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“I’m always looking for that connective tissue that binds one piece of humanity to the next.”

“Writing is an enterprise that demands unabated discipline and concentration—but by God, it sure beats working.”

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New from internationally acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author

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The final volume of the CEMETERY OF FORGOTTEN BOOKS series “Ruiz Zafón’s visionary storytelling prowess is a genre unto itself.” —USA TODAY ALSO AVAILABLE

columns More than a neighborhood private eye You know it’s going to be a bad day when you wake up amid a team of disgraced Abu Ghraib prison guards who have kidnapped you and are becoming significantly fed up with your unwillingness to answer their questions. The victim is Isaiah Quintabe, known in his California neighborhood by his initials, IQ. Wrecked (Mul-

dangerous activities and more. Two cases weave in and out of the narrative: the first, a murder charge hanging over the beloved nephew of V.I.’s godmother, surgeon Lotty Herschel, involving a Syrian archaeological dig and a dissident immigrant poet on the lam from ICE; the second, the mysterious disappearance of V.I.’s niece follow-

holland, $27, 352 pages, ISBN 9780316509510) is Joe Ide’s third novel featuring IQ, and it’s the first time IQ has a chance of expanding his business into a full-fledged private investigation agency. At any given time, IQ fields a number of cases, but the one that becomes central to Wrecked has to do with the machinations of a Blackwateresque mercenary, a man with little in the way of scruples and lots in the way of sadistic behavior. Wrecked takes Ide’s unlikely hero into new territory, with foes that test his mettle in ways his previous adversaries could not even fathom, and with a possible love interest that exposes an entirely new facet of IQ’s character.

ing a Caribbean junket that turned sinister in ways that no travel brochure would suggest. As is usually the case with Paretsky’s novels, there is considerable social and political commentary, so if you are a capital-C Conservative, you might want to give some thought to how much you are willing to have your convictions challenged. Everyone else can revel in the superb pacing, the well-developed characters and the crisp dialogue from one of the most consistently excellent writers in the genre.

4

in a society where face is everything. Jingnan, for his part, is not someone you’d think of as a PI—he runs a popular food shop in a Taipei night market—but Peggy Lee is headstrong, and if she wants Jing-nan on the case, he has little choice but to assent. 99 Ways to Die is the third in the series and is the most fleshed out of the three. Ultimately, Lin’s books are most appealing for the insider’s look at Taiwanese culture, the motley crew of supporting cast and the multiple laughs per page.

TOP PICK IN MYSTERY

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V.I. Warshawski, like all of us, is not getting any younger. She is well past the age of dangling upside down in search of clues or doing fishtail burnouts in her V-8 Mustang to avoid getting shot, and certainly past the years when she should be treading across thin ice floes to keep a priceless artifact out of the hands of a ruthless billionaire. But in Sara Paretsky’s latest thriller, Shell Game (Morrow, $27.99, 400 pages, ISBN 9780062435866), age seems a nonissue, as V.I.’s latest crusade leads her to engage in all these

KIDNAPPING IN TAIWAN Readers don’t have to wait long— not even to the end of page one— to get to the setup for Ed Lin’s latest Taipei Night Market mystery, 99 Ways to Die (Soho Crime, $26.95, 288 pages, ISBN 9781616959685). There has been an abduction of a prominent businessman, who happens to be the father of protagonist Chen Jing-nan’s erstwhile classmate Peggy Lee (not the husky-voiced jazz singer Peggy Lee of “Fever” fame, but rather the youngest daughter in a family of Taiwanese aristocrats). The kidnappers’ ransom demands are not for money; instead, they want access to a computer chip, which Peggy Lee claims to know nothing about. But chances are good that Peggy Lee is playing for time and saving face

Imagine, for a moment, a Nancy Drew mystery told partially in flashback by Nancy herself, a girl grown up into the Best Detective in the World—her own rather immodest appellation—and now facing Her Most Perplexing Case. Then you will begin to have an idea of Sara Gran’s strange yet wildly entertaining novel The Infinite Blacktop (Atria, $26, 304 pages, ISBN 9781501165719). Somewhere along the way, our Nancy (whose name is actually Claire DeWitt) has evolved into a modern-day Sam(antha) Spade, with an overlay of street smarts and Zen calm counterbalancing one another in strangely effective ways. As the book opens, Claire comes very close to getting taken off the board permanently when her rented Kia is deliberately broadsided by a 1982 Lincoln, an event on par with a wooden rowboat getting rammed by the USS Nimitz. As she looks into who is trying to punch her ticket, she is drawn into a rethinking of the one case the Best Detective in the World has never been able to solve: the disappearance of her partnerin-crime-solving back when they were teenagers. As the narrative proceeds, another cold case gets woven in, and Gran deftly jumps back and forth between them, bringing the reader along for a wild ride across the decades.


COOKING

THE HOLD LIST Each month, BookPage editors share special reading lists—our personal favorites, old and new.

Long live ’80s nostalgia In 1988, President George H.W. Bush was elected, top movies included Rain Man and Beetlejuice, Rick Astley released “Never Gonna Give You Up,” and three of the five current BookPage editors were not yet born. Just like a vinyl record and Hollywood masterworks, a classic book stands the test of time. In honor of our 30th anniversary, we present five of our favorite books that were published in 1988.

MATILDA by Roald Dahl

BY SYBIL PRATT

Paired to perfection Lots of cookbooks tell you which wine to pair with your pork ragout or pot-au-feu de poisson, but with Wine Food: New Adventures in Drinking and Cooking (Lorena Jones, $25, 256 pages, ISBN 9780399579592), sommelier Dana Frank and cookbook author Andrea Slonecker have turned that standard upside down. Here, the wine inspires the recipe: Each of these 75 recipes was chosen to go with

Before the film adaptation made a bunch of ’90s kids slightly dread the sight of a chocolate cake, Dahl’s story of a lonely, bright and book-loving girl whose magical powers help her escape from an abusive household struck a chord with young readers, especially those longing for tales of strong girls.

THE WARRIOR QUEENS by Antonia Fraser With legendary British ruler Boadicea as her starting point, Fraser presents an endlessly fascinating historical survey of female rulers who led armies into battle. Exploring iconic figures such as Cleopatra and Elizabeth I and more recent examples like Indira Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher, Fraser analyzes how they successfully waged war in a world run by men, weaponizing or defying gender stereotypes along the way.

THE BEAN TREES by Barbara Kingsolver With the publication of her debut novel, Kingsolver kicked off three decades of spectacular storytelling and quickly became one of our all-time favorite authors. This nearly perfect blend of drama, touching humor and ambiance follows young Taylor Greer, a Kentuckian transplanted to Arizona (just like Kingsolver), who ends up as the caretaker of a 3-yearold Cherokee child whom she names Turtle.

THE SATANIC VERSES by Salman Rushdie This novel, which imaginatively draws from the life of the Prophet Muhammad and verses from the Quran, resulted in a fatwa against Rushdie. However, the controversy surrounding Rushdie’s novel has perhaps overshadowed its literary quality. It tackles issues like the hydra of identity, the nature of divinity and the East-West divide with magical realism and a delightfully droll and fanciful tone.

CAT’S EYE by Margaret Atwood Unlike Atwood’s more well-known speculative fiction novels, Cat’s Eye is set not in a dystopian future but in contemporary Toronto, Canada. However, it is no less twisted or relevant. Centering on the toxic friendship of two girls, naive Elaine and the cruel and privileged Cordelia, Cat’s Eye offers a potent depiction of bullying, isolation, gender conformity and peer pressure that fans of the movie Mean Girls will relish.

a specific wine or wine style, and each wine is introduced with information on where it comes from, its recommended producers and why it works so well with the flavors of the food. Some of the wines are old friends: Zinfandel goes with Roots Tagine and Cauliflower “Couscous,” while barbera wine is paired with ruby-red Borscht Risotto. Some are welcome oeno-revelations: rosé of pinot noir with creamy Burrata and Strawberry Salad, a carignan red wine with an herb-perfumed, Parmesan-topped Ratatouille. Frank and Slonecker are a perfect pairing themselves, providing a savvy wine seminar partnered with inventive dishes that invite you to pop a cork and cook something wonderful every day.

FOOD IN A FLASH As made clear by the title of his latest cookbook, Milk Street: Tuesday Nights (Little, Brown, $35, 416 pages, ISBN 9780316437318), Christopher Kimball and his testcook minions have been thinking about weeknight dinners that are quick, easy and vibrantly flavored. Kimball, one of the most trusted names in home cooking, shares that the secret to culinary success is combining familiar ingredients with spices, herbs, chiles, sauces, salsas and pungent pastes from

around the world. Pork tenderloin combines with kimchi, fresh shiitake mushrooms and scallions for an umamirich stir-fry; avocado puree and fresh tomato-cilantro salsa create a speedy, no-cook topping for seared salmon. Super sides include bright salads, pizzas and roasts, and there are also recipes for sweets to top off your dinner delights. Detailed instructions, with Kimball’s all-important “Don’ts,” and full-page color photos for each recipe make the making foolproof.

TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS “Simple” is not an adjective you’d ever think of when describing award-winning cookbook author and chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s cooking. But the latest addition to his growing list of gastro bestsellers is titled Ottolenghi Simple (Ten Speed, $35, 320 pages, ISBN 9781607749165), and it’s definitely not an oxymoron. Here, the brilliant chef who has lured us into new realms of flavor and spicing is determined to give us dishes from brunch through dessert that are streamlined yet “still distinctly Ottolenghi.” Home cooks have very different ideas about what constitutes simple, so each of the 130 recipes is plainly marked with a degree of simplicity. I’m a makeahead maven, big on long-simmering stews and one-dish wonders; you might be short on time and looking for recipes with fewer than 10 ingredients or a dinner that can be put together with pantry items. Now you can pick and choose according to your needs and the occasion, knowing that for Ottolenghi, simple equals sensational. His latest is guaranteed to excite and delight.

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Jump Into These New Audiobooks “Exciting and heartfelt... this is a crowd-pleaser.” —Publishers Weekly READ BY SUSAN BENNETT

The importance of balance as a leader by the #1 New York Times bestselling authors of Extreme Ownership READ BY THE AUTHORS “There are very, very few people who occupy the ground that Leonard Cohen walks on.” —Bono READ BY MARGARET ATWOOD, RODNEY CROWELL, JOHN DOE, WILL PATTON, SETH ROGEN MICHAEL SHANNON, AND MORE!

READ BY EDOARDO BALLERINI The first behind-the-scenes account of life with the legendary ravens READ BY THE AUTHOR

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MACMILLAN AUDIO

AUDIO BY SUKEY HOWARD

Policing and prejudice Matthew Horace doesn’t pull punches, and as a black man and a cop, he’s seen it all. A career law enforcement officer, he spent 28 years at the federal and local levels, ultimately becoming a senior executive at the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives and later a CNN contributor. In The Black and the Blue (Hachette Audio, 11 hours), his powerful, probing, unvarnished assessment of racial injustice in law enforcement today,

he comes out as a “champion of wholesale police reform in the United States,” unafraid to offer prescriptive advice on how to address the racism, prejudices, biases and the lethal “cops don’t tell on cops” tradition ingrained in police culture. Using in-depth interviews and his own experiences, Horace presents the vivid on-theground actuality of police brutality, misconduct, malfeasance and the needless, heedless shootings that capture headlines and snuff out lives all over America. Horace narrates like a pro with both passion and control.

HOME JOURNEY

“Delicately crafted by Gross and splendidly performed by Ballerini.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review on The One Man

FROM

columns

Adjoa Andoh performs much of Housegirl (Macmillan Audio, 10 hours), Michael Donkor’s accomplished, affecting debut novel, in sparkling Ghanaian English, immersing listeners in the world of Ghana and the Ghanaian diaspora. At 17, Belinda leaves her village and her mother behind to work as a housegirl for a wealthy couple who returned to their native Ghana to retire in luxury after making their fortune in London. Belinda finds solace in the daily domestic grind and in Mary, the charming, irrepressible 11-year-old housegirl-in-training who becomes like a little sister to her. But Belinda is uprooted again when close Ghana-

ian friends of her employers take Belinda to London, where she is tasked with befriending and providing a positive influence on their sullen teenage daughter, a student at an exclusive, mostly white private school. Surprisingly, their friendship blossoms after a few bumps, just as tragedy takes Belinda back to her homeland. At its core, Housegirl is a warmly perceptive look at female friendship as well as the angst, melodrama and confusion of coming of age in two clashing cultures.

TOP PICK IN AUDIO Nelson Mandela, one of the great moral heroes of our time and an icon of human resilience, spent 27 years in jail, 18 of them in an 8-by-7 cell on grim Robben Island in South Africa. In all that time he never faltered, never gave up hope for the future and an end to apartheid, never stopped fighting for his own dignity and that of his fellow prisoners, never stopped yearning for his wife, family and friends. How he endured and persevered is made clearer in the many letters he wrote during that time. The 255 published in The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela (Recorded Books, 20 hours), edited by Sahm Venter, are now available on audio, perfectly rendered by Atandwa Kani, whose flawless pronunciation of Xhosa names and phrases makes listening a totally engaging experience. There is lawyerly composure in Mandela’s letters describing his unrelenting quest for the rights of political prisoners. Yet also evident in these powerful and inspiring letters is the raw emotion and deep love of a man determined, against all odds, to remain a strong father and husband.


NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER/WIN. Sweepstakes begins on September 20, 2018 and ends on December 18, 2018. Open to legal residents of any 1 of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia who are at least 18 years old. Void where prohibited by law. Subject to full Official Rules.


Fascinating reading N E W I N PA P E R B AC K

A Washington Post Notable Book

“ Kelly’s account is insightful, at times humorous, hearttugging at others. And it’s inspiring enough to change the life of some lost kid, just like The Right Stuff did for him.”

“ A sophisticated collection of ‘six murderous tales,’ all stylishly told and worthy of being read aloud by the fire.” —The New York Times Book Review

—USA Today

“An unexpected delight…. Sleep No More…turns the classic murder mystery on its ear.”

“Captivating…. [Kelly] pulls back the curtain separating the myth of the astronaut from its human realities.”

