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Mailbox Monday – March 5, 2012

Welcome to this week’s edition of Mailbox Monday hosted this month by Anna at Diary of An Eccentric.

Visit Anna today to get links to other readers’ mailboxes.

Go to the dedicated blog for the meme to see the complete tour schedule in the left hand sidebar.

Last week three books arrived at my home…

Kerry from Myrmidon Books sent me the recently released new novel by Tan Twan Eng (author of the Booker nominated The Gift of Rain).  The Garden of Evening Mists is set in Malaya in 1949. Yun Ling Teoh, a scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the plantations of Northern Malaya where she grew up as a child. There she discovers Aritomo who is an exiled former gardener of the Emperor of Japan. Who is Aritomo and how did he come to leave Japan? As Yun Ling works with Aritomo to learn garden design, she finds herself intimately drawn to her sensei and his art while, outside the garden, the threat of murder and kidnapping from the guerrillas of the jungle hinterland increases with each passing day. I’m going to be touring this book in early April and hope to have a giveaway to offer readers as well.

Tan Twan Eng was born in Penang, but lived in various places in Malaysia as a child. He studied law through the University of London, and later worked as an advocate and solicitor in one of Kuala Lumpur’s most reputable law firms. The Gift of Rain, his first book, was published in March 2007 and long listed for the Booker Prize. Tan Twan Eng currently lives in Cape Town. Learn more about him and his work by visiting the author’s website.

The good folks from Harper Collins sent me an early review copy of Dirt by David Vann (due for release April 2012). Dirt revolves around twenty-two-year-old Galen who lives with his emotionally dependent mother in a secluded old house with a walnut orchard in a suburb of Sacramento. He doesn’t know who his father is, his abusive grandfather is dead, and his grandmother, losing her memory, has been shipped off to a nursing home. A bulimic vegetarian who considers himself an old soul, Galen is a New Age believer on a warpath toward transcendence. He yearns for transformation, but he’s powerless to stop the manic binges that overtake him. On a family trip to an old cabin in the Sierras tensions escalate and Galen will discover the shocking truth of just how far he will go to attain the transcendence he craves.

I read and loved Vann’s previous novel, Caribou Island (read my review)…and Dirt sounds like another novel with dark subject matter.

David Vann is the author of Legend of a Suicide, which has been translated into sixteen languages, won ten prizes, and been on forty Best Books of the Year lists worldwide. He’s also the author of the bestselling memoir A Mile Down: The True Story of a Disastrous Career at Sea and Last Day on Earth: A Portrait of the NIU School Shooter, winner of the AWP Nonfiction Award. A current Guggenheim Fellow and former Stegner Fellow and NEA Fellow, he has taught at Stanford and Cornell, and is now a professor at the University of San Francisco. Read more about Vann and his work by visiting the author’s website.

The wonderful Jill from The Magic Lasso (and co-host of The Orange Prize Project and host of the fabulous Orange January and July) sent me a gently used copy of When I Lived in Modern Times by Linda Grant which I snagged during Orange January. This novel won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2000 and I am looking forward to reading this one at some point.  THANKS, Jill!!

What about YOU? Did any terrific books arrive at YOUR house this week?


  1. March 4, 2012    

    They all look good. All new to me so will be awaiting your reviews.

  2. March 4, 2012    

    Hi Wendy,

    I have heard good things about ‘Dirt’, which seems to be doing the rounds of blogs at the moment, but I think I will wait to catch a couple of reviews first.

    I do really like the sound of ‘When I Lived In Modern Times’ and I have added that one to my list.

    There seem to be an awful lot of war-time books around this week, although they aren’t usually my kind of thing.

    Enjoy your reading week with your great new finds.

  3. March 5, 2012    

    Dirt looks especially interesting and I love the cover.

  4. March 5, 2012    

    I read Caribou Island so I’ll be interested in the reviews for Dirt.

  5. March 5, 2012    

    Hi Wendy, just in the middle of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, but nothing to get stuck into after that so on the look out for my next litery adventure. Your review of Dirt makes me think that this could be a good candidate for my next read, haven’t read anything by David Vann before, so no preconceptions.

    • March 5, 2012    

      Beth: I have never had the courage to read Atlas Shrugged – are you liking it? Vann is VERY dark in his writing…so you have to be willing to “go there” if you read his stuff!

      • March 8, 2012    

        Loving it so far Wendy! You’ve definitely piqued my interest now saying that his writing is dark, I’ll be sure to check it out.

  6. March 5, 2012    

    Yay! So glad you got your Linda Grant book. It’s an interesting look at the formation of Israel (specifically Tel Aviv). I look forward to your review!

    • March 5, 2012    

      THanks for sending it my way, Jill!

  7. March 5, 2012    

    The Garden of Evening Mists cover a period in history that I am really interested in. Enoy this book! Dirt also looks interesting. Good books this week!

  8. March 5, 2012    

    I really like the look and sound of Dirt. I’ve been noticing it lately. I’m hooked on stories of mental illness, family dysfunction, etc. And this one is set in my old stomping grounds: Sacramento. That detail heightens my interest. Thanks for sharing.

    Enjoy your books!


    • March 5, 2012    

      Well, if you like dysfunction, Laurel, Vann’s work is definitely something you should check out!

  9. March 5, 2012    

    I’ve had a copy of When I Lived in Modern Times on my TBR list for ages. I need to actually read it.

    • March 5, 2012    

      Caitlin: Isn’t it funny how we have these great books staring at us and yet we just don’t get to them!

  10. March 5, 2012    

    Enjoy your new reads. These are new to me.

  11. March 5, 2012    

    Dirt sounds rather interesting, but I have to admit that I had a few problems with Vann’s last book, and found it to be really dark. I will be interested in hearing what you think of this one, and how it plays out for you!

    • March 5, 2012    

      Heather: You really have to like the dark stuff to read Vann. I know a lot of people find his stuff too much that way…but I like his writing and as long as ALL my books are not so dark, then I am okay with reading one from time to time like that!

  12. March 5, 2012    

    A nice mailbox, Dirt sounds interesting.

  13. March 5, 2012    

    Looks like we have a book in common this week. Dirt sounds like a good read.

  14. March 5, 2012    

    Oh, I bet Dirt is fabulous!

  15. March 6, 2012    

    The Garden of Evening Mists looks really good. Enjoy your new books!

  16. March 6, 2012    

    All three books sound interesting. Enjoy!

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