A Brief History of Seven Killings
by Marlon James
Jamaican-born James, winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for The Book of Night Women (2009), has a new novel that revolves around the 1976 attempted assassination of Bob Marley (referred to only as “The Singer”) and a web of rival politicians, gang members and hit men, CIA agents, a journalist from Rolling Stone, and Nina, one of Marley’s ex-girlfriends who changes her identity multiple times through the course of the story and who is “undoubtedly one of this year's great characters” in this “indispensable and essential history of Jamaica's troubled years” (Publishers Weekly). A Brief History of Seven Killings is “epic in every sense of that word: sweeping, mythic, over-the-top, colossal and dizzyingly complex. It’s also raw, dense, violent, scalding, darkly comic, exhilarating and exhausting — a testament to Mr. James’s vaulting ambition and prodigious talent” (New York Times).
by Marilynne Robinson
Robinson returns to the small Iowa town that was the setting of her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Gilead (2004), and its follow-up Home (2008). This third volume focuses on Lila, the younger second wife of Reverend John Ames who made appearances in Gilead. Lila reveals her painful past as a young orphan who led a tough itinerant life, looked after by a surrogate mother named Doll. Lila finds her way to Gilead, where she falls in love with the Reverend and reflects on her profound personal and spiritual journey. Publishers Weekly calls Lila “a masterpiece of prose in the service of the moral seriousness that distinguishes Robinson's work” and Booklist calls it “a tour de force, an unforgettably dramatic odyssey, a passionate and learned moral and spiritual inquiry, a paean to the earth, and a witty and transcendent love story.” Lila is on the recently announced longlist of nominees for the National Book Award.
by Jane Smiley
Like Lila, Jane Smiley’s latest novel (her fourteenth) is also set in Iowa and also on the National Book Award longlist. Some Luck is the story of a farming family and their fortunes and struggles spanning three decades beginning in 1920. “Told in beautiful, you-are-there language, the narrative lets ordinary events accumulate to give us a significant feel of life at the time, with the importance and dangers of farming particularly well portrayed” (Library Journal). “The saga of an Iowa farm family might not seem like an exciting premise, but Smiley makes it just that, conjuring a world—time, place, people—and an engaging story that makes readers eager to know what happens next” (Publishers Weekly). Readers that embraced her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Thousand Acres (1991) will love this book.
The Lives of Others
by Neel Mukherjee
The Lives of Others is an intricately layered story focused on the well-off Ghosh family household in Kolkata in the 60s and 70s. Three generations and their servants share one residence with their various rivalries and misunderstandings; bonds are ruptured when the youngest grandson becomes obsessed with the plight of the poor and the working class and leaves home to join the Communist party. “In startling imagery that sears itself into the mind, The Lives of Others excellently exposes the gulf between rich and poor, young and old, tradition and modernity, us and them, showing how acts of empathy are urgently needed to bridge the divides” (The Guardian). The Lives of Others is currently on the short list of contenders for the Booker Prize.
Hiding in Plain Sight
by Nuruddin Farah
Farah is a distinguished and award-winning Somali author, perhaps best known for his “Blood in the Sun" trilogy: Maps (1986), Gifts (1993), and Secrets (1998). He returns with Hiding in Plain Sight, featuring Bella, an internationally known photographer leading a glamorous and carefree life in Rome. Bella’s world is flipped upside down when her half-brother in Mogadishu, with whom she shared her Somali mother, is murdered. She travels to Nairobi to see her niece and nephew, trying to decide if she should assume their care when their long-missing mother appears. Library Journal praises this “study of blended political, social, and personal responsibilities, extending Farah's reach.”
Tehran at Twilight
by Salar Abdoh
Reza and Sina, two Iranian-American young men, meet and become best friends at Berkeley. After graduation, they travel to Iraq and Afghanistan with jobs as interpreters for embedded journalists. Then their paths take different directions: Reza pursues a cushy academic life in the U.S., and Sina returns to Iran and joins up with a dangerous anti-Western political organization. Reza is faced with a double dilemma that draws him back to Tehran when both Sina and his long estranged mother seek out his help. Author Abdoh “gives readers a visceral sense of life in a country where repression is the norm, someone is always watching, and your past is never really past” (Library Journal).
Prince Lestat: The Vampire Chronicles
by Anne Rice
Bloodthirsty Anne Rice fans rejoice: the latest in her Vampire Chronicles is here, the first in eleven years. A mysterious voice is compelling all vampires to wage war against each other, and Lestat must step in to stop it. In the midst of all of the bloodshed (and blood consumption), Rice catches up on all of the series characters as well as peering further into their pasts. “Series fans should not miss this latest foray into Rice's magical world built around the undead, but anyone with an interest in the supernatural and aficionados of richly detailed and lush backdrops will enjoy this epic tale” (Library Journal).
The Disappearance Boy
by Neil Bartlett
Reggie Rainbow, the hero of this novel set in 1950s England, is a penniless and lonely 23-year-old orphan with polio and “a delightfully quirky, eccentric, and lovable character” (Publishers Weekly). Despite his hardships, he finds work as a “disappearance boy” in a vaudevillian magic show, and finds true friendship with the female assistant Pamela while becoming increasingly aware that he’s gay. Booklist calls The Disappearance Boy “haunting in its evocation of a long-gone time” and praises the author’s “unusual gift for showing that ordinary lives are, in their way, extraordinary. You might almost say it's magic.”
Ready to Burst
by Frankétienne, translated by Kaiama L. Glover
The New York Times identifies Frankétienne as “Haiti’s most important writer” with “star status in French- and Creole-speaking countries.” Translated into English for the first time, this novel follows heartbroken Raynand, who finds comfort in a friendship with Paulin. Both men find themselves caught up in art and political activism, taking them into unsafe territory during the dictatorship of François Duvalier. “Frankétienne writes with a savage beauty about politics, art, and the roles of men and women in a turbulent world” (Kirkus Reviews).
Truth Be Told
by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Truth Be Told is the third book in a mystery series that began with The Other Woman(2012), featuring Boston reporter Jane Ryland and police detective Jake Brogan. In this installment, Ryland and Brogan are juggling a string of murders discovered in foreclosed properties and a 20-year-old cold case with a doubtful confession—in addition to their covert love affair. Ryan’s latest “packs a powerful punch, and offers a clever mix of mystery, corruption, and romance,” says Library Journal, adding, “Mystery enthusiasts will want to drop everything and binge-read until the mind-boggling conclusion.” Ryan has won a staggering 32 Emmys as a television investigative reporter and her mystery novels have won three Agatha Awards, the Anthony, Daphne, Macavity, and the Mary Higgins Clark Award. Meet the author in person at the Main Library on October 12!
Are you looking forward to an upcoming new release? Tell us about it!