By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham
FSG • $25 • September 28, 2010
Readers have been waiting five years for another Cunningham novel, and I suspect they will be immediately drawn into the world of Peter and Rebecca Harris, a "happy" middle-aged couple in New York City. The word happy is in quotes because of Peter's constant, questioning interior monologue—"What if she is falling out of love with him? Would it be tragic, or liberating?"
Peter is a successful art dealer and Rebecca is an editor at an art magazine. Their world gets a jolt when Rebecca's younger brother, Mizzy (for "the mistake") comes to visit, eager to find work—"Something in the Arts." Mizzy's youthful presence causes Peter to question his life even more . . .
The excerpt below provides an example of Peter's thoughts early in the novel. He and Rebecca are on their way home from a party.
The cab stops for the light at Sixty-fifth Street.
Here they are: a middle-aged couple in the back of a cab (this driver's name is Abel Hibbert, he's young and jumpy, silent, fuming). Here are Peter and his wife, married for twenty-one (almost twenty-two) years, companionable by now, prone to banter, not much sex anymore but not no sex, not like other long-married couples he could name, and yeah, at a certain age you can imagine bigger accomplishments, a more potent and inextinguishable satisfaction, but what you've made for yourself isn't bad, it's not bad at all. Peter Harris, hostile child, horrible adolescent, winner of various second prizes, has arrived at this ordinary moment, connected, engaged, loved, his wife's breath warm on his neck, going home.
Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me, doop doop de doop . . . .
That song again.
The light changes. The driver accelerates.
Yesterday, the "Man Booker Dozen" was announced. On September 7, six of these 13 books will be chosen for a shortlist, and on October 12, the winner of the Man Booker Prize—who will receive £50,000 and wide acclaim—will be announced.
The Man Booker honors "any full-length novel, written by a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland and published in the United Kingdom for the first time in the year of the prize. The novel must be an original work in English (not a translation) and must not be self-published." [Read more about the Prize here.] The most recent winner is Hilary Mantel for Wolf Hall.
This year's longlist includes five books already published in the United States:
There are a couple repeats in that group; Carey has already won the Booker Prize twice, for Oscar and Lucinda (1988) and for True History of the Kelly Gang (2001). Mitchell has been shortlisted twice, for number9dream (2001) and Cloud Atlas (2004).
The longlisted books forthcoming in the U.S. include:
Room by Emma Donoghue (out Sept. 13, and look for an interview with Donoghue in our September issue)
C by Tom McCarthy (out Sept. 7—look for a review in September)
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray (out Aug. 31)
Trespass by Rose Tremain (out Oct. 18)
Rounding out the list are titles not currently planned for an American release:
The Betrayal by Helen Dunmore
The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson (This is Jacobson's second longlisted novel.)
The Stars in the Bright Sky by Alan Warner
In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut (This book is currently available in the U.S. via Kindle.)
Do you have any predictions about the winner, or favorites from this list?
In this morning's edition of Reading Corner, we asked YA fiction fans to let us know which supernatural teen books stand out from the crowd.
What books would you add to the list?
Best-selling teen author Alyson Noël posted today on her blog that she's got a new series in the works called The Soul Seekers. Noël is the author of the popular Immortals series, about a girl who can "see auras, hear people's thoughts, and know a person's entire life story by touch." She's also written books outside of the series, including the romantic Fly Me to the Moon, "a Grey's Anatomy of the skies."
The new series will take place in the Southwest and it's about a sixteen year old girl who is able to walk among the Underworld, the Upperworld, and the dead.I will begin research/writing the first book sometime this winter (must finish UNTITLED IMMORTALS #6 first!), and it will be in stores probably sometime around early 2012.
The series went to St. Martin's for a whopping 7 figures—further proof that supernatural teen fiction isn't going anywhere. In fact, we are addressing this topic in tomorrow's edition of BookPage Reading Corner, our twice-monthly children's/teen e-newsletter filled with author interviews, book reviews and giveaways. Click here to sign up!
Just yesterday, Scholastic unveiled the book trailer for Mockingjay, the final book in Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games trilogy:
There's not any new information here for Hunger Games fans, but the trailer does feed the fire of excitement that's building toward the August 24 release. I like that foreboding background music!
Also on The Book Case: Read our past coverage of Suzanne Collins and The Hunger Games.
