I had a really interesting array of books arrive at my house this week.
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra (Hogarth, May 2013) looks amazing. This book is one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Top Ten Debut novels, and is the #1 Indie Next Pick. Rights to the book have been sold in 13 countries. Set in Chechnya (in Southern Russia) during 1994, the novel is about the transcendent power of love in wartime. Compared to The English Patient and The Tiger’s Wife (one of my favorite books in 2011), Maara’s novel “tells the story of the things in us that survive – the love a parent feels for a child, or the love that develops between two strangers – and the complexities and sacrifices that love demands.” Described as heart-wrenchingly beautiful, original, and haunting…this is just the kind of book I am drawn to. I’ll be reviewing this for a TLC Book Tour in May.
Stegner Fellow, Iowa MFA, and winner of The Atlantic’s Student Writing Contest, Anthony Maara has won the Pushcart Prize, the Narrative Prize, and a scholarship to Bread Loaf. He is also the recipient of the 2012 Whiting Writers’ Award. He has studied, resided, and traveled throughout Eastern Europe. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is his first novel.
Harper Collins sent me a beautiful finished edition of The Golem and The Jinni by Helene Wecker (April/May 2013). This book feels a little outside of my usual reading – but it looks intriguing. An immigrant tale which combines elements of Jewish and Arab folk mythology, the novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who arrive separately in New York in 1899. Surrounding them, and crucial to their story, is a colorful cast of supporting characters. Described as “a fresh combination of vivid historical novel and magical fable,”and with thread from Yiddish and Middle Eastern Literature, the book promises magic which will delight and surprise readers.
Helene Wecker is Jewish, and her husband’s family is Syrian, giving her a unique perspective on these two culture’s mystical traditions and the immigrant experiences of both groups. Her fiction has appeared in the online magazine Joyland, and she has read from her stories at the KGB Bar in Manhattan and the Barbershop Reading Series in San Francisco. She received a B.A. from Carleton College in Minnesota and and M.F.A. from Columbia University in New York. She currently lives in San Francisco with her husband and daughter. The Golem and the Jinni is her first novel. Learn more about Wecker and her work by visiting the author’s website.
Picador sent me a copy of Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (May 2013) which was recently short listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and is the winner of both the 2012 Costa Book of the Year Award and the 2012 Man Booker Prize. I read Wolf Hall (the first book in this series) and didn’t love it like my other blogger friends (read my review). But, I am keeping my mind open for Bring Up the Bodies – especially since it is probably the strongest contender for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. In Bring Up the Bodies, Mantel takes up where she left off in Wolf Hall. King Henry is disenchanted with his bride, Anne Boleyn because of her failure to deliver him a son. Henry turns to Thomas Cromwell to bring Anne down in a web of conspiracy while Jane Seymour waits in the shadows. Reviewers are calling Mantel’s newest novel beautifully constructed, thrilling, and “an astonishingly good read.”
Hilary Mantel is the bestselling author of ten previous novels, including Wolf Hall which won the 2009 Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. She is also the 2006 Hawthornden Prize winner and her reviews and essays have appeared in the New York Times, The New York Review of Books, and the London Review of Books. Mantel lives in England with her husband.
Mom Candy: 1,000 Quotes of Inspiration for Mothers, edited by J. Pincott arrived unsolicited from Random House (April 2013). Author Jena Pincott compiled these inspirational quotes, reflections, and thoughts about motherhood from mothers and non-mothers alike…and also from some men. Michell Obama, Hillary Clinton, Kate Winslet, Beyonce, Madeleine L’Engle, Reese Witherspoon, Erica Jong, Jodi Picoult and many others offer their insights. This would be a delightful gift for that special mother for Mother’s Day.
Jena Pincott has a background in biology and was a production assistant on science documentaries for PBS. She is a former senior editor at Random House and is the author of Success: Advice for Achieving Your Goals from Remarkably Accomplished People, and Healing: Advice for Recovering Your Strength and Spirit from the World’s Most Famous Survivors. She lives in New York City. Learn more about Pincott and her work by visiting the author’s website.
Did any fantastic books arrive at YOUR house this week?