June 16, 2016
McInerney, Lisa. The Glorious Heresies. Tim Duggan, August.
Publisher Summary: From Lisa McInerney, hailed by The Irish Times as “arguably the most talented writer at work in Ireland today,” comes The Glorious Heresies , a searing debut novel about life on the fringes of Ireland’s post-crash society. When grandmother Maureen Phelan is surprised in her home by a stranger, she clubs the intruder with a Holy Stone. The consequences of this unplanned murder connect four misfits struggling against their meager circumstances. Ryan is a fifteen-year-old drug dealer desperate not to turn out like his alcoholic father, Tony, whose feud with his next-door neighbor threatens to ruin his family. Georgie is a sex worker who half-heartedly joins a born-again movement to escape her profession and drug habit. And Jimmy Phelan, the most fearsome gangster in the city and Maureen’s estranged son, finds that his mother’s bizarre attempts at redemption threaten his entire organization. Biting and darkly funny, The Glorious Heresies presents an unforgettable vision of a city plagued by poverty and exploitation, where salvation still awaits in the most unexpected places.
Danler, Stephanie. Sweetbitter. Knopf, May.
This is how we meet unforgettable Tess, the twenty-two-year-old at the heart of this stunning debut. Shot from a mundane, provincial past, Tess comes to New York in the stifling summer of 2006. Alone, knowing no one, living in a rented room in Williamsburg, she manages to land a job as a “backwaiter” at a celebrated downtown Manhattan restaurant. This begins the year we spend with Tess as she starts to navigate the chaotic, enchanting, punishing, and privileged life she has chosen, as well as the remorseless and luminous city around her. What follows is her education: in oysters, Champagne, the appellations of Burgundy, friendship, cocaine, lust, love, and dive bars. As her appetites awaken–for food and wine, but also for knowledge, experience, and belonging–we see her helplessly drawn into a darkly alluring love triangle. With an orphan’s ardor she latches onto Simone, a senior server at the restaurant who has lived in ways Tess only dreams of, and against the warnings of coworkers she falls under the spell of Jake, the elusive, tatted up, achingly beautiful bartender. These two and their enigmatic connection to each other will prove to be Tess’s most exhilarating and painful lesson of all. Stephanie Danler intimately defines the crucial transition from girl to woman, from living in a place that feels like nowhere to living in a place that feels like the center of the universe. She deftly conjures the nonstop and purely adrenalized world of the restaurant–conversations interrupted, phrases overheard, relationships only partially revealed. And she evokes the infinite possibilities, the unbearable beauty, the fragility and brutality of being young in New York with heart-stopping accuracy. A lush novel of the senses–of taste and hunger, seeing and understanding, love and desire– Sweetbitter is ultimately about the power of what remains after disillusionment, and the transformation and wisdom that come from our experiences, sweet and bitter.
June 16, 2016
Please comment to claim. It’s not literally about the Manson Helter Skelter scene but takes inspiration from the time/place. Emma Cline was at Day of Dialog this year and spoke about family dynamics and the vulnerability of the main character to groups offering a sense of belonging, as well as violence as a backdrop. Peter’s read and says it’s raw in content but not writing style. This one has a lot of holds in our system.
Publisher Summary: An indelible portrait of girls, the women they become, and that moment in life when everything can go horribly wrong–this stunning first novel is perfect for readers of Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Virgin Suicides and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad . Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged–a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence. Emma Cline’s remarkable debut novel is gorgeously written and spellbinding, with razor-sharp precision and startling psychological insight. The Girls is a brilliant work of fiction.
June 14, 2016
Who’s up for Alan Moore’s second (non-graphic) novel, at some 1279 pages, coming this September? I can only claim to have skimmed it myself, but I think it will be something many will be reading and even more claiming to have read. It does have some exquisite descriptions and unsettling ideas, images, and sensations, including several chapters spelled phonetically in a very different dialect (and not just the dialog either). Historical, fantastical, epic, set in Moore’s hometown of Northampton, England, it is here and the right reader is out there. Please comment to claim. It also has a recent, updated photo of Alan Moore himself, who looks like a man probably should after being holed up writing such a tome. It will be in the catalog shortly, and here’s a cover image and an annotation from Norton. [The ARC I have lacks cover art].
Moore, Alan. Jerusalem. Liveright, September, 2016.
