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It was about 40 years ago today that the band began to play, and common sense would suggest that there is absolutely nothing new left to say about the Beatles. Not true, at least on the evidence of The Beatles Anthology (Chronicle), a massive collection of 340,000 words and some 1,300 photographs and illustrations due Oct. 5. Put together with the full cooperation of the Fab Four's three surviving members, the Anthology is essentially the group's autobiography as told by Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, with John Lennon's memories assembled posthumously. The result is a unique, inside version of the familiar tale, from scuffling early gigs to worldwide fame. What did it feel like to be a Beatle? Is an answer to this enough to justify the $60 price tag? Beatlemaniacs will find the question silly. In fact, they will have the opportunity to shell out even more this fall for Paul McCartney: Paintings--the title is self-explanatory--and Y E S Yoko Ono, a collection of artworks from Lennon's widow. Roughly 10 other Beatles books will hit the shelves as well. All you need is ink.
The season also promises some nonfiction works that are actually not about the Beatles, including Margaret Salinger's account of her reclusive writer-father and Ronald Reagan's letters to his wife. On tap too: major new biographies of Robert F. Kennedy, Donald Trump, Joe DiMaggio and Ho Chi Minh.
A LITERARY PAGE TURNER THE BLIND ASSASSIN
Margaret Atwood's 10th novel should equal or surpass the popular appeal she achieved in The Handmaid's Tale (1985) while maintaining her consistently high literary achievements. English professors will relish the postmodern trick--a novel with a novel within a novel--that gives The Blind Assassin (Doubleday; 521 pages; $26) its title. The less theoretically inclined can simply kick back and marvel at Atwood's gripping tale, which stretches from World War I almost to the present moment. At the center are two sisters, Iris and Laura Chase, daughters of a wealthy Canadian manufacturer who is ruined during the Depression. The Chase girls must adjust to diminished expectations, and the choices they make, the secrets they keep, will reverberate for decades. There is enough suspense in The Blind Assassin, out Sept. 5, to stock a shelfful of ordinary mysteries, with the added benefit that Atwood's plot comes with fully rounded characters and reams of beautiful prose.
NOW, BEING EDGY IS BEING ELEGANT
Miguel Adrover's formidable buzz has been built on the strength of just two tiny shows. After the second one, in which he showed a jacket made from the ticking taken off a mattress that was discarded on the street (and reportedly had belonged to the recently deceased Quentin Crisp), the fashion pages were practically wet from all the drooling. They raved over the inventiveness and "elegant edginess" of such outfits as the the two pairs of flannel pants with Hermes belts, one of which was retailored as a jacket, right, or the navy sweatshirts with Yankees baseball caps worked into the shoulders. Now Adrover has a big financial backer (Pegasus), but also a big load of pressure to produce clothes that sell.