"A stylish, atmospheric mystery with a startling twist . . . satisfies like Simenon and surprises like Ruth Rendell. I can't give it any higher praise."--NPR Manfred Baumann is a loner. Socially awkward and perpetually ill at ease, he spends his evenings quietly drinking and surreptitiously observing Adèle Bedeau, the sullen but alluring waitress at a drab bistro in the unremarkable small French town of Saint-Louis. One day, she simply vanishes into thin air and Georges Gorski, a detective haunted by his failure to solve one of his first murder cases, is called in to investigate the girl's disappearance. He sets his sights on Manfred. As Manfred cowers beneath Gorski's watchful eye, the murderous secrets of his past begin to catch up with him and his carefully crafted veneer of normalcy falters. His booze-soaked unraveling carries him from Saint-Louis to the back alleys of Strasbourg. Graeme Macrae Burnet's masterful play on literary form featuring an unreliable narrator makes for a grimly entertaining psychological thriller that questions if it is possible, or even desirable, to know another man's mind.
Author: Indra Sinha
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Chronicles the relationship between Animal, an extraordinary street boy forced to go about on all fours after his back is twisted beyond repair during the devastating chemical plant accident in Bhopal, India, and Elli Barber, the young American doctor who has come to the area to open a free clinic for the suffering inhabitants of the region. Reprint. 20,00 first printing.
Author: Julian Barnes
Publisher: Vintage Canada
Grotesque visionary Sir Jack Pitman has an idea. Since most people are too lazy to travel from landmark to landmark, why not simplify things and create a new England on the Isle of Wight? Unfortunately, his idea is a huge success, and the resulting theme park threatens to supersede the original. Called England, England, it has all the elements of "Old England" in one convenient location. Wander into the new Sherwood Forest and you may spot Robin Hood and his now sexually ambiguous Merrie Men. Or take a stroll to see Stonehenge and Anne Hathaway's Cottage, enjoy a ploughman's lunch atop the White Cliffs of Dover, then pop over to see the Royals, now on contract to Sir Jack, in their scaled-down version of Buckingham Palace. Every detail has been considered: even the postcards come pre-stamped! Julian Barnes' first novel in six years is a ferociously funny examination of the search for authenticity and truth in a fabricated world. From the Hardcover edition.
The End of Days
Author: Jenny Erpenbeck
Publisher: New Directions Publishing
Winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for the best translated novel of 2014, now a New Directions paperback Winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Hans Fallada Prize, The End of Days, by the acclaimed German writer Jenny Erpenbeck, consists essentially of five “books,” each leading to a different death of the same unnamed female protagonist. How could it all have gone differently?—the narrator asks in the intermezzos. The first chapter begins with the death of a baby in the early twentieth-century Hapsburg Empire. In the next chapter, the same girl grows up in Vienna after World War I, but a pact she makes with a young man leads to a second death. In the next scenario, she survives adolescence and moves to Russia with her husband. Both are dedicated Communists, yet our heroine ends up in a labor camp. But her fate does not end there…. A novel of incredible breadth and amazing concision, The End of Days offers a unique overview of the twentieth century.
Author: Jane Harris
Publisher: Faber & Faber
'Vastly original. Bessy is surely one of the most striking characters in recent fiction: cynical, disruptive, tender and very, very funny.' Independent on Sunday Shortlisted for the Orange Prize Scotland, 1863. In an attempt to escape her past, Bessy Buckley takes a job working as a maid in a big country house. But when Arabella, her beautiful mistress, asks her to undertake a series of bizarre tasks, Bessy begins to realise that she hasn't quite landed on her feet. In one of the most acclaimed debuts of recent years, Jane Harris has created a heroine who will make you laugh and cry as she narrates this unforgettable story about secrets and suspicions and the redemptive power of love and friendship.
Work Like Any Other
Author: Virginia Reeves
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE In this “inventive, beautiful, and deceptively morally complex novel” (The Miami Herald), a prideful electrician in 1920s rural Alabama struggles to overcome past sins, find peace, and rescue his marriage after being sent to prison for manslaughter. Roscoe T Martin set his sights on a new type of power spreading at the start of the twentieth century: electricity. It became his training, his life’s work. But when his wife, Marie, inherits her father’s failing farm, Roscoe has to give up his livelihood, with great cost to his sense of self, his marriage, and his family. Realizing he might lose them all if he doesn’t do something, he begins to siphon energy from the state, ushering in a period of bounty and happiness. Even the love of Marie and their child seem back within Roscoe’s grasp. Then a young man working for the state power company stumbles on Roscoe’s illegal lines and is electrocuted, and everything changes: Roscoe is arrested; the farm once more starts to deteriorate; and Marie abandons her husband, leaving him to face his twenty-year sentence alone. As an unmoored Roscoe carves out a place at Kilby Prison, he is forced to ask himself once more if his work is just that, or if the price of his crimes—for him and his family—is greater than he ever let himself believe. Work Like Any Other is “a consummately well-written, deeply affecting, thought-provoking American historical novel of hard labor, broken dreams, moral dilemmas, violence, racism, and the intricacies of marriage, parenthood, and friendship. Hope is found in reading, compassion, forgiveness, and good, honest work, whatever form it takes. Virginia Reeves’s gripping, dynamically plotted, and profound novel will resonate on different frequencies for men and women and spark soul-searching and heated discussion” (Booklist, starred review).
