A publication date has finally been set for the authorized sequel to the late Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy. Journalist Mikael Blomqvist and hacker Lisbeth Salander return in That Which Does Not Kill, to be released in at least 35 countries on August 27, 2015, the Guardian reports.
First announced in 2013, the 500-page volume was completed in November by Swedish journalist and author David Lagercrantz.
It will be published by Knopf in North America under a different title. We're guessing it will continue with The Girl ________ format consistent with all the English titles, and the publisher promises it will "have at least one four-letter word." (Which, based on some BookPage readers' responses to the title of Jens Lapidus' 2013 thriller, will cause NO PROBLEMS AT ALL.) The cover will be designed by Peter Mendelsund.
At the time of the author's death of a heart attack in 2004, Larsson left behind an uncompleted manuscript for a fifth volume in a conceived 10-book series. This new book will introduce "some new characters, including several high profile Americans (one a security manager from the NSA) and a Swedish professor of computer science from Silicon Valley."
Speaking for the Stieg Larsson estate, Joakim and Erland Larsson (Stieg's brother and father) commented:
"By letting David Lagercrantz write his own Millennium novel we keep the characters and the universe Stieg Larsson created alive. This new work hews closely to the first three Millennium novels and is faithful to those characters; it is wholly new and contemporary—the perfect way for readers to resume their acquaintance with Lisbeth and Mikael."
The series has sold more than 80 million copies worldwide and seen multiple film adaptations. As for this new book, Swedish publisher Nordstedts expects a "global splash" to rival The Da Vinci Code.
A novel about female wrestlers in the 1950s? Sign this jaded fiction editor up—that's not a summary I read every day. In Angelina Mirabella's winning (ha) debut novel, 17-year-old Leonie is stuck in Philly, waiting tables and caring for her aging father. But then a wrestling promoter walks into her diner and her life is changed forever—she's off to Florida to train at Joe Pospisil's School for Lady Grappling.
Mirabella tells her story in the second person, allowing the reader to fully step into Leonie's shoes, like a choose-your-own-adventure. Here's Leonie in the ring for the first time, with a fellow trainee and friend, Peggy.
"I'm sorry. What do you want us to do?" [Peggy] ventures.
"What do you mean, what do I want you to do?" Joe asks, his hands extended in front of him. "This is a match. You are opponents. So wrestle, damn it."
"Oh," you say, blinking back at Peggy. The two of you stare at each other for a while, each waiting for the other to begin, to offer up some clue as to how this might go. Thankfully, Peggy steps forward and takes you by the soulders, granting you permission to do the same. It is a strange sensation, to be locked in ref's position with her—not just another woman, but a buddy. It is a decidedly tentative press, and it makes you tentative, too. How real should this be? What are the boundaries? And what is she to you, exactly? Is she your colleague, or your rival?
"Well, this is boring," says Joe. "Would either of you care to do anything that might keep a paying customer from walking out?"
"Like this?" says Peggy, and she drops down and grabs your legs out from under you.
What are you reading this week?
In his debut novel, The Secret Wisdom of the Earth, Christopher Scotton follows teenager Kevin Gillooly as he spends the summer in a small, impoverished Appalachia mining town. Our reviewer writes, "This affecting coming-of-age story faithfully portrays environmental concerns alongside rich family histories." (Read the review here.)
We asked Scotton to tell us about three books he's been reading lately, and he graciously agreed to share.
The only time I have for pleasure reading these days is about five minutes in the evening before bed. Novels can take months to unspool for me in that limited time of quiet, so I’ve turned to short story collections for my night reading. Short stories allow me to wade in and out quickly but still take some meaning and satisfaction from the best of them. Here are three that seem to have attached themselves to a permanent place on my bedside.
Sure, it’s a great “on ramp” to reading and understanding Joyce—a not-too-taxing wend around middle class, turn-of-the-century Dublin—providing a necessary set-up for A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man then Ulysses (read in that order if you can). But in my mind, Dubliners stands on its own as one of the best short story collections in the English language, primarily on the shoulders of “The Dead,” the final piece in the work.
