The incomparable Jonathan Lethem returns with nine stories that demonstrate his mastery of the short form.
Jonathan Lethem's third collection of stories uncovers a father's nervous breakdown at SeaWorld in "Pending Vegan"; a foundling child rescued from the woods during a blizzard in "Traveler Home"; a political prisoner in a hole in a Brooklyn street in "Procedure in Plain Air"; and a crumbling, haunted "blog" on a seaside cliff in "The Dreaming Jaw, The Salivating Ear." Each of these locates itself in Lethem-land, which can be discovered only by visiting. As in his celebrated novels, Lethem finds the uncanny lurking in the mundane, the irrational self-defeat seeping through our upstanding pursuits, and the tragic undertow of the absurd world(s) in which we live.
Devoted fans of Lethem will recognize familiar themes: the anxiety of influence taken to reductio ad absurdum in "The King of Sentences"; a hapless, horny outsider summoning bravado in "The Porn Critic"; characters from forgotten comics stranded on a desert island in "Their Back Pages." As always in Lethem, humor and poignancy work in harmony, humans strive desperately for connection, words find themselves misaligned to deeds, and the sentences are glorious.
Instant #1" New York Times "Bestseller
""The Girl on the Train" has more fun with unreliable narration than any chiller since "Gone Girl." . . . It] is liable to draw a large, bedazzled readership."--"The New York Times"
"Like its train, the story blasts through the stagnation of these lives in suburban London and the reader cannot help but turn pages."--"The Boston Globe"
""Gone Girl "fans will devour this psychological thriller."--"People"
A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people's lives.
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She's even started to feel like she knows them. "Jess and Jason," she calls them. Their life--as she sees it--is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
And then she sees something shocking. It's only a minute until the train moves on, but it's enough. Now everything's changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
Compulsively readable, "The Girl on the Train "is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.
Jim Harrison is one of our most renowned and popular authors, and his last novel, "The Great Leader," was one of the most successful in a decorated career: it appeared on the "New York Times" extended bestseller list, and was a national bestseller with rapturous reviews. His darkly comic follow-up, "The Big Seven," sends Detective Sunderson to confront his new neighbors, a gun-nut family who live outside the law in rural Michigan.
Detective Sunderson has fled troubles on the home front and bought himself a hunting cabin in a remote area of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. No sooner has he settled in than he realizes his new neighbors are creating even more havoc than the Great Leader did. A family of outlaws, armed to the teeth, the Ameses have local law enforcement too intimidated to take them on. Then Sunderson's cleaning lady, a comely young Ames woman, is murdered, and black sheep brother Lemuel Ames seeks Sunderson's advice on a crime novel he's writing which may not be fiction. Sunderson must struggle with the evil within himself and the far greater, more expansive evil of his neighbor.
In a story shot through with wit, bedlam, and Sunderson's attempts to enumerate and master the seven deadly sins, "The Big Seven" is a superb reminder of why Jim Harrison is one of America's most irrepressible writers.
War photographer Lynsey Addario's memoir "It's What I Do "is the story of how the relentless pursuit of truth, in virtually every major theater of war in the twenty-first century, has shaped her life. What she does, with clarity, beauty, and candor, is to document, often in their most extreme moments, the complex lives of others. It's her work, but it's much more than that: it's her singular calling.
Lynsey Addario was just finding her way as a young photographer when September 11 changed the world. One of the few photojournalists with experience in Afghanistan, she gets the call to return and cover the American invasion. She makes a decision she would often find herself making--not to stay home, not to lead a quiet or predictable life, but to set out across the world, face the chaos of crisis, and make a name for herself.
In 2002, director Richard Linklater and a crew began filming the "Untitled 12-Year Project." He cast four actors (Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane, and Lorelei Linklater) in the role of a family and filmed them each year over the next dozen years. Supported by IFC Productions, Linklater, cast, and crew began the commitment of a lifetime that became the film, Boyhood. Seen through the eyes of a young boy in Texas, Boyhood unfolds as the characters--and actors--age and evolve, the boy growing from a soft-faced child into a young man on the brink of his adult life, finding himself as an artist.
Photographer Matt Lankes captured the progression of the film and the actors through the lens of a 4x5 camera, creating a series of arresting portraits and behind-the-scenes photographs. His work documents Linklater's unprecedented narrative that used the real-life passage of years as a key element to the storytelling.
Just as Boyhood the film calls forth memories of childhood and lures one into a place of self-reflection, Boyhood: Twelve Years on Film presents an honest collection of faces, placed side-by-side, that chronicles the passage of time as the camera connects with the cast and crew on an intimate level. Revealing, personal recollections by the actors and filmmakers accompany the photographs.
Denis Johnson’s The Laughing Monsters is a high-suspense tale of kaleidoscoping loyalties in the post-9/11 world that shows one of our great novelists at the top of his game.Roland Nair calls himself Scandinavian but travels on a U.S. passport. After ten years’ absence, he returns to Freetown, Sierra Leone, to reunite with his friend Michael Adriko. They once made a lot of money here during the country’s civil war, and, curious to see whether good luck will strike twice in the same place, Nair has allowed himself to be drawn back to a region he considers hopeless.Adriko is an African who styles himself a soldier of fortune and who claims to have served, at various times, the Ghanaian army, the Kuwaiti Emiri Guard, and the American Green Berets. He’s probably broke now, but he remains, at thirty-six, as stirred by his own doubtful schemes as he was a decade ago.Although Nair believes some kind of money-making plan lies at the back of it all, Adriko’s stated reason for inviting his friend to Freetown is for Nair to meet Adriko’s fiancée, a grad student from Colorado named Davidia. Together the three set out to visit Adriko’s clan in the Uganda-Congo borderland—but each of these travelers is keeping secrets from the others. Their journey through a land abandoned by the future leads Nair, Adriko, and Davidia to meet themselves not in a new light, but rather in a new darkness.
