Friday, April 23, 2010

New Books You Might Have Missed - Fiction

It's been a while since I put together a post of new titles that have arrived at the library. It's chance to focus on some of the less boldly promoted, but still interesting titles that you can find in the stacks at the library. Here's a few new ones that came across my desk in the last week or two.

Animal by Alexandra Leggat

"In a style reminiscent of Raymond Carver, the stories contained in Animal depict people on the brink of major life change. They stand at crossroads they are often oblivious to; they suck thick air in rooms filled with palpable tension. Leggat's characters often seem captured in a cinematic slo-mo, teetering on the edge of something unknown, heroically resisting the ever-present pull of Fate. It matters little whether the characters take action or refuse to act; life acts for them. The reader is left to wonder: when does"meaning" cease to have meaning? Like travelling a mountain highway at night, what's just around the next bend is never known. The stories in Animal never fail to deliver potent surprises." -- Publisher

The Room and The Chair by Lorraine Adams

"The Room is a Washington, D.C., newsroom, an arena Adams, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter formerly at the Washington Post, knows well. Adams follows her acclaimed first novel, Harbor (2004), with an intense tale of grim post-9/11 politics and infinite war. In prose clipped, eliding, yet darkly poetic, Adams sets in motion a two-pronged story of covert action and power. Mary, a fighter pilot with a devastating family history, cannot understand why her Viper crashes into the Potomac, but a Special Ops director, dubbed the Chair, knows all about it, and he isn't finished toying with her life. Stanley, the paper's night editor, wonders why the story of the crash receives minimal play, so he puts the rookie, Vera, an African American former ballerina, on the case, while alpha analyst Don rests on his legendary Watergate laurels, hubristically indifferent to the profound unhappiness of his columnist wife. An Iranian nuclear scientist, child prostitutes, cruel ironies in Afghanistan, the collapse of serious journalism, the wretched secret crimes of an immoral shadow government--Adams fits it all into this masterfully constructed, diabolical cluster-bomb of a novel. A searing tale of lies within lies, not without flashes of humor and beauty, that roars to a halt in a haunted room with a sweat-oiled chair. Read with care.--Donna Seaman, Booklist

The Amazing Absorbing Boy
by Rabindranath Maharaj

"Both familiar and strange, this story of a large Canadian city seen through the wide eyes of a naive and inexperienced young immigrant - wise in the culture of comic books - is both hilarious and heartbreaking. Samuel is just 17 when his mother dies and he is called to live with the father he has only heard of. He leaves his village in Trinidad and flies to Toronto, where he finds his father living in a place called Regent Park. Samuel is lonely in this "big mall of a country," but he has his memories of superheroes - his mentors - to guide him, including the memory of an unusual friend who was two superheroes in one, as he sets out to explore what Toronto has to offer."--Publisher.

After the Workshop by John McNally

"In his latest shrewd and compassionate satire, McNally draws on his stint at the famous Iowa Writers' Workshop and his work as an author escort, discerning in the dreams and absurdity of the literary world all the bittersweet vagaries of the human condition. Consequently, the tale of Jack Hercules Sheahan and his impossible labors is rife with Pyrrhic triumph and hubristic defeat. Jack was an Iowa workshop star after he had a story published in the New Yorker, but 12 years later, he's alone; his unfinished novel is gathering dust, and his spirit is crushed by the egomaniac visiting writers he drives around town. A barfly and a doofus, he's ripe for catastrophe, and it swoops in like a slicing winter wind off the prairie with the simultaneous arrival of two authors from hell: an insufferable New York hipster and a memoirist fleeing a James Frey-like scandal. Spiked with hilarious digs at the entire literary egofest, yet rooted in a great love for the necessary magic of stories, McNally's irresistible novel of the search for authenticity and meaning offers high comedic catharsis." --Donna Seaman, Booklist

Evening's Empire by Bill Flanagan

"The Year Is 1967. In England, and around the world, rock music is exploding -- the Beatles have gone psychedelic, the Stones are singing "Ruby Tuesday," and the summer of love is approaching. For Jack Flynn, a newly minted young solicitor at a conservative firm, the rock world is of little interest -- until he is asked to handle the legal affairs of Emerson Cutler, the seductive front man for an up-and-coming group of British boys with a sound that could take them all the way.Thus begins Jack Flynn's career with the Ravons... A firsthand observer and remarkable storyteller, author Bill Flanagan has created an epic of rock-and-roll history that is also the life story of a generation." -- Publisher

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