New Arrivals · Biographical Fiction

September 23, 2017
These titles were recently added to the collection of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

The unquiet grave : a novel

September 22, 2017
McCrumb, Sharyn, 1948- author.
©2017
358 pages ; 24 cm
"Sharyn McCrumb comes a finely wrought novel set in nineteenth-century West Virginia, based on the true story of one of the strangest murder trials in American history--the case of the Greenbrier Ghost. Lakin, West Virginia, 1930. Following a suicide attempt and consigned to a segregated insane asylum, attorney James P.D. Gardner finds himself under the care of Dr. James Boozer. Fresh out of medical school, Dr. Boozer is eager to try the new talking cure for insanity, and encourages his elderly patient to reminisce about his experiences as the first black attorney to practice law in nineteenth-century West Virginia. Gardner's most memorable case was the one in which he helped to defend a white man on trial for the murder of his young bride--a case that the prosecution based on the testimony of a ghost."-- Provided by publisher.

Life and adventures of Jack Engle: an auto-biography : a story of New York at the present time in which the reader will find some familiar characters

September 22, 2017
Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892, author.
Iowa City : University of Iowa Press, [2017]
xxii, 156 pages ; 21 cm.
In 1852, young Walt Whitman was working on two books. One would become one of the most famous volumes of poetry in American history, Leaves of Grass. The other, a novel, would be published under a pseudonym and serialized in a newspaper. This is that novel, a short, rollicking story of orphanhood, avarice, and adventure in New York City.

City of spies : a novel

September 20, 2017
Khan, Sorayya, author.
©2017
265 pages ; 22 cm
"Originally published by Aleph Book Company, New Delhi 2015.--Title page verso.
Eleven-year-old Aliya Shah lives a double life in Islamabad, Pakistan-at home with her Pakistani father and Dutch mother, and at the American School, where Aliya tries to downplay that she is a "half-and-half." But when a hit-and-run driver kills the son of the family's servant, Sadiq, who is also Aliya's dear friend, her world is turned upside down. After she discovers the truth behind the tragedy, a terrible secret that burdens her heart, her conflicted loyalties are tested as never before.

The other Alcott

September 15, 2017
Hooper, Elise, author.
©2017
408, 17 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 21 cm
Includes P.S.: insights, interviews & more ...
A tale inspired by the life of Louisa May Alcott's youngest sister finds young May longing to study art outside of the confines of her Concord home before turning down a marriage proposal and pursuing an identity in contrast to the spoiled and worldly character of Amy in her sister's famed novel.

Affections

September 15, 2017
Hasbún, Rodrigo, 1981- author.
New York : Simon & Schuster, 2017.
132 pages ; 21 cm
"A haunting novel about an unusual family's breakdown--set in South America during the time of Che Guevara and inspired by the life of Third Reich cinematographer Hans Ertl--from the literary star Jonathan Safran Foer calls, "a great writer." Inspired by real events, Affections is the story of the eccentric, fascinating Ertl clan, headed by the egocentric and extraordinary Hans, once the cameraman for the Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl. Shortly after the end of World War II, Hans and his family flee to Bolivia to start over. There, the ever-restless Hans decides to embark on an expedition in search of the fabled lost Inca city of Paititi, enlisting two of his daughters to join him on his outlandish quest into the depths of the Amazon, with disastrous consequences. Set against the backdrop of the both optimistic and violent 1950s and 1960s, Affections traces the Ertls's slow and inevitable breakdown through the various erratic trajectories of each family member: Hans's undertakings of colossal, foolhardy projects and his subsequent spectacular failures; his daughter Monika, heir to his adventurous spirit, who joins the Bolivian Marxist guerrillas and becomes known as "Che Guevara's avenger"; and his wife and two younger sisters left to pick up the pieces in their wake. In this short but powerful work, Hasbún weaves a masterfully layered tale of how a family's voyage of discovery ends up eroding the affections that once held it together"-- Provided by publisher.

