Booklists · Beyond Bestsellers: Notable New Fiction Titles (August 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.
Following a bitter divorce, Barb Barrett moves into the house where Vladimir Nabokov lived when he was in residence at the small-town university. A thorough cleaning turns up a hidden manuscript written out on note cards, and she sets out to see if it could be the Russian authorï¿½s. A big find like that would give her the money to fight for custody of the two children that she so desperately misses. A comic look at how one woman resolves her self-esteem and economic issues to win back what matters most.
Thereï¿½s no doubt that the Irish are storytellers who can charm a listener (or reader) with a wee bit of romance and magic. So it is with Ben McCarthy, the narrator of this tale, who meets Kate Begley as he travels the countryside collecting stories for the Irish Folklore Commission. They immediately form a bond, and adventures ensue as Kate falls for an American GI who takes advantage of Irelandï¿½s neutrality in World War II. This is the middle book of a planned trilogy and follows Venetia Kellyï¿½s Traveling Show.
Short story collections typically donï¿½t make bestseller status though many times their authorï¿½s novels do. Such is the case here with the multiple-time Pulitzer Prize nominee and National Book Award winner, E. L. Doctorow. His observations on American life have been condensed to a shorter, but no less keen, format in this anthology. Although there is no real theme to the collection, most stories present a protagonist who is slightly out of kilter with the world around him as he tries to find his place in society.
Haunted by her past as well as the ghosts left behind by Hurricane Katrina, psychic PI Claire DeWitt returns to the Crescent City to search for a local prosecutor who hasnï¿½t been seen since the storm. This tripped-out investigator doesnï¿½t follow the usual course; instead she depends on I-Ching readings, her dreams, and channeling advice from the late great French detective Jacques Silette to solve cases. Already opted for a TV series, this atmospheric beginning to a new urban mystery series promises lots of local flavor.
Urgent intensity is the tone of Hendersonï¿½s debut novel where her passionate teenage characters try to become, what seems to them, adults. When 16-year-old Judeï¿½s best friend Teddy ODs, his world shatters. Sent to live with his pothead father in the Village, Jude forms a new family unit with Teddyï¿½s older brother and Eliza, who is pregnant with Teddyï¿½s child. Living in the punk rock, straight edge culture of the late 1980s, the trio attempts to avoid parents, past drug dealers, and forgetting a life too soon cut short.
Maureen Coughlin would just as soon forget about what she saw after hours in the Staten Island bar where she works. But when her co-worker turns up dead the next day, she just canï¿½t. To make matters worse, the aspiring politician Maureen saw with him that night doesnï¿½t believe she will and begins threatening her and her mother. It turns out that Frank Sebastianï¿½s political hopes run as deep as his mean streak. Lucky for her that Detective Nat Waters would love to settle an old grudge with Sebastian.
Despite a promise to be a better role model for her teenage daughter Roxy Abruzzo, who made her debut appearance in Foxy Roxy, continues to do a little debt collection for her uncle Carmine. But she does draw the line at kidnapping! So it seems unfair that she should be the primo suspect when museum curator Clarice Crabtreeï¿½s body is pulled out of the Ohio River. Accompanied by her sidekicks, - cousin Nooch and junkyard dog Rooney - she needs to clear her name. For Pittsburgh lovers and Evanovich fans.
Cornell physics professor McEwen has written a nail-biting techno-thriller that, at times, seems all too plausible. The author combines the academic community of an aging professor with a souvenir from World War II as the basis for a chemical warfare threat to mankind, if ever falling into the wrong hands. Of course those villainous hands arrive, searching for the secret the professor has stashed away, and taking some creepy little nano-robot bugs with her too. Gets your heart beating fast, like a literary ï¿½24ï¿½.
Readers of science fiction who like a linguistic challenge will find this title well worth the effort. Multiple award-winning author Miï¿½ville presents life on a distant planet where the inhabitants, having two speech orifices, can only tell the truth. In order to be understood the humans coexisting in this diplomatic region have to clone themselves yet function as single unit. A scheme is devised whereby the native Ariekei gain the ability to lie, putting an entire civilizationï¿½s existence in peril.
Sisi, Efe, Ama, and Joyce have come to Europe from Africa, promised a better life than what they believed faced them in their nativecountries. They share a house while working in the Red Light District of Antwerp, Belgium as they pay off large debts to the gentleman who arranged their transportation and the woman who took them in. While their bodies may be open for business, their hearts and past lives are private territory ï¿½ until one of them goes missing. Each of them has a powerfully touching story to tell.
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