Culture 19 September 2013 Books in Brief: Sergio de la Pava, Rose George, Simon Critchley and Jamieson Webster Three new books you may have missed. Sign up for our weekly email * Print HTML A Naked Singularity Sergio De La Pava A Naked Singularity was originally self-published by its author, a New York public defence lawyer, in 2008. The University of Chicago Press republished it in 2012 after a positive reaction online and slowly growing sales. Now, the book is front and centre in indie bookshop windows across Europe, bolstered by praise from critics who applaud De La Pava’s Pynchonian energy, inventiveness and hysterical cast of lawbreakers (and makers). The novel tells the story of Casi, a lawyer on the front line of America’s war on drugs, licking his wounds after his first defeat. The narrative takes the form of a slippery, disorganised projection of the New York justice system, a verbal descent into madness. MacLehose Press, 864pp, £20 Deep Sea and Foreign Going: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry that Brings You 90 Per Cent of Everything Rose George “Friday. No sensible sailor goes to sea on the day of the Crucifixion, or the journey will be followed by ill-will and malice.” The first two sentences of Rose George’s book prepare the reader for timetables, ships and superstition. It is a travelogue of sorts, written in clear, straightforward English, about the people, pirates and machinery that make up the modern maritime industry: a series of complex, ancient and solitary traditions hidden from most, but as vital to life as ever. Portobello Books, 308pp, £14.99 The Hamlet Doctrine: Knowing Too Much, Doing Nothing Simon Critchley and Jamieson Webster In her essay “On Being Ill”, Virginia Woolf said that “rashness” was essential for appreciating Shakespeare, whose work was heavily guarded by patrician literary critics. “Illness,” she wrote, “in its kingly sublimity, sweeps all that aside and leaves nothing but Shakespeare and oneself.” Critchley and Webster write about Hamlet in short, vitriolic chapters, proposing a series of darkly intelligent questions and asserting Ophelia’s place as the real hero of the play. It is an ode to the spirit of “rashness”. Verso, 288pp, £14.99 › My advice to Ben Affleck? Don't listen to the fans - they've been wrong before Eyes down, look in: Book shoppers in Munich. Photograph: Getty Images. Philip Maughan is a freelance writer in Berlin and a former Assistant Editor at the New Statesman. Subscribe from just £1 per issue This article first appeared in the 16 September 2013 issue of the New Statesman, Syria: The deadly stalemate More Related articles How Native American culture fought back against the colonisers The Good Lieutenant is a haunting novel by a former war reporter The world has entered a new Cold War – what went wrong?