Letters to memory

September 14, 2017
Yamashita, Karen Tei, 1951- author.
Minneapolis, MN : Coffee House Press, 2017.
x, 176 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 23 cm
"Praise for Karen Tei Yamashita: "It's a stylistically wild ride, but it's smart, funny and entrancing." -NPR "Fluid and poetic as well as terrifying." -New York Times Book Review With delightful plays of voice and structure, this is literary fiction at an adventurous, experimental high point." -Kirkus "Magnificent. Intriguing." -Library Journal "This powerful, deeply felt, and impeccably researched fiction is irresistibly evocative." -Publishers Weekly (starred review) Scintillations is an excursion through the Japanese internment using archival materials from the Yamashita family as well as a series of epistolary conversations with composite characters representing a range of academic specialties. Historians, anthropologists, classicists-their disciplines, and Yamashita's engagement with them, are a way for her explore various aspects of the internment and to expand its meaning beyond her family, and our borders, to ideas of debt, forgiveness, civil rights, Orientalism, and community"-- Provided by publisher.

All that makes life bright : the life and love of Harriet Beecher Stowe

August 29, 2017
Kilpack, Josi S., author.
©2017
ix, 322 pages ; 22 cm
When Harriet Beecher marries Calvin Stowe on January 6, 1836, she is sure her future will be filled romance, eventually a family, and continued opportunities to develop as a writer. Her husband Calvin is completely supportive and said she must be a literary woman. Harriet's sister, Catharine, worries she will lose her identity in marriage, but she is determined to preserve her independent spirit. Deeply religious, she strongly believes God has called her to fulfill the roles of wife and writer and will help her accomplish everything she was born to do.

The mapmaker's daughter : the confessions of Nurbanu Sultan, 1525-1583 : [a novel]

August 16, 2017
Hughes, Katherine Nouri, author.
Encino, CA : Delphinium Books, [2017]
xviii, 345 pages : map, genealogical table ; 21 cm.
"The Mapmaker's Daughter, a historical novel set in the 16th century, is the confession of Nurbanu, born Cecilia Baffo Veniero - the mesmerizing, illegitimate Venetian who became the most powerful woman in the Ottoman Empire at the height of its power under Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent--the bold backstory of the Netflix Series, Magnificent Century. Narrating the spectacular story of her rise to the pinnacle of imperial power, Queen Mother Nurbanu, on her sickbed, is determined to understand how her bond with the greatest of all Ottoman sultans, Suleiman the Magnificent, shaped her destiny -- not only as the wife of his successor but as the appointed enforcer of one of the Empire's most crucial and shocking laws. Nurbanu spares nothing as she dissects the desires and motives that have propelled and harmed her; as she considers her role as devoted and manipulative mother; as she reckons her relations with the women of the Harem; and as she details the fate of the most sophisticated observatory in the world. Nurbanu sets out to "see" the causes and effects of her loves and choices, and she succeeds by means of unflinching candor - right up to the last shattering revelation."-- Provided by publisher.

The Cottingley secret : a novel

August 9, 2017
Gaynor, Hazel, author.
©2017
383, 16 pages ; 24 cm
Includes P.S. insights, interviews & more ...
1917... It was inexplicable, impossible, but it had to be true--didn't it? When two young cousins, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright from Cottingley, England, claim to have photographed fairies at the bottom of the garden, their parents are astonished. But when one of the great novelists of the time, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, becomes convinced of the photographs' authenticity, the girls become a national sensation, their discovery offering hope to those longing for something to believe in amid a world ravaged by war. Frances and Elsie will hide their secret for many decades. But Frances longs for the truth to be told. One hundred years later... When Olivia Kavanagh finds an old manuscript in her late grandfather's bookshop she becomes fascinated by the story it tells of two young girls who mystified the world. But it is the discovery of an old photograph that leads her to realize how the fairy girls' lives intertwine with hers, connecting past to present, and blurring her understanding of what is real and what is imagined. As she begins to understand why a nation once believed in fairies, can Olivia find a way to believe in herself?

The last Tudor

August 2, 2017
Gregory, Philippa, author.
New York : Touchstone, 2017.
518 pages : genealogical tables ; 25 cm
"The story of one of the most famous girls in history, Lady Jane Grey, and her two sisters, each of whom dared to defy her queen. Seventeen-year-old Jane Grey was queen of England for nine days. Her father and his allies crowned her instead of the dead king's half-sister Mary Tudor, who quickly mustered an army, claimed her throne, and locked Jane in the Tower of London. When Jane refused to betray her Protestant faith, Mary sent her to the executioner's block, where Jane transformed her father's greedy power-grab into tragic martyrdom."--Provided by publisher.

