Saturday, August 23, 2014

Random New Fiction Titles We've Gotten Recently
 An irresistible novel set against the backdrop of the American Civil War and based on the real life of Tom Thumb, a young man only twenty-five inches tall, who became America’s first internationally recognized entertainer.

By a writer whose previous work has been called “sprawling and elegant” (The New York Times Book Review), this novel weaves together a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at life during the Civil War and a moving tale of one misfit’s odyssey to find his place in the world.

Discovered at age four by P.T. Barnum, Tom Thumb soon finds himself traveling internationally, sitting on the laps of the queens of Europe, and entertaining the masses. He meets Czar Nicholas and the King of Saxony, and is invited to the Tuilleries by Louis Philippe. After marrying Lavinia Warren, Tom and wife are hosted at the White House by President Lincoln. With the country at war, Tom and Lavinia set out on their honeymoon tour and witness firsthand the fracture between the states, the heroism of young soldiers, and the unbreakable spirit of the American people.

Written in a voice that is both witty and lyrical, and with a colorful secondary cast including Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman, P.T. Barnum, and notable figures of the period, this is an evocative, poignant imagining of one man’s story at a unique moment in American history.
In a new suite of powerful and incisive stories, Justin Taylor captures the lives of men and women unmoored from their pasts and uncertain of their futures.

A man writes his girlfriend a Dear John letter, gets in his car, and just drives. A widowed insomniac is roused from malaise when an alligator appears in her backyard. A group of college friends tries to stay close after graduation, but are drawn away from--and back toward--each other by the choices they make. A boy's friendship with a pair of identical twins undergoes a strange and tragic evolution over the course of adolescence. A promising academic and her fiance attempt to finish their dissertations, but struggle with writer's block, a nasty secret, and their own knowledge of Freud.

From an East Village rooftop to a cabin in Tennessee, from the Florida suburbs to Hong Kong, Taylor covers a vast emotional and geographic landscape while ushering us into an abiding intimacy with his restless, unforgettable characters. Flings is a commanding work of fiction that captures the contemporary search for identity, connection, and a place to call home.
Cork O'Connor battles vicious villains, both mythical and modern, to rescue a young girl in the latest nail-biting mystery from New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger.
When the body of a teenage Ojibwe girl washes up on the shore of an island in Lake Superior, the residents of the nearby Bad Bluff reservation whisper that it was the work of a deadly mythical beast, the Windigo, or a vengeful spirit called Michi Peshu. Such stories have been told by the Ojibwe people for generations, but they don't explain how the girl and her friend, Mariah Arceneaux, disappeared a year ago. At the request of the Arceneaux family, Cork O'Connor, former sheriff turned private investigator, takes on the case.
But on the Bad Bluff reservation, nobody's talking. Still, Cork puts enough information together to find a possible trail. He learns that the old port city of Duluth is a modern-day center for sex trafficking of vulnerable women, many of whom are young Native Americans. As the investigation deepens, so does the danger.
Yet Cork holds tight to his higher purpose--his vow to find Mariah, an innocent fifteen-year-old girl whose family is desperate to get her back. With only the barest hope of saving her from men whose darkness rivals that of the legendary Windigo, Cork prepares for an epic battle that will determine whether it will be fear, or love, that truly conquers all.
From the recipient of the PEN/Malamud Award, the Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Rea Award for the Short Story: a gorgeously rendered, passionate account of a relationship threatened by secrets, set against the backdrop of national tragedy.

When Natasha, a talented young artist working as a congressional aide, meets Michael Faulk, an Episcopalian priest struggling with his faith, the stars seem to align. Although he is nearly two decades older, they discover in each other the happy yearning and exhilaration of lovers, and within months they are engaged. Shortly before their wedding, while Natasha is vacationing in Jamaica and Faulk is in New York attending the wedding of a family friend, the terrorist attacks of September 11 shatter the tranquillity of the nation’s summer. Alone in a state of abject terror, cut off from America and convinced that Faulk is dead, Natasha makes an error in judgment that leads to a private trauma of her own on the Caribbean shore. A few days later, she and Faulk are reunited, but the horror of that day and Natasha’s inability to speak of it inexorably divide their relationship into “before” and “after.” They move to Memphis and begin their new life together, but their marriage quickly descends into repression, anxiety, and suspicion.

In prose that is direct, exact, and lyrical, Richard Bausch plumbs the complexities of public and personal trauma, and the courage with which we learn to face them. Above all, Before, During, After is a love story, offering a penetrating and exquisite portrait of intimacy, of spiritual and physical longing, and of the secrets we convince ourselves to keep even as they threaten to destroy us. An unforgettable tour de force from one of America’s most distinguished storytellers.
The beloved author at her storytelling best: four wonderful novellas of Americans abroad and Europeans in America.

In these absorbing and exquisitely made novellas of relationships at home and abroad, both historical and contemporary, we meet the ferocious Simone Weil during her final days as a transplant to New York City; a vulnerable American grad student who escapes to Italy after her first, compromising love affair; the charming Irish liar of the title novella, who gets more out of life than most of us; and Thomas Mann, opening the heart of a high-school kid in America. 
These stories dazzle on the surface, with beautifully rendered settings and vistas, and dig deep psychologically. At every turn Gordon reveals in her characters' interactions those crucial flashes of understanding that change lives forever. So richly developed it is hard to believe they fit into novella-sized packages, these tales carry us away both as individual stories and as a larger, book-length experience of Gordon's mastery and human sympathy.

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