Here is what showed up at my house this week:
White Dog Fell From the Sky by Eleanor Morse (January 7th, 2013) arrived from Viking. Set in Botswana, Publishers Weekly calls this novel “brutal and beautiful” and a reviewer for O, The Oprah Magazine calls the book “a tense and heartfelt novel,” going on to say, “Morse captures the magic of the African landscape and the terror and degradation of life under apartheid.”
From the publisher:
Apartheid South Africa, 1976. Isaac Muthethe, a medical student, witnesses the brutal murder of his friend by the predominately white South African Defense Force. He flees the country, leaving his family behind and seeking asylum in neighboring Botswana, where he finds work as a gardener for Alice Mendelssohn, a white American. Both outsiders, Alice and Isaac form an unlikely friendship. The decisions that Alice must make entwine her life with Isaac’s in ways that neither of them could have anticipated. Filled with breathtaking descriptions of the harsh and beautiful landscape of Botswana and the difficult emotional terrain within all of us, White Dog Fell from the Sky is a poignant novel of love, friendship, race and politics.
Eleanor Morse is a graduate of Swarthmore College, and spent a number of years living in Botswana in the 1970s. She earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from Vermont College. Her novel An Unexpected Forest won the Independent Publisher’s Gold Medalist Award for Best Regional Fiction in the Northeast U.S. and was also selected as the Winner of Best Published Fiction by the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance at the 2008 Maine Literary Awards. Morse has taught in adult education programs, in prisons, and in university systems, both in Maine and in southern Africa. She currently works as an adjunct faculty member with Spalding University’s MFA Writing program in Louisville, Kentucky, and lives on Peaks Island, Maine. Learn more about Morse and her work by visiting the author’s website.
The Colour of Milk by Nell Leyshon (January 1, 2013) arrived from Ecco. The novel is a January 2013 Indie Next Pick and has gotten some enthusiastic early reviews. The book is narrated in the urgent voice of Mary, a newly literate fourteen-year-0ld farm girl who is writing her story in 1831 England. Mary and her three sisters are forced to endure back-breaking farm work while their father unleashes his anger at the slightest provocation. Mary alone is brave enough to stand up to her father’s brutality. Eventually, Mary is sent to work for the local vicar and his invalid wife where she is introduced to books and learning. But this knowledge comes with a devastating price. Described as “lyric and brutal,” with a narrative voice which “haunts long after the last word has been read,” Nell Leyshon’s is being compared to Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Jane Eyre.
Nell Leyshon’s first novel, Black Dirt, was long-listed for the Orange Prize and short-listed for the Commonwealth Book Prize. She is an award-winning dramatist whose plays include Comfort Me with Apples, winner of an Evening Standard Theatre Award, and Bedlam, which was the first play written by a woman for Shakespeare’s Globe. Born in Glastonbury, England, she now lives in Dorset.
A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger by Lucy Robinson (January 2013) arrived from Penguin UK. The book is described as a “hilariously funny and gorgeously romantic story about falling in love when you least expect it.” From the publisher:
Charley Lambert has put considerable effort into achieving a perfect life. She has The Job. The Wardrobe. And The Flat. Her womanising, junk food-loving housemate Sam lowers the tone a bit but that aside, things are peachy. Then she breaks her leg in three places, watches her unrequited love propose to someone else and – worst of all – is forced to hand over her job to her nasty deputy while she recovers. Workaholic Charley fears that she will soon go mad. Desperate for something to do, she discovers her talent for helping the lovelorn online. And then William arrives in her inbox. Within hours of his first email, her world starts to change. Helpless, she watches herself fall in love with this man and begins to realise that she’s not who she thought she was. But will she be brave enough to turn her back on her old life – all for a total stranger?
Lucy Robinson is the author of The Greatest Love Story of All Time. Prior to writing Robinson earned her crust in West End theatre production and then factual television, working on documentaries for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel Five. Her writing career began when she started a dating blog for marieclaire.co.uk where she entertained readers with frank tales from her laughably unsuccessful foray into the world of internet dating. Brought up in Gloucestershire, she now lives with her boyfriend in South London.
The Bughouse Affair by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini (January 8, 2013) arrived from Tor Forge. This novel is the first in a new lighthearted mystery series set in nineteenth century San Francisco, and starring former Pinkerton operative Sabina Carpenter and her detective partner, ex-Secret Service agent John Quincannon. Two seemingly separate cases converge in surprising fashion, but not before two murders, assorted other felonies, and a man claiming to be Sherlock Holmes join the mix. Fans of Marcia Muller’s Sharon McCone series, and Bill Pronzini’s Nameless Detective series will not want to miss The Bughouse Affair.
Marcia Muller is the New York Times bestselling creator of private investigator Sharon McCone. The author of more than thirty-five novels, Muller received the MWA’s Grand Master Award in 2005. Learn more about Muller and her work by visiting the author’s website.
Bill Pronzini, creator of the Nameless Detective, is a highly praised novelist, short story writer and anthologist. He received the Grand Master Award from the MWA in 2008, making Muller and Pronzini the only living couple to share the award.
Did any wonderful books arrive at YOUR house this week?