South African novelist Lauren Beukes, author of last year's supernatural thriller The Shining Girls, returns this fall with a new violent mash-up of fantasy and crime fiction. Broken Monsters is set to publish on September 16 by Mulholland Books.
Beukes had us on the edges of our seats with her wildly imaginative, uber-creepy second novel, the international best-selling The Shining Girls. With the help of a portal in a mysterious House, an unfathomably cruel serial killer travels through time to hunt his victims—all women. The only one of his targets to ever escape is Kirby, who decides to track down the villain and put an end to his murderous reign.
Broken Monsters once again finds a capital-B Bad Guy who indulges his sick compulsions, this time in abandoned Detroit warehouses. The publisher gives a preview:
Detective Gabriella Versado has seen a lot of bodies. But this one is unique even by Detroit's standards: half boy, half deer, somehow fused. The cops nickname him "Bambi," but as stranger and more disturbing bodies are discovered, how can the city hold on to a reality that is already tearing at its seams?
If you're Detective Versado's over-achieving teenage daughter, Layla, you commence a dangerous flirtation with a potential predator online. If you are the disgraced journalist Jonno, you do whatever it takes to investigate what may become the most heinous crime story in memory. If you're Thomas Keen—known on the street as TK—you'll do what you can to keep clean, keep your head down, and try to help the broken and possibly visionary artist obsessed wth setting loose The Dream, tearing reality, assembling the city anew.
What do you think, readers? Looking forward to getting creeped out by Beukes' newest horror-filled vision?
Random House will release Leaving Time, formerly titled “Elephant Graveyard,” on October 14. The story mines territory familiar to Picoult—family, memory and identity—as it follows 13-year-old Jenna Metcalf, whose mother Alice (a scientist specializing in elephant behavior) went missing in the wake of a tragic accident more than a decade ago. Refusing to believe she would be abandoned as a toddler, Jenna scans her mother's old journals for clues and enlists the help of a famous psychic and the now-jaded detective who originally investigated Alice's case.
Read an excerpt from the first chapter below:
My first memory is white at the edges, like a photo with too bright a flash. My mother is holding spun sugar, on a cone, cotton candy. She raises her finger to her lips—This is our secret—and then tears off a tiny piece. When she touches it to my lips, the sugar dissolves. My tongue curls around her finger and sucks hard. Iswidi, she tells me. Sweet. This is not my bottle; it's not a taste I know, but it's a good one. Then she leans down and kisses my forehead. Uswidi, she says. Sweetheart.
I can’t be more than nine months old.
This is pretty amazing, really, because most kids trace their first memories to somewhere between the ages of two and five. That doesn't mean that babies are little amnesiacs—they have memories long before they have language but, weirdly, can't access them once they start talking. Maybe the reason I remember the cotton candy episode is because my mother was speaking Xhosa, which isn't our language but one she picked up when she was working on her doctorate in South Africa. Or maybe the reason I have this random memory is as a trade-off my brain made—because I can't remember what I desperately wish I could: details of the night my mother disappeared.
Are any of you BookPage readers particularly interested in Leaving Time? If so, find more information and an even longer excerpt at Picoult's website.
Author photo by Adam Bouska.
There are few writers as prolific as T.C. Boyle who consistently produce such high-quality and varied work—he is the author of 24 books of fiction and has been the recipient of several literary awards, including the PEN/Faulkner—so it's both unsurprising and exciting to receive news of upcoming novels.
After three decades with Viking, Boyle will publish his next two novels with Ecco, an imprint of Harper. The first, The Harder They Come, will be published in March 2015. As with many of Boyle's books, it will be set in California and will feature multiple interwoven storylines, featuring an aging ex-Marine, his unstable son and the son’s much older lover.
Boyle commented on his move to Ecco:
“This is an occasion for my books to reach a new and ever-widening audience, a circumstance that every author, however successful, yearns for. We live for and through our work and hope to bring illumination and entertainment at the deepest and most joyous level to our readers. So look out: here we come.”
No word on the second novel, but we'll keep you posted.
Author photo by Pablo Campos
Jane Smiley has never been a novelist who lacked ambition, but her new project might be her biggest yet. She's embarked on a trilogy that covers the last century of American life—and the first volume, Some Luck, will be published on October 7.
The action begins in 1920s Iowa, where the Langdon family—Rosanna, Walter and their five children—live on a farm, and each chapter covers roughly a year. As the children grow up and move away (or not), Smiley takes a panoramic look at the first half of the century, encompassing the Depression, World War II and the early 1950s. Early buzz is that this one is old-fashioned storytelling at its best.
Smiley has already completed the next two novels in the trilogy (or "cycle," as her publisher has dubbed it), and they're tentatively scheduled for publication in the spring and fall of next year. Like Ken Follett's Century Trilogy, which concludes this fall, the Langdon books take a look at some of this century's most epic events—although with a smaller, more intimate cast of one everyday family.
