New fiction at the Libraries, April 3

April 3, 2012 – 11:50 AM

The Misogynist by Piers Paul Read
PR6068.E25 M57 2010

Jomier broods. He broods about the present. He broods about the past. He types his gloomy thoughts onto his computer screen – a digital journal. When he has nothing more to say about the present, he returns to the past, copying entries from old notebooks onto his computer.

Jomier has reached the age of retirement.His children have grown up. He lives alone in London, embittered and humiliated after his wife, Tilly, had an affair and left him for Max, an uninhibited international banker. Years later he still mourns the death of his marriage, often trying to pinpoint when, and why, it all went wrong. With little now left to fill his time other than formulaic middle-class dinner parties, Jomier seeks refuge in his journals, recalling those years when he had expectations and when he was still loved by his wife.

Then Jomier falls for Judith and life starts to improve as, cautiously, they start an affair. But old habits die hard and patterns repeat themselves. It is only when Jomier’s daughter falls ill with a rare blood disorder that Jomier finally begins to reassess his feelings towards those he loves and his ability to forgive.

Darkly humorous, ruthlessly satirical and at times surprisingly moving, The Misogynist is a perceptive exploration of the ways in which we can unintentionally let past disappointments affect our present, and how difficult it can be to move forward.

The Vault: an Inspector Wexford novel by Ruth Rendell
PR6068.E63 V37 2011

From “the reigning queen of crime fiction” (Time Out), a sequel to A Sight for Sore Eyes, one of Rendell’s most beloved novels—featuring the retired Inspector Wexford.

In the stunning climax to Rendell’s classic A Sight for Sore Eyes, three bodies—two dead, one living—are entombed in an underground chamber beneath a picturesque London house. Twelve years later, when a manhole cover is pulled back, the house’s new owner makes a grisly discovery. Only now, the number of bodies is four. How did somebody else end up in the chamber? And who knew of its existence?

With their own detectives at an impasse, police call on former Chief Inspector Wexford, now retired and living with his wife in London, to advise them on the unsolved murders. Wexford, missing the thrill of a good case, jumps at the chance to sleuth again. His dogged detective skills and knack for figuring out the criminal mind take him to London neighborhoods, posh and poor, as he follows a complex criminal trail back to the original murders.

But just as Wexford’s case gets hot, a devastating family tragedy pulls Wexford back to Kingsmarkham, and for the first time in his life, Wexford finds himself transforming from investigator into victim. Masterfully plotted, The Vault will satisfy both longtime Wexford fans and new Rendell readers.

The Yellow Emperor’s Cure: a novel by Kunal Basu
PR9499.3.B32 Y45 2011

Lisbon, 1898: philandering surgeon Antonio Maria discovers his beloved father is dying of syphilis, scourge of both rich and poor. Determined to find a cure, Antonio sets sail for Peking to study under the renowned Dr. Xu, in the hope that traditional Chinese medicine has the answer that eludes the West. But Xu is evasive, and when Antonio encounters the alluringly independent Fumi, he finds the first love he cannot leave behind.

As he wrestles with his disbelief over “irrational” Chinese views about illness, and helplessly falls into an erotic obsession with Fumi, violence threatens to break out across China. The infamous Boxer rebellion separates the lovers during a siege at the Summer Palace, and Antonio must decide whether to flee-or to stay in China to solve the deep mystery of Fumi’s haunted past and discover for himself the Yellow Emperor’s cure.

Kunal Basu’s writing invites comparisons to the best work of Michael Ondaatje and Jung Chang. In this superbly compelling novel, he conjures the voice of a man just discovering the love that will force him to question everything he knew before.

American Dervish: a novel by Ayad Akhtar
PS3601.K53 A83 2012

Hayat Shah is a young American in love for the first time. His normal life of school, baseball, and video games had previously been distinguished only by his Pakistani heritage and by the frequent chill between his parents, who fight over things he is too young to understand. Then Mina arrives, and everything changes.

Mina is Hayat’s mother’s oldest friend from Pakistan. She is independent, beautiful and intelligent, and arrives on the Shah’s doorstep when her disastrous marriage in Pakistan disintegrates. Even Hayat’s skeptical father can’t deny the liveliness and happiness that accompanies Mina into their home. Her deep spirituality brings the family’s Muslim faith to life in a way that resonates with Hayat as nothing has before. Studying the Quran by Mina’s side and basking in the glow of her attention, he feels an entirely new purpose mingled with a growing infatuation for his teacher.

When Mina meets and begins dating a man, Hayat is confused by his feelings of betrayal. His growing passions, both spiritual and romantic, force him to question all that he has come to believe is true. Just as Mina finds happiness, Hayat is compelled to act — with devastating consequences for all those he loves most.

