Saturday, June 16, 2007

North River: A Novel by Pete Hamill

The North River is what real New Yorkers call the Hudson. Two blocks from its shore, Dr. James Finbar Delaney lives on Horatio Street in Greenwich Village. He is a GP, servicing the indigent poor. A wounded veteran of World War I, he is despondent that his wife, Molly, has deserted him and that his only child, Grace, has left her son, two-year-old Carlito, in his care. In the dead of winter in the Depression year of 1934, Dr. Delaney knows the cause of death was always life. Delaney is numb from the war and the abandonment of his family. When he saves the life of gangster friend Eddie Corso, Italian hood Frankie Botts is not happy. Delaney can feel the threat to him and his grandson in his bones. To further complicate matters, the FBI shows up looking for Grace. If there's any consolation for Delaney in the chaos that has become his life, it's Carlito and Rose, his Sicilian illegal alien housekeeper, who has become little Carlito's surrogate mother—and Delaney's lover. Soon the North River comes to symbolize Delaney's tormented life, as enemies and loved ones float in it, and Grace, on a liner, returns to New York to further complicate Delaney's new, delicate household. Hamill (Forever; A Drinking Life) has crafted a beautiful novel, rich in New York City detail and ambience, that showcases the power of human goodness and how love, in its many forms, can prevail in an unfair world.

(June) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Friday, June 15, 2007

In the Tenth House: A Novel by Laura Dietz

"Dietz weaves a colorful debut set in Victorian London when psychology was considered experimental, spiritualism was a hobby of the gentle class and neither field was understood or accepted. Budding psychoanalyst Dr. Ambrose Gennett becomes obsessed with beautiful spiritualist Lily Embly when she flees from their chance encounter at a train station. After locating Lily, who is trying to pay down her debt to nefarious lenders with meager earnings from her tarot reading business and by helping her mother perform séances, Gennett learns of her profession and becomes bent on saving her. Lily, meanwhile, is convinced Gennett was sent to help her out of her financial jam and invites his sister and aunt to participate in a séance. Outraged that Lily has co-opted his family, Gennett turns vengeful, and his professional life suffers as his quest to out her as a fraud heats up, and Lily teams up with the scheming Monsieur St. Aubin, who provides Lily with access to a very moneyed crowd. The confrontation erupts at a grand séance and has drastic repercussions neither Lily nor Gennett expect. Dietz handles her characters and plot with a precision uncommon to debut novelists."

(June) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Flower Children by Maxine Swann

"This wistful, episodic second novel by Swann (Serious Girls) is made up of vignettes about four sibling "flower children" whose parents are Pennsylvania farm country back-to-the-land hippies. Swann portrays the free-floating '70s coming-of-age of these four siblings—Lu, Maeve (who narrates much of the novel), Tuck and Clyde—who delight in running freely in the countryside, but grow embarrassed by the unconventional practices of their politically active, casual-dressing parents. Their parents, Sam, a Harvard graduate, and Dee, a gardener and artist, built their own house, and though they aim to raise their children in an ideal world "in which nothing is lied about, whispered about, and nothing is ever concealed," the parents separate, and subsequent storylike chapters delineate their children's sometimes rocky confrontation with the world of TVs, junk food and schoolyard cliques. The parents' transient love interests make impressions on the children: Dee's live-in boyfriend, Bobby, avenges the shooting of the children's dogs by local hunters; later, the children set out to rid themselves of Sam's latest squeeze, a glamorous but dim-witted psychologist..."

(May) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Blood of Flowers: A Novel by Anita Amirrezvani

"In Iranian-American Amirrezvani's lushly orchestrated debut, a comet signals misfortune to the remote 17th-century Persian village where the nameless narrator lives modestly but happily with her parents, both of whom expect to see the 14-year-old married within the year. Her fascination with rug making is a pastime they indulge only for the interim, but her father's untimely death prompts the girl to travel with her mother to the city of Isfahan, where the two live as servants in the opulent home of an uncle—a wealthy rug maker to the Shah. The only marriage proposal now in the offing is a three-month renewable contract with the son of a horse trader. Teetering on poverty and shame, the girl weaves fantasies for her temporary husband's pleasure and exchanges tales with her beleaguered mother until, having mastered the art of making and selling carpets under her uncle's tutelage, she undertakes to free her mother and herself. With journalistic clarity, Amirrezvani describes how to make a carpet knot by knot, and then sell it negotiation by negotiation, guiding readers through workshops and bazaars. Sumptuous imagery and a modern sensibility (despite a preponderance of flowery language and schematic female bonding and male bullying) make this a winning debut."