—USA Today

—The New York Times Book Review

From the Man Booker Award–winning author of The Sea Glamorous gumshoes! Debutante detectives! Spinster sleuths! Meet them all in Edgar Award–winning editor Otto Penzler’s riveting and scintillating new anthology. “Entertaining…. An essential volume for crime lovers of all genders.” —Publishers Weekly

VINTAGE

“A brilliant and beguiling novel... and a reminder to us that not only does great literature endure, it engenders.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Banville’s ability to channel James’s style and prose rhythms is astonishing.” —Jeffrey Eugenides, The New York Times Book Review

A L S O AVA I L A B L E I N E B O O K Read excerpts, print reading group guides, find original essays and more at ReadingGroupCenter.com

ANCHOR


columns

BOOK CLUBS BY JULIE HALE

New in paperback Irish author Roddy Doyle delivers a daring narrative about the power of the past with his 11th novel, Smile (Penguin, $16, 224 pages, ISBN 9780735224469). After a breakup with his wife, Victor Forde leads a solitary life as a writer, and he begins frequenting a local pub, where he meets a man named Ed Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick claims to remember Victor from school and is familiar with his

personal history. After this strange encounter, Victor goes home to his apartment, where he’s soon lost in the maze of memory, recalling his student years at Christian Brothers school. In the days to come, as Victor continues to encounter Fitzpatrick and to recall his youth, an alarming discovery regarding his past brings about the book’s unforgettable finish. Doyle, the Booker Prize-winning author of Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, has written an electrifying novel that explores the importance—and imprecision—of memory. With its surprising conclusion, this haunting book will spur fascinating conversations.

RECIPE FOR SUCCESS With the entrepreneurial culture of San Francisco as a backdrop, Robin Sloan’s second novel, Sourdough: or, Lois and Her Adventures in the Underground Market (Picador, $17, 272 pages, ISBN 9781250192752), tells the story of Lois Clary, a young woman whose existence is transformed by (believe it or not) bread. Two immigrant brothers cook up a special type of sourdough that proves irresistible to their restaurant’s patrons, including Lois. When the brothers are deported, they leave her their sourdough starter, and

Lois begins baking in earnest. A colleague at the robotics factory where Lois works suggests that she sell the bread at a farmers market, and—one thing leading to another—she is soon invited to participate in Marrow Fair, a clandestine market involved in food experimentation. Lois makes for a witty, intelligent commentator in this skillfully constructed novel. Sloan, author of the bestselling Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, reinforces his reputation as a writer to watch with this rewarding read.

TOP PICK FOR BOOK CLUBS Set in the early 2000s as the Iraq War amps up, Asymmetry (Simon & Schuster, $16, 304 pages, ISBN 9781501166785), Lisa Halliday’s impressive debut novel, explores the complexities of relationships and the quest for creative fulfillment through three very different characters. In New York, Alice, an aspiring writer, gets involved with Ezra, an older, celebrated novelist. Living in the shadow of his literary fame proves difficult for Alice, and when health problems put Ezra in the hospital, she’s forced to come to terms with their relationship. The book’s second section focuses on Amar, an Iraqi-American economist who’s being interrogated at Heathrow Airport. Told in part through flashbacks, Amar’s narrative is dramatic and bleak. The novel’s third section unites the three characters, bringing their stories into penetrating focus. Halliday is a deft storyteller who provides remarkable insights into the human heart, and this book marks her arrival as an important new author.

Fresh Book Club Reads

for the fall I KNOW YOU KNOW by Gilly Macmillan “A thoroughly immersive thriller of the first order.” —Lisa Unger, New York Times bestselling author

THE SECRETS WE CARRIED by Mary McNear “The Secrets We Carried is a transformative story you won’t forget about grief, guilt, healing and hope.” —Patricia Harman, USA Today bestselling author

THE STYLIST by Rosie Nixon “A stylish, fun read, I absolutely loved it!” —Jackie Collins

WHEN THE MEN WERE GONE by Marjorie Herrera Lewis The inspiring true story of Tylene Wilson—a woman who surprised everyone as she became the first high school football coach in Texas during WWII.

 @Morrow_PB  @bookclubgirl  William Morrow  Book Club Girl

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columns

WELL READ

LIFESTYLES

BY ROBERT WEIBEZAHL

B Y S U S A N N A H F E LT S

There and back again

DIY downsizing

The work of Greek-born Swedish writer Theodor Kallifatides is not widely known in the United States. But based on the merits of his charming, late-life memoir, Another Life (Other Press, $22.95, 144 pages, ISBN 9781590519455), that shameful wrong needs to be righted. Slender in size, yet anything but slight in scope, this inviting meditation on age, writing and sense of place, beautifully translated into English by Marlaine Delargy, is witty, profound and thoroughly captivating. When Kallifatides turned 77 a few years ago, totally spent after producing more than 40 books, he decided it was time to retire as a writer. That decision would prove troublesome for a man whose identity and purpose were inextricably tied to the act of writing. What transpired was a kind of spiritual journey that took Kallifatides both mentally into the past and physically to the central places of his life as he sought a new objective. The first of these places is his longtime studio in the heart of Stockholm, where he continued to go each day even after making the decision not to write. When he ultimately gives up the office and stays home each day, it proves a jarring experience—not only because of the routines he must abandon, but also because he suddenly finds himself negotiating for space with his wife. Worst of all, he feels he is losing touch with the people and the rhythms of the city in which he was formerly and quite naturally immersed. He and his wife then head to their summer cottage in a lovely coastal town that has lost population over the 40-some years they have stayed there. Despite the beauty and memories of the place—or perhaps because of them—Kallifatides feels the emp-

I tell people all the time that it’s a dream of mine to build a tiny house in our backyard to use as a combo writing studio and guesthouse. Will it ever be a reality? Who knows, but Derek “Deek” Diedricksen’s new book, Micro Living: 40 Innovative Tiny Houses Equipped for Full-Time Living, in 400 Square Feet or Less (Storey, $18.95,

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tiness within himself growing. Finally, he travels to Athens, Greece, and to the village where he grew up, where the local school is to be renamed in his honor. He encounters a country that has changed greatly since his departure 50 years before, not least of all because of Greece’s financial crisis and the widening gap between rich and poor. Despite the aging writer’s ennui, Another Life is far from somber. Kallifatides is a companionable and funny guide (his 13-year-old grandson states that at Kallifatides’ funeral he will remember his grandfather not as a great writer but as the funniest person he knows—a declaration that brings tears to the old man’s eyes). So while Kallifatides ponders the dilemmas that plague Sweden and Greece and beyond—intolerance toward migrants, materialism, the growing propensity to offend others in the name of free speech—his manner is rueful, but not pessimistic. His friendly encounters with others—on the streets, in cafes— speak to our shared humanity and concurrent desires for a This inviting better life. meditation on In the end, as he witage, writing nesses Greek and sense high school of place is students thoroughly performing Aeschylus in captivating. his honor, his life as an expat comes full circle, and he reconnects with his native tongue after years of speaking and writing in Swedish. The floodgates open, and he begins to write again—for the first time in many years—in Greek. These writings eventually become Another Life. “You can say what is to be said in every language of the world,” Kallifatides writes in the final pages of this exquisite book, but some things are best expressed in your mother tongue.

256 pages, ISBN 9781612128764), might help me get there. Building on the success of his first book, Microshelters, Diedricksen profiles 40 tiny homes in this volume, from houses under 150 square feet to “big tinies” that max out at 400 square feet. In addition to floor plans and color photos for each house, readers also get a little bit of each owner’s story along with reflections from Diedricksen. My favorite part: a quote from each homeowner about what they wish they had (or hadn’t) done now that their vision is complete.

CUT AND PASTE Every so often, a lifestyle book comes along that makes me feel less alone. In the introduction to Lotta Jansdotter Paper, Pattern, Play (Abrams, $29.99, 240 pages, ISBN 9781419728914), author and designer Jansdotter mentions that for her, the process of looking at patterns and working with paper triggers an Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR): a soothing, pleasurable feeling. I never thought of paper and patterns as one of my own ASMR triggers—but yes! Most of the book’s pages are meant to be removed and used in the projects included, and each features one of Jansdotter’s own patterns, ranging from geometric to floral. How wonderful to have your main materials

provided. Projects run from simple, such as paper leaves that can be affixed to bare branches, to more complex, including party favors. I love the way Jansdotter livens up something as simple as a binder clip with a small rectangle of red-andwhite paper. “Paper is such a great medium for experimentation,” she writes. “It is low risk . . . and not too precious.” Pass the scissors.

TOP PICK IN LIFESTYLES “Natural ink is a whole landscape condensed into a little bottle,” writes Jason Logan, author of Make Ink: A Forager’s Guide to Natural Inkmaking (Abrams, $29.99, 192 pages, ISBN 9781419732430), a visually rich guide to making ink from foraged materials. We first encounter Logan, founder of the Toronto Ink Company, as he combs the wilds of Red Hook, Brooklyn, for source materials both plant-based and man-made: wild grapes, acorn caps, paint chips, rusted nails. Turning these things into ink is little more complicated than “waiting and stirring and waiting some more,” and his basic recipe for natural ink is indeed quite simple. Logan includes recipe variations for attaining specific colors such as Vine Charcoal, Pokeberry and Silvery Acorn Cap. The final third of the book relaxes into art with examples of Logan’s own ink tests as well as work from others who have experimented with his inks, such as Dave Eggers and Margaret Atwood. (“At least one bottle of wild grape ink almost exploded on its way to Stephen King,” he writes.) A conversation with author Michael Ondaatje rounds out this exquisite volume.


ROMANCE B Y C H R I S T I E R I D G WAY

Shelter from the storm Susan Mallery hits all the romance sweet notes in Why Not Tonight (HQN, $8.99, 384 pages, ISBN 9781335474605). Part-time gallery manager Natalie Kaleta braves an epic storm to check up on reclusive artist Ronan Mitchell and ends up stranded at his mountainside home. The circumstances allow them to become better

acquainted—and to acknowledge their simmering desire. A relationship wouldn’t be a bad thing, they decide, as long as it remains casual. But that’s not as easy as it sounds, even though Ronan has good reasons to resist getting serious. Returning to the charming community of Happily Inc. is like dropping in on old friends for coffee and cookies. Mallery’s breezy narrative and knack for penning good-humored dialogue pair well with a story in which the stakes are no more dire than healing hearts. Why Not Tonight arrives blissfully at the kind of happy-ever-after that every romance reader treasures.

control the attraction he feels for her. It’s mutual, and even though they are slow to trust, Pippa and Mal quickly find themselves in a passionate relationship. The start of a new series, Hidden stars flawed, freshly wounded characters. The tickingclock plot stretches the nerves, but Zanetti balances this with touches of humor—a dog in high heels!—and the burgeoning bond between lovers in her engrossing, entertaining read.

#1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author

She knows she is not in a real fairy tale... but sometimes dreams do come true. Why not this one?

TOP PICK IN ROMANCE

A most intriguing romance is found in the pages of Lady of a Thousand Treasures (Tyndale House, $24.99, 464 pages, ISBN 9781496426826) by Sandra Byrd. In Victorian England, Eleanor Sheffield continues the family business of appraising art and antiquities. But times are hard—her father has died, her uncle is ailing, an employee seems deceptive, and the man she thought she loved, Harry Lydney, has been in Italy far LOVE UNDERCOVER longer than expected. But Eleanor The suspense is chilling and is determined to earn the trust the romance is hot in Rebecca of her clients and to repair her Zanetti’s Hidden (Zebra, $7.99, relationship with Harry when he 400 pages, ISBN 9781420145816). finally returns from Europe. Told in Former undercover cop Malcolm first person, this standout romance West needs to recuperate from the is spiced with fascinating descriptions of treasures and the details mental and physical pain caused by his last assignment, so he moves of how such items are evaluated. Cameos by real historical characto a small rural community where the most exciting part of his day ters add another layer of interest. is catching a glimpse of his shy, Eleanor is a stalwart heroine who works through the steadily compretty neighbor Pippa. But almost pounding tension as she wrestles immediately, a secretive governwith her Christian faith. Readers ment team recruits him to investigate a dangerous cult that the will root for Eleanor to overcome woman next door used to belong her difficulties and for Harry and to. It’s not clear whether Pippa is in her to find their ultimate reward in danger or is a danger, but Mal can’t each other.

SUSAN MALLERY

why not tonight

The story continues in Happily Inc 11


features

ESI EDUGYAN

In search of true liberation

T

wo months before Esi Edugyan’s splendid new novel, Washington Black, was published in the United States, it was long-listed for the prestigious Man Booker Prize.

“That was a great gift,” Edugyan says of the favorable attention during a call to her home in Victoria, Canada. “I’m a Canadian novelist. Not only that, I’m a novelist from western Canada. To be noticed was like a miracle.” Washington Black is itself something of a miracle. Opening in Barbados in the 1830s, it tells the story of Washington Black, an 11-year-old slave on a sugar plantation whose life is forever changed when he is removed from hard labor and “loaned” by his owner to Christopher “Titch” Wilde. Titch is an eccentric naturalist, inventor and abolitionist who initially wants the young Washington to serve as ballast in his experiments with hot air balloons. Washington turns out to be a gifted artist and naturalist himself. The two develop a fraught relationship that takes them from Barbados to the Arctic and the deserts of Morocco until Washington ultimately gains his freedom. Told from Washington’s point of view, the novel examines both what it means to be truly free and

WASHINGTON BLACK

By Esi Edugyan

Knopf, $26.95, 352 pages ISBN 9780525521426, audio, eBook available

HISTORICAL FICTION

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the complex power dynamics of its central relationship. Edugyan, who was “born on the prairie” in Calgary, Alberta, is the daughter of parents who emigrated from Ghana. She is married to Steven Price, a poet and novelist, who is her first reader. “From the first draft, he’s the only one who knows what I am writing about,” she admits. The couple have two children, ages 6 and 3, who are voluble in the background as our conversation begins. “Yeah, they are pretty high energy,” she says, laughing. Edugyan took a circuitous journey in conceiving Washington Black, beginning with reading a story by Jorge Luis Borges about an ill-fated 19th-century impostor named Tom Castro, who claimed to be the shipwrecked scion of a wealthy English family. Borges’ story is told through the voice of an ex-slave. “I found myself interested in the voice of this former slave and his journey from one world—a very brutal world—to this other world. That’s where the book grew out of.” It is apparent from her previous novel, Half-Blood Blues, also a Man Booker Prize nominee, that Edugyan is fascinated by sounds and voices within her fiction. HalfBlood Blues unfolds from the point of view of a black jazz musician in Germany at the outbreak of World War II and captures the rhythms of jazz and the desperation of that era. In Washington Black, Washington’s voice seems to speak across the decades from the 19th century. “They had to sound true to their eras and backgrounds,” Edugyan says of her narrators. “I wanted this to have the sense of a written narrative, a bit formal, as though it’s a slave narrative that’s been transcribed for the record.” Edugyan says she doesn’t write autobiographically and speculates that writing from male points of

view “is maybe a way to put some distance from myself.” To achieve that authentic-sounding voice, Edugyan read a lot of nonfiction. She mentions Adam Hochschild’s Bury the Chains, Richard Holmes’ The Age of Wonder and Andrea Wulf’s book on the German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, The Invention of Nature, as being influential. “I’m somebody who really enjoys reading widely,” Edugyan says. “I enjoy research and delving into things deeply. But of course, at some point the trick is to stop, because you could turn your whole life into researching. At about the halfway mark, you don’t want “I didn’t to do any more want these research. Then you’re reading abolitionists for prose that to be viewed is just really as the great beautifully white saviors. written.” The 1830s, in It’s not just which Washblack and ington Black white.” is set, were an especially significant decade in the history of slavery. Although the slave trade had been outlawed in the British Empire, slavery itself was still legal. “It seemed like this was a really potent time,” Edugyan says. It afforded her the opportunity to examine the complex relationship between Washington and Titch. “I wanted to show something more nuanced and more subtle about the relationship. I didn’t want these abolitionists to be viewed as the great white saviors. It’s not just black and white. I think there’s a lot of gray. Theirs is not a true friendship. The power imbalance is just so staggering.”