In the half a square mile of decay and demolition that was England’s Saxon capital, eternity is loitering between the firetrap housing projects. Embedded in the grubby amber of the district’s narrative among its saints, kings, prostitutes, and derelicts a different kind of human time is happening, a soiled simultaneity that does not differentiate between the petrolcolored puddles and the fractured dreams of those who navigate them. Fiends last mentioned in the second-century Book of Tobit wait in urine-scented stairwells, the delinquent specters of unlucky children undermine a century with tunnels, and in upstairs parlors laborers with golden blood reduce fate to a snooker tournament. An opulent mythology for those without a pot to piss in, through the labyrinthine streets and pages of Jerusalem tread ghosts that sing of wealth and poverty; of Africa, and hymns, and our threadbare millennium. They discuss English as a visionary language from John Bunyan to James Joyce, hold forth on the illusion of mortality post-Einstein, and insist upon the meanest slum as Blake’s eternal holy city. Fierce in its imagining and stupefying in its scope, Alan Moore’s epic novel, Jerusalem, is the tale of Everything, told from a vanished gutter.
June 14, 2016
The Mortifications by Derek Palacio is due in October from a new PRH imprint called Tim Duggan Books. The Cuban immigrant characters are compelling, the descriptions of their thoughts and perceptions particularly refined, and there’s just a hint of supernatural possibility – somewhat resembling Allende in style and story. This is one of my favorites so far this year and is now on order. I’d love to share with the first commenter.
Noah Hawley’s Before the Fall is huge in our system and I still have an ARC for a commenter as well. Thanks.
Derek Palacio’s stunning, mythic novel marks the arrival of a fresh voice and a new chapter in the history of 21st century Cuban-American literature. In 1980, a rural Cuban family is torn apart during the Mariel Boatlift. Uxbal Encarnación–father, husband, political insurgent–refuses to leave behind the revolutionary ideals and lush tomato farms of his sun-soaked homeland. His wife Soledad takes young Isabel and Ulises hostage and flees with them to America, leaving behind Uxbal for the promise of a better life. But instead of settling with fellow Cuban immigrants in Miami’s familiar heat, Soledad pushes further north into the stark, wintry landscape of Hartford, Connecticut. There, in the long shadow of their estranged patriarch, now just a distant memory, the exiled mother and her children begin a process of growth and transformation. Each struggles and flourishes in their own way: Isabel, spiritually hungry and desperate for higher purpose, finds herself tethered to death and the dying in uncanny ways. Ulises is bookish and awkwardly tall, like his father, whose memory haunts and shapes the boy’s thoughts and desires. Presiding over them both is Soledad. Once consumed by her love for her husband, she begins a tempestuous new relationship with a Dutch tobacco farmer. But just as the Encarnacións begin to cultivate their strange new way of life, Cuba calls them back. Uxbal is alive, and waiting. Breathtaking, soulful, and profound, The Mortifications is an intoxicating family saga and a timely, urgent expression of longing for one’s true homeland.
From the Emmy, PEN, Peabody, Critics’ Choice, and Golden Globe Award-winning creator of the TV show Fargo comes the thriller of the year. On a foggy summer night, eleven people–ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter–depart Martha’s Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs–the painter–and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family. With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members–including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot–the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers’ intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage. Amid pulse-quickening suspense, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.
June 10, 2016
This one is all kinds of neat – coming this September from Workman. It’s a kind of travel encyclopedia ranging throughout the world (and I mean *throughout* – Antarctica has entries), and highlighting the ghoulish, the curious, and many other overlooked wonders with colorful photographs and attractive drawings. Will you find the Eiffel Tower or Niagara Falls listed? No, the compilers/contributors make clear this is about finding the wonder all around us in the more unexpected, unobvious places. I love that it has an entry on Jeremy Bentham’s preserved body in a glass case in a corridor of the University College of London. A blog-spun treasure. Please comment to claim.
