Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Books on the New Cart


An enthralling new novel from the highly acclaimed author of Becoming Jane Eyre

The compelling story of a forbidden marriage, a baby lost, and a love triangle gone horribly wrong, Love Child centers on Bill, a South African woman whose life has been defined by the apartheid-era, class-riven society in which she lives. Under pressure to make her will, Bill is forced to think about the momentous events and decisions that have made her an extremely wealthy if somewhat disillusioned woman. To whom should she leave her fortune? As Bill relives her past, we learn that this is a simple question with a complicated answer. In elegant, sensual, and nuanced prose, Kohler skillfully explores the space between our dreams and our reality, between our hopes and our disappointments.


Eleven stories showcase a dexterous use of language and a startling, if frequently elusive, imagination as ghosts, aliens, and the living dead invade the most mundane aspects of everyday life. Newcomer Link references fairy tales, mythology, and bits of our common contemporary cultural experience, not to offer commentary but to take off on her own original riffs. So in "Shoe and Marriage" we meet a dictator's widow, unavoidably reminiscent of Imelda Marcos, living in a museum that displays the shoes she took from her husband's murder victims. The story, which also describes a bizarre beauty pageant, plays verbally with shoe metaphors from Cinderella's slippers to Dorothy's ruby reds, but what touches you is not the author's verbal acrobatics but the widow's deep sense of sorrow and horror. Like many of the pieces here, "Shoe and Marriage" joins disparate parts that don't always fit together, but linear connections are not the aim. When she depends too much on pure cleverness, Link ends up sounding derivative and brittle. "Survivor's Ball, or The Donner Party," in which two travelers come to an inn where a creepy if lavish shindig is in full swing, reminds you too insistently of Poe. "Flying Lessons," about a girl's love for a boy whose desire to fly ends tragically (hint, hint), and "Travels With the Snow Queen," in which the fairy tale is revamped to read cute, come across as writing-school literary. But at her best, Link produces oddly moving imagery. In "Louise's Ghost," two friends named Louise have overlapping affairs. The shared name at first seems like another joke, but the tale gradually digs deep into the emotionally charged waters of loss and redemption. Stylistic pyrotechnics light up a bizarre but emotionally truthful landscape. Link's a writer to watch.



People around the world, join hands, join the Stieg Larsson train, Larsson train...

In the frigid clime of Tumba, Sweden, a gruesome triple homicide attracts the interest of Detective Inspector Joona Linna, who demands to investigate the murders. The killer is still at large, and there's only one surviving witness—the boy whose family was killed before his eyes. Whoever committed the crimes wanted this boy to die: he's suffered more than one hundred knife wounds and lapsed into a state of shock. Desperate for information, Linna sees only one option: hypnotism. He enlists Dr. Erik Maria Bark to mesmerize the boy, hoping to discover the killer through his eyes.

It's the sort of work that Bark has sworn he would never do again—ethically dubious and psychically scarring. When he breaks his promise and hypnotizes the victim, a long and terrifying chain of events begins to unfurl.

An international sensation, The Hypnotist is set to appear in thirty-seven countries, and it has landed at the top of bestseller lists wherever it's been published—in France, Holland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Denmark. Now it's America's turn. Combining the addictive power of the Stieg Larsson trilogy with the storytelling drive of The Silence of the Lambs, this adrenaline-drenched thriller is spellbinding from its very first page.


A new novel by the master storyteller that explores what it means to go home

When he was a young man, Randy Lopez left his village in northern New Mexico to seek his fortune. Since then, he has learned some of the secrets of success in the Anglo world—and even written a book called Life Among the Gringos. But something has been missing. Now he returns to Agua Bendita to reconnect with his past and to find the wisdom the Anglo world has not provided. In this allegorical account of Randy's final journey, master storyteller Rudolfo Anaya tackles life's big questions with a light touch.

Randy's entry into the haunted canyon that leads to his ancestral home begins on the Day of the Dead. Reuniting with his padrinos—his godparents—and hoping to meet up with his lost love, Sofia, Randy encounters a series of spirits: coyotes, cowboys, Death, and the devil. Each one engages him in a conversation about life. It is Randy's old teacher Miss Libriana who suggests his new purpose. She gives him a book, How to Build a Bridge. Only the bridge—which is both literal and figurative, like everything else in this story—can enable Randy to complete his journey.

Readers acquainted with Anaya's fiction will find themselves in familiar territory here. Randy Lopez, like all Anaya's protagonists, is on a spiritual quest. But both those new to and familiar with Anaya will recognize this philosophical meditation as part of a long literary tradition going back to Homer, Dante, and the Bible. Richly allusive and uniquely witty, Randy Lopez Goes Home presents man's quest for meaning in a touching, thought-provoking narrative that will resound with young adults and mature readers alike.

9 comments:

David Allen Waters said...

I usually pick one or two to go on my reading list, but all these seem wonderful, I may have to add them all...you've outdone yourself my friend :)

becca said...

more great reads you keep this up and i'll never find the end of my book list

Everyday Life

Loki's Log said...

I want them all

Loki's Log said...

Awesome selections man. I may get all of them.

Writer said...

Cool! Thanks, David. I really felt like this one was a stretch for me, so little has caught my eye this week. :)

Writer said...

Well, at least you know you'll have something to look forward to, becca. :)

Writer said...

Enjoy, Loki. I'm glad you like them. :)

Kyle said...

The last two sound like I might like them. I'm a little burned out on thrillers and soul quests right now they will have to wait.

Writer said...

Kyle, you should pick up what I'm reading: Chris Adrian's The Great Night - it's a retelling of Midsummer Night's Dream in modern day San Fran. Well, not so much a retelling: Oberon is missing and in an effort to find him, a grieving Titania lets loose the previously bound Puck, and now the Beast is set on a path of destruction. He craves ice cream and mortal blood. Throw in 3 broken-hearted lovers trying to get to a party and a band of bums practicing a play based on the idea that the mayor is feeding the homeless to the homeless ("Soylent Green is people!") and the romp isn't so much merry but quite an enjoyable ride. :)