Booklists · Beyond Bestsellers: Notable New Fiction Titles (January 2011)
Only a few books reach the top of the fiction bestseller charts, but there are many more terrific new titles available at the Library. Here are some recent favorites.
Auster presents a contemporary slant on the concept of home and homelessness through a series of character studies revolving around Miles Heller, a young man who has estranged himself from his parents but returns to New York City to take up residence in a rundown house with three other squatters. The lengthy prose passages provide little action as the author turns instead to each characterï¿½s innermost thoughts and motives. Always a favorite with critics, Austerï¿½s title appeared on several lists of top fiction books for 2010.
Feel the fog swirling around your feet; travel through gas lit streets; hear the clip-clop of the horse carriages in the second novel featuring Denton, an American expatriate in London, seeking to forget his Civil War soldiering past. When a waylaid plea for help finally reaches his hands, Denton knows itï¿½s likely too late. With his manservant Atkins and social worker Jane Striker assisting, he enters the domain of artists and their muses, not knowing that he is being used as a very personal model by a criminal mind.
Lose your hold on reality because you canï¿½t trust any character in Clarkeï¿½s latest novel to actually tell the real story. And you wouldnï¿½t know if they did, as people are willing to be most anyone that nine-year-old Miller wishes them to be from his Iraqi War veteran father to the author of his fatherï¿½s favorite book to the therapist who changes his name so that Miller can go to a ï¿½newï¿½ doctor. The former UC professor has followed An Arsonistï¿½s Guide to Writersï¿½ Homes in New England (2007) with another provocative tale.
This fantasy novel has a mystery ï¿½ the staged suicide of the emperor - blended with the usual elements. The nonhuman Inspector Jeryd works on solving the crime while the palace awaits the princessï¿½ return to take the throne. Refugees seek a safe haven inside the capital cityï¿½s walls as enemies attack at the islandï¿½s shoreline, but even more disconcerting is the impending ice age bringing a certainty of frozen death. Colorful characters and multiple plotlines kick off the new Legends of the Red Sun series.
The nine stories collected here are breathtakingly stunning in the refined, elegant style of writing that comes of not being a native English speaker. Perhaps it is her search for precision that gives Liï¿½s writing such a poignant, melancholy edge. Named one of the ï¿½20 under 40ï¿½ talents to watch by New Yorker, Li explores the juxtapositions of life under the Chinese Communist regime. Beneath her tranquil compositions lie whirlpools of emotion that never bubble to the surface, but resonate and murmur in the soul.
Itï¿½s been over 30 years since the original Tales of the City novel, and this eighth installment reunites most of the original characters in San Francisco where the action began. Mary Ann Singleton is indeed in the autumn of her life. Now 57 and diagnosed with cancer, she returns to the secure and comfortable city of her younger carefree days where she takes up residence in a cottage belonging to old friend, Michael Tolliver, while taking stock of her life, attempting to rewrite some mistakes, and planning for the future.
Gorgeous descriptions of the English countryside and the bounty it holds would have pleased Eleanor Glanville, the subject of this historical biography. Passionate about her familyï¿½s land, she dutifully tries to transfer that to husband and children, as a proper seventeenth century Puritan wife should. While most people of the time think of butterflies as ï¿½souls of the deadï¿½, she begins a scientific cataloging of the creatures, making her one of the earliest entomologists to study the species.
Menacing and compelling are words that come to mind to describe this dark tale of two pairs of middle-age siblings teetering on life-altering changes. When British antiques dealer, Anthony Verey, comes to visit his sister in southern France, he is bewitched by the new spirit born in him and decides to settle in the area. The Verey family then collides with the private world of the Lunel brother-sister duo, where Aramon wants to sell the family estate while banished Audrun dreams of killing her brother and inheriting the land herself.
Former White House communications director Wallace fills her political thriller with intriguing details that can only come from an insiderï¿½s knowledge of the presidential residence. Her story revolves around three powerful women in Washington ï¿½ the 45th president of the United States, her chief of staff, and a local journalist working her way to the top while having an affair with the presidentï¿½s husband. The book ends with the presidentï¿½s reelection, leaving room for a planned sequel.
For 300 years, Jack Durkinï¿½s paternal line has honored a contract to save the world. Good thing Jack believes in his job because his wife, sons, and the local townspeople who support the family are not sure they arenï¿½t being taken for a free ride and Jack is just a loony guy avoiding holding down a real job. But he insists those arenï¿½t weeds he pulls up and burns every day, but Aukowies that make Little Shop of Horrorsï¿½ Audrey II look down right adorable. High creepy factor with subtle edge-of-your-seat suspense.
Need more suggestions? Contact your local branch and our staff will be happy to assist you!