The following is a selection from the many books reviewed in Book World this year: Novels
The Island of Crimea, by Vassily Aksyonov (Random House, $16.95). Russian history reimagined by a daring fabulist.
Time After Time, by Molly Keane (Knopf, $13.95) A grotesque family drama set in a decaying Irish manor house.
Unto This Hour, by Tom Wicker (Viking, $19.95). The syndicated columnist brings alive the Second Battle of Bull Run.
Waterland, by Graham Swift (Poseidon Press, $15.95). The English fens saturate this tale of a lad with a keen sense of history.
Tenth, by MacDonald Harris (Atheneum, $15.95). All about the last symphony of Adrian Leverkuehn -- a motif borrowed from Thomas Mann's Doctor Faustus.
Invisible Mending, by Frederick Busch (Godine, $14.95). A middle-aged man recaptures a long-lost love.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera (Harper & Row, $15.95). The highly bearable, typically sexy new work by the Czech exile.
Jacob's Well, by Stephen Harrigan (Simon and Schuster, $15.95). One of those rarities: a wholly adult novel (about cave-diving) with an action-paced climax.
Machine Dreams, by Jayne Anne Phillips (Dutton/Seymour Lawrence, $16.95). A family's disintegration, viewed symptomatically.
The War of the End of the World, by Mario Vargas Llosa (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $18.95). Peru's leading representative of El Boom borrows a harrowing incident from Brazilian history.
The Time of Her Life, by Robb Forman Dew (Morrow, $12.95). A pair of never- grown-up parents inflict their self-indulgence on a bewildered child.
The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, by Fay Weldon (Pantheon, $13.95). A wife's unorthodox revenge on her philandering husband.
Foreign Affairs, by Alison Lurie (Random House, $15.95). Scholars on sabbatical take aim on English citadels.
The Ladies, by Doris Grumbach (Dutton, $14.95). Based on the true story of an 18th- century lesbian affair.
Empire of the Sun, by J.G. Ballard (Simon and Schuster, $16.95). A boy wanders through war-ravaged landscapes on the way to maturity.
English Creek, by Ivan Doig (Atheneum, $16.95). The myth-shattering summer of a boy in the American West.
Miss Peabody's Inheritance, by Elizabeth Jolley (Viking, $13.95). Metafiction from an Australian writer whose characters seek refreshment in Nature. Short Fiction
Private Parties, by Jonathan Penner (University of Pittsburgh Press, $13.95). Well- turned sentences about faint-hearted losers.
Slow Learner: Early Stories, by Thomas Pynchon (Little, Brown, $14.95). Apprentice work by the author of Gravity's Rainbow.
Free Agents, by Max Ale (Harper & Row, $14.50). Examinations of pop culture by a mixer of fact and fiction.
Him With His Foot in His Mouth and Other Stories, by Saul Bellow (Harper & Row, $15.95). The Nobel laureate in a good- humored vein.
What I Know So Far, by Gordon Lish (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, $14.95). The godfather of the New Fiction collects his own.
Family Dancing, by David Leavitt (Knopf, $13.95). Gay characters coping with their families' mixed reactions.
Something Out There, by Nadine Gordimer (Viking, $15.95). The personal sides of politics and history.
On the Yankee Station: Stories, by William Boyd (Morrow, $12.95). An English novelist on losses of innocence.
Sing Me No Love Songs I'll Say You No Prayers, by Leon Rooke (Ecco Press, $15.50). A Canadian's vivid depictions of modest lives.
Victory Over Japan, by Ellen Gilchrist (Little, Brown, $15.95). The vagaries of southern egotism.
Too Late American Boyhood Blues, by Frederick Busch (Godine, $15.95). The pangs of adolescence, presented by a master of empathy. Popular Fiction
Berlin Game, by Len Deighton (Knopf, $15.95). The ultimate in Checkpoint Charlie novels.
The Journeyer, by Gary Jennings (Atheneum, $17.95). A Rabelaisian version of Marco Polo's travels.
The Shadow Cabinet, by W.T. Tyler (Harper & Row, $15.50). Conniving and pretending in the nether world of Washington.
The Belt of Gold, by Cecelia Holland (Knopf, $15.95). Constantinople in 802 A.D. is the setting for this historical novel.
Nightbloom, by Herbert Lieberman (Putam, $16.95). A psychopathic killer's m.o. is dropping cinder blocks from rooftops.
The Brotherhood of the Rose, by David Morrell (St. Martin's/Richard Marek, $15.95). A thriller answers the question: "Are safe houses really safe?"
Seven Silent Men, by Noel Behn (Arbor House, $16.95). A bank heist with a subterranean escape route into the Mississippi River.
The Ceremonies, by T.E.D. Klein (Viking, $16.95). Superior variations on a theme by H.P. Lovecraft.
Cool Runnings, by Richard Hoyt (Viking, $15.95). An antiwar gang hopes to force disarmament by brandishing a nuclear weapon itself.
Luna, by Delacorta (Summit, $9.95). Another lala title from the thriller-writer who gave us Diva and Nana.
