Staff picks from co-owner Lisa Howorth.
Moving back and forth in time, and all over the globe—London, Bosnia, Sierra Leone, New England, Iraq, Accra—this fascinating novel focuses on Jean, an American studying urban foxes, and Attila, a Ghanaian psychiatrist specializing in trauma who has been trying to establish contact with Ama, his niece. In an immigrant crackdown on the London West African population, Ama's young son goes missing, and Jean and Attila join forces to find him. Their relationship deepens, and Attila experiences his own grief and trauma, realizing how limited his academic understanding of it really was. A rich and timely story.
Introducing Auntie Poldi, a sixtyish amateur sleuth who will be the heroine of Giordano's new series of delicious mysteries. She's sexy, outrageous, can't mind her own business, and has just retired to Sicily where she intends to lay about and drink good wine on the world's most fabulous island for the rest of her days. Of course, soon enough things are stirred up by the murder of her hot young handyman, and Poldi becomes deeply involved. Great characters, fun plot, Italian charm, and what could be better reading for the chilly months than a novel set in sun-soaked Sicily? Don't miss what the Times Literary Supplement calls "a masterful treat."
Calling all Elena Ferrante fans, or anyone interested in post-WWII Italy, or just engrossing stories. Ortese (1914-1998) was a widely acclaimed, prize-winning writer who highly influenced Ferrante, who's said, "...I feel drawn above all by Anna Maria Ortese." These short stories and journalistic pieces, first published in 1953, paint a deeper and darker picture of Naples, a devastated, brutal city of nearly unimaginable poverty. Unlike Ferrante's Naples, there's not much humor or hope in Ortese's work, but her writing is masterful, and somehow painfully realistic and gorgeously surreal at the same time.
Stewart, author of several acclaimed novels and an old friend of, has written an insightful show business story full of intriguing detail, suspense and an intimate understanding of her characters: Charlie Outlaw, a newbie TV star coming undone by the pressures of success, and his recent ex-girlfriend, Josie Lamar, star of a cult TV show whose shine has tarnished over twenty years. Charlie seeks to get a grip by retreating to a remote island, while Josie plots a comeback and tries to forget Charlie, but can't. It's a great read--a bit like sneaking a look at grocery tabloid features like Us Weekly's "Stars: They're Just Like Us!" Are Charlie and Josie? Check it out—Stewart offers a convincing glimpse into the weird world of celebrity.
Understandably looking for books to publish that might be hopeful and optimistic given the darkness of our time, editor Sarah Crichton came up with a beautiful choice with this book. Leland explores how six elders over 85—of disparate backgrounds and circumstances—see life and happiness, and what they can tell our clueless "young" selves about it all. To his surprise, Leland found a great sense of contentment and a deep sagacity in these venerable folks, which changed his life. He believes they can change yours, too.
Woohoo—Christopher Moltisanti from The Sopranos writes a novel! Imperioli's story begins in the late Seventies, when Matthew, a teenager from Queens who has lost his father and grandfather, is taken under the wing of Lou Reed, who draws him into the artsy Manhattan trinity of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. I can't describe the novel better than its fans: "a rare and welcome breeze of imagination and wit,"—Nick Tosches. "raw truthfulness, stunning surprises, thrills, poetic writing"—Richard Lewis. "It's a streetwise romp through an underworld of bizarre characters"—Lenny Kaye. "Touching, hilarious, heartfelt"—Lydia Lunch. Irresistible!
A wild rumpus of a literary thriller—the kind that doesn't come along very often, by the young Booker-nominated Beauman. In 1938 an ancient temple is discovered in Honduras, and two expeditions set out: a film crew and actors intend to film a comedy there (based on an actual plan of Orson Welles to shoot Heart of Darkness, which didn't happen). The other group plans to deconstruct the temple and ship it to NYC. But the temple is at the center of other dark conspiracies as well. Both groups become mired in the jungle for twenty years until a CIA operative arrives with his own ideas about the temple. It's Gilligan's Island, Lost Planet of Z, and Ian Fleming in a dazzling mash-up of dense and brilliant writing. A terrific long winter's read.
Martin Amis is one of our greatest living authors, and his non-fiction genius is powerfully displayed in this collection. In addition to the subjects in the title, he also writes about Philip Larkin, Princess Diana, Roth, Updike, Las Vegas, DeLillo, tennis, and much more—nothing and nobody, it seems, escape this guy's notice and keen observation. Of particular interest right now are his prescient essays on Trump, written in 2016, before anyone was talking about mental issues. Whatever he writes about, he just plain nails it in bulldog intellectual style and beautiful writing. Informative and persuasive, it's an amazing book.
Who doesn't want to read a great historical crime novel about New Orleans? And just in time for Mardi Gras. Rich captures the city in 1918, just after WWI, with its dreams of renewed prosperity, the birth of Jazz, the crackdown on prostitution, and the giant canal that was being constructed in the Ninth Ward to boost employment and commerce. Then, that optimism is challenged by the Spanish flu epidemic, the Mafia, crazed cops, street violence, racism, the canal becoming something of a death-trap, and the ax-wielding serial killer who's on the loose. It's New Orleans, right? This novels is so full of color, suspense, music and classic NOLA characters that ya gotta love it—I did.