The Hired Man
Author: Aminatta Forna
Publisher: Open Road + Grove/Atlantic
An award-winning Scottish and Sierra Leonean novelist “brilliantly portrays the atmosphere” of Croatia in this haunting tale of war, history, and secrets (The Guardian). Visitors are not common in the small Croatian village of Gost, so Duro is surprised to see a strange car pull up to a well-known farmhouse just outside of town. Laura, a British woman, and her two children are refurbishing the home to be their summer cottage, and Duro agrees to lend a hand, becoming Laura’s confidant along the way. But the rest of the residents of Gost are not so pleased to have outsiders in their midst. As Duro works to shield Laura and her family from the town’s hostility, volatile secrets begin to bubble to the surface—secrets that could threaten everyone in the seemingly sleepy town, even the unwitting new residents. The Hired Man is a story of lost love, dangerous history, and quiet malice. “Not since Remains of the Day has an author so skillfully revealed the way history’s layers are invisible to all but it’s participants, who do what they must to survive” (The Boston Globe).
Author: Matthew M. Hurley, Daniel Clement Dennett, Reginald B. Adams
Publisher: MIT Press
Some things are funny -- jokes, puns, sitcoms, Charlie Chaplin, The Far Side, Malvolio with his yellow garters crossed -- but why? Why does humor exist in the first place? Why do we spend so much of our time passing on amusing anecdotes, making wisecracks, watching The Simpsons? In Inside Jokes, Matthew Hurley, Daniel Dennett, and Reginald Adams offer an evolutionary and cognitive perspective. Humor, they propose, evolved out of a computational problem that arose when our long-ago ancestors were furnished with open-ended thinking. Mother Nature -- aka natural selection -- cannot just order the brain to find and fix all our time-pressured misleaps and near-misses. She has to bribe the brain with pleasure. So we find them funny. This wired-in source of pleasure has been tickled relentlessly by humorists over the centuries, and we have become addicted to the endogenous mind candy that is humor.
A critical success on both sides of the Atlantic, this darkly imaginative novel from Scottish author James Robertson takes a tantalizing trip into the spiritual by way of a haunting paranormal mystery. When Reverend Gideon Mack, a good minister despite his atheism, tumbles into a deep ravine called the Black Jaws, he is presumed dead. Three days later, however, he emerges bruised but alive-and insistent that his rescuer was Satan himself. Against the background of an incredulous world, Mack's disturbing odyssey and the tortuous life that led to it create a mesmerizing meditation on faith, mortality, and the power of the unknown.
A Little Life
Author: Hanya Yanagihara
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST SHORT-LISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE Brace yourself for the most astonishing, challenging, upsetting, and profoundly moving book in many a season. An epic about love and friendship in the twenty-first century that goes into some of the darkest places fiction has ever traveled and yet somehow improbably breaks through into the light. Truly an amazement—and a great gift for its readers. When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever. In rich and resplendent prose, Yanagihara has fashioned a tragic and transcendent hymn to brotherly love, a masterful depiction of heartbreak, and a dark examination of the tyranny of memory and the limits of human endurance.
Author: John Banville
Publisher: A&C Black
Prague is the magic capital of Europe. Since the days of Emperor Rudolf II, 'devotee of the stars and cultivator of the spagyric art', who in the late 1500s summoned alchemists and magicians from all over the world to his castle on Hradcany hill, it has been a place of mystery and intrigue. Wars, revolutions, floods, the imposition of Soviet communism, or even the depredations of the tourist boom after the 'Velvet Revolution' of 1989, could not destroy the unique atmosphere of this beautiful, proud and melancholy city on the Vltava. John Banville traces Prague's often tragic history and portrays the people who made it, the emperors and princes, geniuses and charlatans, heroes and scoundrels, and paints a portrait of the Prague of today, revelling in its newfound freedoms, eager to join the European Community and at the same time suspicious of what many Praguers see as yet another totalitarian takeover. He writes of his first visit to the city, in the depths of the Cold War, when he engaged in a spot of art smuggling, and of subsequent trips there, of the people he met, the friends he made, the places he came to know.
