Courtney Maum's debut novel, I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You asks a heart-wrenching question: Can you fall back in love with your spouse?
Seven years have passed since Richard Haddon, a well-known British artist, met his stunning French wife, Anne. The passion and fierce devotion the couple shared has faded, and when Anne learns of her husband's affair with an American, she kicks him out of their home, leaving Richard to discover the full weight of his mistakes.
Maum's portrayal of a modern marriage on the rocks is honest and touching, with plenty of wit to spare.
Watch the trailer below:
What do you think, readers?
Debut author Pia Padukone explores cultural identity, grief and how we love in her novel, Where Earth Meets Water. Karom Seth is haunted by his brushes with fate: he should have been in the Twin Towers for a school project on 9/11, and he should have been at the family reunion when a tsunami on the Indian coast claimed his entire family in 2004. Karom is left with his grief, his guilt and his father's cherished Rolex. His girlfriend, Gita, invites him on a trip to India in hopes of helping him find answers and closure, and Gita's grandmother, Kamini, may be the one person that can point him in the right direction.
"Should the guilty seek asylum here,
Like one pardoned, he becomes free of sin.
Should a sinner make his way to this mansion,
All his past sins are to be washed away.
The sight of this mansion creatres sorrowing sighs,
And the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes.
In this world this edifice has been made,
To display thereby the creator's glory!"
"It's what Shah Jahan said about the Taj," Karom said, folding the paper back into his pocket. Gita closed her eyes and leaned against him. He wanted to comfort her, but he too felt let down. Nothing had happened. There had been no revelations.
Karom had been sure that he would leave the Taj Mahal with a deeper understanding of the world, of colors, of light, of love. He was sure that something magical would transform them, would transform him, the way he saw the world. He had placed too high an expectation on the Taj Mahal. After all, it was just a building. But it was a building that was homage to love, homage to the departed. He'd wondered if he would catch a glimpse of the past here, if he might tap into the spirit of the palace, the serenity of the courtyards. He'd wondered if, like a sinner, he too might be absolved, washed pure and clean, and set into the streets refreshed. He'd wondered if he might put lingering ghosts to bed and feel, for the first time, at ease with himself and finally, finally have the strength to put the game to rest.
What are you reading this week?
Josh Malerman infuses his apocalyptic tale, Bird Box, with an element of the "thrilling dread of yesteryear;" the menacing "monster" in his tale is never fully revealed to the reader.
Told in alternating chapters from the perspective of Malorie, her present and more recent past unfold, and we discover just why her two four-year-old children—Boy and Girl—have never been outside of their own home. There's something roaming the world, and it drives whoever sees it violently and irreparably mad, even with a single glimpse.
Malerman's creation of a menace that can never be fully perceived—by his characters or his readers—makes this a blood-curdling and incredibly thrilling read unlike anything in recent memory.
If you're feeling brave, then watch the spooky trailer below:
What do you think, readers? Are you interested in picking up a copy of Bird Box?
In an inventive debut that hits shelves today, Laline Paull blends dystopian fiction with a surprisingly sympathetic cast of insect characters in The Bees.
Flora 717 is a worker bee from the lowest caste in her hive, and her sole motto is to accept, obey and serve the Queen. When an environmental crisis strikes, Flora's uniqueness comes in handy as she's assigned to new tasks—much to the dismay of the hive's elite. Soon Flora's new knowledge and experience land her at odds with the Queen herself, and she must decide where her loyalties lie.
Paull's tale certainly dips into the fantastical, but the extreme concepts of the novel, such as the fertility police and the hive mind, are all true to bee behavior, and our reviewer promises, "you will never look at the activity in your flower garden the same way again."
Check out the beautifully designed trailer below:
What do you think of the, ahem, buzz around this debut, readers?
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read a Q&A with Laline Paull about The Bees!
Author Justin Go is winning high praise for his "ambitious, sprawling and compelling debut novel," The Steady Running of the Hour.
The adventure begins as Tristan Campbell, young postgrad in California, receives a letter from an English law firm suggesting that he may be next in line to inherit millions. The original beneficiary disappeared in 1924, and now it's up to Tristan to find some solid evidence linking him to this beneficiary—his possible great-grandmother Imogen Soames-Andersson.
Armchair travelers will delight in the fast-paced action as it swings from America to England, France, Sweden, Germany, Iceland and even into the Himalayas, while the time period alternates between the present and pre-WWI England.
With plenty of mystery, romance, adventure and race-against-time excitement, The Steady Running of the Hour has plenty of charm and appeal. Watch as Go breaks down his novel's epic quest in the trailer below:
What do you think, readers? Is this unique debut going on your TBR list?
Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh
Crown • $24 • ISBN 9780385348997
Published January 14, 2014
New York Times Magazine editor Adam Sternbergh’s debut novel, Shovel Ready, follows a garbage man turned assassin-for-hire known simply as Spademan, and he makes for quite an intriguing anti-hero. As one of the few remaining residents in a near-future, post-bomb New York City, Spademan finds himself at a crossroads when he decides not to follow through with the assassination of a wealthy evangelist's young daughter.
Here, Spademan introduces himself in the first pages of this edgy, noir-soaked thriller:
I kill men. I kill women because I don’t discriminate. I don’t kill children because that’s a different kind of psycho.
I do it for money. Sometimes for other forms of payment. But always for the same reason. Because someone asked me to.
And that’s it.
A reporter buddy once told me that in newspapers, when you leave out some important piece of information at the beginning of a story, they call it burying the lede.
So I just want to make sure I don’t bury the lede.
Though it wouldn’t be the first thing I’ve buried.
It might sound hard but it’s all too easy now. This isn’t the same city anymore. Half-asleep and half-emptied-out, especially this time of morning. Light up over the Hudson. The cobblestones. At least I have it to myself.
These buildings used to be warehouses. Now they’re castles. Tribeca, a made-up name for a made-up kingdom. Full of sleeping princes and princesses, holed up on the highest floors. Arms full of tubes. Heads full of who knows. And they’re not about to come down here, not at this hour, on the streets, with the carcasses, with the last of the hoi polloi.
What are you reading this week?
The first in an anticipated seven book series, The Bone Season is a fast-paced, suspenseful novel set in a divergent future where the struggles of one teen could affect the survival of her world.
It's 2059, and the major British cities are under the control of the Scion. Paige Mahoney works in Scion London, and because she is a clairvoyant, also known as a voyeur, her every breath is an act of treason. Paige is captured and imprisoned by an otherworldly race which abuses the power of voyeurs for their army. In a world unlike our own, Paige will have to learn to control her powers in order to escape.
Be sure to read our full review here and check out the book trailer below from Bloomsbury.
Will you be reading The Bone Season?
Today’s Debut of the Day pick is Dear American Airlines, a comic novel from Jonathan Miles that blends humor with heart. Stranded at a New York airport, Bennie Ford pens an increasingly desperate letter to the airline whose change in schedule just might deny him the opportunity to change his life. Miles, a journalist who has studied fiction with Larry Brown, has a second novel, Want Not, coming in November.
This gritty, hilarious, heartbreaking novel illustrates a life gone awry, the regret of years lived without notice and the hope of finally being able to make a change. Readers will root for Bennie to get on his plane and start making up for the lost years when he gets off. A perfect read for summer airport delays, Dear American Airlines just might get readers thinking differently about that idle time.
Read the full review from our June 2008 issue here.
Throughout her murder trial, Noa P. Singleton never spoke a single word in her own defense. Ten years later, Noa is six months away from her execution when she is visited by her victim's mother, who offers to change Noa's sentence to life in prison in exchange for only one thing, but that is the one thing that Noa will never do: tell her story.
In her debut novel, Elizabeth Silver has created an emotionally striking story that will cause readers to reflect on their own decisions. An engrossing rumination on the search for truth, The Execution of Noa P. Singleton will leave readers looking deep within at their own truths and deceptions.
For more about the literary psychological thriller, check out our full review and watch the book trailer below from Headline Books.
See what else is going on during Private Eye July!
On a trip to Nantucket in 1996, Amy Brill was intrigued by the story of a 19th-century young Quaker girl named Maria Mitchell, who pursued a life of math and science even though university training was not open to her.
Inspired by Mitchell, Amy Brill's debut novel The Movement of Stars chronicles the 19th-century life of Hannah Gardner Price. Much like Mitchell, Hannah scans the skies each night in hopes of discovering a comet, which would allow her to win the scientific acclaim that has so far eluded her as a woman.
Interwoven with Hannah's struggle to be recognized as an astronomer is her love affair with Isaac Martin, a young man whom she takes on as a student before developing a deeper relationship that threatens her standing in the community and changes her beliefs about work and love.
Read Amy Brill's behind-the-book essay where she explains how she crafted fiction from Maria Mitchell's remarkable life story. "To get to the heart of that girl, on the roof, searching the night sky for something that would change her life, I was going to have to invent her, and the people around her as well: friends and foes, her loved ones and her beloved, " Brill explains.
Will you read The Movement of Stars? What are you reading today?