High Command, by John Masters (Morrow, $16.95). A soldier fights in both world wars and every British skirmish in between.
The Pyrates, by George MacDonald Fraser (Knopf, $16.95). Flashman's chronicler runs up the Jolly Roger.
The Miracle, by Irving Wallace (Dutton, $17.95). The world prepares for new visions at Lourdes.
Black Water: The Book of Fantastic Literature, by Alberto Manguel (Clarkson N. Potter, paperback, $11.95). An anthology that celebrates the nightmarish imagination.
The Summer of the Barshinskeys, by Diane Pearson (Crown. $16.95). English civility proves a matchless asset during the Russian Civil War.
Life Its Ownself, by Dan Jenkins (Simon and Schuster, $15.95). Post-football antics by Billy Clyde Puckett and friends.
Briarpatch, by Ross Thomas (Simon and Schuster, $15.95). Murder and spooks (the CIA kind) in this latest by a master thriller- writer. General Nonfiction
Geisha, by Liza Crihfield Dalby (University of California Press, $25). A fascinating glimpse of a closely circumscribed world by an American woman who spent a year learning the Geisha arts.
Amazon, by Brian Kelly and Mark London (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, $15.95). Into the heart of South America.
The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud. Volume 1. Education of the Senses, by Peter Gay (Oxford University Press, $25). A revisionist look at Victorian mores.
The Traders, by Sonny Kleinfield (Holt Rinehart and Winston, $14.95). On the floor with commodities brokers.
Castaway: A Story of Survival, by Lucy Irvine (Random House, $16.95). A man and a woman survive a South Pacific desert island.
In the Freud Archives, by Janet Malcolm (Knopf, $11.95). Back-biting and jealousy among the psychoanalysts.
Ceremonial Time: Fifteen Thousand Years on One Square Mile, by John Hanson Mitchell (Anchor/Doubleday, $15.95). A scrap of Massachusetts land encompasses centuries of history.
In God's Countries, by Bil Gilbert (University of Nebraska Press, $14.95). Flora and Fauna, described by one of America's best nature writers.
The Weaker Vessel, by Antonia Fraser (Knopf, $19.95). Englishwomen in the 17th century.
Finding the Center: Two Narratives, by V.S. Naipaul (Knopf, $13.95). The writer looks back at his beginnings.
Miss Manners' Guide to Rearing Perfect Children, by Judith Martin (Atheneum, $14.95). Manners can be fun. Brothers and Keepers, by John Edgar Wideman (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, $15.95). A black writer's inquiry into a painful question -- why he has it all, a family, professional success, while his brother serves a life sentence for murder. Science
Napoleon's Glands and Other Ventures in Biohistory, by Arno Karlen (Little, Brown, $15.95). Speculations on historical and contemporary diseases.
A Leg to Stand On, by Oliver Sacks (Summit, $14.95). Illness and the quest for recovery.
Biophilia, by Edward O. Wilson (Harvard University Press, $15). The sociobiologist seeks to explain what draws us to the study of living things.
Three Degrees Above Zero: Bell Labs in the Information Age, by Jeremy Bernstein (Scribners, $17.95). Inside one of the nation's foremost research laboratories. Biography and Autobiography
Alan Turing: The Enigma, by Andrew Hodges (Simon and Schuster, $22.50). A brilliant mathematician and computer scientist saves his country by code-breaking skills, only to cmmit suicide after exposure as a homosexual.
The Autobiography of Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka (Freundlich Books, $16.95). A black American's pilgrimage.
Dostoyevsky: The Years of Ordeal, 1850-1859, by Joseph Frank (Princeton University Press, $25). The second volume of the definitive life.
Thomas Carlyle: A Biography, by Fred Kaplan (Cornell University Press, $35). The curmudgeon of Craigenputtock and Cheyne Walk.
Books of 1984
An American Saga: The Story of Helen Thomas and Simon Flexner, by James Thomas Flexner (Little, Brown, $24.95). The biologist and the bluestocking.
A.E. Housman: A Critical Biography, by Norman Page (Schocken, $29.95). The poet and classicist.
Stengel: His Life and Times, by Robert W. Creamer (Simon and Schuster, $16.95). Pride of the Yankees.
First Lady from Plains, by Rosalynn Carter (Houghton Mifflin, $17.95). Inside the White House.
D.W. Griffith: An American Life, by Richard Schickel (Simon and Schuster, $24.95). The pioneer film maker.
Diane Arbus: A Biography, by Patricia Bosworth (Knopf, $17.95). The troubled life of a major photographer.
Ivy: The Life of I. Compton-Burnett, by Hilary Sperling (Knopf, $22.95). Such a strange lady.
Hilaire Belloc, by A.N. Wilson (Atheneum, $17.95). The Catholic apologist and man of letters.
Margaret Mead: A Life, by Jane Howard (Simon and Schuster, $19.95). The woman who personified anthropology.
Solzhenitsyn: A Biography, by Michael Scammell (Norton, $29.95). The titan of modern Russian literature.