Publisher Summary: Inspiring equal parts wonder and wanderlust, Atlas Obscura celebrates over 600 of the strangest and most curious places in the world. Here are natural wonders–the dazzling glowworm caves in New Zealand, or a baobob tree in South Africa that’s so large it has a pub inside where 15 people can drink comfortably. Architectural marvels, including the M.C. Escher-like stepwells in India. Mind-boggling events, like the Baby Jumping Festival in Spain, where men dressed as devils literally vault over rows of squirming infants. Not to mention the Great Stalacpipe Organ in Virginia, Turkmenistan’s 45-year hole of fire called the Door of Hell, coffins hanging off a side of a cliff in the Philippines, eccentric bone museums in Italy, or a weather-forecasting invention that was powered by leeches, still on display in Devon, England. Atlas Obscura revels in the weird, the unexpected, the overlooked, the hidden, and the mysterious. Every page expands our sense of how strange and marvelous the world really is. And with its compelling descriptions, hundreds of photographs, surprising charts, maps for every region of the world, it is a book you can open anywhere. But with caution: It’s almost impossible not to turn to the next entry, and the next, and the next. Let your curiosity be your compass.
Maria Semple was the author of Where’d You Go Bernadette, which circulated over 4000 times in our system! She is coming out with her new wickedly funny and madcap account of a woman tracking down her husband on one day in Seattle, along the way coming to some realizations about her life. We have 30 copies on order to start and I think we’ll need every one.
Publisher Summary: One of these is an early ARC and the other A brilliant novel from the author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette, about a day in the life of Eleanor Flood, forced to abandon her small ambitions and awake to a strange, new future. Eleanor knows she’s a mess. But today, she will tackle the little things. She will shower and get dressed. She will have her poetry and yoga lessons after dropping off her son, Timby. She won’t swear. She will initiate sex with her husband, Joe. But before she can put her modest plan into action-life happens. Today, it turns out, is the day Timby has decided to fake sick to weasel his way into his mother’s company. It’s also the day Joe has chosen to tell his office-but not Eleanor-that he’s on vacation. Just when it seems like things can’t go more awry, an encounter with a former colleague produces a graphic memoir whose dramatic tale threatens to reveal a buried family secret. TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT is a hilarious, heart-filled story about reinvention, sisterhood, and how sometimes it takes facing up to our former selves to truly begin living.has the cover art and is revised, I believe.
I know I put Homegoing on here before but now it’s really taking off so I thought I’d offer it out again. Love Warrior is out this August and is a memoir of a recovering alcoholic/bulimic dealing with marriage difficulty. Both also seem like book group possibilities.
Gyasi, Yaa. Homegoing. Knopf.
” Homegoing is an inspiration.” –Ta-Nehisi Coates A novel of breathtaking sweep and emotional power that traces three hundred years in Ghana and along the way also becomes a truly great American novel. Extraordinary for its exquisite language, its implacable sorrow, its soaring beauty, and for its monumental portrait of the forces that shape families and nations, Homegoing heralds the arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction. Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation. Generation after generation, Yaa Gyasi’s magisterial first novel sets the fate of the individual against the obliterating movements of time, delivering unforgettable characters whose lives were shaped by historical forces beyond their control. Homegoing is a tremendous reading experience, not to be missed, by an astonishingly gifted young writer.
Melton, Glennon Doyle. Love Warrior. Flatiron.
The highly anticipated new memoir by bestselling author Glennon Doyle Melton tells the story of her journey of self-discovery after the implosion of her marriage. </p> <p>Just when Glennon Doyle Melton was beginning to feel she had it all figured out–three happy children, a doting spouse, and a writing career so successful that her first book catapulted to the top of the New York Times bestseller list–her husband revealed his infidelity and she was forced to realize that nothing was as it seemed. A recovering alcoholic and bulimic, Glennon was familiar with rock bottom. In the midst of crisis, she knew to hold on to what she discovered in recovery: that her deepest pain has always held within it an invitation to a richer life. Love Warrior is the story of one marriage, but it is also the story of the healing that is possible for any of us when we refuse to settle for good enough and begin to face pain and love head-on. This astonishing memoir reveals how internalizing our culture’s standards of masculinity and femininity can make it impossible for men and women to ever really know one another–and it captures the beauty that unfolds when one couple commits to unlearning everything they’ve been taught so that they can finally, after thirteen years of marriage, fall in love.</p> <p> Love Warrior is a gorgeous and inspiring account of how we are born to be warriors: strong, powerful, and brave; able to confront the pain and claim the love that exists for us all. This chronicle of a beautiful, brutal journey speaks to anyone who yearns for deeper, truer relationships and a more abundant, authentic life.