“The Dead” is perhaps the most perfect short story I’ve ever read—flawlessly constructed, subtly rendered to devastating effect. When asked by young writers for advice on how to develop compelling characters, I send them sprinting to “The Dead” and to Joyce’s delicate unwrapping of Gabriel Conroy.
While others in the collection don’t achieve the rare air of “The Dead,” “The Sisters,” “Araby” and “Eveline” will certainly leave you breathless.
Goodness . . . where to begin with this one. Unlike The Dubliners, which is a bit top heavy with the outsized magnificence of “The Dead,” every story in Flannery O’Connor’s collection Everything That Rises Must Converge is note-perfect, stunningly original and just flat-out great.
While the stories are dark Southern Gothic, the characters are so acutely drawn that they transcend setting. We all have encountered the self-absorbed idiot intellectual Julian of the title story—perhaps we even were him for a while when the ink was still wet on our Masters. How many smug, self-righteous Mrs. May’s, gored by a bull in “Greenleaf,” have populated our neighborhoods? Then there’s the moral outrage of Thomas in “The Comforts of Home” combusting with the smoldering sexuality of Star Drake.
Although O’Connor’s novels were, for me, clumsy affairs, when reading her short stories you’ll know you’re in the deft hands of a virtuoso. These stories will amuse, astound and stun you sleepless.
If Joyce invented the short story, Saunders reinvented it with Tenth of December. Strike that—He didn’t just reinvent it, he blew it up, shook it down and reassembled the smithereens into something so completely unique and compelling and dazzling I was nearly left in thrombosis. Okay, not an actual thrombosis but maybe a state of joyful apoplexy.
Seriously, people, is there a better, more topical, more heart-rending story in this cannon of ours than the “Semplica Girl Diaries”? I don’t think so . . . except maybe “Tenth of December” or “Victory Lap.”
So much has been written about the genius of George Saunders that I don’t need to add to the blather—just read the damn thing. Or read it again if you already have. It’s the shit.
Thanks, Christopher! See a personal favorite or anything you'd like to pick up, readers?
(Author photo by Lee Kriel)
The National Book Critics Circle has chosen the finalists for their annual awards, which will be announced on March 12 in New York City (if you're local, you can watch for yourself—the ceremony is open to the public). Check out the fiction and nonfiction finalists below, and visit their site for the full list.
Paula Hawkins has something to smile about. Her novel, The Girl on the Train, will top this week's New York Times bestseller list. That's quite a feat for any author, let alone an unknown: This is the first time that a debut novel* has made the #1 spot in its first week on sale since Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian was published in 2005. According to the publishers, Riverhead, more than 300,000 copies are in print, and the book is being sold at unconventional retail outlets, including Urban Outfitters.
We weren't surprised to hear that the unexpected twists and turns of The Girl on the Train got readers buzzing—they definitely had our editors intrigued. In her BookPage interview, Hawkins talked about the difficulty of surprising readers with twists that still manage to function as an "ah-ha" moment.
“It’s all about feeding tiny pieces of information, but hopefully keeping them slightly ambivalent. You have to have different people see different things in different ways, and hold back particular pieces of information,” she explains.
Hawkins is hard at work on another book, although it is quite likely that touring for The Girl on the Train will be keeping her busy for the next several weeks—she'll be appearing at Nashville's own Parnassus Books on February 8.
Have you picked up The Girl on the Train yet?
*Hawkins has published other novels under a pseudonym—we're betting they are on the way to the printers as we speak.
Looking for a hearty, soul-warming staple to get you through the final weeks of winter? Then try this Italian-inspired recipe for Hunter's Chicken Stew from our January Top Pick in Cookbooks, The Pollan Family Table.
Hunter’s Chicken Stew with Tomatoes and Mushrooms
FROM THE MARKET
FROM THE PANTRY
Our hunter's stew is an Italian take on the classic Polish dish, with chicken as a stand-in for pork. The tender morsels of chicken are smothered in a luscious gravy, making this a dish that the family loves.
1 whole chicken (3½ to 4 pounds), giblets and backbone removed, cut into 8 serving pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, thinly sliced
8 cremini or baby bella mushroom caps, thickly sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage leaves
1 bay leaf
Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper.