© TAMARA POPPITT

INTERVIEW BY ALDEN MUDGE

Both Titch and Washington are haunted by their pasts. Titch, burdened by the expectations of his colonial family, is a man “who was very enlightened for his era, very open-minded. You get the sense that if he met Washington today, they could have a good friendship. But he’s living in the shadow of this very strange relationship. There’s something unfinished there.” And Washington? “He comes out of a life of brutality and savagery. He’s wondering how to begin to live a life that he owns.” Furthermore, the early 19th century was a period when Europeans were exploring the Arctic. Her knowledge of sea life adds pleasurable depth to the novel. “We live right on the coast,” she explains. “Having young children always asking questions when you’re at the beach makes you see things anew. Growing up, I didn’t know tons about sea life, but I’m learning now. It’s an interest of mine.” Her efforts have paid off in this story of high adventure with a unique and compelling character. “I’m lucky to be writing in an era when stories from people of color are things people want to hear. I know that 30 years ago that was not the case. It was a struggle. But I do feel now in the Canadian landscape there’s a real effort being made to be more inclusive.”


features

SUSAN ORLEAN

Shelf respect

T

he idea began with an interview. Susan Orlean’s then 6-year-old son had a school assignment to interview a city employee in their new hometown of Los Angeles.

A boy after his mother’s own heart, he chose a librarian. As the pair walked through the doors of a nearby branch library, Orlean, the famed author of The Orchid Thief, was overcome by what she calls “a Proustian kind of moment” filled with memories of countless childhood visits to the library in Shaker Heights, Ohio, with her mother, who worked in a bank but frequently declared that she would’ve loved to have been a librarian. Now, years later, that moment has come full circle with the publication of Orlean’s spellbinding love letter to this beloved institution, The Library Book, dedicated to her son (now a teenager) and late mother, who died from dementia as Orlean wrote her tribute. “I got very emotional, thinking, these are amazing places and my association with them is so profound,” Orlean recalls, speaking by phone from Banff, Canada. “I love writing about places that I feel that I know very well but have never really examined. The library was exactly that sort of place.” Nonetheless, when she casually

THE LIBRARY BOOK

By Susan Orlean

Simon & Schuster, $28, 336 pages ISBN 9781476740188, audio, eBook available

HISTORY

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mentioned to her publisher that she would enjoy spending a year in a library to see what goes on, she knew some sort of essential ingredient was missing from her pitch. “It felt a bit amorphous. I loved the idea of it, but it had a little bit of a saggy-baggy feel, and it didn’t quite create a “I love writing narrative.” It wasn’t long about places before Orlean that I feel that discovered— quite literalI know very well but have ly—the spark to enliven her never really account. She examined. The was invited on a personal tour library was of the Los Anexactly that geles Central sort of place.” Library, and at one point her librarian guide cracked open a book, held it to his face and “inhaled deeply,” saying, “You can still smell the smoke in some of them.” Orlean was puzzled, asking if patrons had been allowed to smoke in the building in the past. The librarian shot her a wary look, then proceeded to tell her about a disastrous fire that consumed the building on April 29, 1986, reaching 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and burning for more than seven hours, destroying or damaging more than a million books. Miraculously, there were no fatalities. “I just about fell off my chair,” Orlean says. “It was such an amazingly interesting and complicated story, and it provided me with this other narrative thread to take me through this bigger story of writing about libraries in general.” Adding to the narrative appeal, the fire’s cause remains a mystery—arson was suspected. Orlean’s account of the arson investigation reads like a whodunit. In her minute-by-minute account of the conflagration, she writes, “The library was spreading fluidly,

like spilled ink.” The stacks acted as fireplace flues, while the books provided fuel.” One firefighter later told Orlean, “We thought we were looking at the bowels of hell.” The main suspect was a young wannabe actor named Harry Peak, who died in 1993. An infuriating yet irresistible personality, Peak had a series of constantly changing alibis. After interviewing Peak’s family and friends, Orlean concludes that as likable as he seemed to be, he was “mighty close” to being a pathological liar. She notes that he offered each of his changing alibis “with certainty and a full-throated delivery of, ‘This is exactly what I was doing that day.’” That’s very rare, Orlean explains. “A lot of people have an alibi for a crime. It’s rare to have seven.” She spent four and a half years researching, interviewing and writing. “I made a decision that I wanted to spend time in every department. Every piece of the library, from the people in the basement cataloging all the way up through all of the subject departments. That took a good amount of time, as well as just going [to the library] a lot to get a feel for the place.” Orlean’s far-reaching research even involved starting her own little inferno so she could see firsthand what Peak might have experienced if he had indeed started the fire. Appropriately enough, she decided to burn a paperback copy of Ray Bradbury’s classic book-burning novel, Fahrenheit 451. She chose a windless day in her backyard, finding the task “incredibly hard,” because she has “come to believe that books have souls.”

© NOAH FECKS

INTERVIEW BY ALICE CARY

She was amazed to discover that books catch fire “like little bombs.” She adds, “It just seemed like [the book] grabbed the flames and went boom. I remember asking my husband, ‘Did that just happen?’ I kept thinking, ‘Wow, that was just crazy that went so fast.’ There was nothing left.” With crackling, page-turning prose, Orlean manages to seamlessly weave the story of the library’s devastating fire and the aftermath with a bird’s eye look at both the mechanics of LA’s immense city library and its unexpectedly riveting history. Just like the library itself, Orlean’s book is filled to the brim with a wide array of fascinating details and behind-the-scenes personalities and anecdotes. For book lovers, it’s a veritable treasure trove. Orlean mentions that librarianship has become more popular. “It really does combine a sense of social contribution with a generation of young people who’ve grown up with information technology. I think there’s a fascination with curating and accessing information, and then you combine that with doing something that feels like it has a social value.” Might her latest book inspire readers to join the profession? “If that were to happen, I would feel that I had done something amazing.”


CELEBRITY MEMOIRS BY LINDA M. CASTELLITTO

Let them entertain you

O

ur society may adore celebrities, but we can’t know what really goes on in their hearts and minds unless they choose to tell us. These standout new entries in the crowded celebrity-memoir field are fascinating chronicles of lives spent answering Hollywood’s siren call. Ellie Kemper’s biographical essay collection My Squirrel Days (Scribner, $26, 256 pages, ISBN 9781501163340) traces her path from suburban St. Louis, Missouri, to the titular lead in the acclaimed TV show “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” Kemper loved performing from an early age, whether she was writing dramatic pieces for a beloved second-grade teacher or creating elaborate, often grueling, holiday shows with her siblings. “These shows took years off my life,” she writes. Kemper jokes about her neuroses and obsessions, but she doesn’t apologize— after all, her relentless perfectionism served her well when she used that drive to create a one-woman show that caught the eye of “Saturday Night Live.” She didn’t get the gig, but she did get a call from the creator of “The Office,” and her career blossomed from there. Kemper is open about her missteps, too, whether embarking on an unfortunate attempt at method acting (“Squirrel”) or falling on historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. My Squirrel Days takes readers up to the present, in which Kemper is a wife, new mom, showlead and SoulCycle devotee. It’s a great read for comedy fans, thanks to a deft balance of life lessons and madcap goings-on, and it’s proof that hard work and optimism really can pay off.

AN EXAMINED LIFE With roles like Gidget, Sybil, the Flying Nun and myriad others under her belt, Sally Field has been a household name since the 1960s, yet for the most part, she has lived a private life. But in her

affecting and compelling memoir, In Pieces (Grand Central, $29, 416 pages, ISBN 9781538763025), Field shares with fans the truths, many of them painful, of her life. The book is framed by her relationship with her late mother, Margaret. “I wait for my mother to haunt me as she promised she would,” she writes. “This isn’t new, this longing I have for her.” In fact, she felt distant from her mother her whole life, the consequence of a painful secret Field held onto for decades. Field writes movingly about the loneliness she felt even while surrounded by family and colleagues. In Pieces also includes plenty of period details about how studios were run, auditions conducted and

“2 Dope Queens” podcast with Jessica Williams into HBO specials and hung out with the likes of Julia Roberts and Bono. That last one’s especially notable, because Robinson’s been carrying a torch for him (as devotedly noted in her first book, You Can’t Touch My Hair) for some time. Once they met, he was charmed, and now they’re doing charity projects together. Speaking of social activism, Robinson offers incisive and insightful cultural criticism in essays like, “Feminism, I Was Rooting for You,” which explains her frustration with today’s feminism (which, she notes, is mainly about “protecting the institution of white feminism”) and makes an unassailable case

money paid (not to mention the perils of typecasting and endemic sexism). Readers will feel nervous—and then triumphant—right along with her. By book’s end, Field answers important questions for herself, gaining clarity from how the pieces fit together.

for allyship and inclusion. Whether sharing tales of misadventure or dating tips, Robinson is a topnotch storyteller who takes readers on a funny, memorable ride.

FEMINIST, FUNNY, FABULOUS In her second essay collection, Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay (Plume, $26, 336 pages, ISBN 9780525534143), fans will be happy to see that Phoebe Robinson is, to borrow an Oprah catchphrase, living her best life. She’s been in a movie (Netflix’s Ibiza), launched another podcast (WNYC’s “Sooo Many White Guys”), turned her

DEEP IS THEIR LOVE Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman have been an adored celebrity couple for many years. With humor and delightful vulgarity, the two let readers eavesdrop on their conversations in The Greatest Love Story Ever Told: An Oral History (Dutton, $28, 288 pages, ISBN 9781101986677). Although the book is composed mostly of transcripts, essays by Offerman and Mullally add variety, and there are photos, too, including cute

baby pictures and stylish shots of the duo in various costumes. They dish on how they met and reflect on 18 years together through the lens of family, religion, music, art and the vagaries of fame, offering an earnest, insightful window into their relationship, past and present (though readers who don’t like transcripts may prefer an audio version). As a way to turn off work and reconnect, Mullally and Offerman recommend doing jigsaws together, and the book ends with a collection of triumphant photos of completed puzzles. From the looks of it, their beloved dogs get a kick out of it, too.

FAR FROM IDLE In Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography (Crown Archetype, $27, 304 pages, ISBN 9781984822581), writer/comedian/musician Eric Idle offers fans an excellent way to gear up for Monty Python’s 50th anniversary in 2019 via immersion in his own life story, along with his take on the members and memories of the comedy troupe. Idle starts at the beginning: “By coincidence, I was born on my birthday.” Specifically, in 1943 England. When he was a child, Idle’s widowed mother put him in an austere charitable boarding school for boys, where he lived until age 19. Despite the grimness of the place, Idle found comedy in dark moments. “Humor is a good defense against bullying,” after all, and “unhappiness is never forever.” That attitude—and his unflagging drive to create—has stayed with him (he’s 75 now) and informed his work in all its guises, and he’s certainly found lots to be happy about. He shares stories about fellow famous folk like George Harrison, Robin Williams, the Rolling Stones and the cast of Star Wars (all sometimes at the same parties). There are lots of concrete lessons for aspiring creators, too. It’s a fascinating, warmly told, often zany memoir of a life fully lived so far—with more fun sure to come.

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features

HALLOWEEN B Y H I L L I L E V I N A N D L I LY M C L E M O R E

Read on—if you dare

I

t’s officially the month to be spooky, and you can only watch so many classic horror reruns each year, so why not try a fresh, new story? From spinetingling tales for the hard-to-scare to books with just a touch of terror, we’ve got the Halloween read for you.

ANTHONY BOURDAIN’S HUNGRY GHOSTS

DRACUL By Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker

By Anthony Bourdain and Joel Rose

Putnam, $27, 512 pages ISBN 9780735219342

The guts of the tale: Before his death in June 2018, beloved badboy chef and comic lover Anthony Bourdain had wrapped up work on this comic anthology of tales of haunted chefs and bedeviled diners with his Get Jiro! collaborator and friend, Joel Rose. Filled with gruesome art from some of the comic world’s top horror artists and inspired by Japanese folklore, the collection is centered on a group of chefs who take turns telling increasingly horrifying tales of spirits like Hidarugami, the ravenous souls of those who starved to death, or Jikininki, ghouls who feast on the dead. Bone-chilling quote: “There’s just something about horseflesh. I crave it.” For fans of: The Tales from the Crypt and Haunt of Fear comic series or anyone interested in the legacy of Bourdain, whom Rose lovingly calls “the hungriest ghost of them all” in a dedication penned after the chef’s death. Costume inspiration: Check out the glossary filled with legendary Japanese spirits like Yuki-Onna, a beautiful spirit with a deadly kiss.

