The author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist has a new novel coming out about a poor kid in a poor country (similar to Pakistan but not named), who makes a fortune in the bottled water industry. The narrator, like the country, remains unnamed, as the story is told in the second-person instructional, a mock self-help style popularized by Lorrie Moore’s famed (and excellent) debut short story collection, Self-Help. Kakutani highlighted Hamid’s “high-frequency radar” in sketching out the social network portrayed here. Worth a shot for sure.
Next up: the new short story collection from C4 favorite Sam Lipsyte. The flap copy calls it both “hilarious” and “tragicomic,” and I’d be inclined to believe the latter. There have been a glut of story collections recently, and I’m not sure I’ve ever read one without a dud or two. The lucky thing about a collection by talented authors is that one or two or seven duds won’t necessarily sink it. If one has even just a couple of gems, it can be great.
Our own Eric Markowsky said, of Hemon’s 2008 novel The Lazarus Project: “The prose is so compelling, at times devastatingly funny and charming, at others just devastating, that the book moves like a light read despite its heavy themes.” This latest project is a semi-memoir about Hemon’s lives in two cities, Sarajevo and Chicago, and the early buzz raves.
Pretty much anything by Nabokov will get top honors on this site, whenever it comes up. Nabokov wrote this play when he was 24, and it sounds full of his early themes: odd, fantastical kingdoms; despotic states; revolution; and abnormal, possibly unnerving love. Let’s give it a shot.
Gass took fifteen years to write this novel, about “the nature of human identity,” and a Jewish man who grew up in London during WWII and who later decides that his calling is to found the Inhumanity Museum. The Millions called it his most accessible fiction in 45 years. Still, dude is dense.
It’s been nine weeks (literally), so it’s time for another Joyce Carol Oates book. This “eerie tale of psychological horror” has gotten luke-warm reviews at best. Maybe she should take a little longer to write the next one?
This is the first installment in a new urban fantasy series, and it’s getting such rave reviews that I might give it a chance. Meg is a “blood prophet,” Simon is a shape-shifter… presumably they fall in love. This stuff always sounds like a Twilight ripoff to me on paper, but if Bishop’s writing is good enough, I’ll get on board. Maybe.
The 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner for Olive Kitteridge returns with the story of the Burgess family. After their father dies in a freak accident, Jim and Bob Burgess escape their small town as fast as they can, leaving their sister behind. When the sister’s own kid gets into trouble, Jim and Bob have to come home and reconcile their past.
This short, fable-like fantasy novel follows a young mapmaker’s apprentice in a “faraway land” who finds a secretive people who guard a mythic treasure. The people regard the mapmaker and her kingdom as a threat, and so the mapmaker is cast out, and has to find a life of her own. Early buzz has been mixed, but I might give this one a shot.
This one sounds like half Persephone myth and half Dan Brown. A professor of demon mythology at Columbia (I guess they have those) has to bring all his knowledge and smarts together to save his daughter from the underworld.