Check out the opening lines:
Walter Langdon hadn’t walked out to check the fence along the creek for a couple of months—now that the cows were up by the barn for easier milking in the winter, he’d been putting off fence-mending—so he hadn’t seen the pair of owls nesting in the big elm. . . . Right then, he saw one of the owls fly out of a big cavity maybe ten to twelve feet up, either a big female or a very big male—at any rate, the biggest horned owl Walter had ever seen—and he paused and stood there a minute, still in the afternoon breeze, listening, but there was nothing. He saw why in a moment. The owl floated out for maybe twenty yards, dropped toward the snowy pasture. Then came a high screaming, and the owl rose again, this time with a full-grown rabbit in its talons, writhing, then hanging limp, probably deadened by fear. Walter shook himself.
Will you read it? What books are you looking forward to this fall? Click here for more news on 2014 releases.
Nobel Prize-winning author Alice Munro will appear on a Canadian $5 coin. She joins Jane Austen in the UK and Astrid Lindgren in Sweden* as one of the only female writers to be featured on official currency—although in Munro's case, the coin is a collector's edition that costs $69.95 (CAN) and is therefore unlikely to be redeemed for its face value.
Designed by Laurie McGaw, the coin does not feature a portrait of Munro, but rather an "ethereal female figure" meant to symbolize the characters she has created. Munro's hand DOES make an appearance, holding a pen over a book that displays an excerpt from "The View from Castle Rock."
Memo to the US Mint: It's about time we had another woman join Susan B. Anthony and Pocahontas on our currency. What about our own female Nobel Prize for Literature winners, Toni Morrison and Pearl S. Buck? Or, off the top of my head, how about Emily Dickinson, Flannery O'Connor, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Zora Neal Huston, Willa Cather, Louisa May Alcott, Kate Chopin, Edith Wharton . . .
Do you have a female author you'd like to see on American currency?
*The Lindgren 20 SEK note is expected to enter circulation in 2015.
Coin photo courtesy of the Royal Canadian Mint.
Fans of the hilarious Gary Shteyngart got good news yesterday when the New York Times announced he had sold his fourth novel-in-progress, Hotel Solitaire, to Random House for publication in 2017. Described as an "international thriller" set in the world of finance, it sounds like a change of pace for the author, whose previous novels, despite varied settings and tones, have featured Russian immigrants. as Shteyngart said himself on Facebook, "yeah, later, immigrants. hello, wall street and guns!"
“It’s about how power is disseminated in the world today and what happens when a spreadsheet jockey trades in her Excel for a Glock 22,” quoth the author in the Times. I'm already curious about the trailer.
April's right around the corner, and even if it traditionally means lots of showers in the forecast, at least we'll have plenty of great books to cozy up with. The April LibraryReads list, which features ten of next month's newly published books that librarians across the country are most excited about sharing with their patrons, features something for readers of all tastes.
At the top of the list is Gabrielle Zevin's irresistible novel The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, which graces the cover of our April issue. Don't miss our insightful interview with Zevin about the list-topper.
See all ten of their selections right here. Are there any that you'll be adding to your TBR list?
Get ready to have those heartstrings tugged: The author of the best-selling The Art of Racing in the Rain returns with a new novel on September 30. Garth Stein's A Sudden Light (Simon & Schuster) is his first adult release since Racing came out in 2008, and fans have been anticipating it since 2012. Racing spent three years on the New York Times bestseller list, and Stein also published an adaptation for children. So it's understandable that Stein might have felt just a liiiiittle bit of pressure when it comes to his follow up.
So far, few details have emerged about the plot of A Sudden Light, although it is listed under the categories of "Ghost" and "Literary Fiction." An early Goodreads reader promises that the book contains "all the things you love in his work: strong voice, quirky characters, a little mysticism and magic, breathtaking settings in the Northwest, and a story that takes you by surprise."
Will you read it?
• What's the most downloaded ebook in your state?
• Anne Rice isn't letting the vampire phenomenon go down without a fight. She's bringing back her infamous "Brat Prince" (her words!) Lestat in a new Vampire Chronicles book. Prince Lestat will hit stores on October 28 of this year, just in time for Halloween.
• The longlist of finalists in contention for the 2014 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction have been revealed. Among them are Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie for Americanah, Eleanor Catton for The Luminaries and Donna Tartt for The Goldfinch. Look for the shortlist of six books to be announced on April 7, the winner revealed in June. Which book will you be rooting for?
• The five finalists for the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction were announced this week. Which one do you think should take home the prize?
• PWxyz compiled a list of 12 books that end in mid-sentence. Are there others that should've made the list?
• And while we're on the subject of breaking the rules, the folks at Qwiklit put together a list of 10 authors who ignored the basic rules of punctuation.
• Earlier this week, a Tweet from Rebecca Skloot prompted the New York Times to issue a way-overdue correction to a 161-year-old error.
• If you're not list-ed out yet, here's another one from Flavorwire that features 10 compelling unnamed protagonists in literature, which includes, of course, the narrator of du Maurier's classic.
• In last week's links, we shared BuzzFeed's "who's your classic author soul mate" quiz. But before you run off with him, you may want to take this new quiz that will tell you which Jane Austen hero is the One for you.