Drinks with dead poets : a season of Poe, Whitman, Byron, and the Brontës

August 2, 2017
Maxwell, Glyn, 1962-
New York : Pegasus Books, 2017.
345 pages ; 24 cm
Poet Glyn Maxwell wakes up in a mysterious village one autumn day. He has no idea how he got there; is he dead? In a coma? Dreaming?-- but he has a strange feeling there's a class to teach. And isn't that the poet Keats wandering down the lane? Why not ask him to give a reading, do a Q and A, hit the pub with the students afterwards? Soon the whole of the autumn term stretches ahead, with Byron, Yeats and Emily Dickinson, the Brontës, the Brownings, Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, Wilfred Owen, and many more all on their way to give readings in the humble village hall. And everything these famed personalities say -- in class, on stage, at the Cross Keys pub comes verbatim from these poets' diaries, essays, or letters. A dreamy novel of a profound autumn term with Poe, Yeats, Whitman, Dickinson, and the Brontës. -- amazon.com

The velveteen daughter : a novel

July 26, 2017
Huber, Laurel Davis, author.
©2017
399 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 22 cm
The Velveteen Daughter reveals for the first time the true story of two remarkable women: Margery Williams Bianco, the author of one of the most beloved children's books of all time-- The Velveteen Rabbit --and her daughter Pamela, a world-renowned child prodigy artist whose fame at one time greatly eclipses her mother's. But celebrity at such an early age exacts a great toll. Pamela's dreams elude her as she struggles with severe depressions, an overbearing father, an obsessive love affair, and a spectacularly misguided marriage. Throughout, her life raft is her mother.The glamorous art world of Europe and New York in the early 20th century and a supporting cast of luminaries--Eugene O'Neill and his wife Agnes (Margery's niece), Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, and Richard Hughes, author of A High Wind in Jamaica --provide a vivid backdrop to the Biancos' story. From the opening pages, the novel will captivate readers with its multifaceted and illuminating observations on art, family, and the consequences of genius touched by madness.

A promising life : coming of age with America : a novel

July 21, 2017
McCully, Emily Arnold, author.
New York, NY : Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., 2017.
v, 296 pages ; 22 cm
All his life Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, son of Sacagawea and a French fur-trapper, has lived in two worlds: the Westernized world of his godfather, William Clark, and the frontier world beyond St. Louis--but he is troubled by the way Americans mistreat tribes like the Osage, Arikara, and Mandan, and as a man of mixed ancestry, he must ultimately choose which of the two heritages is more important to him.

Perish from the earth

July 19, 2017
Putnam, Jonathan F., author.
New York : Crooked Lane, 2017.
325 pages ; 25 cm.
"Newly minted trial lawyer Abraham Lincoln is riding the circuit, traveling by carriage with other lawyers and a judge to bring justice to the remote parts of Illinois. Meanwhile, Lincoln's close friend Joshua Speed steams up the Mississippi River aboard a steamboat owned by Speed's father. Suddenly, his journey is interrupted when a crooked card game turns to violence -- and then murder. Speed enlists Lincoln to defend the accused, but they soon come to discover that more than just the card games are crooked aboard the Speed family's ship. As the day of judgment hurtles toward them, Lincoln must fight to save the life of his client while preserving the cause he holds so dear" -- provided by publisher.

Slow days, fast company : the world, the flesh, and L.A.

