan’s new life and his bleak circumstances in the camp.
Our America: A Hispanic History of the United States, by Felipe Fernández-Armesto. (Norton) Going back more than five centuries to the days of the conquistadors, Fernández-Armesto sweeps away “layers of Anglocentrism” to recast the history of what would become the United States from the perspective of the Spanish Empire and the early Mexican Republic.
Tatiana: An Arkady Renko Novel, by Martin Cruz Smith. (Simon & Schuster) Smith’s redoubtable sleuth has survived the cultural dissolution of the Soviet Union, only to find that the New Russia is as obsessed with secrecy and brutality as the old regime was. In this tightly plotted thriller, a dead translator’s coded notebook holds the key to the murders of a muckraking journalist and an oligarch.
My Mistake: A Memoir, by Daniel Menaker. (Mariner/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) Menaker braids together three narratives in this bracing re-examination of his past: family history (a child of 1940s Greenwich Village, he’s haunted by his role in his brother’s death); literary life (he’s a veteran editor of The New Yorker and Random House); and illness (he describes his protracted struggle with lung cancer).
A True Novel, by Minae Mizumura. Translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter. (Other Press) This is a masterly cross-cultural adaptation of “Wuthering Heights,” set in Long Island and postwar Japan. Taro is a brooding, ambitious immigrant in 1960s New York; flashbacks reveal his impoverished boyhood, his rise to wealth and success, and his obsession with Yoko, who cannot overcome their class differences despite her love for him.
The Eternal Nazi: From Mauthausen to Cairo, the Relentless Pursuit Of SS Doctor Aribert Heim, by Nicholas Kulish and Souad Mekhennet. (Vintage) Dr. Aribert Heim (1914-92) did grisly work at Mauthausen concentration camp, but slipped away from his dark past amid the postwar chaos. This book brilliantly recounts the decades-long manhunt for Heim, who practiced gynecology in 1950s Baden-Baden and later converted to Islam in Egypt.
New York Times