American Dervish is a brilliantly written, nuanced, and emotionally forceful look inside the interplay of religion and modern life. Ayad Akhtar was raised in the Midwest himself, and through Hayat Shah he shows readers vividly the powerful forces at work on young men and women growing up Muslim in America. This is an int

imate, personal first novel that will stay with readers long after they turn the last page.

420 Characters: Stories by Lou Beach
PS3602.E226 A15 2011

Within this collection of miniature stories, entire worlds take shape—some like our own, some hallucinatory fairylands–populated by heartsick cowboys, random criminals, lovers and drifters. In a dazzling narrative constellation, Beach’s characters contend with the strange and terrible and beautiful in life, and no outcome is certain. Begun as a series of Facebook status updates, 420 Characters marks a new turn in an acclaimed artist and illustrator’s career, and features original collages by the author.

The Orphan Master’s Son: a novel by Adam Johnson
PS3610.O3 O76 2012

An epic novel and a thrilling literary discovery, The Orphan Master’s Son follows a young man’s journey through the icy waters, dark tunnels, and eerie spy chambers of the world’s most mysterious dictatorship, North Korea.

Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother—a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang—and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return.

Considering himself “a humble citizen of the greatest nation in the world,” Jun Do becomes a professional kidnapper who must navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his Korean overlords in order to stay alive. Driven to the absolute limit of what any human being could endure, he boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves, Sun Moon, a legendary actress “so pure, she didn’t know what starving people looked like.”

Part breathless thriller, part story of innocence lost, part story of romantic love, The Orphan Master’s Son is also a riveting portrait of a world heretofore hidden from view: a North Korea rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love. A towering literary achievement,The Orphan Master’s Son ushers Adam Johnson into the small group of today’s greatest writers.

Quiet Chaos: a novel by Sandro Veronesi
Translated by Michael F. Moore
PQ4882.E7675 C3613 2011

On the shores of the Mediterranean, exhausted from an afternoon of surfing, Pietro Paladini is shaken out of his stupor by a distant noise. “Over there!” he cries to his brother, Carlo, sunning beside him. “Over there!”

So begins the adventure that will tear a hole in Pietro’s life. For while he and his brother struggle to save two drowning swimmers, a tragedy is unfolding down the road at his summer cottage. Instead of coming home to a hero’s welcome, Pietro is greeted by the flashing lights of an ambulance, the wide-eyed stare of his young daughter, Claudia, and the terrible news that his fiancée, Lara, is dead.

Life must go on. Or does it? Pietro, a true iconoclast, has to find his own way. When he drops Claudia off for the first day of school, he decides to wait outside for her all day, and then every day. To protect her. To protect himself. To wait for the heavy fist of grief to strike. But as the days and weeks go by, the small parking lot in front of the school becomes his refuge from the world as well as the place where family and colleagues come to relieve their own suffering—among them, the woman he rescued from the waves. And Pietro plunges deeper into the depths of his life before seeing the simple truth before his eyes.

Sandro Veronesi makes art of every detail, creating a mosaic of humor, hope, profound insight, and emotional resonance. Quiet Chaos is an unprecedented portrayal of a life set adrift by death.

No More Mr. Nice Guy: a novel by Howard Jacobson
PR6060.A32 N6 2011

Frank Ritz is a television critic. His partner, Melissa Paul, is the author of pornographic novels for liberated women. He watches crap all day; she writes crap all day. It’s a life. Or it was a life. Now they’re fighting, locked in oral combat. He won’t shut up, and she’s putting her finger down her throat again. So there’s only one thing to do: Frank has to go.

But go where? And do what? Frank Ritz has been in heat more or less continuously since he could speak his own name. Let him out of the house and his first instinct is to go looking for sex. Deviant sex, treacherous sex, even conventional sex, so long as it’s immoderate-he’s never been choosy. But what happens when sex is all you know and yet no longer what you want?

Everything Beautiful Began After: a novel by Simon Van Booy
PR6122.A36 E94 2011

Rebecca is young, lost, and beautiful. A gifted artist, she seeks solace and inspiration in the Mediterranean heat of Athens—trying to understand who she is and how she can love without fear.

George has come to Athens to learn ancient languages after growing up in New England boarding schools and Ivy League colleges. He has no close relationships with anyone and spends his days hunched over books or wandering the city in a drunken stupor.

Henry is in Athens to dig. An accomplished young archaeologist, he devotedly uncovers the city’s past as a way to escape his own, which holds a secret that not even his doting parents can talk about.

…And then, with a series of chance meetings, Rebecca, George, and Henry are suddenly in flight, their lives brighter and clearer than ever, as they fall headlong into a summer that will forever define them in the decades to come.

Post a Comment