"Surprising, thrilling, and beautifully executed in spare, precise, and lyrical prose, Lockhart spins a tragic family drama, the roots of which go back generations. And the ending? Shhhh. Not telling. (But it’s a doozy)...This is poised to be big."
-Booklist, starred review
"Lockhart has created a mystery with an ending most readers won’t see coming, one so horrific it will prompt some to return immediately to page one to figure out how they missed it. At the center of it is a girl who learns the hardest way of all what family means, and what it means to lose the one that really mattered to you."
-Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Riveting, brutal and beautifully told."
-Kirkus, starred review
"It's hard to imagine another narrative that would justify this way of telling, but perhaps McBride can build another style from scratch for another style of story. That's a project for another day, when this little book is famous." —London Review of Books"A Girl is a Half-formed Thing is simply a brilliant book--entirely emotionally raw and at the same time technically astounding. Her prose is as haunting and moving as music, and the love story at the heart of the novel--between a sister and brother--as true and wrenching as any in literature. This is a book about everything: family, faith, sex, home, transcendence, violence, and love. I can't recommend it highly enough." —Elizabeth McCracken"My discovery of the year was Eimear McBride's debut novel A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing." —Eleanor Catton
The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller that has captivated over 1 million readers now also includes the bestselling short story The Julian Chapter.
I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.
August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.
"Wonder is the best kids' book of the year," said Emily Bazelon, senior editor at Slate.com and author of Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy. In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” —indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.
Join the conversation: #thewonderofwonder
A brilliant new work that returns Richard Ford to the celebrated fictional landscape that sealed his reputation as an American master: the world of Frank Bascombe.
In his trio of critically acclaimed, bestselling novels--The Sportswriter, the Pulitzer Prize and PEN/ Faulkner-winning Independence Day, and The Lay of the Land--Richard Ford, in essence, illuminated the zeitgeist of an entire generation, through the divinings and wit of his now-famous literary chronicler, Frank Bascombe, who is certainly one of the most indelible, provocative, and anticipated characters in modern American literature.
Here, in Let Me Be Frank With You, Ford returns with four deftly linked stories narrated by the iconic Bascombe. Now sixty-eight, and again ensconced in the well-defended New Jersey suburb of Haddam, Bascombe has thrived--seemingly if not utterly--in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy's devastation. As in all of the Bascombe books, Ford's guiding spirit is the old comic's maxim that promises if nothing's funny, nothing's truly serious. The desolation of Sandy, which rendered houses, shorelines, and countless lives unmoored and flattened, could scarcely be more serious as the grist for fiction. Yet it is the perfect backdrop and touchstone for Ford--and Bascombe. With a flawless comedic sensibility and unblinking intelligence, these stories range over the full complement of American subjects: aging, race, loss, faith, marriage, redemption, the real-estate crash--the tumult of the world we live in.
Welcome to Trace Italian, a game of strategy and survival! You may now make your first move. Isolated by a disfiguring injury since the age of seventeen, Sean Phillips crafts imaginary worlds for strangers to play in. From his small apartment in southern California, he orchestrates fantastic adventures where possibilities, both dark and bright, open in the boundaries between the real and the imagined. As the creator of Trace Italian—a text-based, role-playing game played through the mail—Sean guides players from around the world through his intricately imagined terrain, which they navigate and explore, turn by turn, seeking sanctuary in a ravaged, savage future America.
Lance and Carrie are high school students from Florida, explorers of the Trace. But when they take their play into the real world, disaster strikes, and Sean is called to account for it. In the process, he is pulled back through time, tunneling toward the moment of his own self-inflicted departure from the world in which most people live. Brilliantly constructed, Wolf in White Van unfolds in reverse until we arrive at both the beginning and the climax: the event that has shaped so much of Sean’s life. Beautifully written and unexpectedly moving, John Darnielle’s audacious and gripping debut novel is a marvel of storytelling brio and genuine literary delicacy.
In the last year, the narrator of 10:04 has enjoyed unlikely literary success, has been diagnosed with a potentially fatal medical condition, and has been asked by his best friend to help her conceive a child. In a New York of increasingly frequent superstorms and social unrest, he must reckon with his own mortality and the prospect of fatherhood in a city that might soon be underwater.
A writer whose work Jonathan Franzen has called “hilarious . . . cracklingly intelligent . . . and original in every sentence,” Lerner captures what it’s like to be alive now, during the twilight of an empire, when the difficulty of imagining a future is changing our relationship to both the present and the past.
With his characteristic talent for finding connections between writing and the stuff of our lives, Peter Turchi ventures into new and even more surprising territory. In "A Muse and a Maze," Turchi draws out the similarities between writing and puzzle-making and its flip-side, puzzle-solving. As he teases out how mystery lies at the heart of all storytelling, he uncovers the magic--the creation of credible illusion--that writers share with the likes of Houdini and master magicians. In Turchi's associative narrative, we learn about the history of puzzles, their obsessive quality, and that Benjamin Franklin was a devotee of an ancient precursor of sudoku called Magic Squares. Applying this rich backdrop to the requirements of writing, Turchi reveals as much about the human psyche as he does about the literary imagination and the creative process.