Galina: A Russian Story, by Galina Vishnevskaya (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, $19.95). Of samovars and sopranos.
Home Before Dark, by Susan Cheever (Houghton Mifflin, $15.95). A daughter's moving memoir of John Cheever.
The Private World of Georgette Heyer, by Jane Aiken Hodge (Bodley Head/Merrimack, $19.95). Historical fiction was her forte. History
The Idea of Poverty: England in the Early Industrial Age, by Gertrude Himmelfarb (Knopf, $25). The poor are always with us.
The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History, by Robert Darnton (Basic Books, $17.95). The fascinating underside of French history.
The Road to Stalingrad: Stalin's War With Germany and The Road to Berlin: Continuing the History of Stalin's War With Germany, by John Erickson (Westview, $38.50 and $42.50 respectively). The Soviet achievement in World War II.
Slavery and Human Progress, by David Brion Davis (Oxford, $25). The idea of slavery in the Enlightenment. The Haymarket Tragedy, by Paul Avrich (Princeton, $29.50). Anarchists and trade unionists in 19th-century America.
The Fateful Alliance: France, Russia, and the Coming of the First World War, by George F. Kennan (Pantheon, $18.95). How the Great Powers sought security and found ruin.
Eagle Against the Sun: The American War With Japan, by Ronald H. Spector (The Free Press/Macmillan, $24.95). Wings across the Pacific.
Son of the Morning Star, by Evan S. Connell (North Point Press, $20). Custer's road to the Little Big Horn. Public Affairs
The Command and Control of Nuclear Forces, by Paul Bracken (Yale, $19.95). When the bomb drops, no one knows what will happen next.
The Unraveling of America: A History of Liberalism in the 1960s, by Allen J. Matusow (Harper & Row, $22.95). How the liberals mugged themselves. The Rights of Free Men: An Essential Guide to Civil Liberties, by Alan Barth (Knopf, $17.95). The faith of a civil libertarian.
Final Reports: Personal Reflections on Politics and History in Our Time, by Richard Rovere (Doubleday, $16.95). Last testament of an ace reporter.
Violent Neighbors: El Salvador, Central America, and the United States, by Tom Buckley (Times Books, $17.95). Into the quagmire.
Weapons and Hope, by Freeman Dyson (Harper & Row, $17.95). There is a way to stop the madness.
Family Portrait with Fidel: A Memoir, by Carlos Franqui (Random House, $17.95). Revolutionaries' falling out.
Diaries of Mario M. Cuomo: The Campaign for Governor (Random House, $19.95). The road to Albany.
The Quality of Mercy: Cambodia, Holocaust and the Modern Conscience, by William Shawcross (Simon and Schuster, $19.95). The Cambodia tangle.
Deadly Gambits: The Reagan Administration and the Stalemate in Nuclear Arms Control, by Strobe Talbott (Knopf, $17.95). Behind the scenes in Washington and Geneva.
The Economic Illusion: False Choices Between Prosperity and Social Justice, by Robert Kuttner (Houghton Mifflin, $19.95). Full employment should be the real goal. Belles Lettres
The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers, by John Gardner (Knopf, $13.95). How to. Elizabeth Bishop: The Collected Prose (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $17.50) Prose by any other name would be poetry.
A Partisan View: Five Decades of the Literary Life, by William Phillips (Stein and Day, $19.95). Memories of Philip Rahv, Delmore Schwartz, and other old friends.
Walt Whitman: The Making of a Poet, by Paul Zweig (Basic Books, $18.95). A hack journalist makes good.
Taking It All In, by Pauline Kael (Holt Rinehart and Winston, $25; paperback, $14.95). Movies.
An American Procession, by Alfred Kazin (Knopf, $18.95). From Emerson and Melville to Fitzgerald and Hemingway.
Romanticism and Realism: The Mythology of Nineteenth Century Art, by Charles Rosen and Henri Zerner (Viking, $22.50). An important revisionist view.
Required Writing: Miscellaneous Pieces 1955-1982, by Philip Larkin (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $17.95). Articles and reviews by England's most admired living poet.
The Essays, Articles and Reviews of Evelyn Waugh (Little, Brown, $40). Vitriol and holy water.
Frost: A Literary Life Reconsidered, by William Pritchard (Oxford, $15.95). Not such a bad guy after all.
Victor Hugo and the Visionary Novel, by Victor Brombert (Harvard, $20). A major assessment. Poetry
The Sleeping Beauty, by Hayden Carruth (Harper & Row, $11.95). A Vermont love poem and much else.
The Collected Poems of Robert Creely (1945-1975) (University of California Press, $28.50). The impressive oeuvre of a living master.
Children in Exile: Poems, 1968-1984, by James Fenton (Random House, $11.95; paperback, $5.95). The war in Cambodia viewed by one of Britain's most exciting poets.
Lining Up, by Richard Howard (Atheneum, $13.95; paperback, $7.95). Photography and Francophilia.
A Wave, by John Ashbery (Viking, $14.95). Reflections on love.