Latest Bridget Jones novel is well worth the 13-year wait

01/03/2014 1:24 PM

08/08/2014 10:20 AM

“Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy” by Helen Fielding (Knopf, 400 pages, $26.95)

When a character like Bridget Jones is so beloved that she becomes something of a virtual best friend, it’s devastating to loyal, emotional readers when she just up and disappears for 13 years. (It was only two years between “Bridget Jones’ Diary” in 1998 and “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” in 2000.)

After such a long wait, it’s a grand delight to find that author Helen Fielding’s third Bridget romp is every bit as engaging, hilarious and sometimes downright naughty as the first two: perfect light reading after a long day of shopping, online dating or herding co-workers.

“Drawings” by Sylvia Plath (Harper, 64 pages, $25.99)

The most striking thing about the 44 images reproduced in Sylvia Plath’s “Drawings” may be how unpopulated they are.

Produced during the two years the poet spent on a Fulbright fellowship at Cambridge – the same period in which she met and married (secretly, at first) Ted Hughes – this material evokes a world bound almost entirely by objects: boats, shoes, rooftops, all of it detailed, shadowed, but at the same time more than a little bit removed.

Plath and Hughes, of course, would come apart spectacularly, and she would commit suicide, after writing the astonishing poems of “Ariel.” This was still years off when she produced these drawings, but in their distance, in their isolation, we see a glimmer, perhaps, of that empty, farther shore.

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