In a Dutch oven or a large ovenproof pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add 4 of the chicken pieces, skin side down. Cook undisturbed until the skin is golden, about 7 minutes. Flip the chicken pieces and cook until brown, about 4 minutes more. Transfer to a platter and repeat with the remaining pieces of chicken. Set aside.
Wipe the Dutch oven clean with paper towels and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion, mushrooms and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and fragrant, about 8 minutes.
Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour is thoroughly mixed with the onion and mushrooms, about 2 minutes. Raise the heat to high and stir in the wine, scraping up any brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes and their juice, thyme, sage, the bay leaf, 1 ½ teaspoons of salt and ⅛ teaspoon of pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the browned chicken and any accumulated juices, submerging the pieces into the liquid. Cover and place the pot in the oven.
Bake until the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes. Take off the lid and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Remove the pot from the oven and, using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter. Return the pot to the burner, turn the heat to high, and cook until the sauce is thickened, about 4 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Spoon the mushrooms and sauce over the chicken and serve.
Get your library cards ready! Librarians around the country voted, and LibraryReads has put together a list of the upcoming February titles that librarians are most excited about putting on their shelves.
Topping the list is the incomparable Anne Tyler's family saga, A Spool of Blue Thread. Other books included on the list are M.O. Walsh's heartbreaking and suspenseful My Sunshine Away and Ariana Franklin's latest historical novel, The Siege Winter. Check out the full LibraryReads list here!
Thomas Pierce's debut short story collection, Hall of Small Mammals, is sometimes strange, sometimes fantastical and manages to perfectly balance between tragic and hilarious. Within this collection, a mother is saddled with a cloned baby mammoth by her selfish son; two siblings are trapped in a pantry and very confused; and a father and son blunder through a cliqueish, vaguely cult-like community of campers. Ultimately this collection shines a light on the pain and beauty that can be found within all close relationships. If you enjoy George Saunders, Karen Russell or J. Robert Lennon, you might want to pick up this book.
Here's an excerpt from the title short story, "Hall of Small Mammals":
“I think the pace is picking up,” the woman behind me said, and when I looked up, I saw that she was right. We were really moving now. I could see the entrance ot the Hall of Small Mammals, its brown double doors open wide to receive us. But where was Val? I scanned the crowds. Had I been wrong to let a twelve-year-old go off on his own at a public zoo? I was beginning to suspect that I’d made a poor decision. My experience with children was and is fairly limited. I have two grown nieces that I rarely see in person, though my fridge is plastered with their childhood photos and printed emails. My older brother, the girls’ father, once said that being a parent is the most important thing he’s ever done with his life. I’ve never had the nerve to ask him what that says about my life.
What are you reading today?
Once upon a time, BookPage sent me a copy of The Kingdom of Little Wounds (originally marketed for ages 14 and up) to read and review for the October 2013 issue. After I read it, I got out my drum and cried, "But it's not YA!" Associate Editor Cat Acree and I emailed back and forth about this issue for a whole day, and we ended up with enough talking points to write a (very, very short) dissertation. Or, as she suggested, to stick it on the blog (here).
And with that, Locker Combinations was born.
If you haven't been reading this series from its beginning, you probably aren't familiar with why we named it Locker Combinations. Here's why:
Locker Combinations is a way to "see inside" YA (young adult) literature. By opening a locker, sometimes you find meaningful objects, like photos and mementos. Sometimes you find useful objects, like pens and pencils; informative objects, like your history textbook; or secret objects, like that note your friend slipped between the grates. Sometimes you find gruesome objects, like those gym clothes you've been meaning to take home and wash. And sometimes you find a mirror, where you can see an image of yourself.
With only a few more days before the launch of BookPage's new teen e-newsletter, Yay! YA (you can sign up for it here), I was asked to share with readers what exactly is so great about YA lit—and why it resonates with me!
The new year is a time to think about transformations. But year-round, YA lit focuses on the space between being one thing and being another, with characters sometimes choosing one option unequivocally and other times finding a way to embrace both. Teens think about these issues . . . but adults do, too.
