Paperback Fiction from the 2014 Summer Newsletter

Roxanne Gay’s first novel is a searing story of a politically and economically divided Haiti as seen through one family’s terrifying ordeal. Mireille, a Haitian-born young woman, is on vacation from Miami and visiting her upper-class parents in Port-au-Prince when she is kidnapped at gunpoint. Her captors usually extract hefty ransoms from their wealthy victims, but Mireille’s proud father refuses to pay until it’s nearly too late, and Mireille ends up suffering days of excruciating torture. Her eventual freedom is only the first step in the family’s uncertain recovery. Gay’s portrayal of Mirelle’s healing from a shattered state is powerful and harrowing. The brutality of the book is something that a reader needs to be ready for, but this is a deeply talented author with an unflinchingly told tale. 

Reviewed by: 
S.M.C.
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An Untamed State Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802122513
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grove Press, Black Cat - May 6th, 2014

Transatlantic is a sweeping novel that studies the well-trod path between Ireland and the United States. This book made me cry six times, but not entirely out of sadness—it was more from a sense of connection with the world McCann brings to life. Read the chapter about the first transatlantic flight on a wood and linen plane and you’ll see what I mean. Every harrowing, magnificent detail is perfectly formed, and it’s like that the whole book through.

Reviewed by: 
Kat
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Transatlantic Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780812981926
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade - May 20th, 2014

Bean (12) and her sister Liz (15) are left alone while their mother goes off to “find herself.” Afraid of the authorities, Bean and Liz take off to visit their Uncle Tinsley and end up learning many of the family’s secrets. Bean thrives, but things don’t go well for Liz. This is a deeply moving novel about triumph over adversity and about people who find a way to love each other and the world, despite its flaws. I found this one hard to put down.

Reviewed by: 
Clytia
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The Silver Star Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781451661545
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner Book Company - June 3rd, 2014

Brand new in paperback, Mark Slouka’s novel has a grit and depth that lasts long after its final word. The plot seems deceptively simple: It is a tale of two friends in 1968, coming of age in a working-class town; one is a runner, the other a fighter. Yet there is an undertow to Slouka’s narrative that evolves as we get to know the main characters, Jon and Ray, and the loyalty and desperation that forms between these two in the wake of their flawed fathers and distant mothers. This book breathes life. You cannot help but love these boys and get caught up in their quest. This novel is for the reader who knows that the miracle lies in the footfall, that it is the finish line that is the wonder, instead of the win. A beautiful and piercing read.

Reviewed by: 
S.M.C.
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Brewster Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780393348835
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - May 5th, 2014

Aimee Bender is one of my top-five short story writers. Her stories remind me of the best fairy tales, beautiful and strange and slightly dangerous, and her characters make me see the world in a different way. I turn to her again and again when I need a dose of color and fizz in my life. The Color Master is bright and satisfying. I promise you’ve never seen anything like these stories. 

Reviewed by: 
Kat
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The Color Master Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780307744197
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor Books - April 22nd, 2014

Longbourn explores the world of Pride and Prejudice from the perspective of the household servants, who toil away at backbreaking work while the ladies of the house chase their fortunes. It’s a lush retelling that focuses smartly on social inequality but manages to also be utterly beautiful and escapist. Save this book for a good rainy day. It’s the kind of fiction you won’t want to leave behind.

Reviewed by: 
Kat
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Longbourn Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780345806970
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - June 17th, 2014

After a serial killer starts targeting members of a titled Italian family, the absolutely intriguing detective at the center of the story has to rehash the family’s past—and its possible Nazi collusions—to solve the case. Unfolding in two separate time periods, its historic details of Italy during World War II and the later post-war healing/denial by survivors are fascinating. Bohjalian’s dazzling novel provides a great combination of the mysterious, the suspenseful, and the thoughtful.

Reviewed by: 
Nici
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The Light in the Ruins (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780307743923
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - April 22nd, 2014

If you are the kind of person who likes to wonder about the unseen connections between people, then Simon Van Booy is the writer for you. The Illusion of Separateness is about an encounter on a World War II battlefield and the characters who are unknowingly linked by the encounter. The power of this novel is revealed by the sum of its parts; it’s a radiant and hopeful story that made me feel less small in a large, complex world.   

Reviewed by: 
Kat
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The Illusion of Separateness: A Novel Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780062248459
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - July 29th, 2014

Taking place during the Great Depression, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls features 15-year-old Thea, who has a mysterious role in a family tragedy and is banished to boarding school. Once there, she grapples with the social strata, and it doesn’t take long for her past to meet her future. This is a coming-of-age story where the main character makes questionable choices that will affect her whole future. A good summer read.

Reviewed by: 
Clytia
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The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781594632709
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - June 3rd, 2014

Hannah Kent might be a time traveler—that’s how vivid and immediate this historical novel feels upon reading. Based on a true story, Burial Rites is set in Iceland in 1829 and tells the story Agnes, a maid charged with murder and condemned to die. She is sent to live on a family farm and work hard labor until her execution day. The beauty in Kent’s story is revealed in the relationships that form between the family members and Agnes and in what is unveiled as trust slowly builds. This story is as much about human relationship and recognition of one another as it is about what really happened on the night Agnes was accused of murder. A gripping tale that deepens as it goes along, this is one of those books that makes history come alive.      

Reviewed by: 
S.M.C.
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Burial Rites Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780316243926
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - April 1st, 2014

 

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