A Short Guide to ‘The World’

juin 30, 2020 0 Par admin

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The ambition of Richard Haass’s new book is clear from its title: “The World: A Brief Introduction.” In just 400 pages, Haass, who has been the president of the nonpartisan Council on Foreign Relations since 2003, offers a primer on world affairs. On this week’s podcast, Haass talks about why he wrote it.

“The whole lesson of this pandemic, and the whole lesson of 9/11, is we can’t ignore the world, or if we do ignore the world, it’s at our peril,” Haass says. “These oceans that surround us are not moats. We’ve got to pay attention to the world and we’ve got to fix things here at home.”

Abhrajyoti Chakraborty visits the podcast to discuss his recent review of four novels in translation, including Yu Miri’s “Tokyo Ueno Station,” translated by Morgan Giles. The novel is narrated by Kazu, a dead man who spent his final years in a camp of homeless people in Tokyo’s Ueno Park and haunts the area after his death.

“It’s modernist in the sense that it’s narrated in a very experimental way,” Chakraborty says. “Kazu isn’t always just speaking about his stories or confessing his feelings. It’s interspersed with, say, conversations he might be overhearing from people around the park, be it visitors or his fellow homeless dwellers. He’s a ghost, so sometimes he’ll just disappear into one of the nearby museums and you have pages of descriptions of paintings or what’s really happening inside galleries.”

Also on this week’s episode, Alexandra Alter has news from the publishing world; and Tina Jordan and John Williams talk about what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.

Here are the books discussed in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:

We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to books@nytimes.com.