June 23, 2017
Babitz, Eve, author.
New York : New York Review Books, [2016]
xi, 162 pages ; 21 cm.
"There was a time when no one burned hotter than Eve Babitz. Possessing skin that radiated "its own kind of moral laws," spectacular teeth, and a figure that was the stuff of legend, she seduced seemingly everyone who was anyone in Los Angeles for a long stretch of the 1960s and '70s. But there was one man who proved elusive, and so Babitz did what she did best, she wrote him a book. She also pulled off a remarkable sleight of hand: Slow Days, Fast Company far exceeds its mash-note premise. It is a full-fledged and full-bodied evocation of a bygone Southern California. In ten sun-baked, Santa Ana wind-swept sketches, Babitz re-creates a Los Angeles of movie stars distraught over their success; socialites on three-day drug binges, evading their East Coast banking husbands; soap-opera actors worried that tomorrow's script will kill them off; Italian femme fatales even more fatal than she is. And she even leaves L.A. sometimes, spending an afternoon at the house of flawless Orange County suburbanites, a day among the grape pickers of the Central Valley, a weekend in Palm Springs where her dreams of romance fizzle and her only solace is Virginia Woolf. In the end it doesn't matter if Babitz ever gets the guy--she seduces us"-- Provided by publisher.

The crime writer : a novel

June 12, 2017
Dawson, Jill.
New York : HarperCollins, 2017.
246 pages ; 21 cm
In 1964, the eccentric American novelist Patricia Highsmith is hiding out in a cottage in Suffolk, to concentrate on her writing and escape her fans. She has another motive too - a secret romance with a married lover based in London. Unfortunately it soon becomes clear that all her demons have come with her. Prowlers, sexual obsessives, frauds, imposters, suicides and murderers: the tropes of her fictions clamour for her attention, rudely intruding on her peaceful Suffolk retreat. After the arrival of Ginny, an enigmatic young journalist bent on interviewing her, events take a catastrophic turn. Except, as always in Highsmith's troubled life, matters are not quite as they first appear ... Masterfully recreating Highsmith's much exercised fantasies of murder and madness, Jill Dawson probes the darkest reaches of the imagination in this novel - at once a brilliant portrait of a writer and an atmospheric, emotionally charged, riveting tale.

The Pearl Street flood : one man's experience of Cincinnati's greatest natural disaster

June 2, 2017
Zeiser, Noel, author.
[Place of publication not identified] : [Publisher not identified], [2017]
1 volume (unpaged) : map, black and white photographs ; 23 cm
Subtitle from cover.
"Faced with a diminished market for jewelry during the Great Depression, Charlie leaves a lucrative sales career to pursue safer prospects. He decides to take ownership of the family shoe store in downtown Cincinnati near the Ohio River. When the river rises to unimaginable heights in 1937, he worries not only for himself but for his wife and six children."--Amazon website.

Isadora

May 31, 2017
Gray, Amelia, 1982- author.
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017.
viii, 386 pages ; 24 cm
"A novel"--Book jacket.
"In 1913, Isadora Duncan was known as much for her stunning dance performances as for her eccentric and salacious personal life ― her lovers included poets, directors, and the heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune. But when her two children drowned in Paris, she found herself taking on a role she had never dreamed of. The tragedy brought the gossips out in full force, and the grieving mother wanted nothing more than to escape it all. Fleeing the very life she had worked so hard to build, she left her sister, Elizabeth, holding the reins of the artistic empire along with Elizabeth’s lover, Max, who had his own ideas for greatness. For two years Isadora cast about prewar Europe, living on credit on islands in Greece and in shuttered beachfront dwellings in Italy. She lashed out at her dearest lovers and friends, the very people who held her up. But life had cracked her spirit in two: on one side, the brilliant young talent who captivated audiences the world over; on the other, a heartbroken mother spinning dangerously on the edge of sanity" --Inside jacket.

Beneath a scarlet sky : a novel

May 22, 2017
Sullivan, Mark T., author.
Seattle : Lake Union Publishing, [2017]
513 pages ; 21 cm
In 1940s Italy, teenager Pino Lella joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps and falls for a beautiful widow, he also becomes the personal driver of one of the Third Reich's most powerful commanders.

The knowledge

May 22, 2017
Pressfield, Steven, author.
New York : Black Irish Entertainment, LLC., 2016.
274 pages ; 23 cm
"A too close to true novel."
Where did The War of Art come from? How did creativity sensei Steven Pressfield come up with the notion that there is an insidious force in the universe called Resistance that keeps us from pursuing our life's work and fulfilling our artistic destiny? And that until we recognize and engage in an end-of-days battle with the big "R," our inner genius will remain blocked and unborn inside an internal protoplasmic goo? Was he touched by angels as he contemplated the universe in an ashram? Did he meet a mysterious stranger in a truck stop in Twin Falls, Idaho who imparted deep truths over a cup of muddy Joe? Perhaps blunt force trauma in a Reno bar had something to do with it? If only... The truth of of Pressfield's Weltanschauung origin story lies somewhere between fact and fiction...

