I got some really wonderful books this week and here they are:
Why Can’t I Be You by Allie Larkin (Plume, February 2013) is Larkin’s sophomore effort. I loved her debut novel Stay (read my review) so was very happy to get a copy of this latest book. Larkin explores the universal longing to be someone other than we are, with protagonist Jenny Shaw who seizes the opportunity to take on the identity of Jessie Morgan – an uncanny look alike. “Lonely in her own life, Jenny is embraced by Jessie’s warm circle of friends—and finds unexpected romance. But when she delves into Jessie’s past, Jenny discovers a secret that spurs her to take another leap into the unknown.”
Allie Larkin is the internationally bestselling author of the novel Stay. Why Can’t I Be You is her second novel. Larkin lives with her husband, Jeremy, their German Shepherd, Stella, and a three-legged cat (sadly, their German Shepherd Argo who graced the cover of Stay passed away this year after a brief illness). Learn more about Larkin and her work by visiting the author’s website.
A Place for Us by Liza Gyllenhaal (Penguin, March 2013) is a novel about secrets and lies within a close knit family. The book centers around Brook Bostock, the daughter of an extremely wealthy and prominent family who has married the man of her dreams and is raising two deeply loved children. But when a neighborhood teenager is assaulted during a night of drinking with the Bostocks’ son and his prep school friends, Brook’s family is thrust into a scandal that receives national attention. “With their once-perfect family in danger of falling apart, Brook and Michael must find a way to get through this together—or risk losing everything they love…”
Liza Gyllenhaal was raised in a small town in Pennsylvania and currently lives in the Berkshire Hills in Massachusetts with her husband. She studied poetry at the University of Iowa Writing Workshop and worked in publishing and advertising in New York City, founding an advertising agency in the late 1980s. She is the author of two previous novels: Local Knowledge (NAL Trade, January 2009) and So Near (NAL Trade, September 2011). Learn more about Gyllenhaal and her work by visiting the author’s website.
The Suitors by Ceceile David-Weill (February 2013), translated from the French by Linda Coverdale, arrived from Other Press. This novel, classified as contemporary women’s fiction, is described as “a comedy of manners that serves as an insightful look at the lives of those in the upper classes.” After two sisters, Laure and Marie, learn of their parents’ plan to sell the family’s summer retreat, L’Agapanthe, they devise a scheme for attracting a wealthy suitor who can afford to purchase the estate. Selling it would mean more than just losing a place to go during the summer—for the sisters, it’s become a necessary part of their character, their lifestyle, and their past. Laure—the witty, disarming, and poignant narrator—guides the reader through elegant dinners, midnight swims in the bay, and conversations about current events, literature, art, and cinema.
Cecile David-Weill is French and American. She published her first novel, Beguin (Grasset, 1996) under the name of Cécile de la Baume, which was released in an English translation, Crush (Grove, 1997). She is also the author of Femme de (Grasset, 2002). The Suitors is her third novel. David-Weill is also a regular contributor to the online French news magazine Le Point, with a column entitled “Letters from New York.” She was born in New York, where she currently lives.
Linda Coverdale has translated more than sixty books. A Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, she won the 2004 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the 2006 Scott Moncrieff Prize, and the 1997 and 2008 French-American Foundation Translation Prize. She was a finalist for the 2008 French-American Foundation Translation Prize for Life Laid Bare (Other Press, 2007).
As part of a TLC Book Tour in March, I received The End of the Point by Elizabeth Graver (Harper, March 2013). Isn’t this a gorgeous cover? The novel is set in “a place out of time,” Ashaunt Point, a piece of land jutting into Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts. In 1942, the U.S. Army arrives and two teenagers – Helen and Dossie Porter – run wild, while their youngest sister, Janie, is involved in an incident which haunts the family for years to come. Decades pass and “Helen and then her son Charlie return to the Point, seeking refuge from the chaos of rapidly changing times. But Ashaunt is not entirely removed from events unfolding beyond its borders. Neither Charlie nor his mother can escape the long shadow of history—Vietnam, the bitterly disputed real estate development of the Point, economic misfortune, illness, and tragedy.” Described as an “unforgettable portrait of one family’s journey through the second half of the twentieth century” Graver’s fourth novel explores the “hairline fractures hidden beneath the surface of our lives and traces the fragile and enduring bonds that connect us.”
Elizabeth Graver is the author of three other novels: Awake, The Honey Thief, and Unravelling. Her short story collection, Have You Seen Me?, won the 1991 Drue Heinz Literature Prize. Her work has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories (1991, 2001); Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards (1994, 1996, 2001), The Pushcart Prize Anthology (2001), and Best American Essays (1998). Graver’s story “The Mourning Door” was award the Cohen Prize from Ploughshares magazine. The mother of two daughters, Elizabeth Graver teaches English and Creative Writing at Boston College. Learn more about Graver and her work by visiting the author’s website.
Did any wonderful books arrive at YOUR house this week?