ARC Feeding Frenzy – Laura McBride, Tracy Chevalier, Nick Laird

April 26, 2017

The Chevalier title is next month’s Hogarth Shakespeare title a series of novels retelling plots and themes from Shakespeare’s plays.  To date, the likes of Margaret Atwood, Jeanette Winterson, Anne Tyler, Jo Nesbo, Howard Jacobson, and Gillian Flynn have contributed, with Edward St. Aubyn’s Dunbar, the homage to King Lear, coming this October.

In the meantime, comment first to claim any one of these.

McBride, Laura. ‘Round Midnight. Simon & Schuster, May 2nd.

Round MidnightPublisher summary: From the author of We Are Called to Rise comes a novel about the interconnected lives of four women in Las Vegas, each of whom experiences a life-changing moment at a classic casino nightclub.  Spanning the six decades when Las Vegas grew from a dusty gambling town into the melting pot metropolis it is today, ‘Round Midnight is the story of four women–one who falls in love, one who gets lucky, one whose heart is broken, and one who chooses happiness–whose lives change at the Midnight Room.  June Stein and her husband open the El Capitan casino in the 1950s, and rocket to success after hiring a charismatic black singer to anchor their nightclub. Their fast-paced lifestyle runs aground as racial tensions mount.  Honorata leaves the Philippines as a mail order bride to a Chicago businessman, then hits a jackpot at the Midnight Room when he takes her on a weekend trip to Las Vegas.  Engracia, a Mexican immigrant whose lucky find at the Midnight Room leads to heartbreak, becomes enmeshed in Honorata’s secret when she opens her employer’s door to that Chicago businessman–and his gun.  And then there is Coral, an African-American teacher who struggles with her own mysterious past. A favor for Honorata takes her to the Midnight Room, where she hits a jackpot of another kind.  Mining the rich territory of motherhood and community, ‘Round Midnight is a story that mirrors the social transformation of our nation. Full of passion, heartbreak, heroism, longing, and suspense, it honors the reality of women’s lives.

 

Laird, Nick.  Modern Gods. Viking, June 27th.

Publisher summary: Alison DonModern Godsnelly has suffered for love.  Still stuck in the small Northern Irish town where she was born, working for her father’s real estate agency, she hopes to pick up the pieces and get her life back together.  Her sister Liz, a fiercely independent college professor who lives in New York City, is about to return to Ulster for Alison’s second wedding, before heading to an island off the coast of Papua New Guinea to make a TV show about the world’s newest religion.  Both sisters’ lives are about to be shaken apart.  Alison wakes up the day after her wedding to find that her new husband has a past neither of them can escape.  In a rainforest on the other side of the planet, Liz finds herself becoming increasingly entangled in the eerie, charged world of Belef, the subject of her show, a charismatic middle-aged woman who is the leader of a cargo cult. As Modern Gods ingeniously interweaves the stories of Liz and Alison, it becomes clear that both sisters must learn how to negotiate with the past, with the sins of fanaticism, and decide just what the living owe to the dead.  Laird’s brave, innovative novel charts the intimacies and disappointments of a family trying to hold itself together, and the repercussions of history and faith.

 

Chevalier, Tracy.  New Boy.  Hogarth, May 11th.

New Boy

William Shakespeare’s Othello retold as New Boy.  Arriving at his fifth school in as many years, diplomat’s son Osei Kokote knows he needs an ally if he is to survive his first day – so he’s lucky to hit it off with Dee, the most popular girl in school. But one student can’t stand to witness this budding relationship: Ian decides to destroy the friendship between the black boy and the golden girl. By the end of the day, the school and its key players – teachers and pupils alike – will never be the same again.  The tragedy of Othello is transposed to a 1970s suburban Washington schoolyard, where kids fall in and out of love with each other before lunchtime, and practice a casual racism picked up from their parents and teachers. Peeking over the shoulders of four 11 year olds – Osei, Dee, Ian, and his reluctant ‘girlfriend’ Mimi – Tracy Chevalier’s powerful drama of friends torn apart by jealousy, bullying and betrayal will leave you reeling.

 

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