The guts of the tale: Dacre Stoker, the great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker, and established horror author J.D. Barker (The Fourth Monkey) have teamed up to pen this prequel of sorts to Dracula, the 1897 vampire novel that kicked off the still-fervent fascination with the Count. In keeping with the classic’s epistolary style, Dracul is written as journal entries and features Bram himself as the protagonist. This delightfully gothic tale is packed with gore and atmosphere. Bone-chilling quote: “He smiled at me and tapped on the glass again with his fingernails. His nails were long and yellow, hideously so. Oh, and his teeth! . . . His lips were curled back like those of a snarling dog, and his teeth were like fangs. He licked at his lips and said my name. He said it so quietly, as if mouthing it, yet I heard him perfectly, as if he were right next to me.” For fans of: Dracula by Bram Stoker (duh), The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova or Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield. Costume inspiration: This one’s obvious: Grab a cape and some plastic fangs! Spook-o-meter:

Berger, $14.99, 128 pages ISBN 9781506706696

Spook-o-meter:

party-planning inspiration and a book of charms all rolled into one. Mickie Mueller provides insight into Halloween’s origins, along with simple spells (sprinkle thyme in your shoes for courage), recipes and decor ideas that are perfect for your own gathering of spirits. Bone-chilling quote: “Bats have been a longtime symbol of Halloween, and it’s not because they’re I’ve met a few, and they’re THE WITCH OF WILLOW HALL scary; really not.” (Which sounds exactly By Hester Fox like something a bat disguised as a Graydon House, $15.99, 368 pages human would say!) ISBN 9781525833014 For fans of: All things Halloween! Costume inspiration: Something The guts of the tale: Equal parts ro- classic, like a sheet-clad ghost. mantic and supernaturally chilling, Spook-o-meter: Hester Fox’s sweeping tale is set in 1821 New England, two centuries after the infamous Salem witch trials. But it looks like the witches were real after all, and young Lydia Montrose has the lineage and burgeoning power to prove it. A creepy estate, juicy scandal, family secrets, ghosts and a handsome yet mysterious suitor make this a satisfying and quietly foreboding tale that never gets too dark. Bone-chilling quote: “It’s a slow moan, a keening wail. The sound is DEVIL’S DAY so wretched that it’s the culminaBy Andrew Michael Hurley tion of every lost soul and groan of HMH, $26, 304 pages cold wind that has ever swept the ISBN 9781328489883 earth.” For fans of: Deborah Harkness, The guts of the tale: John thought Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman, he had escaped the superstitious Jane Eyre and “Charmed.” ways of the wild English counCostume inspiration: A witch from tryside. Yet when his grandfather the era of your choosing. dies, he is pulled back into his family’s tiny farming community, Spook-o-meter: where strange things have been occurring. Has the devil slipped in among the flocks of sheep? Or has the devil always been among them? This atmospheric, eerie novel is perfect for a rainy night in. Bone-chilling quote: “Days were late to lighten and quick to end and people began to die. The older folk first, coughing up their lungs in shreds like tomato skins, and then LLEWELLYN’S LITTLE BOOK the children, burning with fever.” For fans of: Wolf Winter by Cecilia OF HALLOWEEN Ekbäck, Burial Rites by Hannah By Mickie Mueller Kent or Hurley’s previous book, Llewellyn, $12.99, 240 pages The Loney. ISBN 9780738758213 Costume inspiration: A wolf in sheep’s clothing. The guts of the tale: This little book is a history of Halloween, a Spook-o-meter:

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reviews T PI OP CK

FICTION

VIRGIL WANDER

To share each other’s burdens REVIEW BY LANGSTON COLLIN WILKINS

Leif Enger’s third novel, Virgil Wander, centers on the eponymous protagonist who lives in the quaint, rustic town of Greenstone, Minnesota. By day, Virgil begrudgingly works as the town clerk, but by night, he is the proprietor of the Empress, a fledgling movie theater that specializes in projecting its exclusive and illegal film collection. During a drive one snowy evening, Virgil’s car skids off the road and crashes into Lake Superior. Luckily, he is a saved by Marcus Jetty, the owner of the local junkyard. Virgil emerges from the accident with a fleeting grasp of language and flickering memories of his former life. After his near-death experience, Virgil embarks on a journey of rediscovery through interactions with fellow townspeople, each of whom are engaged in their own respective voyages. There’s Rune, the By Leif Enger affable Finnish kite-maker who is in town seeking information about Grove, $27, 352 pages his deceased son, Alec Sandstrom, whose death is central to GreenISBN 9780802128782, audio, eBook available stone lore. Nadine is Alec’s widow, whom Virgil not so secretly pines LITERARY FICTION for. Nadine’s son, Bjorn, seeks to both engage with and escape from his father’s memory. There’s also Jerry Fandeen, the lovable yet untrustworthy handyman trapped in a vulnerable situation. These select few are among the many characters that make up the body and communal soul of the small Minnesota community. Greenstone and its townspeople share a heartbeat that has been thrown off-cadence by a sense of hopelessness. Struggles may vary from person to person, but they add up to a central thread of suffering that permeates the entire town. However, the story suggests that there is hope in this synergy. Collective precariousness can be transformed into collective uplift. A book like Virgil Wander, with so many characters and subplots, can make for a convoluted read. But Enger does a truly masterful job of synthesizing these various components into a compelling and easily digestible whole. Virgil Wander is a fast-paced, humorous and mystical novel about hope, friendship, love and the relationship between a town and its people.

TRANSCRIPTION By Kate Atkinson

Little, Brown $28, 352 pages ISBN 9780316176637 Audio, eBook available HISTORICAL FICTION

A novel from the multiple award-winning author Kate Atkinson (Behind the Scenes at the Museum, Life After Life) is always cause for celebration. Transcription, based on the life of a former Secret Service worker during World War II, is no exception. A hallmark of Atkinson’s work is her playful use of time. Transcription starts at the end of a life when,

18

at 60, Juliet Armstrong is hit by a car in a London street. Readers are then plunged back to the 1940s, when 18-year-old Juliet finds herself at loose ends after the death of her mother. Eager to assist in the war effort, she joins MI5. Quickly plucked from the initial tasks of departmental filing and collating, she is placed in an agency-owned apartment, where she transcribes recordings of the secret comings and goings of a group of fascist sympathizers. Juliet is eventually given a nom de guerre and sent to infiltrate a group of wealthy appeasers. The work is mostly dull (transcribing) and occasionally terrifying (shimmying down drainpipes). When the war ends, she presumes her role with the agency is finished as well.

A decade later, Juliet is producing children’s radio dramas, and the personnel overlap between MI5 and the BBC is unusually high. When she is confronted by persons she thought were long gone, she realizes that not everything was tied up as neatly as she was led to believe. Though the war is over, it turns out there are still enemies that must be reckoned with. Atkinson created a new approach to the detective novel in her delightful Jackson Brodie series, which began with Case Histories in 2004. Similarly, Transcription combines elements of the spy novel with Atkinson’s love of British history, a tremendous knack for getting the details right and a unique take on human behavior. Transcription has its share of in-

trigues and secrets, but it also has a level of wit and poignancy that many espionage novels lack. Based in part on archival records and period memoirs, Transcription is a rich, sometimes comic, always insightful peek at a unique aspect of British history. Learning about women who participated in the British Secret Service and the BBC is just icing on the cake. —LAUREN BUFFERD

THE WITCH ELM By Tana French

Viking $28, 528 pages ISBN 9780735224629 Audio, eBook available SUSPENSE

With cunning psychological prowess, Tana French’s first standalone crime novel after six Dublin Murder Squad mysteries plumbs the recesses of our darkest thoughts. In Dublin, on an almost-Halloween evening, Toby Hennessy, his girlfriend and his cousins are hanging out at Ivy House, Uncle Hugo’s grand abode, asking each other, “What’s the worst thing you ever did?” The game is a way of tiptoeing around how each of them may be connected to the discovery of a skull in the wych elm tree in the Ivy House garden. The macabre discovery is not the only recent misfortune in the Hennessy family. Uncle Hugo has a brain tumor, and Toby nearly dies when he’s attacked in his flat, possibly in connection to a scandal at the art gallery where he works. The plot surrounding the skull comes into focus through Toby’s murky lens of pain, frustration and the medications required after this tragic combination of events. Toby has always been lucky, a handsome charmer who can talk his way out of scrapes and befriend just about anyone. But who is he if his luck has run out? French rips open the chasm between Toby’s before and after, viscerally describing his fear as “dark, misshapen, taloned, hang-


ing somewhere above and behind me waiting for its next moment to drop onto my back and dig in deep.” Add to Toby’s troubles his worried girlfriend and sensitive, conniving cousins, and it becomes apparent that The Witch Elm is about more than the crime behind the skull; it is about what happens when a great upheaval cracks open life’s shell and reveals one’s true potential. With this thorough search into the criminal mind, French reaffirms her place as one of our finest crime novelists. Her characters become as familiar as family yet as unpredictable as strangers, creating a chilling sense that everything could shift at any time. —MARI CARLSON

KILLING COMMENDATORE By Haruki Murakami

Knopf $30, 704 pages ISBN 9780525520047 Audio, eBook available LITERARY FICTION

Like all of Haruki Murakami’s stories, Killing Commendatore is vast, ambitious and composed of seemingly disparate layers that somehow all find a way to link together. It’s a meditation on loss, an exploration of the nature of art, an ode to the things we find when granted solitude and so much more. Most of all, it’s another brilliant journey through the mind of one of our greatest living storytellers. Killing Commendatore follows a portrait painter whose wife simply tells him one day that she’s leaving him. In response, he leaves the city, quits painting portraits and holes up in the mountain home of another famous painter, where one day while searching the attic, he discovers a seemingly lost work by the artist. The discovery of the painting—and the scene it depicts—sets in motion a bizarre and fascinating chain of events involving an odd man in a neighboring mansion, a pit in the middle of the woods, the literal manifestation of

an idea and much more. One of Murakami’s most effective techniques is his economy of language, which creates a constant juxtaposition of extraordinary events and deceptively simple, unhurried prose. The painter narrates the novel, and Murakami’s depiction of his placid, passive state as the story begins only serves to underline the intensity of his subsequent journey. Like his protagonist, Murakami does not set out to impress or overwhelm, but to understand, and this intention breeds a sense of tremendous empathy with every page. The real magic of Killing Commendatore, as with the rest of Murakami’s extraordinary body of work, lies in the way he is able to weave together so many emotional, aesthetic and philosophical concerns in such an effective way. It’s a joyously unpredictable novel, cracking itself open one piece at a time like an ancient puzzle box, and Murakami’s careful, masterful style assures the reader that it’s worthwhile to get happily lost inside. —MATTHEW JACKSON

THE CLOCKMAKER’S DAUGHTER By Kate Morton

Atria $28, 496 pages ISBN 9781451649390 Audio, eBook available HISTORICAL FICTION

One of the enduring staples of fiction is the English country house. They are centerpieces of many novels, from Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day to Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. Kate Morton puts one such house at the center of The Clockmaker’s Daughter. The house, situated on the River Thames, is Birchwood Manor, with staircases that turn at odd angles and “wall panels with clever concealments.” The house also conceals a secret inhabitant: a ghost who once went by the name Lily Millington and who now spies on guests who periodically drop by.

q&a

LEIF ENGER BY LANGSTON COLLIN WILKINS

A good life

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n Virgil Wander, Leif Enger’s first novel in 10 years, the Minnesota author offers a delightful yet meditative depiction of collective healing through the story of his eponymous hero and the citizens of a small town.

© ROBIN ENGER

FICTION

The Midwest is both a backdrop and, in many ways, a character in your work. What makes the area so special? The easiest answer is simply the region’s generous beauty—treed pastures, woodlots, lakes full of fish, plowed fields where you can still find arrowheads after it rains, places on the shore of Superior where waves bash the cliff sides. It’s like being in a gothic novel. Alongside all this, we tend to be complicated citizens, mostly polite, with a subfrequency of gloom or injury, as though we are continually being bypassed in the race for approval, and for which we compensate by drumming up a sense of moral rightness. My reporter friends used to joke about printing up T-shirts with the slogan, “We’re Not Bitter,” which seemed hilarious to me. You worked as a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio for almost two decades. How did this experience influence your writing? Radio journalism is great training for fiction because it throws you among people you’d otherwise never encounter, and they are bravely telling you what’s important to them. In this situation, everything is magnified—their distinctive voices, underlying melancholy, their ambitions realized and thwarted. I had the everyday arrogance of the young man with a microphone, and it was a jolt to realize that five minutes into an interview, I was completely on the side of whomever was talking. Their politics, race, religion didn’t matter—once you start listening to people, you mainly start to like them. The characters in Virgil Wander feel very real. This is certainly a testament to your imagination and writing ability, but I’m curious: Are there parts of Leif Enger in Virgil Wander? I fly kites at every chance, which turns off the clock and unhooks the imagination like nothing else. I’m drawn in all seasons to Lake Superior, our achingly gorgeous, profoundly dangerous inland sea. And I love baseball—my dad and uncle played in various North Dakota town and semipro leagues. Both were pitchers, and I based Alec Sandstrom’s particular talent on what Dad said about his brother Clarence: He threw the hardest fastball I ever saw, and never once knew where it was going. Virgil Wander is full of tragedies, but there is an undercurrent of hope. Is it difficult to negotiate darkness and light in your writing? A few years ago, I became an intermittent insomniac, the result of middle age and its common discouragements—illness, dying parents, the usual cornucopia of personal failures. Two in the morning is an unforgiving time to take stock of yourself, so I started . . . reading books that reminded me of goodness. Over time, certain authors emerged as reliable songbirds whose work seemed written in the voice of friendship. It’s hard to feel despondent when you’re sharing the world with Ann Tyler or Montaigne or Melville or Hornby or Chabon. Often I will read for half the night. Eventually the sky lightens, and the crows start Visit BookPage.com to read talking. Then I go to work. more of our Q&A with Leif Enger.

