This June, three new writers with literary connections are making their debuts.
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First up, Carin Clevidence. She's the stepdaughter of Annie Dillard, the author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and other books. Her debut, The House on Salt Hay Road (FSG), is set at the seaside just before the fatal Long Island hurricane of 1938. FSG won the book at auction last year, and since they're one of the best at launching literary debuts, we figure MFA grad Clevidence has found the right place to start.
Chris Binchy is the nephew of, you guessed it, beloved Irish novelist Maeve Binchy. His American debut, Five Days Apart (Harper), sounds a lot like his aunt's work—a family drama, with themes of hope and redemption—and is actually his fifth novel. Will he make a splash on US shores?
And finally, there's Maggie Pouncey—daughter of novelist Peter Pouncey, whose Rules for Old Men Waiting was one of our favorite books of 2005. Her novel, Perfect Reader (Random House), follows a young woman who moves back home to a sleepy college town to confront the legacy of her father, a famous academic who, it turns out, had more than a few secrets.
These three aren't the first to follow in the footsteps of a literary relative, of course—Christopher Rice and Joe Hill spring to mind. Who's your favorite author with a literary legacy?
Patricia Cornwell fans have been waiting a long time for a movie; she’s been writing crime novels since 1991, and Scarpetta adaptations have been rumored for years. In April, the wait is over—sort of. The adaptation will be a made-for-TV movie on Lifetime, and the heroine is Monique Lamont, the Boston District Attorney of At Risk (2006) and The Front (2008).
Andie MacDowell will play Lamont, and Daniel Sunjata is state investigator Win Garano. At Risk will air on April 10 at 9 pm, and The Front will air the following Saturday at the same time. Read more on Cornwell’s website.
Here’s the trailer:
Will you tune in? I don’t usually watch Lifetime movies, although I got hooked on Cornwell when I wrote a review for BookPage in the fall. This adaptation might be worth a watch to tide me over until Scarpetta hits the big screen: After years of speculation and Cornwell’s own personal lobbying for actresses to take the part, Angelina Jolie has signed on to play the smart and sexy M.E. (Read more in the L.A. Times.)
Related in BookPage: Browse our Cornwell archives.
It's a pretty safe bet that anyone who finishes Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections will 1.) immediately urge someone else to read it and 2.) immediately ask where Franzen's next novel is. There's been no satisfactory answer to that question for years, at least not until summer of 2009, when the New Yorker printed a Franzen piece that gave readers a taste of the long-awaited next novel.
We've known for a while that Freedom will be released in September—and as the publication date nears, some details on the book have been appearing. In the Wall Street Journal, Jonathan Galassi, Franzen's editor, said the novel was "a very powerful, amazing book about the disillusion of marriage. It's about the challenges and costs of personal freedom, and the burdens of it and the opportunities of it. It's about ecology, personal politics and general issues; it's about Iraq."
Complete publisher description after the jump. Will Freedom be as timely and engrossing as The Corrections? Will Oprah read it? Will you?
From Farrar, Straus & Giroux:
Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St. Paul--the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the avant-garde of the Whole Foods generation. Patty was the ideal sort of neighbor, who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to actually do their job. She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Walter's dreams. Together with Walter--environmental lawyer, commuter cyclist, total family man--she was doing her small part to build a better world.
But now, in the new millennium, the Berglunds have become a mystery. Why has their teenage son moved in with the aggressively Republican family next door? Why has Walter taken a job working with Big Coal? What exactly is Richard Katz--outré rocker and Walter's college best friend and rival--still doing in the picture? Most of all, what has happened to Patty? Why has the bright star of Barrier Street become "a very different kind of neighbor," an implacable Fury coming unhinged before the street's attentive eyes?
A couple of months ago I posted about the Baby-sitters Club prequel, and it was so much fun to read the comments. (“Oh my gosh, YES, I am excited,” wrote one reader. Another confessed to owning 100+ BSC books.)
Well, now I am happy to say (brag) that I spoke with Ann M. Martin herself on Tuesday. The BSC prequel, The Summer Before, will be available in stores two weeks from today, and on that date my interview will also be posted on BookPage.com.
Until then, I’ll tease you with a few tidbits:
The Baby-sitters Club. I’m proud to say it was totally my idea, even though the four of us worked it out together. “Us” is Mary Anne Spier, Claudia Kishi, Stacey McGill, and me—Kristy Thomas. But that was at the beginning of seventh grade, after the summer in which my friendship with Claudia nearly fell apart, Mary Anne began to find out who she was, Claudia experienced her first love, and an unhappy girl left New York City and moved to our town. It was quite a summer.
Dav Pilkey has agreed to write four new installments in the Captain Underpants series—the first new books since 2006. The first one’s called The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future and will be published on August 10.
Although parents sometimes complain about the potty humor in the books—in 2002, Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants was removed from an elementary school in North Dakota—I personally know several little boys who will be thrilled with this news. (The entire series has 45 million copies in print, and The Adventures of Ook and Gluk will have a print run of 1 million.)