Normally when I talk with students about transformations in YA lit, we talk about teenage shapeshifters: werewolves, selkies, dragons, etc. But to me this year's best example of transformation in YA lit is less metaphorical: Girls Like Us by Gail Giles. Over the course of this short, accessible book, developmentally disabled high school graduates Biddy and Quincy and their recently widowed landlady Elizabeth gradually transform from characters weighed down by their pasts—and by the labels society has assigned them—into people who can build friendships and careers and find happiness despite obstacles.
Veteran YA author Andrew Smith is no stranger to metaphor: The dark horrorscapes that mirror real world terrors in The Marbury Lens (and its companion novel Passenger) established him as a master of the form. Last year, though, Smith took metaphor to yet another level with Grasshopper Jungle, telling two stories, one about teenage boys and the other about giant hungry mutant praying mantises with only one thing on their minds. But are they really two stories, or is one a running metaphor for the other?
You don't have to be a teenager to appreciate the power of metaphor. Adult fiction deals with metaphor too, of course—especially in genres like fantasy, science fiction and horror—but YA's metaphors tend to be more immediate and closer to the surface. Like Smith's oversized insects, this makes them impossible to ignore.
YA lit is often dismissed as more simplistic than adult fiction, but books like E. Lockhart's We Were Liars refute that notion.
Some stories have a beginning, a middle and an end, in that order. Sometimes only one story is being told at a time, and sometimes readers can trust a story's narrator to tell the truth. None of these are the case in Lockhart's postmodern, boundary-pushing YA novel. Narrator Cady's tale of summer friendship and romance on a privileged family's private island is constantly interrupted by flashbacks, bits and pieces of fairy tales and hints that a mysterious accident may be linked to sinister secrets that Cady's bouts of amnesia won't let her access. Lockhart's highly literary, experimental style challenges teen readers to create their own understandings out of disjointed, sometimes complimentary and sometimes contradictory narrative threads.
Lockhart's novel is only one of innumerable YA books that demonstrate that YA can be just as complex, nuanced and multilayered as literature written for adults.
How much power do teens—especially teenage girls—have over their lives and the lives of others around them? Conversion by Katherine Howe explores this question through two parallel stories, one taking place at the time of the Salem witchcraft trials and the other set in a modern Massachusettes high school. In 1692 Salem, teen Ann Putnam Jr. finds herself at the heart of the town's witchcraft hysteria, while in the present day an unexplained neurological illness is creating panic at all-female St. Joan's Academy. Are the sick girls—and the supposed witches' victims—being controlled by outside forces, or have they been the ones in control all along?
Determining, negotiating and reworking questions of social power are definitely not the exclusive purview of teens. Adult power dynamics can be so complicated, and can have such high stakes, that reading about teens who change the world is a good way to put things in perspective.
In some ways, the issue of identity is central to all of YA lit. Consider Noggin by John Corey Whaley: Sixteen-year-old Travis, dying of leukemia, has agreed to an experimental, last-chance treatment. His head has been attached to another teenager's formerly-dead body. In part because the body he inhabits isn't his original one—and in part because five years have elapsed since his head was frozen and then thawed—Travis quickly finds that a lot of rethinking is in store. Although the premise sounds silly, Travis' identity struggle (and his highly punnish sense of humor) will resonate with any teen who's ever wondered who they really are.
And who doesn't sometimes feel like they're walking around in a body that's completely different than what's in their head?
Reading YA lit, especially recent books that accent some of the most interesting ideas that YA tackles, is a great way to get through the winter doldrums. And if your 2015 New Year's resolution is to read more YA (and why shouldn't it be?), don't forget to subscribe to Yay! YA to learn about the latest reviews, author interviews and web exclusives on BookPage.com. Happy reading!
Locker Combinations is a Book Case feature by BookPage contributor and young adult (YA) literature expert Jill Ratzan. Using a variety of literary, cultural and educational perspectives, Jill guest blogs about the latest in YA lit and the general direction, trends and changes of the field. Read more BookPage reviews, interviews and posts by Jill here.