Book Buzz: Highly Anticipated

This is a great week for books. The BEA and Book Bloggers Convention is happening in New York City, and for those unable to get to New York, there is The Armchair BEA. Thanks to Rebecca at The Book Lady’s Blog, I discovered a terrific site called Edelweiss which helps users search Publisher catalogs, as well as search by publication date, titles, and publisher for new books (read Rebecca’s post about the site). I spent quite a bit of time over there on Sunday and thought it would be fun to write a series of posts about some of the books due to be published.

Today’s post is about the books I am most highly anticipating.

Perhaps the book I am most looking forward to in the coming months is River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh. Due for publication in September 2011 through Farrar, Straus and Giroux (ISBN 9780374174231) this is the second book in the Ibis Trilogy. I read Sea of Poppies, the first book in the trilogy, back in July 2009 (read my review) and have been eagerly waiting for the second installment since then. This from the publisher:

Spectacular coincidences, startling re­versals of fortune, and tender love stories abound. But this is much more than an irresistible page-turner. The blind quest for money, the primacy of the drug trade, the concealment of base impulses behind the rhetoric of freedom: in River of Smoke the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries meet, and the result is a consuming historical novel with powerful contemporary reso­nance. Critics praised Sea of Poppies for its vibrant storytelling, antic humor, and rich narrative scope; now Amitav Ghosh con­tinues the epic that has charmed and com­pelled readers all over the globe.

Amitav Ghosh is the internation­ally bestselling author of many works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Glass Palace, and is the recipi­ent of numerous awards and prizes. He recently received the Blue Metropolis Grand Prix award which is awarded each year to a world-renowned author in recognition of a lifetime of literary achievement. Ghosh divides his time between Kol­kata and Goa, India, and Brooklyn, New York. Visit the author’s website to learn more about Ghosh and his work.

On Caanan’s Side by Sebastian Barry immediately caught my eye. I read The Secret Scripture back in 2008 and loved it (read my review). Barry’s newest novel (ISBN 9780670022922) is due for release through Penguin/Viking in September 2011. Beginning in twentieth century America, the novel centers around Lilly Bere, the youngest daughter of the Dunne family after she is forced to flee Ireland under threat of death from the IRA. She survives the murder of her fiance, the Great Depression, World War II and watching her son go off to Vietnam. The novel spans more than twenty-five years. From the publisher:

Told in the first person as a narrative of her life over seventeen days, On Canaan’s Side is the heartbreaking story of a woman whose capacity to love is enormous and whose compassion, even for those who have wronged her, is extraordinary.

Sebastian Barry’s plays have been produced in London, Dublin, Sydney, and New York. His novel A Long Long Way was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, as was The Secret Scripture, which was also a Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist, winner of the Costa Book of the Year Award, and the James Tait Black Prize for Fiction, as well as the Irish Novel of the Year. Barry lives in Wicklow, Ireland, with his wife and three children.

Due for release September 2011 through Vintage/Anchor Books, All Our Worldly Goods by Irene Nemirovsky (ISBN 9780307743299 ) is a book I am eager to read. I was first introduced to Nemirovsky’s work in 2007 when I read Suite Francaise (read my review), which I loved. I read Fire in the Blood in December 2009 (read my review) and  found it to be a satisfying read. I am happy to see more of Nemirovsky’s work being published. All Our Worldly Goods is being described as a prequel to Suite Francaise and “a family saga and a love story that opens before WWI and closes with the onset of WWII, set in a small Normandy town.” The novel was first published in France in 1947, five years after the author’s death.

Irene Nemirovsky was a French novelist who died at the age of 39 in Auschwitz, Nazi Germany occupied Poland. Although she had converted to Catholicism, she was killed by the Nazis because she was born Jewish. In 1929 she published David Golder, the story of a Jewish banker unable to please his troubled daughter, which was adapted to the big screen in 1930. Nemirovsky is not without controversy. Several reviewers have raised questions regarding her attitude toward Jews, her generally negative depiction of Jews in her writing and her use of anti-semitic publications in advancing her career.

Although I have not read any of Lloyd Jones’ work, his novel Hand Me Down World (ISBN 9781608196999 ) caught my attention. Another September 2011 release (this time through Bloomsbury USA), this book takes readers to Tanisia where a young African mother goes to reclaim her infant son. Eventually she makes an illegal, near-death crossing of the Mediterranean, then up the length of Italy, across the Alps, and on to Berlin, where her child has been given a new home.

From the publisher:

We learn the mother’s story through the people she meets along the way, human links in the perilous chain of her journey: a taxi driver, a hunter, a snail collector, a street performer, a blind man. Most are generous, some malevolent, but all write their own deeply personal needs on the nearly blank slate of a mother whose needs are greatest of all. Finally, the woman herself picks up the narration, retelling her story in her own words. And only then do we understand the extent of the sacrifices she has been willing to make for the love of her child.

Lloyd Jones is a New Zealand author who has published eight novels. He won the Commonwealth Writers Prize (and was short listed for the Booker Prize) for his novel Mister Pip.

In The Sea There Are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda (ISBN 9780385534734 ) is based on the true story of Enaiatollah Akbari. This novel is due for release in August 2011 through Doubleday. From the publisher:

When ten-year-old Enaiatollah Akbari’s small village in Afghanistan falls prey to Taliban rule in early 2000, his mother shepherds the boy across the border into Pakistan but has to leave him there all alone to fend for himself. Thus begins Enaiat’s remarkable and often punish­ing five-year ordeal, which takes him through Iran, Turkey, and Greece before he seeks political asylum in Italy at the age of fifteen.

Based on Enaiat’s close collaboration with Italian novelist, Fabio Geda, and rendered in English by an award- winning translator, this novel reconstructs a young boy’s memories.

Fabio Geda is an Italian novelist who writes for several Italian magazines and newspapers. This is his first book to be translated into English. Howard Curtis is a London-based translator of Italian and French texts, for which he has won numerous awards. Learn more about Geda and his work by visiting the author’s website (the link I have provided is a translation).

Watch for my next Book Buzz post where I talk about some highly anticipated debut novels.

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    • gavin on May 23, 2011 at 18:19

    Wow, thanks for the link to Edelweiss. I could spend hours there! I also wait breathlessly for River of Smoke and Hand Me Down World and now am adding In The Sea There Are Crocodiles to my list.

  1. I already have a copy of most of the books you list here so it sounds as though you need to move to the UK. 🙂

    I hadn’t heard of In The Sea There Are Crocodiles until a copy popped through my letter box last week. I was instantly drawn to it and hope to read it soon.

    I hope that you enjoy all these and look forward to hearing your thoughts on them.

  2. Thanks for the update re the Amitav Ghosh book. I like his writing very very much so this goes on a list of books to be bought.

    • Wendy on May 24, 2011 at 05:38

    Gavin: I know – it is an awesome site, isn’t it!??! Such great new books coming out 🙂

    Jackie: Really?!?! Wow, maybe I should be a Brit! I hate when we have to wait for books here!

    Mystica: Did you read the first in the trilogy – Sea of Poppies? If not, I recommend it highly!!!

  3. You know, I read and loved Suite Francaise, but haven’t gotten around to reading Fire in the Blood yet. I need to get to that one and add All our Worldly Goods to my TBR too.

    • Wendy on May 25, 2011 at 12:11

    Suzi: If you love Suite Francaise, I think you’ll enjoy Fire in the Blood too 😉

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