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reviews Lily first came to Birchwood in July 1862, when aspiring artist Edward Radcliffe invited fellow anti-establishment types to the house for a summer of painting. He couldn’t have predicted the fateful night to come, a night that featured “[t]wo unexpected guests. Two long-kept secrets. A gunshot in the dark.” That gunshot took the life of Fanny Brown, Edward’s fiancée. Cut to 2017, when Elodie Winslow is working as an archivist, caring for the former belongings of Victorian banker James Stratton. One day, she discovers a waxed cardboard box containing a document case belonging to Stratton and a sketchbook of Edward’s. Among the drawings is one of Birchwood Manor. It turns out that the house has relevance to Elodie’s family. What follows is an intricate tale that involves an 8-year-old girl who grows up in Bombay before her English parents abandon her at Birchwood in 1899; a 1920s historian researching the story of Edward Radcliffe; and a present-day journalist in search of a gem known as the Radcliffe Blue. The Clockmaker’s Daughter is overstuffed with incident, but readers who enjoy a symphony of voices and multiple storylines will find much to like here. Morton builds considerable drama as she unveils the secrets behind Fanny’s death, the gem and more. It’s an imaginative tale for fans of historical fiction. —MICHAEL MAGRAS

A SPARK OF LIGHT By Jodi Picoult

Ballantine $28.99, 384 pages ISBN 9780345544988 Audio, eBook available POPULAR FICTION

Following her incisive novel Small Great Things (2016), which delved into the white supremacist movement, Jodi Picoult takes on the explosive topic of abortion rights in A Spark of Light. Picoult sets her story in Jackson,

FICTION Mississippi—all the action taking place over one long day at the Center, a women’s clinic for those who had “run out of time and had run out of choices.” Picoult begins her riveting saga at the end of the story, when George Goddard—a distraught, anti-abortion father whose teenage daughter With her latest recently had novel, Jodi an abortion at the CenPicoult takes ter—storms on another inside, fires explosive, several shots timely issue: and takes abortion rights an unknown number of in America. hostages. Hostage negotiator Hugh McElroy has been called to the scene to confront George. Picoult then moves backward in time, hour by hour, gradually filling in the details of those who came to the Center that day and why they came. She approaches this divisive issue from all sides—not blaming or condoning, but shining a perceptive light into the lives of those now hoping to survive the hostage situation. Izzy, a nurse, struggles with the dilemma of whether or not to tell her boyfriend about her newly discovered pregnancy. She’s risen from a childhood of poverty and doesn’t want to rely on him, “the prince from the entitled family.” After the shooting, Izzy tends to the leg wound suffered by Dr. Ward, whose own mother died from an illegal abortion. Dr. Ward regularly travels between four states to provide abortions for women living where almost all such clinics have closed. Joy completed her abortion before the shooting starts—and although she wanted the procedure, she’s still in mourning for what she’s lost. She lived in foster care for 10 years and didn’t want another child to go through the same miserable experience. Janine is at the Center faking a pregnancy—she’s an anti-abortion activist trying to prove the clinic doesn’t offer prenatal care. She lives with the guilt of her own

abortion after she was raped at a fraternity party. In Picoult’s words, Janine has “white-washed the stain with years of pro-life activism.” Also inside the Center that morning are Hugh’s teenage daughter, Wren, and his older sister, Bex, who has helped raise Wren since Hugh’s wife left them years ago. Wren is there for a prescription for birth control pills, and she asked Bex to accompany her so she wouldn’t have to walk alone past the line of protesters. Interspersed with these stories of how each character came to be at the Center are the ongoing negotiations between Hugh and George, heightening the tension throughout the novel, even though most of the denouement occurs in the opening chapter. A Spark of Light is another winner for Picoult—a provocative exploration of an issue that is in the spotlight now more ever before. —DEBORAH DONOVAN

NOVEMBER ROAD By Lou Berney

Morrow $26.99, 320 pages ISBN 9780062663849 Audio, eBook available HISTORICAL FICTION

Novels revolving around the assassination of John F. Kennedy have become a genre unto themselves. There are plenty, and likely even more conspiracy theories to boot. So at first take, November Road, the new thriller from author Lou Berney, may seem like just another book to add to the stack. Berney, though, is not just another author. Through gorgeous prose, the Edgar, Macavity and Anthony Award-winning author of The Long and Faraway Gone elevates an otherwise simple cat-and-mouse story into a heartfelt journey of hope and discovery for two characters running from their pasts. While the loss of the president is certainly felt throughout November Road, it only serves as a backdrop to what is essentially a story of redemption. The novel

follows Frank Guidry, an enforcer for mobster Carlos Marcello, whose hands are all over JFK’s death. Frank is tasked with retrieving and disposing of a getaway car parked near the scene of the crime in Dallas, and a hit man has been tasked with disposing of Frank once the job is done. Aware that his life is in jeopardy, Frank makes a desperate dash for freedom along Route 66. At the same time, young mother Charlotte Roy, along with her two daughters, is making her escape from a failed marriage in Oklahoma. Naturally, the storylines eventually cross as Frank encounters Charlotte, whom he sees as a way to throw off his pursuer. What begins as a convenient way to cover his tracks evolves into a serious romance between the two characters. But with a killer after Frank, the suspense builds toward a fateful showdown. In the end, November Road is more than the sum of its parts—a thrilling plot, an iconic period piece and unforgettable characters. Above all, it’s an American novel not to be missed. —G. ROBERT FRAZIER

Visit BookPage.com to read a Q&A with Lou Berney.

THE CAREGIVER By Samuel Park

Simon & Schuster $26, 288 pages ISBN 9781501178771 Audio, eBook available FAMILY SAGA

It’s bittersweet to crack open The Caregiver, Samuel Park’s long-awaited follow-up to his luminous, romantic epic set in Korea, This Burns My Heart (2011). Park died of stomach cancer in 2017, so his second full-length novel is also his last. It’s a tender mother-daughter story that alternates between 1980s Brazil and presentday Los Angeles, two places that Park—who was born in Brazil and lived in Los Angeles for years— knew well. Mara Alencar left her native

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reviews Brazil in the 1980s at age 16, fleeing that country’s turmoil. Ten years later, she’s living in Los Angeles in a tiny apartment with two other Brazilian expats and drifting through her days as a caregiver to a cancer-stricken woman in Bel Air. A wealthy 40-something, the divorced and childless Kathryn calls Mara her adopted daughter and jokes about leaving her house to Mara when she dies. Despite this professed affection, Kathryn knows little about the woman who sees to her comfort on a daily basis. Mara likes it that way. She’s trying to forget her past—and her brave and impetuous mother, Ana, who spurred Mara’s escape to the U.S. thanks to her connections with revolutionaries. Although Mara hasn’t seen or spoken to her mother since leaving Brazil, Ana haunts everything Mara does and every choice she makes. As chapters alternate between Mara’s past in Brazil and her present-day life in California, Park explores what it means to care for someone and the beauty of human resilience and survival. Though the title most obviously refers to Mara, it’s also a callback to Ana, a woman full of fierce affection for her daughter. “I would be loved again and again,” thinks Mara, “and it was because she taught me how.” —T R I S H A P I N G

WAITING FOR EDEN By Elliot Ackerman Knopf $22.95, 192 pages ISBN 9781101947395 Audio, eBook available LITERARY FICTION

National Book Award finalist Elliot Ackerman’s latest novel, Waiting for Eden, is narrated by an unnamed soldier who died in the line of duty in Iraq but lingers to tell the story of his friend, Eden, and Eden’s wife, Mary. Eden earned the nickname “BASE Jump” from his platoon after he leaped from the third deck one night, heavily intoxicated, but

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FICTION somehow landed on his feet. Beyond this incident, however, luck has been a stranger in Eden’s life. Having enlisted in the military to escape the vapid life of a small Midwestern town, Eden soon encounters another disappointment, this time in his marriage to his high school girlfriend, Mary, as they struggle to have a child. Mary is desperate and willing to do anything to give Eden the child he wants and to keep him from re-enlisting. Mary succeeds in getting pregnant, but Eden figures out that he isn’t the father. Once again, to escape his woes, Eden leaves for Iraq, where his Humvee hits a pressure plate, killing all of his comrades, including his best friend and the father of Mary’s baby. In the three years since the accident, the formerly 220-pound Eden has been reduced to 70 pounds and is in a vegetative state. On one side of the veil waits Mary and her daughter; on the other waits the narrator. Ackerman has given us a war story that is packed with love, pain and guilt, but above all, it is a meditation on the legacies we leave behind. —CHIKA GUJARATHI

THE LABYRINTH OF THE SPIRITS By Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Harper $37.50, 816 pages ISBN 9780062668691 Audio, eBook available HISTORICAL FICTION

Carlos Ruiz Zafón returns for the fourth and final time to his gothic Barcelona and (every book lover’s fantasy) the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. In The Labyrinth of the Spirits, Zafón introduces Alicia Gris, a fierce, courageous but damaged young woman who was orphaned during the Spanish Civil War and recruited to become a member of the Spanish secret police. Already disillusioned at 29 with the darker demands of her work, Alicia reluctantly agrees to investigate one final case for her boss, Leandro Montalvo, in

exchange for her freedom. She and her partner, Juan Manuel Vargas, must investigate the disappearance of Spain’s Minister of Culture, Mauricio Valls. When Alicia discovers a copy of a rare book by Victor Mataix hidden in Valls’ desk, she and Vargas start down a twisting path that leads them back to Barcelona and eventually reveals connections between Valls’ mysterious disappearance and a series of atrocities committed years earlier during the corrupt Franco regime. At the same time, Alicia must confront her own complicated past, which includes a return to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Barcelona after the Spanish Civil War provides the perfect setting for Zafón’s novel, with its shadowed, misty labyrinth of streets, foreboding buildings and sinister sense of corruption. The plot is exquisitely intricate, like an elaborate steampunk timepiece. Alicia, a fragile but ferociously formidable, vampire-like seductress, is unforgettable. The pacing is exceptional, with its incessant, rolling waves of tension. Even the dialogue is remarkably sharp and fresh. The Labyrinth of the Spirits is a masterpiece more than worthy of sharing a shelf with its bestselling predecessors, The Shadow of the Wind, The Angel’s Game and The Prisoner of Heaven. For those who have read Zafón’s earlier novels, some loose ends are finally resolved. Readers’ one regret will be that Labyrinth is the last in this ingenious cycle. —ANNIE PETERS

AN ABSOLUTELY REMARKABLE THING By Hank Green

Dutton $26, 352 pages ISBN 9781524743444 Audio, eBook available DEBUT FICTION

Art school graduate April May nearly walks past the first robot and dismisses it as another cool New York City thing. It’s the middle of the night, after all. She’s tired,

she wants to go home, and there are so many “cool New York City things.” Then she reconsiders. How sad would it be to ignore the 10-foottall sculpture simply because it appeared in the middle of a city where remarkable is the norm? April calls her friend Andy. They make a video and post it on the internet. April goes home and goes to sleep. She wakes up to a new world. The video has gone viral literally overnight, and the world wants more of April, and more of the robot-sculpture, which she named Carl. In fact, Carls have appeared throughout the world, and people turn to April for insight. She’s convinced that the Carls exist to unify the world, but others aren’t so sure. When a communal dream travels from one person to the next like an infection, popular opinion becomes further divided. April quickly becomes a pundit—the very sort of person she once railed against in her art and conversation. “It’s so much easier for people to get excited about disliking something than agreeing to like it,” April thinks. “The circle jerk of mockery and self-congratulation was so intense I didn’t even notice I was at its center.” In An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, Hank Green explores the power of social media. As coCEO of Complexly, a production company whose work includes the popular YouTube channel Crash Course, Green is well-versed in that realm. He is also known as one half of the VlogBrothers, alongside John Green, his superstar novelist brother and author of such YA bestsellers as The Fault in Our Stars. Green’s debut novel is an adventurous romp that combines science fiction and interpersonal drama to explore identity, relationships, a polarized world and the influence of media and popular opinion. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is a fun, fast read that invites readers to contemplate their position in the modern world. —CARLA JEAN WHITLEY

Visit BookPage.com to read a Q&A with Hank Green.


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FREDERICK DOUGLASS

No progress without struggle REVIEW BY ROGER BISHOP

Frederick Douglass was the most famous African-American of the 19th century, and his life story continues to inspire people around the world. An escaped slave who fled brutal treatment, he became a radical abolitionist, world-renowned author of three classic autobiographies, a noted journalist and editor, a public intellectual, one of the greatest orators of his time and a prominent government official. Yale historian David W. Blight brilliantly captures this legendary figure and his times in the magnificent Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, one of the best biographies of recent years. Blight’s portrait of Douglass is engrossing, moving, nuanced, frightening—and certainly thought-provoking. Douglass is a complex figure, and he lived in a transformative By David W. Blight time—from 1818 until 1895. His slave owner’s wife taught him to Simon & Schuster, $37.50, 912 pages read before he escaped as a young man, and the only weapon he had ISBN 9781416590316, audio, eBook available against racism were words, both written and spoken. Extremely intelBIOGRAPHY ligent and ambitious, he thrilled and challenged audiences throughout the country and abroad with his oft-eloquent words. He frequently drew on his study of the Bible and was an Old Testament-like prophet himself, decrying the actions of not only slave owners but also other abolitionists with whom he disagreed. Douglass was both secular and religious, an advocate of self-reliance, deeply moralistic and yet pragmatic, a philosopher of democracy and natural rights. Douglass’ turbulent life was full of pressures and controversy at each stage. He traveled widely and was frequently away from his dysfunctional family. His first wife, Anna, was largely illiterate, but she devoted her life to him and their five children during their 43 years of marriage. The need for money was a constant concern for Douglass, both to fund his newspapers and to help support his adult sons and son-inlaw. There are generous quotations from Douglass’ passionate speeches and writings woven throughout Blight’s biography. One of the many quotes that might best sum up Douglass’ lifelong work comes from a speech he gave in 1893: “Men talk of the Negro problem. There is no Negro problem. The problem is whether the American people have honesty enough, patriotism enough to live up to their Constitution.”

