Post BEA Book Buzz: October Highlights

Welcome to the fifth installment of a series of Post-BEA Book Buzz articles where I will be highlighting some of the hot new titles which I discovered at the BEA.

View the first four installments of this series:

This post will introduce you to several much buzzed about titles being released in October 2010.

Safe from the Sea by Peter Geye (Unbridled Books)  centers around the relationship between a father and son who attempt reconciliation thirty-five years after the father survives the tragic wreck of his Great Lakes ore boat. Praised by Joseph Boyden as a “tautly written gem” this book caught my eye immediately. You can read an excerpt here.

Peter Geye received his MFA from the University of New Orleans and his PhD from Western Michigan University where he served as editor of Third Coast. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and three children. Read more about Geye and his work by visiting the author’s website.

Stranger Here Below by Joyce Hinnefeld (Unbridled Books) is the long-awaited second novel by this talented author. Set in 1961, this is the story about three generations of women: Amazing Grace Jansen (from Appalachia) who is the daughter of a single woman, Mary Elizabeth Cox who is the daughter of a Black southern preacher, and Georginea Ward who is the enigmatic, aging idealist whose faith and unconditional love brings them all together. Read an excerpt. Author Joanna Scott writes: “In her lovely new novel, Joyce Hinnefeld introduces us to a fascinating cast of characters—sisters, visitors, pilgrims, strangers—and untangles the mysteries of their lives with her distinctive grace and delicacy.  She is a remarkable writer who gives her readers pleasures to savor on every page.

Joyce Hinnefeld is an Associate Professor of Writing at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa. She is the author of a short story collection, Tell Me Everything and Other Stories (University Press of New England, 1998), which was awarded the 1997 Breadloaf Writer’s Conference Bakeless Prize in fiction in 1997; and a novel In Hovering Flight (Unbridled Books, 2009). I loved In Hovering Flight (read my review) which was my number one pick for 2009 reads. Visit Hinnefeld on her Facebook Page or learn more about her and her work by visiting the In Hovering Flight website.

The Brave by Nicolas Evans (Little Brown and Company) caught my eye because I’ve read and enjoyed other novels by this author. The Brave is about a father and son – specifically “one man’s struggle to save his son – and himself – from the mistakes of the past.” When Tom Beford, living alone in Montana, gets news that his estranged son Danny (a US Marine stationed in Iraq) has been charged with murder, he must struggle against the demons of his past in order to save his son’s life.

Nicholas Evans is probably best known for his bestseller The Horse Whisperer (published in 1995 and sold fifteen million copies across the world) but he is also the author of several other compelling works of fiction (I’ve read both The Loop and The Smoke Jumper and enjoyed them both). Evans was born and grew up in Worcestershire, England. He studied law at Oxford University, then worked as a journalist for three years on the Evening Chronicle in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He has produced films about US politics and the Middle-East for a weekly current affairs program called Weekend World.  In 1982 he produced arts documentaries – about famous writers, painters and film-makers, several of which won international awards. Evans currently lives in London and Devon, England. To learn more about Evans and his work, visit the author’s website.

City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell (Henry Holt and Company) has a gorgeous cover which immediately drew me to it. Set in the vast North China Plain, this novel is about a Midwest farmer name Will Kiehn who travels to China as a missionary in the early part of the twentieth century. Once there, he falls in love and marries Katherine – a fellow missionary. Soon the young couple finds themselves in the midst of civil war which forces them to test their faith and marriage while trying to improve the lives of the people of the City of Tranquil Light. Author Gail Godwin writes about the novel:  “It is full of light, even at its darkest moments.

Bo Caldwell was born in Oklahoma City, but grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles. She later moved to the San Francisco Bay area. Caldwell is the author of the national bestseller The Distant Land of My Father. Her short fiction has been published in several literary journals including Ploughshares and Story. She is a former Stegner Fellow in Creative Writing at Stanford University, and lives in Northern California with her husband, novelist Ron Hansen.

Up From the Blue by Susan Henderson (Harper Collins) centers around the disappearance of the protagonist’s mother. Tillie Harris must reach out to her estranged father for help when her life is complicated by the approaching birth of her first child. In doing so, she uncovers the painful memories of her past, and discovers the truth about her mother’s disappearance which turns out to be far more complicated than she could ever have imagined. Author Jamie Ford calls Up From the Blue a “rewarding story that still haunts me.

Susan Henderson is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee and is the curator for NPT’s DimeStories. She has also won the Academy of American Poets award. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous literary journals including Zoetrope, North Atlantic Review and Pittsburgh Quarterly. She blogs at Litpark: Where Writers Come to Play. Up From the Blue is Henderson’s first novel.

Stay tuned for the next edition of this series later this week: Hot for the Holidays

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    • Beth F on June 14, 2010 at 06:12

    I love seeing everyone’s picks from BEA. Your first two here are already on my list. I missed the last two altogether — and they both look good. I’ll have to wait to see how religious the Bo Caldwell is. I have mixed feelings about the next Nicolas Evans book. There were things about Horse Whisperer that bothered me (a lot), so I’m not sure how soon I’ll be giving him another chance.

  1. They all look good – it would be hard to decide which one to read first.

    • Andi on June 14, 2010 at 07:15

    October is entirely too far away!

  2. I’m a big fan of Peter Geye and am looking forward to “Safe from the Sea”. Thank you for the excerpt! I excited to read this book when it comes out.

  3. City of Tranquil Light looks like a book that I would really love. I am looking forward to reading some reviews and seeing if it’s a pick for me! Thanks for sharing all this info on these new titles. It’s going to be a good year in books!

    • Kay on June 14, 2010 at 13:01

    I like the look of CITY OF TRANQUIL LIGHTS too. I’ll put it on my list. Wendy, thanks for doing this. It’s very nice to get these little highlights of what is to come!

  4. I agree, City of Tranquil Lights looks amazing. I have been on a China kick this year and can always add one more to my wish list. Thank you for letting us know about it.

    • Wendy on June 16, 2010 at 14:06

    Beth: What makes you think the Caldwell one will be overly religious? Just curious as that didn’t even make it onto my radar!! I have not read The Horse Whisperer…although I’ve liked other books by Evans.

    Kathy: I know – choosing is so hard!

    Andi: LOL – I agree!

    A Books Blog: I’ve not read anything by Geye yet – so thank you for telling me how much you enjoy his work – makes me look forward to this latest novel all the more!

    Zibilee: I can’t believe how many great new titles are coming out this year. I need more hours to read!

    Kay: If nothing else, the cover is wonderful! Glad you’re enjoying the updates.

    Kathy (mommysreading): You’re quite welcome – hope it will be a good book for you

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