The Quickening Maze
Author: Adam Foulds
“It has been a while since I have read a book as richly sown with beauty . . . A remarkable work, remarkable for the precision and vitality of its perceptions and for the successful intricacy of its prose.” —James Wood, The New Yorker A visionary novel by "one of the most talented writers of his generation"—The Times Literary Supplement Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize Based on real events, The Quickening Maze won over UK critics and readers alike with its rapturous prose and vivid exploration of poetry and madness. Historically accurate yet brilliantly imagined, this is the debut publication of this elegant and riveting novel in the United States. In 1837, after years of struggling with alcoholism and depression, the great nature poet John Clare finds himself in High Beach—a mental institution located in Epping Forest on the outskirts of London. It is not long before another famed writer, the young Alfred Tennyson, moves nearby and grows entwined in the catastrophic schemes of the hospital's owner, the peculiar Dr. Matthew Allen, his lonely adolescent daughter, and a coterie of mysterious local characters. With lyrical grace, the cloistered world of High Beach and its residents are brought richly to life in this enchanting book.
Author: Deborah Levy
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize, Hot Milk moves "gracefully among pathos, danger, and humor†? (The New York Times). I have been sleuthing my mother's symptoms for as long as I can remember. If I see myself as an unwilling detective with a desire for justice, is her illness an unsolved crime? If so, who is the villain and who is the victim? Sofia, a young anthropologist, has spent much of her life trying to solve the mystery of her mother's unexplainable illness. She is frustrated with Rose and her constant complaints, but utterly relieved to be called to abandon her own disappointing fledgling adult life. She and her mother travel to the searing, arid coast of southern Spain to see a famous consultant--their very last chance--in the hope that he might cure her unpredictable limb paralysis. But Dr. Gomez has strange methods that seem to have little to do with physical medicine, and as the treatment progresses, Sofia's mother's illness becomes increasingly baffling. Sofia's role as detective--tracking her mother's symptoms in an attempt to find the secret motivation for her pain--deepens as she discovers her own desires in this transient desert community. Hot Milk is a profound exploration of the sting of sexuality, of unspoken female rage, of myth and modernity, the lure of hypochondria and big pharma, and, above all, the value of experimenting with life; of being curious, bewildered, and vitally alive to the world.
All That Man Is
Author: David Szalay
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Finalist for the 2016 Man Booker Prize Winner of the 2016 Paris Review Plimpton Prize for Fiction A magnificent and ambitiously conceived portrait of contemporary life, by a genius of realism Nine men. Each of them at a different stage in life, each of them away from home, and each of them striving--in the suburbs of Prague, in an overdeveloped Alpine village, beside a Belgian motorway, in a dingy Cyprus hotel--to understand what it means to be alive, here and now. Tracing a dramatic arc from the spring of youth to the winter of old age, the ostensibly separate narratives of All That Man Is aggregate into a picture of a single shared existence, a picture that interrogates the state of modern manhood while bringing to life, unforgettably, the physical and emotional terrain of an increasingly globalized Europe. And so these nine lives form an ingenious and new kind of novel, in which David Szalay expertly plots a dark predicament for the twenty-first-century man. Dark and disturbing, but also often wickedly and uproariously comic, All That Man Is is notable for the acute psychological penetration Szalay brings to bear on his characters, from the working-class ex-grunt to the pompous college student, the middle-aged loser to the Russian oligarch. Steadily and mercilessly, as this brilliantly conceived book progresses, the protagonist at the center of each chapter is older than the last one, it gets colder out, and All That Man Is gathers exquisite power. Szalay is a writer of supreme gifts--a master of a new kind of realism that vibrates with detail, intelligence, relevance, and devastating pathos.
The Character of Rain
Author: Amelie Nothomb
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
The Japanese believe that until the age of three, children, whether Japanese or not, are gods, each one an okosama, or "lord child." On their third birthday they fall from grace and join the rest of the human race. In Amelie Nothomb's new novel, The Character of Rain, we learn that divinity is a difficult thing from which to recover, particularly if, like the child in this story, you have spent the first tow and a half years of life in a nearly vegetative state. "I remember everything that happened to me after the age of two and one-half," the narrator tells us. She means this literally. Once jolted out of her plant-like , tube-like trance (to the ecstatic relief of her concerned parents), the child bursts into existence, absorbing everything that Japan, where her father works as a diplomat, has to offer. Life is an unfolding pageant of delight and danger, a ceaseless exploration of pleasure and the limits of power. Most wondrous of all is the discovery of water: oceans, seas, pools, puddles, streams, ponds, and, perhaps most of all, rain-one meaning of the Japanese character for her name. Hers is an amphibious life. The Character of Rain evokes the hilarity, terror, and sanctity of childhood. As she did in the award-winning, international bestesller Fear and Trembling, Nothomb grounds the novel in the outlines of her experiences in Japan, but the self-portrait that emerges from these pages is hauntingly universal. Amelie Nothomb's novels are unforgettable immersion experiences, leaving you both holding your breath with admiration, your lungs aching, and longing for more.