HIKING WITH NIETZSCHE By John Kaag

FSG $26, 272 pages ISBN 9780374170011 Audio, eBook available MEMOIR

The calming repetition of putting one foot in front of the other innately lends itself to philosophical thought, particularly while experiencing the natural beauty of the great outdoors. In Hiking with

Nietzsche: On Becoming Who You Are, John Kaag (American Philosophy: A Love Story) retraces the contemplative journeys through the Sils region of Switzerland he took as a 19-year-old and the return trip he made at 37 with his wife and young daughter in tow. As a professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, Kaag has the perfect resume for this type of introspective blend of memoir and biography. As a young man, he was drawn to the Swiss village of Sils-Maria because it was a favorite spot of 19th-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Kaag cleverly connects

Nietzsche’s musings with his own experiences both past and present, detailing how his understanding of Nietzsche has evolved and changed over the 17 years between his trips to Switzerland. He pairs breathtaking descriptions of the Sils region with Nietzsche’s fascinating personal history, providing a unique, engaging narrative. Kaag delves deep into his own past and his path to a philosophical profession, revealing painful details about his absent father and his brush with an eating disorder. Ultimately, Kaag discovers that it is OK to get out of one’s comfort zone, make mistakes and learn

from them—in Nietzsche’s words, to “become who you are.” As Kaag notes, philosophers “have always thought on their feet,” citing examples of “great wanderer-thinkers” such as Jesus, Rousseau, Wordsworth, Emerson and Thoreau. With Hiking with Nietzsche, Kaag can now add his own name to the list of thoughtful wanderers. —BECKY LIBOUREL DIAMOND

ALL YOU CAN EVER KNOW By Nicole Chung

Catapult $26, 240 pages ISBN 9781936787975 Audio, eBook available MEMOIR

Nicole Chung has known she was adopted since she was old enough to understand the concept. It would be difficult to miss, anyway; she’s Korean-American and was raised by white parents in a lily-white Oregon town. Although Chung faced challenges as the only Asian person in her community, she was raised in a loving family who taught her that her birth parents made the difficult decision to give her up so she could have a better life. “Everything I knew of my life began on the day I was adopted. It was as if I had simply sprung into being as the five-pound, chubby-cheeked two-month-old my parents picked up at the hospital,” she writes. But as Chung entered adulthood, her curiosity about her birth family grew. She wanted to provide her future children with an understanding and history she lacked, so she set out to find her birth parents. And the tale she’d been taught about her adoption quickly unraveled. It is true that Chung was born severely premature to Korean parents, and her medical complications did create a challenge. But the details of her adoption weren’t nearly as straightforward—or as rosy—as her parents portrayed

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DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN BY DEBORAH HOPKINSON

Four score

A

ward-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin has coalesced her presidential expertise in her stunning book on four presidents, Leadership: In Turbulent Times.

© ANNIE LEIBOVITZ

q&a

If you were to add a fifth president to this book, who would it be? If I were to have added a fifth president to this examination of leadership, it would have been George Washington. I realized only when I finished the book that taken together, my four guys—Lincoln, Teddy, FDR and LBJ—form a family tree, a lineage of leadership that spans almost the entirety of our country’s history. Lyndon Johnson looked to Franklin Roosevelt as his “political daddy”; Franklin Roosevelt’s hero was Theodore Roosevelt; Theodore Roosevelt saw Abraham Lincoln as his role model; and the closest Lincoln found to an ideal was George Washington. Have you ever been tempted to write about a living president? No, there’s not been a living president that I’ve been tempted to write about because I am so in need of handwritten diaries and intimate letters and the kinds of correspondence you wouldn’t have with a president living now. Communication today is much, much faster, which may prove a challenge for future biographers. With email and social media, we have a breadth of information but I don’t think a depth that we had in the past. You write that the example of Lincoln’s leadership has provided the leaders who came after him with a moral compass. How can Americans in a divided nation rediscover a shared purpose and vision? What history teaches us is that leadership is a two-way street. Change comes when social movements from the citizenry connect with the leadership in Washington. We saw this with the antislavery movement, the progressive movement, the civil rights movement and the gay rights movement. Whether the change we seek will be healing, positive and inclusive depends not only on our leaders but on all of us. What we as individuals do now, how we band together, will make all the difference. Our leaders are a mirror in which we see our collective reflection. “With public sentiment,” Lincoln liked to say, “nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.” Many Americans feel we are living in turbulent times. As a historian, what advice do you have for us? People stop me on the street, in airports and restaurants and ask, “Are these the worst of times?” We are living in turbulent times, certainly, but the worst of times—no. I would argue that it’s the lack of authentic leadership in our nation today that has magnified our sense of lost moorings, heightened our anxiety and made us feel as if we are living in the worst of times. The difference between the times I have written about and today is that our best leaders of the past, when faced with challenges of equal if not greater intensity, were not only able to pull our country through, but leave us stronger and more unified than before. We cannot ignore history, for without heartening examples of leadership from the past, we fall prey to accepting our current climate of uncivil, frenetic polarization as the norm. The great protection for our democratic system, Lincoln counseled, was to “read of and recount” the stories of our country’s history, to rededicate ourselves to the ideals of our founding fathers.

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reviews them. Chung’s exploration of identity and adoption becomes even more complicated when her initial contact with her birth family coincides with her first pregnancy. As a result, her ideas of family begin to be reshaped by multiple forces. As she wrestles with her identity as an adopted child and as the sole person of color in most of her childhood circles, Chung confronts universal questions: Who am I? How does that shape how I interact with the world? Chung’s origin story is messier than she’d hoped, but All You Can Ever Know is a tale told with empathy and grace. —CARLA JEAN WHITLEY

Visit BookPage.com to read a Q&A with Nicole Chung.

LEADERSHIP By Doris Kearns Goodwin

Simon & Schuster $30, 496 pages ISBN 9781476795928 Audio, eBook available HISTORY

With Leadership: In Turbulent Times, pre-eminent presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin turns her perceptive lens to a question on the minds of many Americans these days: What is leadership? But the “turbulent times” of the title are not, in fact, our own. Instead, Goodwin examines the leadership styles and challenges facing four previous United States presidents: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson. Goodwin has written about these men in previous works, but her approach here uncovers new insights and understanding—both for readers and for herself. “After five decades of studying presidential history, examining these four men through the lens of leadership allowed me to discover so many new things about them that I felt as if I was meeting them for the first time,” Goodwin reflects.

Readers will share that sense of discovery. Goodwin divides her study into three thematic areas: Ambition and the Recognition of Leadership; Adversity and Growth; and The Leader and the Times: How They Led. Within these sections, she devotes a chapter to each president. These chapters are chronological, allowing the reader to better appreciate and understand the historical forces that shaped the four presidents’ growth and decisions. In the final section, Goodwin examines different kinds of leadership: transformational, crisis management, turnaround and visionary. Readers follow Lincoln as he grapples with the Emancipation Proclamation, Teddy Roosevelt as he deals with the coal strike of 1902, FDR through the first hundred days of his presidency in 1933 and Johnson as he approaches civil rights. In an epilogue titled “On Death and Remembrance,” Goodwin reflects on the final days of each president and their legacies for us today. With Leadership, Pulitzer Prize winner Goodwin cements her reputation as a scholar with a remarkable ability to bring the complexities of our past to life for everyday readers. It’s a welcome gift indeed. —DEBORAH HOPKINSON

THERE WILL BE NO MIRACLES HERE By Casey Gerald

Riverhead $27, 400 pages ISBN 9780735214200 eBook available MEMOIR

On New Year’s Eve 1999, 12-yearold Casey Gerald gathers with family and friends as they wait for the world to end and for God to usher in a new world with Jesus’ return. As midnight passes and the world remains unchanged, Gerald slowly recognizes the yawning gap between the illusory “truths” he’s been told and the facts of this world. In his compulsively read-


NONFICTION able memoir, There Will Be No Miracles Here, Gerald writes about coming into the light of reality in a world filled with deceit and loss, love and hope. Growing up just outside Dallas, Texas, Gerald moves from one disappointment to another, struggling to make sense of his world and his family. His father, once a great football player, is an “inconvenience” of a father. After his mother disappears from his life with no explanation, Gerald and his sister live off their mother’s disability checks in a small apartment. A gifted athlete, Gerald achieves stardom as a high school football player and then wins a football scholarship to Yale, where he excels not only on the field but also in the classroom. During his years at Yale, he continues to struggle with the complexities of his identity as a gay black man, and he has difficulty envisioning a future for himself. Before the financial collapse of 2008, Gerald works on Wall Street, where he sees the fraud underlying the financial institutions’ operations. In the final and most compelling chapter of the book, Gerald riffs on the major moments of his life, sharing his current vision of working for free with local citizens on behalf of the common good. Gerald’s staccato prose and peripatetic storytelling combine the cadences of the Bible with an urgency reminiscent of James Baldwin in this powerfully emotional memoir. —HENRY L. CARRIGAN JR.

RISING OUT OF HATRED By Eli Saslow

Doubleday $26.95, 304 pages ISBN 9780385542869 Audio, eBook available SOCIAL SCIENCE

Barely a year has passed since violence incited by white nationalists led to tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the death of Heather Heyer. That anniversary

makes Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Eli Saslow’s Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist all the more timely and important. With the skill of a novelist, Saslow tells the extraordinary story of how the “rightful heir to America’s white nationalist movement” came to repudiate his racist heritage. If anyone could lay claim to an impeccable pedigree in prejudice, it would be Derek Black, the son of the former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard who founded Stormfront, a vicious internet hate site, and the godson of white supremacist David Duke. Starting as a teenager, Black shared a microphone with his father on a radio talk show that relentlessly spewed venom against black people, Jews and other minorities. But Black’s life began its radical transformation when he enrolled at New College of Florida, a small liberal arts institution in Sarasota, in 2010. Not long after his arrival, he befriended Matthew Stevenson, an Orthodox Jewish student who invited him to Friday night Shabbat dinners to observe the Jewish Sabbath. On one of those occasions, Black met Stevenson’s roommate, Allison Gornik, who became the principal agent for upending Black’s worldview. Drawing upon hundreds of hours of interviews with Black, his family and friends, Saslow describes how Gornik methodically engaged Black, who proved to be a bright, intellectually curious young man, in conversations. These discussions exposed the flawed sources and logic of the information and fallacious thinking that fueled Black’s bigotry and his fears of a white genocide. Even more significantly, she patiently persuaded him to make amends for his racist past and the harm he’d inflicted. Nothing in this thoughtful account suggests the conversion Black experienced is likely to become widespread among his former compatriots, but it’s reassuring to learn of one instance in which reason, hope and love prevailed over hate. —HARVEY FREEDENBERG

PASSING FOR HUMAN Liana Finck explores her family history and the nature of otherness in her compelling graphic memoir, Passing for Human (Random House, $28, 240 pages, ISBN 9780525508922). Whether grappling with love or the nature of inspiration, Finck’s quest for self-understanding is keen and perceptive. She is also the author of A Bintel Brief: Love and Longing in Old New York and contributes to The New Yorker. She lives in New York City.

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PICKS

reviews

OF THE

MONTH

“An emotional roller coaster full of adventure and romance.” —Selene Kallan, author of The Immortal Heritage Saga

A HEART IN A BODY IN THE WORLD

Haunted by the tragedy that upended her life last year—and the source of her trauma, whom she refers to as the Taker—Annabelle takes off running from her hometown in Seattle. Her destination: Washington, D.C. Why? She’s not going to think about that. For now, all she can do is run. But with the support of her grandfather, who follows her in his RV, and her brother and best friends back home, Annabelle becomes a reluctant activist. As her feet bring her closer to her destination, Annabelle begins to hope that someday she’ll be able to shake her guilt and shame over what happened. National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti (Honey, Baby, Sweetheart) makes readers wait until the end to find out why Annabelle is running 2,794 miles, but from the very first page, she tackles issues that will be painfully familiar to teen readers, including the constant, simmering fear of assault, the recurring realization that leaders—in school or in By Deb Caletti D.C.—are unable or unwilling to protect them, and the infuriating Simon Pulse, $18.99, 368 pages internal tug of war between being kind and being vigilant. ISBN 9781481415200, audio, eBook available Written in driving prose that conveys a powerful sense of urgency Ages 14 and up and with loving characterizations of Annabelle and her family and FICTION friends in all their flawed, tender glory, A Heart in a Body in the World delivers a powerful look at love, loss and guilt as readers follow Annabelle’s cross-country journey to self-forgiveness. Equal parts heartbreaking and hopeful, A Heart in a Body in the World reads like a battle cry for young women in the #MeToo era.

By Tillie Walden

First Second $21.99, 544 pages ISBN 9781250178138 Ages 12 and up GRAPHIC NOVEL

—Ellen Oh, author of the Prophecy and Spirit Hunters series

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Running, but not on empty REVIEW BY SARAH WEBER

ON A SUNBEAM

“One of my all-time favorite fantasy novels!”

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YA CAN’T MISS

Award-winning cartoonist Tillie Walden’s latest book, On a Sunbeam, is a sumptuous feast for the eyes and the heart. Originally a web comic, Walden’s sci-fi graphic novel amazes and inspires. Mia is a young woman who joins a crew on a spaceship in a universe we’ve yet to discover. Mia and her new friends travel from place to place repairing visually fantastic architecture, but Mia hopes for a stop in a very specific destination: the forbidden part of the universe called the Staircase,

18_359_BookPage_TEEN_October_Gold_Rev2.indd 8/27/18 1 12:17 PM

where she hopes to find her lost love, Grace. A rich, complex and detailed story, On a Sunbeam has some extraordinary revelations. Even knowing ahead of time that the story is a lesbian romance, I was still surprised when I realized that Walden’s futuristic universe is filled entirely with female-identifying characters (and at least one nonbinary character). Everyone has two mothers, and all their siblings are sisters. There is no discussion or explanation about this in the story—it just is how it is. This world allows Walden to present a love between two women as the norm. Love, loss, adventure and discovery of new worlds are free to take center stage, not the tired girl-lovein-a-straight-world trope. This remarkable and compelling book, filled with stunning ink and color art, will keep readers entranced for a long time. —J E N N I F E R B R U E R K I T C H E L

TALES FROM THE INNER CITY By Shaun Tan

Arthur A. Levine $24.99, 224 pages ISBN 9781338298406 eBook available Ages 12 and up SHORT STORIES

Can wildlife in the circumscribed existence of cities still be considered wild? In Shaun Tan’s Tales from the Inner City—a collection of illustrated stories and poems that serves as a companion to 2009’s Tales from Outer Suburbia— gorgeous surrealist art and equally lovely prose portray a “concrete blight” of a city where crocodiles live on the 87th floor of a skyscraper, pigeons preside over the financial district, frogs take over a corporate boardroom and moonfish take to the skies. In these stories, humans don’t


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THE WAR OUTSIDE Little, Brown $17.99, 336 pages ISBN 9780316316699 Audio, eBook available Ages 12 and up HISTORICAL FICTION

Monica Hesse’s The War Outside pierces the heart with its exceptional story of family, friends and country. Two young women meet in a World War II internment camp in Texas for “enemy aliens”—those suspected of colluding with the Axis—but because Margot is German-American and Haruko is Japanese-American, the two teens cannot openly be friends. When a dust storm forces the girls to shelter together, they overcome the mores of the camp and forge a tenuous bond. Inexorably drawn to each other, they continue to meet in secret. Alienated from all that is familiar, Haruko slowly reveals her fears for her brother’s safety as he serves in the Japanese-American fighting unit.

A LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY By Mackenzi Lee

Katherine Tegen $18.99, 464 pages ISBN 9780062795328 Audio, eBook available Ages 13 and up HISTORICAL FICTION

In this sequel to Mackenzi Lee’s Stonewall Honor-winning novel, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, Monty’s younger sister, the prickly and ambitious Felicity Montague, embarks on her own adventure. After being denied entrance to numerous medical colleges in London because she’s a woman, Felicity hatches a plan to crash her ex-best friend Johanna Hoffman’s wedding in Germany along with the help of Simmaa “Sim” Aldajah—a black Muslim girl with access to a ship. Once there, Felicity will plead her case to the groom-to-be, the renowned Dr. Alexander Platt, in hopes she can study under him on his next expedition. But when the bride ditches the wedding, Felicity and Sim chase her to Zurich. They discover that Johanna’s deceased mother, a naturalist, was working toward a discovery that most men would kill for, including Dr. Platt.

— K I M B E R LY G I A R R A T A N O

A VERY LARGE EXPANSE OF SEA By Tahereh Mafi

HarperTeen $18.99, 320 pages ISBN 9780062866561 Audio, eBook available Ages 13 and up FICTION

A year after 9/11, 16-year-old Shirin is starting yet another first day of school at her third high school in two years, and she’s over it. Having grown used to the misconceptions, name-calling and outright racism hurled her way for wearing a hijab, Muslim-American Shirin has developed a tough exterior and an even tougher interior. The one place she feels comfortable is in the dance studio with her brother and his break-dancing team. When Shirin joins in and perfects her power

&

&

By Monica Hesse

—LORI K. JOYCE

Felicity and Johanna team up with Sim, who admits she’s actually a pirate from northern Africa, and the trio travels to the Mediterranean coast, where they encounter rival pirate fleets, ruthless Englishmen and fantastical beasts. How are they ever to get out of this alive? Fans of this novel’s predecessor will be delighted to know that Monty and Percy do make cameos in A Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, but they are not the focus of the book, nor should they be. Felicity’s story is a feminist feast that challenges societal norms and forgoes all romance, which is unconventional, albeit refreshing, in young adult literature. Readers will do themselves a disservice if they don’t explore the author’s note, as they’ll learn how women such as Felicity have always contributed to scientific exploration through their inexhaustible persistence and spirit.

Book #1 of The Necromancer’s Song by debut author Caitlin Seal “A high fantasy filled with

adventure, espionage, and romance that envelops the reader in a world where the undead walk among the living.” —Kirkus Reviews

978-1-58089-807-2 HC $17.99

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—DEAN SCHNEIDER

Margot feels empathy for Haruko, but she doesn’t share her own secrets because she thinks they are too awful and that revealing them would drive Haruko away. The War Outside highlights a blight on our country’s past—the forced imprisonment of American citizens without a trial—and Hesse’s story packs a gut-wrenching wallop as a result. Author of the multiple award-winning novel Girl in the Blue Coat, Hesse offers a subtle promise in her new novel—to remember and never repeat this history. Riveting and meticulously researched, this story reverberates with authentic voices as it explores adolescent growth under dreadful circumstances.

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seem to see nature as anything other than menacing. They kill the ancient monster shark, the iridescent moonfish and the last rhino. And when bears hire lawyers to put humans on trial—Bear Law taking precedence over Human Law in Tan’s cosmic hierarchy—human lawyers shout, “You have nothing to show us!” In response, the Bears show the humans the beauty present in all the places they never bother to look: “On the tailfins of freshwater trout, under the bark of trees, in the creased silt of riverbeds, on the wing-scale of moths and butterflies, in the cursive coastlines of entire continents.” Is there hope for nature? Perhaps the answer is in the story of the pigeons who take the longer view, awaiting the demise of humans and a time when a “radiant green world” will bloom again. Readers may well find this one of the most amazing books they have ever read.

• www.charlesbridgeteen.com

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Embark on a journEy where anything is possible . . .

reviews moves like crab walks and head spins, she becomes someone else— someone who isn’t afraid of being hurt. But when Shirin is paired with Ocean James in biology class, he slowly begins to chip away at the walls Shirin has constructed. Tahereh Mafi, best known for her Shatter Me series, has stepped away from fantasy to pen this incredibly realistic novel based on her own experiences. While immersing themselves in gorgeous prose, readers will feel for Shirin as she stands up for her beliefs in the midst of hurtful words and violence, and they’ll cheer as she experiences first love and laugh-out-loud moments. Intense, emotional and resonant, A Very Large Expanse of Sea is a riptide that pulls readers in. — E R I N H O LT

BRIDGE OF CLAY By Markus Zusak

Knopf $26, 544 pages ISBN 9780375845598 Audio, eBook available Ages 14 and up

thE impossible Postal ExprEss

But when this impossible train comes roaring through Suzy’s living room, her world turns upside down. After sneaking on board, Suzy suddenly finds herself Deputy Post Master, and faced with her first delivery—to the evil Lady Crepuscula.

Are you reAdy for the Adventure of A lifetime?

All ABOArD! stArt rEAding At trAintoiMpossiblEplACEs.CoM FeiwEl & FriEnds | an imprint oF mACMillAn ChilDren’s publishinG GroUP

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straddles the line between young adult and adult fiction. Either way, Bridge of Clay is Zusak at his best. To read a novel by this masterful author is to embark on an immersive journey that challenges readers to expand their understanding of what it is to be human. In this tale, Zusak explores how the intricate tapestries of our lives are woven not just by the decisions we make but also by those of the people closest to us, creating an interconnectedness from which no one, for better or worse, can ever completely extract themselves. —HANNAH LAMB

WHAT IF IT’S US By Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

HarperTeen $18.99, 448 pages ISBN 9780062795250 eBook available Ages 14 and up ROMANCE

Arthur is only visiting New York for the summer, but a trip to the post office brings the teen faceto-face with a dreamy, box-carrying young man; they flirt but In Markus Zusak’s first release then quickly lose sight of each since the publication of his numother during a flash mob. Arthur ber one New York Times bestseller is crushing on “box boy,” but will The Book Thief, he weaves a modhe ever see him again? With only ern epic of great love, wrenching a crumpled shipping label as a loss and the sustaining power of clue, Arthur begins his search, and through social media sleuthing familial bonds. The world of the five Dunbar and a missed connection poster, boys is one of love and blasphemy, he finally finds Ben. Their attracfists and forgiveness. It is a world tion is mutual, but lots of forces marked by tragedy—first by the are conspiring against them, and untimely death of their mother and they wonder if they are meant to be then by their father’s abrupt abantogether (albeit temporarily) or if donment. Each of the boys deals the universe is trying to send them with grief in their own way, but a bigger message. Becky Albertalli (Simon vs. the Clay, the fourth boy, holds a secret. And when their father suddenly Homo Sapiens Agenda) and Adam Silvera (More Happy Than Not) are reappears with a strange request, it is Clay who answers his plea. But stars of young adult fiction thanks in doing so, he must face the wrath to their authentic depictions of gay and confusion of his brothers and characters, and this collaboration ultimately help them piece together will certainly boost their popularithe full truth of their family legacy. ty. This not-to-miss addition to the With fully developed characters YA canon seems tailor-made for a and intricate depictions of both ad- movie adaptation. olescence and adulthood, this book —SHARON VERBETEN FICTION

is no ordinary train. It’s a troll-operated delivery service that runs everywhere from ocean-bottom shipwrecks, to Trollville, to space.

TEEN


children’s

KATHERINE ARDEN

A tricky, shivery Halloween treat

V

ermont is a place where the boundaries between past and present are porous. And at no time is that more evident than in autumn, when ghosts are on everyone’s mind.

“One fun thing about Vermont is that you can be running through the woods and just stumble over a random graveyard,” says Arden, who lives near Vermont’s Green Mountain National Forest. “They’re everywhere, and there’s a very powerful sense of history because people have been farming this part of the country since the 1700s.” Arden’s name may be familiar to adult readers who are fans of her novel The Bear and the Nightingale and its sequels in the Winternight trilogy (the finale is set to publish next year), set in a magic-infused version of medieval Russia. Her first middle grade novel, Small Spaces, is similarly epic in scope, but it is also deeply imbued with the landscape and traditions of Vermont. “I had so much fun filling the novel with the things I see every fall near my home,” she says. “Corn mazes, scarecrows, haunted houses—these are part of the fall landscape here.” Small Spaces opens when 11-year-old Olivia (Ollie), a book lover who’s recently lost her mom,

SMALL SPACES

By Katherine Arden

Putnam, $16.99, 224 pages ISBN 9780525515029, audio, eBook available Ages 10 to 12

MIDDLE GRADE

comes into possession of a mysterious old book, also titled Small Spaces. As Ollie reads the creepy old story of a family torn apart by loss and regret, she begins to recognize references to local names and places. Readers may begin to see other connections between Ollie’s life and the ominous scenes that play out in the book. “A strange and disturbing family history offers a parallel to Ollie’s own experience of dealing with loss and gives a weight and perspective to her journey,” Arden notes. “History does teach us things, especially if you read it seriously and intentionally—and Ollie learns to make different choices than a previous generation did.” But those lessons are hard won, especially during Ollie’s class field trip to a local farm. She starts to suspect that something is very wrong, especially when their school bus breaks down as a dense fog descends. And are those scarecrows getting closer? Ollie decides to strike out on her own instead of waiting for trouble to catch up with her. Arden suggests that Ollie’s bravery comes partly out of her experience with loss and grief after the death of her mom: “Ollie’s loss makes her feel so separate from her classmates. They don’t understand what she’s been through, and so she no longer cares what they think. She’s able to make decisions and take actions independent of her classmates, which is something that’s very hard for a middle schooler.” Ollie isn’t alone in her journey, as she is reluctantly accompanied by her new friends Brian and Coco. Like Ollie, Arden enjoys breaking down middle school stereotypes, or “boxes,” in the characters she’s created. “I wanted to come up with characters who aren’t so easily defined,” Arden says. “I also wanted to change how boy-girl friendships are depicted. In books, so many kid

trios are two boys and a girl. I wanted the guy to be the odd person out.” Without giving too much away, Ollie, Brian and Coco are in for more than a little horror as they flee for their lives and eventually try to make a bargain that will save their classmates. Readers are likely to find Small Spaces to be the kind of book that will, as Arden suggests, “make them scared to get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.” So how scary is too scary when it comes to spooky stories for young readers? “It’s great to read scary books when you’re young,” Arden says. “It’s a way “Even if things to deal with fears in a safe are ominous, environment. as long as It’s kind of they resolve in fun to be that afraid, and to a way that’s know that you uplifting and can always satisfying, I close the book.” don’t really Other than feel like I have ensuring that to restrain she didn’t myself.” paint any truly gruesome scenes or disturbing images, Arden didn’t hold herself back when it came to creating a terrifying mood. “Tension and dread are fine—the problem [is] if you make it not be OK at the end,” she says. “Even if things are ominous, as long as they resolve in a way that’s uplifting and satisfying, I don’t really feel like I have to restrain myself in the narrative. It’s a safe fear.” Arden says she enjoyed incorporating elements of some of her favorite books into Small Spaces, from subtle nods to portal fantasies like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Chronicles of Narnia to a Japanese folktale called “The Boy Who Drew Cats,” which

© DEVERIE CRYSTAL PHOTOGRAPHY

INTERVIEW BY NORAH PIEHL

provided direct inspiration for the repeated advice in the novel: “Avoid large places at night . . . keep to small.” Like Ollie, Arden admits she was a voracious reader from a young age. “I remember that feeling of the real world just not existing while I was in the pages of a book,” she says. With the novel’s condensed time frame, Vermont setting and young characters, the writing process of Small Spaces presented a different set of challenges to Arden than she’s previously faced—differences that helped her grow as a writer. “Writing this book was pleasurable,” she says. “Changing pacing, tone, mood, everything—it helps keep you fresh as a writer, and it can be inspiring, giving you scope to play with ideas you might not otherwise have a chance to explore.” It’s lucky for readers that Arden enjoyed her first foray into middle grade horror, because Small Spaces is the first in a quartet that will continue the stories of Ollie, Coco and Brian. Each book will be tied to a different season and to different iconic locations in Vermont. Small Spaces is the fall book, of course, and the winter book (which Arden is writing now) is set at a “down at the heels” ski resort that happens to be haunted. Arden won’t say much about what happens next, except that “mayhem ensues.” In the meantime, Small Spaces is sure to provide plenty of shivers of its own.

29


reviews T PI OP CK

CHILDREN’S

THE ASSASSINATION OF BRANGWAIN SPURGE

A comedy of cultural confusion REVIEW BY JON LITTLE

The inimitable M.T. Anderson has teamed up with award-winning author and illustrator Eugene Yelchin for The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge—which is not quite a graphic novel but far more than your traditional illustrated middle grade book. Yelchin’s wonderfully quirky drawings fill entire chapters without any accompanying text. Other times, they supplement Anderson’s pithy prose or directly contradict it. Such is the inventive world of this wry, rollicking and totally refreshing take on cultural contact and conflict—in this case, between elves and goblins. Having been at war for as far back as their histories stretch, elves and goblins are sworn enemies, but they’ve entered a period of tenuous peace. In stumble Brangwain Spurge and Werfel (an odd couple if there By M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin ever was one), two historians who are more at home in dusty libraries than at the center of the historical stage. Spurge, a pompous elf, has Candlewick, $24.99, 544 pages been selected by his government to return an ancient relic to the goblin ISBN 9780763698225 overlord as a peace offering. Werfel, a gracious and endearing goblin, is Ages 10 to 14 tasked with playing cultural emissary to his elfin peer. MIDDLE GRADE Werfel soon realizes that Spurge has no interest in anything that might change his view of goblins as uncultured brutes. Between Spurge’s prejudice and Werfel’s deep sense of hospitality—which requires him to appease his guest as well as protect him with his life—hilarity ensues. A brilliant, satirical take on cultural chauvinism, objectivity and war and peace, The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge is witty, wise and wondrously unique. Illustration from The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge © 2018 by M.T. Anderson. Art © 2018 by Eugene Yelchin. Reproduced by permission of Candlewick Press.