Here’s what Pilkey has to say on his return:
“I think fans of Captain Underpants will be very happy with this new book. It has all of the action, laffs and ridiculousness that kids love, plus all the unapologetic irreverence and questionable potty humor that grumpy curmudgeons love to complain about. It’s got something for everybody!”
Related in BookPage: Read a review of Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space.
The movie version of Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love, starring Julia Roberts, Gabriel Bardem and James Franco, has been the subject of much discussion since its announcement. Now the trailer has been released. The tinkly strummy background music and slightly groan-worthy dialogue -- "I used to have this appetite for my life, and it is just gone" -- didn't convince me that the film will be worth seeing, although the scenery, wine and food look amazing, but then I didn't like the book much, either. And memoirs-turned-film are often problematic; see the critiques of the Julie Powell portions of Julie & Julia for a refresher in how difficult it is for a memoirist's voice to carry over into a film. Guess we'll see how it all pans out in August. What do you think of the trailer?
Never fear, Dimsy's Top Period Dramas is here! (Well, there. At the link.)
This site is a must-visit for people like me who never remember to watch Masterpiece Theater (or any other program) when it actually airs. Dimsy scours the 'net for links to productions of classic novels, and posts them on her blog. Want to watch the recent adaptation of North & South? (Hint: the answer is yes.) She's got it. Just about every Jane Austen film is also available; there's plenty of Dickens and you can also find two versions of War & Peace. Though there's the occasional broken link due to copyright issues, overall it's a reliable resource—and a great place to visit on a rainy day.
The 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction longlist was announced today. This British award is given to the best novel written by a woman in English and published in the UK in a given year. Since many past winners (and nominees) rank among my favorite books (Ann Patchett's Bel Canto; Valerie Martin's Property; Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk About Kevin), I always look forward to its announcement.
Below is this year's longlist, in alphabetical order by author. Given the disjunct between US/UK pub dates, some appeared here quite some time ago while others haven't yet made it to US shores. (This is where the Kindle might come in handy—at least two of the otherwise unavailable books are available electronically to US readers.) It's a diverse group, including four Americans, 13 Brits, one Moroccan and a New Zealander. Seven of the nominees are first-time novelists.
Will Hilary Mantel cart off yet another literary prize for Wolf Hall? Will Andrea Levy, the only previous Orange winner on the list, take it home for the second time? We'll find out in June! Linked titles will take you to BookPage reviews.
Christian publisher Tyndale House announced today that they will publish Drew Brees’ memoir, Coming Back Stronger: Unleashing the Hidden Power of Adversity. Brees is, of course, the quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, and MVP of Super Bowl XLIV. He’s also beloved in New Orleans, where he and his wife started a foundation.
The press release doesn’t shy away from comparing Brees’ story to that of the Saints, and New Orleans:
When a potentially career-ending shoulder injury left quarterback Drew Brees without a team, the NFL wondered, would Brees ever come back? When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, leaving 85 percent of the city under water, many wondered, would the city ever come back? And when their stadium was transformed into a make-shift refugee camp, forcing the Saints to play their entire 2005 season on the road, people questioned, would the team ever come back?
Chris Fabry (ghostwriter of Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel’s The Winners Manual) will contribute. What do you think, football fans? Will Brees’ memoir be a must-read, or cheesy? The book will hit stores July 6.
The Swimming Pool by Holly LeCraw
Doubleday, April 6, 2010
I’m pleased to say The Swimming Pool has lived up to its own hype—and then some. It’s the tangled story of two families linked forever by a love affair and a shocking murder. Marcella Atkinson fell in love with her summer neighbor, Cecil McClatchey, but before their relationship could even get off the ground, his wife was murdered. Seven years later, Marcella’s daughter is hired to nanny for Cecil’s daughter; Cecil is now dead, but his grown children are spending the summer at the family’s Cape house. And then his handsome son, Jed, finds an old swimsuit in his father’s closet, and begins to connect the dots between his father’s affair, his mother’s death and this mysterious older woman, Marcella.
At the bottom of the closet, among the dust bunnies, was a half-crushed shirt box. It felt light, and he opened it expecting to find nothing, or, at most, some old, ill-considered birthday gift. But instead, neatly folded, there was a woman’s bathing suit.
He felt he was seeing it not only with his eyes but with his whole body. A one-piece, plunging neckline, dark blue with vertical white stripes. Almost clownish—but then he lifted it out of the box and held it up by the straps. Yes. He remembered.
How old had be been?—that afternoon by the pool, their pool, when Marcella Atkinson had been stretched out in a lounge chair, alone at the corner of their patio? She had seemed separated from the rest of them, from the party that was going on, not only by a few feet that the chair was pulled but also by her stillness and, Jed had sensed, her sadness. And her beauty. Her perfect legs and olive skin and dark upswept hair had not seemed to belong with the cheerful Yankees in their madras shorts and flowered dresses, grilling fat American burgers and drinking gin and tonics.