This debut novel by a Canadian journalist who has reported on war from Afghanistan to the Black Lives Matter movement imagines a Second Civil War in the US in the years 2074-2093 and its aftermath. Not surprisingly, the states of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia ("the MAG") secede over oil issues from a Union that has quite literally, mostly due to climate change, deteriorated into a smaller country whose capital is Columbus, Ohio. Mexico has reclaimed its old territories, a president has been assassinated, the Mississippi River is now the Mississippi Sea... Well-drawn southerners struggle to keep body and soul together and to undermine the northern aggressors One woman in particular, Sarat, emerges as a hero but....no spoilers! Compelling and scary.
LOL! Recent UM Grisham writer and Jacksonian Miller writes stories about characters and situations to which the cool, frenchy expressions apply: ennui, malaise, je ne sais quoi. Her young women slouch through their days with men who in one way or another seem not up to snuff, but what exactly is the right snuff they're looking for? Even when her ladies care, they don't. Perceptive and hilarious. Hail Mary!
These linked stories, "beautifully crafted," as Adam Johnson says, are set in the bright here and now in the very old world of Mobile and the Alabama coast. Knight knows the place and its history intimately and nails his many characters from Cashdollar, a feckless thief, to Dean and Kendra Walker, a Fairhope attorney and his Sweet Briar-grad wife, to Sister Benedicta, a refugee teacher at Our Lady of the Roses, to the Tenpenny Brothers, old-school owners of the Dauphin Bar and Grill. Their lives are not so unusual—home invasion, perfect parties, real estate, guns, an impending storm—but like any meticulously created fictional world so much is revealed in that very ordinariness. A great read by yet another UM Grisham writer!
From the author of the delicious 1930s period piece, Rules of Civility, comes this lively novel set in post-revolution Moscow. Count Alexander Rostov, worldly aristocrat and enemy-of-the-people expects to be "put against the wall" or incarcerated in the hellhole of Lubyanka when called before the People's Commissariat. Instead, he is sentenced to live the rest of his life in the Metropol Hotel where he has been living for four years. But—no longer will he be in the swank Room 317—he's assigned to a bleak attic room and the state takes his elegant furnishings. He will be shot if he ever leaves the hotel. The wily Rostov makes the best of things in this tale peopled by an Eloise-like 9 year old, a group of novice ballerinas, a famous actress, an old beekeeping custodian, an orphan, a musician prince, and numerous hotel employees who befriend him. Drama, intrigue, food and wine talk!
Ann Patchett’s tenth book is a charming novel about Franny Keating and her devolving, dysfunctional blended family over half a century. Set in California and Virginia, both of which are beautifully rendered, Patchett nails the vagaries and sadness of children trying to get on at the hands of sometimes loving, self-absorbed adults. Franny grows up to become the lover of a famous writer who appropriates her family’s history for a novel, causing her surviving siblings to disengage from one another over truth and perspective, and to whom do a family’s stories belong? Funny, poignant, and sharply observant—I think it’s Patchett’s best book yet.
Ross King, author of the very wonderful Brunelleschi’s Dome, takes on Monet, and the fascinating story behind the creation, in the last decade of his life, of the enormous water lily paintings that reside in the Orangerie in Paris. King brings Monet to life in his old age, living quietly in his paradise at Giverny. Given to bouts of discouragement and rage (he slashed or burned many canvases), his vision obscured by cataracts, Monet worked obsessively until his death at 86. King focuses on life in the French countryside during WWI and on Monet’s relationship with his closest friend, Georges Clemenceau, war hero and Prime Minister of France, who kept Monet buoyed up with frequent lunches, drinking, smoking, and amusing correspondence. Clemenceau was instrumental in Monet’s donation of the water lily panels to the people of France, although their friendship nearly ended when year after year Monet would not, or could not, let go of the paintings. Highly recommended for art and WWI buffs.
He’s out there again--the coyote in the backyard of contemporary literature. Powell creates characters and tales that strike you as so real, yet surreal, and are rendered in language that somehow is stark but also stunningly intricate and profound. His original and wildly comic existential prose shows that Donald Barthelme and Barry Hannah are his closest literary kin--a rare pack to run with.
Michael Hastings, the kick-ass young journalist of the McCrystal affair and the first to write about Bowe Bergdahl in Rolling Stone in 2012, died last year in a car wreck. In his file was the manuscript for this novel, edited by his widow, Elise Jordan. Loosely based on Hastings’ experiences in the magazine world, it is a biting commentary full of guts, sex, and arrogant or off-kilter characters. A great read, realistically animating the intense and crazy world of political journalism.
A cool little memoir about the author's family textile company in Tuscany and its struggle to survive in an new Italian economy troubled by outsourcing, corrupt politics, and poorly paid workers. Revealing and engaging.