Here's an update on our Janet Evanovich post from July 16, in which we speculated on the mega-bestselling author's plan to move to another publisher:
Janet E. is also in the news these days for other reasons: She’s currently renegotiating her contract with publisher St. Martin’s Press. Reportedly Evanovich, who is represented by her son Peter, wants around $50 million for her next four “Plum” books, and St. Martin’s is apparently not ready to pony up quite that much (the last four books in the series cost them about $40 million). Evanovich isn’t saying much about the “private” details of the negotiation, but industry pros are wondering if she might take her fan base and self publish if she can’t find a publisher ready to pay the asking price.
In a press release, Evanovich commented on the deal: “I started my career as a Bantam author, and I'm very excited to be returning. Their sales, distribution, and marketing make them the perfect partner for me and my work. Load up the U-Haul; break out the pizza and the beer—it's moving day for Stephanie, Joe, Ranger, Diesel and me!”
What's your favorite Evanovich title? The latest, Sizzling Sixteen, is currently at #7 on the New York Times Hardcover Fiction list.
"Is that your blood?"
"Why, yes, some of it."
First the good news: The seventh book in the Artemis Fowl series, Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex, comes out in just eight days (August 3, to be precise).
The bad news? In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, Colfer stated that it will be the penultimate Artemis adventure:
"One more book, and then that'll be the end of that," [Colfer] said. "He will be faced with a choice where he can be kind to somebody and he won't gain anything, or he can be unkind and he will find a million dollars in a suitcase, and he will choose the nice way, and that will be the end," he explained. "That's how I'm going to finish it, on a very simple choice."
For more on the author, read a hand-written Q&A about And Another Thing..., the final book in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series (Colfer was chosen by Douglas Adams' widow to write the book).
Beth Harbison's best-selling Shoe Addicts Anonymous—about four different women who bond over a shoe size—will be made into a movie starring Halle Berry. Paul Weiland (Made of Honour) will direct, and Kristen Buckley and Brian Regan (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) wrote the script.
Deadline.com reports that other members of the ensemble cast have yet to be chosen. On her Twitter page, Harbison said fans should "keep an eye on Facebook for an official movie page, coming soon, with more casting news."
Harbison's latest novel, Hope In a Jar, came out in May. Have you read it yet? Will you check out the Shoe Addicts Anonymous movie? Any casting predictions?
What book blog posts have you enjoyed this week? Asterisks, Ramona, Proust. . . my browsing has been all over the place this week:
The contributors at arts and letters site Emdashes love letters and books. They combine the two passions in this contest, in which readers are encouraged to write a letter to their favorite punctuation mark for a chance to win a signed copy of Ben Greenman's What He's Poised to Do:
Here is a partial list of possible correspondents, with the current tally of blushing recipients marked in bold: the air quote, the ampersand (2), the apostrophe (2), the asterisk, the at-the-price-of, the at sign, the backslash, the bracket, the bullet, the caret, the colon (3), the comma, the curly quote, the dagger, the dash ditto mark, the diaeresis, the double hyphen, the ellipsis (5), the em dash (toward which some jurors are slightly biased) or the en dash, the exclamation point (3), the full stop, the grawlix, the hyphen, the interpunct, the interrobang, the inverted exclamation point, the interroverti (formerly the inverted question mark), the little star, the manicule, number sign, the parenthesis (2), the percent sign, the period, the pilcrow, the pound sign, the question mark (2), the quotation mark (or a pair of them), the semicolon (3), the smart quote, the slash, the tilde, the underline, the Oxford comma, or any other mark close to your heart but not listed here.
5 Children's Books That Hollywood Should Tackle Next
Posted by Moviefone
The movie Ramona and Beezus opens today—what better time to think about what other kids books should make it to the big screen? Moviefone suggests Anastasia Krupnik, In the Night Kitchen, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret and The Boxcar Children.
What titles would you add to the list? I'll add a big vote for Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl.
Reading in Tongues
Posted by The Millions
Novelist and screenwriter J.P. Smith has written an interesting post about the rewards of learning to read in another language. I was especially interested in how the experience has influenced his own writing:
Adopting French as a second reading language gave me two worlds through which my own work could be filtered. As a novelist (far less so as a screenwriter), I find that reading in two languages has a way of enriching one’s own work. When reading in French I’m really stepping beyond myself and my world, and it’s this tiptoeing into another culture and another way of viewing things, that allows me to look back over my shoulder and find perhaps a whole new way of telling my own story.