introducing readers to writers since 1995

December 11, 2004

Peter Temple's Holiday Gift Suggestion

by Ron Hogan

ptemple.jpgPeter Temple is an Australian novelist who has won the Ned Kelly Award, given annually for the best crime fiction, three times. Identity Theory is his sixth novel, but thanks to MacAdam/Cage, it's the first of his books to be published here in the United States. The folks at Partners & Crime love it, asking their customers, "Ever stumble across an author whose work is new to you and wonder how you could possibly have missed his (or her) books all your life?"

Almost everyone likes getting a decent bottle of wine, but who among us does not have a collection of unread books that came gift-wrapped? Giving a book as a present requires the skills of a matchmaker. And so Witold Rybczynski's The Perfect House: A Journey with the Renaissance Master Andrea Palladio must be paired with someone who likes such things as travel writing, Italy, history and scholarship, someone who is interested in architecture, beauty, form, utility and cultural diffusion. (You may have to give this book to yourself.)

Rybczynski has all the qualities needed to tell the story of the sixteenth-century stonemason whose signature is upon Buckingham Palace, the White House, and hundreds upon hundreds of mansions, banks, courthouses and town halls from Alabama to deepest Australia. This is a book with the balance, order and lightness of Palladian archictecture. Flatter someone with it.

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