This was another great week in books for me:
Other Press sent me The Hypothetical Girl: Stories by Elizabeth Cohen (August 2013) which looks so good. The stories which make up this collection explore the world of on-line dating. From the publisher: “Alternating between quirky humor, painful awkwardness, and the outright painful, Elizabeth Cohen offers an insightful, heartrending, and comical look at love in the age of the internet.” This collection has been receiving some fantastic early praise form Publishers Weekly, The Millions, and Shelf Awareness (to name a few). The New York Times Book Review calls the writing “frank, funny…courageous,” while Kirkus Reviews found the language “light, beautiful, and razor sharp.”
Elizabeth Cohen is an assistant professor of English at Plattsburgh State University. Her memoir, The Family on Beartown Road (Random House, 2003) was a New York Times Notable Books, and her articles, stories, and poetry have appeared in Newsweek, New York Time Magazine, Salon, Tablet, and the Yale Review.
St. Martin’s Press sent me an Advance Readers Edition of The Wedding Gift by Marlen Suyapa Bodden (September 2013). When prestigious plantation owner Cornelius Allen gives his daughter Clarissa’s hand in marriage, she takes with her a gift: Sarah—her slave and her half-sister. Both women bring secrets and desires with them to their new home, igniting events that spiral into a tale beyond the imaginable. Narrated through the alternating viewpoints of Sarah and Theodora Allen, Cornelius’ wife, the novel promises to explore the complicated and compelling bonds of women.
Marlen Syuapa Bodden is a lawyer at The Legal Aid Society in New York City, the nation’s oldest and largest law firm for the poor. She drew on her knowledge of modern and historical slavery, human trafficking, and human rights abuses to write The Wedding Gift, her first novel. Marlen is a graduate of New York University School of Law and Tufts University. In 2012, the University of Rhode Island awarded Marlen an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Learn more about Bodden and her work by visiting the author’s website.
Pintail sent me an Advance Readers Edition of the 2012 Giller prize winning novel 419 by Will Ferguson (September 2013). A car tumbles down a snowy ravine. A woman without a name walks out of a dust storm in sub-Saharan Africa. A criminal cartel sours the internet looking for victims from the heat of Lagos City. How do these singular events connect with each other? When Laura Curtis discovers her father has died because of an online swindle, she sets out to find her father’s killer. But she has no idea how dangerous her search is, and how high the stakes are in her quest to uncover a murderer.
Will Ferguson is the author of several award-winning books. His work has also been nominated for both an IMPAC Dublin Award and a Commonwealth Writer’s Prize. Learn more about Ferguson and his work by visiting the author’s website.
From Atria’s Galley Grab, came Children of the Jacaranda Tree by Sahar Delijani (June 2013). From the publisher:
Sold in 70 countries around the world, translated into 25 languages, hailed by Khaled Hosseini, author of And the Mountains Echoed and The Kite Runner, who calls it “a celebration of the human heart’s eternal yearning for freedom.” This is Children of the Jacaranda Tree. Neda is born in Tehran’s Evin Prison, where her mother is allowed to nurse her for a few months before the arms of a guard appear at the cell door one day and, simply, take her away. In another part of the city, three-year-old Omid witnesses the arrests of his political activist parents from his perch at their kitchen table, yogurt dripping from his fingertips. More than twenty years after the violent, bloody purge that took place inside Tehran’s prisons, Sheida learns that her father was one of those executed, that the silent void firmly planted between her and her mother all these years was not just the sad loss that comes with death, but the anguish and the horror of murder.
Sahar Delijani was born in Tehran’s Evin Prison in 1983 and grew up in California, where she graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. Her work has been published in a broad spectrum of literary journals and publications, including The Battered Suitcase, Tryst, Slice Magazine, Prick of the Spindle, and , Perigee. She was nominated for the 2010 and 2011 Pushcart Prize and was for a time a regular contributor to Iran-Emrooz (Iran of Today) Political and Cultural Journal. She makes her home with her husband in Turin, Italy. Children of the Jacaranda Tree is her first novel. Learn more about Delijani and her work by visiting the author’s website.
Penguin UK sent me My Husband Next Door by Catherine Alliott (August 2013) which is described as “the perfect piece of escapism for all women from eighteen to eighty.” When Ella’s marriage to the celebrated artist Sebastian Montclair turns into the very definition of an unconventional set-up (Sebastian lives in an outhouse across the lawn from Ella’s ramshackle farmhouse), Ella finds comfort in the company of the very charming gardener, Ludo. But is he really the answer to her prayers? And when Sebastian decides to move away, Ella must now deal with what really destroyed her marriage – the secret she continues to keep.
Catherine Alliott is a top ten bestselling author with over 1.6 million sales in the UK alone. She lives in Hertfordshire with her family and menagerie of horses, cows, chickens and dogs. Learn more about Alliott and her work by visiting the author’s website.
The Wishing Tree by Marybeth Whalen arrived from Harper Collins Christian Publishing. From the publisher:
Savvy, determined Ivy Marshall discovers that her husband has cheated on her on the very same day her sister’s perfect boyfriend proposes on national television. When Ivy’s mother asks her to return to her family’s beach home to plan her sister’s upcoming wedding, she decides to use the excuse to escape from the pain of her broken heart. When her return to Sunset Beach, North Carolina, brings Ivy face to face with her former fiance, old feelings are rekindled and she wonders if there is a future for them. However, when Ivy refuses to talk to her husband, he resorts to tweeting to her, expressing his remorse and making it clear he doesn’t want to give up on their marriage. As she helps prepare the wishing tree for her sister’s wedding, she must examine her dreams for her own future and what true love should be.
Marybeth Whalen is the wife of Curt and the mom of six children. She is the director of She Reads, an online book club focused on spotlighting the best in women’s fiction. She is the author of The Mailbox and The Guest Book. She lives in North Carolina. Learn more about Whalen and her work by visiting the author’s website.
Did any great books find their way to you last week?