Cal

The Hermaphrodite

The Marriage Plot By Jeffrey Eugenides (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 406 pp., $28) Women write about love and marriage; men write about everything else. Like all truisms, this one is best served with a heaping spoonful of caveats, but they don’t alter its essential flavor. Just “look at all the books,” as Jeffrey Eugenides’s new novel exhorts the reader in its very first line.

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Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell Edited by Thomas Travisano with Saskia Hamilton (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 845 pp., $40) '"Your poem came to the right buyer," Robert Lowell wrote to Elizabeth Bishop during the spring of 1976 after receiving "One Art," the nineteen lines that Bishop called "the one & only villanelle of my life." Composed in a tightly repetitive form inherited from the troubadours of the late Renaissance, "One Art" may be the best known, most anthologized American poem of the past half-century.

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You would think Susan Sheridan would be opposed to medical malpractice reform. After all, Sheridan has lived through two medical catastrophes. A decade ago, her newborn son, Cal, suffered kernicterus, a brain injury producing cerebral palsy and other neurological defects, caused by the failure to recognize and treat neonatal jaundice. A few years later, her husband, Pat, died from spinal cancer because of a miscommunication between the hospital pathology department, the operating surgeon, and the patient.

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