Polly Shulman

  • Kitchen Essays

    Country friends have flocked to London for a little shopping, and you’d like to offer them luncheon. Or perhaps your cook’s mother has developed one of those sudden and disastrous illnesses endemic among cooks’ mothers during the holidays. Or maybe you’d like to prepare “a restrained and anglicized Bouillabaisse” for guests who refrain from meat. What do you do?

    In the early 1920s, you could open The Times and find advice, complete with recipes, in a series of graceful, anonymous “Kitchen Essays,” the work of one Agnes Jekyll. This Jekyll was neither the famous garden designer (that was her

  • A down-on-his-luck visionary has conversations with the love of his life, a pigeon. An autodidact builds a time machine and makes a date to fly it with his best friend, a night watchman at the New York Public Library. An army mechan­ic comes home from the war against Hitler—or perhaps from the future—to court a chambermaid, who steals the visionary’s notes for a death ray. Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, Mark Twain, and the old Pennsylvania Station put in appearances. Not quite science fiction, not quite historical fiction, not quite fantasy, Samantha Hunt’s new novel falls within an