KING ALICE By Matthew Cordell Feiwel & Friends $17.99, 40 pages ISBN 9781250047496 Ages 3 to 5 PICTURE BOOK

It’s a snow day, and Alice’s father wakes to find her dressed in royal garb, declaring she is “KING Alice! The first!” King Alice is full of creative ideas for how to spend the unexpected day off, and whatever she says goes. While her mother tends to the baby, King Alice and her drowsy but willing father write and illustrate a story. Even though King Alice is bursting with ideas and hops from one game to another, she faithfully returns to their story—the one where, just like in real life, she calls the shots.

30

After a well-earned timeout breaks King Alice’s stride, father and daughter make amends and return to their bustling, chaotic story featuring pirates, unicorns and fairies. Though most of King Alice is filled with the lively pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations that won Cordell a Caldecott Medal for Wolf in the Snow, the story within the story is rendered via Cordell’s children’s stash of art supplies, and his fluid, humorous dialogue keeps things moving at a brisk pace. The bond between father and daughter is the heart of this sweet but never saccharine story. King Alice’s father goes all in, never turning down a game in the name of traditional gender roles—he spends most of the book in a tiara and toy earrings—which is refreshing to see. Long may King Alice reign. —J U L I E D A N I E L S O N

THE NIGHT BOX By Louise Greig Illustrated by Ashling Lindsay Clarion $17.99, 32 pages ISBN 9781328850935 eBook available Ages 4 to 7

In this double debut from Scottish poet Louise Greig and Irish illustrator Ashling Lindsay, the coming of darkness is imagined as The Night Box. A little boy named Max is outside his house in the country as the light fades. It’s time to wave goodbye to the day and come in, but a box is waiting, and Max has the key. While his kitten looks on, Max opens the Night Box, and magical darkness begins to pour out: “Darkness tumbles into the

air. / It dances and whirls around the room.” Greig imagines the character of Night through wonderful imagery: Night is mischievous, chasing other colors away; Night is huge, big enough to hold a house, a pond and a forest. And as Night “soars, streams, stretches up to the sky,” a thousand stars appear. This is, of course, a bedtime story, and the gentleness of Night comes through Lindsay’s rustic, comforting illustrations, in which lots of white space keeps this tale from being too dark. In the morning, Max opens the box and “WHOOSH! Night slips inside as Day sweeps out.” First published in the U.K. in 2017, this beautiful, award-winning picture book has the appeal of a classic and is sure to be a hit with readers and families in the U.S. —DEBORAH HOPKINSON

SWEEP By Jonathan Auxier Amulet $18.99, 368 pages ISBN 9781419731402 eBook available Ages 8 to 12 MIDDLE GRADE

Novels that blend history with imaginative fantasy are particularly hard to pull off and particularly special when they’re written just right. Jonathan Auxier’s Sweep definitely falls into the latter category, as this accomplished storyteller combines Victorian labor history and Jewish mythology for an unforgettable tale of a friendship that transcends time and place. Nan Sparrow is the best chimney sweep London has seen in a generation. She learned from the best, having been tutored by her kindly guardian known only as the Sweep. But the Sweep has been gone for years, and Nan is now in thrall to a cruel master with little regard for his young charge’s well-being. Although Nan is smart and creative, she can’t imagine a different future until she finds herself cleaning the chimneys at a girls’ school and a teacher recognizes her potential.


CHILDREN’S But then Nan becomes trapped in the school’s narrow chimney, risking being burned alive on the job. That moment of crisis, however, brings to life the Sweep’s last gift to Nan, a kindly soot golem named Charlie who transforms her life. Auxier’s melding of fiction and fact—much of which is explained in an author’s note—will inspire readers to learn more about the sources behind this tale. But what will ring truest for readers of all ages is the novel’s emotional core: “We save ourselves by saving others.” This message of generosity and compassion changes Nan’s life and will touch young readers, too. —NORAH PIEHL

THE FAITHFUL SPY By John Hendrix

Abrams $24.99, 176 pages ISBN 9781419728389 eBook available Ages 10 to 14 MIDDLE GRADE

Author-illustrator John Hendrix brings his considerable talents to this nonfiction graphic exploration of the German resistance during World War II and the fascinating story of theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer, a double agent who played a role in the failed plot to kill Hitler, was hanged by the Nazis on April 9, 1945, just weeks before the end of the war. Through black-and-white hand-lettering along with teal, red and black illustrations, Hendrix provides historical context of the post-World War I factors that led to the Nazis’ assumption of power in 1933. Ample white space allows readers to move easily from frame to frame without being overwhelmed by colors. The intensity is already there, of course, in the story itself. In the back matter, Hendrix modestly disavows being a scholar, but The Faithful Spy provides just the right amount of historical information while simultaneously hooking readers on Bonhoeffer’s tragic journey. Direct quotations are flagged with an asterisk, allowing curious readers

to trace sources in the notes. The Faithful Spy is exactly the kind of accessible, innovative page turner sure to entice new readers to the graphic format and the burgeoning genre of middle grade nonfiction. Truly a tour de force. —DEBORAH HOPKINSON

meet  LAURIE KELLER

the title of your Q: What’s  new book?

would you describe Q: How  the book?

LOUISIANA’S WAY HOME By Kate DiCamillo Candlewick $16.99, 240 pages ISBN 9780763694630 Audio, eBook available Ages 10 and up

has been the biggest influence on your work? Q: Who 

MIDDLE GRADE

In Louisiana’s Way Home, award-winning author Kate DiCamillo expands on the story of Louisiana Elefante, a fan-favorite character from 2016’s Raymie Nightingale. When Louisiana’s Granny wakes her in the middle of the night, she claims it’s the day of reckoning and says they have to leave town. After a long, eventful drive across the Florida-Georgia state line, Granny’s toothache forces them to stop in a quirky small town with a motel, a church and a friendly boy with a pet crow. Louisiana desperately wants to return to Florida and reunite with her best friends, but Granny has other plans. As Louisiana learns something new about her past and grows closer to the people of the town, will she be able to choose between making a new home and returning to her old one? Louisiana tells her story in first person with unaffected charm, gentle warmth and keen observation, making it easy to see why the townspeople immediately embrace her. The magic of DiCamillo’s storytelling is in its simple, believable realism. Some people are kind, some are less so. The world can be harsh, even terrible, but it can also be beautiful. The way Louisiana notices, takes in and shares this wisdom is what makes DiCamillo one of our finest storytellers. This lovely story of independence and community will resonate with readers of all ages. —ANNIE METCALF

was your favorite subject in school? Why? Q: What 

Q: Who was your childhood hero?

books did you enjoy as a child? Q: What 

one thing would you like to learn to do? Q: What 

message would you like to send to young readers? Q: What 

POTATO PANTS! A fashion-forward spud encounters the one thing that will stop him from nabbing a coveted pair of stripey, suspendered slacks in Laurie Keller’s Potato Pants! (Holt, $17.99, 40 pages, ISBN 9781250107237, ages 4 to 8), a riotous, uninhibited tale of forgiveness and courage. Keller’s previous books include Do Unto Otters and Arnie, the Doughnut. She lives in the “Mitten State” along the shores of Lake Michigan.

31


Follow the branching paths to see where adventure leads you.

Start Here What’s your origin story?

Would you say you’re the chosen one?

I’m the subject of a mysterious prophecy. I’ve uncovered a conspiracy at the highest levels of power.

I’m out for revenge after losing my loved ones.

Deep undercover with the enemy.

If other people are saying that, I can’t stop them.

Where will your quest take you?

Whom can you trust?

An insidious parallel universe.

Distant realms beyond our own.

What kind of threat are you facing?

Nothing less than an apocalypse.

Absolutely not.

My friends always have my back.

Trust is for fools.

The city will fall. No one will be safe.

They say I do, but they never seem to work right.

A M A N DA F O O DY

SU R R EN DER TO TH E VICE W ITHIN.

CITY OF SIN,

A M A N DA F O O DY

W H E R E CA S I NO FA M I L I E S R E I G N, G A NG S I NF E S T T H E

L AU R IE FOR E S T

S T R E E T S … A ND S E C R E T S H I D E I N E V E RY S H A D OW

—Carrie Ryan, New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth and Daughter of Deep Silence

E

nne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called Cit y of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her f inishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the cit y where no one sur vives uncorrupted.

—CLAIRE LEGRAND, author of Winterspell

Alex R. Kahler is many things, but first and foremost, he’s a Sagittarius. He’s taught circus arts in Madrid, drummed with Norse shamans, studied writing in Scotland and watched the Northern Lights from a hot tub in Iceland…and that’s the abbreviated list. He writes fantasy for adults and teens, with special focus on LGBTQ+ characters and immersive mythologies.

Frightened and alone, Enne has only one lead: the name Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.

BET YOU R LIFE— HOPE YOU W IN.

Although a nomad at heart, he currently resides in LA.

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a r uthless Maf ia donna. As Enne unear ths an impossible secret about her pa st, L ev i ’s enem ies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. SOM E E C HO OF H ER DA R K P OW ER To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

Ace of Shades is her second novel, following her debut, Daughter of the Burning City.

Find Harlequin TEEN on

Mainly because it’s such a good travel hub.

COVER ART: PHOTOGRAPHY: BLAKE MORROW ART DIRECTION AND DESIGN: KATHLEEN OUDIT

When magic returned to the world, it could have saved humanity, but greed and thirst for power caused mankind’s downfall instead. Now once-human monsters called Howls prowl abandoned streets, their hunger guided by corrupt necromancers and the all-powerful Kin. Only Hunters have the power to fight back in the unending war, using the same magic that ended civilization in the first place.

—New York Times bestselling author Andrea Cremer “RUNEBINDER IS THE DELICIOUSLY DARK LOVE CHILD OF AN EPIC FANTASY AND A STARK DYSTOPIAN THAT WILL KEEP READERS UP ALL NIGHT.”

—Delilah S. Dawson, author of the Blud series, the Hit series and Star Wars: The Perfect Weapon “RUNEBINDER IS WHAT THE DARK SIDE OF MAGIC LOOKS LIKE. BLOODY AND BRILLIANT.”

—Erica Cameron, author of Island of Exiles

AS MAGIC RISES , HUMANITY FALLS . Find Harlequin TEEN on

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WA IT I NG T O BE R EL E A SED.

MAGIC IS RISEN.

“SMART AND ORIGINAL, THIS DEVASTATING FANTASY HAS IRRESISTIBLE CHARACTERS AND STARTLING TWISTS AROUND EVERY CORNER. AND CAN I JUST SAY: SEXY. AS. HELL.”

Visit Alex online at www.arkahler.com

COU R SE S T H ROUGH M Y V EI NS …

And she’ll need to play.

COVER ART Author’s Photo: Steph Faucher Photography Cover Design: Mary Luna

$18.99 U.S. $23.99 CAN.

“RUNEBINDER is wall-to-wall elemental magic and mayhem. Alex R. Kahler knows how to rock some socks.” —Kendare Blake, New York Times bestselling author of Three Dark Crowns

“A ROLLER COASTER RIDE THROUGH A WORLD OF CHAOS AND BLOOD.”

But they are losing. Tenn is a Hunter, resigned to fight even though hope is nearly lost. When he is singled out by a seductive Kin named Tomás and the enigmatic Hunter Jarrett, Tenn realizes he’s become a pawn in a bigger game. One that could turn the tides of war. But if his mutinous magic and wayward heart get in the way, his power might not be used in favor of mankind. If Tenn fails to play his part, it could cost him his friends, his life…and the entire world.

T HE RUNEBI NDER C HRO NI C LES

ALEX R. KAHLER

TA K E A C A R D A N D S TA K E YO U R S O U L . 9780373212637.indd 1-7 9781335692290.indd All Pages

9781335692290

Trimmed Book Size: 55/8 x 81/2 x 15/16 spine= 416 pages (hardcover) at stock 0.005 400ppi

W E L C O M E TO T H E

Author Photo: Kindra Nicole Photography

“Ace of Shades has it all—incredible worldbuilding, cinematic setpieces, heart-pounding pacing, and unpredictable, deliciously messy characters. Foody’s impressive and ambitious vision for the City of Sin will linger in my senses for a long time. An utter delight.”

“I absolutely loved The Black Witch… a whole new, thrilling approach to fantasy!” —TAMORA PIERCE, #1 New York Times bestselling author Trimmed Book Size: 61/8 x 91/4 x 13⁄8 spine=416 pages (hardcover) at 40# 400ppi

—New York Times bestselling author CINDA WILLIAMS CHIMA

1/4 " turn under

$19.99 U.S. $21.99 CAN.

“ ‘ H o u se o f t h e R i si n g S u n ’ m e e t s S i x o f C r o w s.” — New Yo r k Ti m es be st se l l i n g a u t h o r C I NDA W I L L I A M S C H I M A

ALEX R. KAHLER

h a s a lway s con s idere d i m a g i n at ion to be our best attempt at magic. After spending her childhood longing to attend Hogwarts, she now loves to write about immersive settings and characters grappling with insurmountable destinies. She holds a master of accountancy from Villanova University and a bachelor of arts in English literature from the College of William and Mary. Currently, she works as a tax accountant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, sur rounded by her m a ny sibl i ng s a nd many books.

“‘House of the Rising Sun’ meets Six of Crows in Ace of Shades. Thieves, rogues, and shady characters have always fascinated me, and so I enjoyed my dive into the morally ambiguous world of New Reynes.”

A M A N DA F O O DY

SU RVIVA L IS YOU R ON LY GOA L.

Of course, I’m an all powerful mage.

1/4 " turn under

1/4 " turn under

TA K E A CA R D A N D STA K E YOU R SOU L.

Magic…?

tas

1/4 " turn under

Do you have magic powers?

9780373212637

1/16/18 10:20 AM

Tell your own story. Leave your own legacy.

Learn more at howihero.com | #howIhero

8/24/17 2:13 PM

BookPage October 2018  

Book reviews, Author interviews

BookPage October 2018  

Book reviews, Author interviews