Anne Boleyn, a king's obsession : a novel

May 17, 2017
Weir, Alison, 1951- author.
©2017
541 pages : genealogical table ; 25 cm
Anne is barely a teenager when she is sent from her family's Hever Castle to serve at the royal court of the Netherlands. There, and later in France, Anne thrives. But her powerful family has ambitious plans for her future that override any wishes of her own. When the King of England himself, Henry VIII, asks Anne to be his mistress, she spurns his advances-- he is a married man who has already conducted an affair with her sister, Mary. This rejection only intensifies Henry's pursuit, tempting Anne even as it proves to be her undoing.

Becoming Bonnie

May 17, 2017
Walsh, Jenni L., author.
New York : Forge, 2017.
303 pages ; 24 cm
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
Summer, 1927. Bonnelyn Parker is more likely to belt out a church hymn than sling drinks at an illicit juice joint. She plans to overcome her family's poverty, provide for herself, and maybe someday marry her boyfriend, Roy Thornton. When financial woes jeopardize her ambitions, Bonnelyn finds salvation in an unlikely place: Dallas's newest speakeasy, Doc's. When Roy discovers her secret life as a moll, he embraces it-- perhaps too much. But her life is headed for a crash. Bonnie Parker is about to meet Clyde Barrow.

The little exile

May 9, 2017
Arakawa, Jeanette, author.
Berkeley, California : Stone Bridge Press, [2017]
247 pages ; 21 cm
"After Pearl Harbor, little Marie Mitsui's typical life of school and playing with friends in San Francisco is upended. Her family and thousands of others of Japanese heritage are under suspicion and forcibly relocated to internment camps far from home. Living conditions in the camps are harsh, but in the end Marie finds freedom and hope for the future. Told from a child's perspective, The Little Exile deftly conveys Marie's innocence, wonder, fear, and outrage. This work of autobiographical fiction is based on the author's own experience as a wartime internee. Jeanette S. Arakawa was born in San Francisco in 1932 and was interned in the 1940s at the Rohwer War Relocation Center in Arkansas"-- Provided by publisher.

The end of Eddy

May 5, 2017
Louis, Édouard, author.
©2017
192 pages ; 20 cm
Translated from the French.
"An autobiographical novel about growing up gay in a working-class town in Picardy. "Every morning in the bathroom I would repeat the same phrase to myself over and over again. Today I'm really gonna be a tough guy." Growing up in a poor village in northern France, all Eddy Bellegueule wanted was to be a man in the eyes of his family and neighbors. But from childhood, he was different -- "girlish," intellectually precocious, and attracted to other men. Already translated into twenty languages, The End of Eddy captures the violence and desperation of life in a French factory town. It is also a sensitive, universal portrait of boyhood and sexual awakening. Like Karl Ove Knausgaard or Edmund White, Édouard Louis writes from his own undisguised experience, but he writes with an openness and a compassionate intelligence that are all his own. The result -- a critical and popular triumph -- has made him the most celebrated French writer of his generation."-- Provided by publisher.

Family lexicon

May 1, 2017
Ginzburg, Natalia, author.
New York : New York Review Books, [2017]
221 pages ; 21 cm.
"Natalia Ginzburg, one of Italy's great writers, introduced A Family Lexicon, her most celebrated work, with an unusual disclaimer: "The places, events and people are all real. I have invented nothing. Every time that I have found myself inventing something in accordance with my old habits as a novelist, I have felt impelled at once to destroy everything thus invented." A Family Lexicon re-creates with extraordinary objectivity the small world of a family enduring some of the most difficult years of the twentieth century, the period from the rise of Mussolini through World War II (Ginzburg's first husband, who was a member of the resistance, was killed by the Nazis) and its immediate aftermath. Every family has its store of phrases and sayings by which it maintains its sense of what it means to be a family. Such sayings and stories lie at the heart of a great novel about family and history"-- Provided by publisher.

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