(June) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Quaker Summer: A Novel by Lisa Samson

"One of the most powerful voices in Christian fiction, Samson delivers what seems, on the surface, to be just another Christian women's novel, but in reality is a staggering examination of the Christian conscience. Like most Samson heroines, Heather Curridge is a woman in crisis. Outwardly, her life seems idyllic: she has an unusually handsome, successful and loving husband, a child she adores and the most beautiful home she could imagine. Inwardly, however, she is falling apart, overcome by the idea that this comfortable, affluent life is keeping her from God's will. With the help of several older, wiser Christians, her patient family and her two best friends, Heather comes to some painful conclusions about her past and future. Samson's unflinching exploration of childhood bullying, as well as inner-city poverty and drug culture, are rivaled only by her portrayal of the soul-desiccating acquisitiveness in which many Christians engage, often in a misguided attempt to numb both their heartache and their awareness of God's potentially life-upending plans. Unlike many Christian novelists, Samson does not tidily resolve every single problem her heroine faces, but instead paints an emotionally and spiritually luminous portrait of a soul beckoned by God."

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Raven Black: A Thriller by Ann Cleeves

"Set in the remote Scottish Shetland Islands, Cleeves's taut, atmospheric thriller, the first in a new series, will keep readers guessing until the last page. Det. Insp. Jimmy Perez investigates the murder of teenage Catherine Ross, found strangled on a snowy hillside shortly after New Year's. While the police and citizens alike are quick to lay the blame on local eccentric Magnus Tait, who was not only the last person to see Catherine alive but also the prime suspect in the disappearance eight years earlier of another girl, Perez has his doubts. He's soon drawn into an intricate web of lies as he unearths the long-buried secrets of everyone from a roguish playboy to Catherine's only school friend. Cleeves, winner of the CWA's Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award (formerly the Gold Dagger), masterfully paints Perez as an empathetic hero and sprinkles the story with a lively cast of supporting characters who help bring the Shetlands alive. When the shocking identity of the murderer is revealed, readers will be as chilled as the harsh winds that batter the isolated islands."

(June) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Monday, June 04, 2007

We have two discussions set for Thursday, June 28 of this award winning mystery, and lots of copies on hand for borrowing. Please join us at 12:30 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. Books and sign up sheet are at the check out desk.
"Many years from now when your children ask what New York City was like just after 9/11, this will be the book you give them in response. It's an exquisite novel full of heart, soul, passion and intelligence, and it's the one this great New York author was born to write." --Lee Child

The secrets of a group of childhood friends unravel in this haunting thriller by Edgar Award winner S. J. Rozan. Set in New York in the unforgettable aftermath of September 11, Absent Friends brilliantly captures a time and place unlike any other, as it winds through the wounded streets of New York and Staten Island...and into a maze of old crimes, damaged lives, and heartbreaking revelations. The result is not only an electrifying mystery and a riveting piece of storytelling but an elegiac novel that powerfully explores a world changed forever on a clear September morning. In a novel that will catch you off guard at every turn, and one that is guaranteed to become a classic, S. J. Rozan masterfully ratchets up the tension one revelation at a time as she dares you to ponder the bonds of friendship, the meaning of truth, and the stuff of heroism.
In the Age of Love by Michael Stein

"Set in 1980s New Orleans, Stein's fifth novel (after This Room Is Yours) is a tale of lost love found. Jonathan Parrish, an educational consultant in Third World battle zones, is invited to give a presentation at an education conference in the city. Perusing the conference program, he discovers the name of Lily Mayeux, with whom he had been involved in the 1970s. She, meanwhile, finds his name there as well. Having not seen each other in the 12 years since their relationship ended in hurt and misunderstanding after Jonathan failed to return from Nicaragua for the funeral of Lily's sister, neither knows what to expect from the other. They soon find the old feelings returning, despite misgivings about whether these feeling represent who they now are or who they once were. And Lily's being married and the mother of a child is no small complication. In this brief novel, Stein has written a sensitive and nuanced tale of two people struggling toward a future that each, in their own way, has always longed for. "

—Lawrence Rungren, Merrimack Valley Lib. Consortium, Andover, MA Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday

"In Torday's winningly absurdist debut, Dr. Alfred Jones feels at odds with his orderly life as a London fisheries scientist and husband to the career-driven Mary, with whom he shares a coldly dispassionate relationship. Just as Mary departs for a protracted assignment in Geneva, Alfred gets consulted on a visionary sheik's scheme to introduce salmon, and salmon-angling, to the country of Yemen. Alfred is deeply skeptical (salmon are cold-water fish that spawn in fresh water; Yemen is hot and largely desert), but the project gains traction when Peter Maxwell, the prime minister's director of communications, seizes on it as a PR antidote to negative press related to the Iraq war. Alfred is pressed by his superiors to meet with the sheik's real estate rep, the glamorous young Harriet, and embarks on a yearlong journey to realize the sheik's vision of spiritual peace through fly-fishing for the people of Yemen. British businessman and angler Torday captures Alfred's emerging humanity, Maxwell's antic solipsism, Mary's calculating neediness and Harriet's vulnerability, presenting their voices through diaries, e-mails, letters and official interviews conducted after the doomed venture's surprisingly tragic outcome."

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.