Decades after fleeing Japan and building a new life in America, Amaterasu Takahashi is confronted by a missing piece of her past. Badly scarred and bearing a trove of family secrets, a man arrives on her doorstep claiming to be her grandson, Hideo, who died in the bombing at Nagasaki along with his mother, Yuko. Ama spent countless hours searching for them amid the rubble and in hospitals. She doesn’t believe the man at the door.
It’s a story that never goes out of style: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll’s chronicle of an inquisitive girl lost in a parallel world of talking animals and pompous royals. In honor of the novel’s 150th anniversary, we’ve rounded up a trio of new Alice-related titles, all of which prove that Wonderland still has mysteries well worth exploring.
Merry and bright: that’s the forecast for bibliophiles this holiday season. Inspired gift ideas for lovers of literature are as plentiful as snowflakes in December. Our top recommendations are featured here.
Paradise City, which opens with a quote from the Guns N’ Roses song praising the virtues of a place full of possibilities, is a compassionate but upbeat look at four interlocking lives in contemporary London. The novel is both thoughtful and witty, unafraid of tackling big subjects (sexual assault, political asylum) even as it finds joy in small human connections.
Brief encounters can have as great an impact as a lifelong relationship. Similarly, a short work of fiction can resonate more deeply than longer volumes. That’s the case with Like Family, the elegiac new novella by Paolo Giordano. In this deceptively simple tale of a widowed nanny who, we learn on the first page, has died, Giordano shows us how lives can intersect in profound and unexpected ways.
Kristina McMorris evokes such a strong sense of place that to open her books feels less like reading and more like traveling.
Read a page or three of Riot Most Uncouth and you may wonder why you’d want to stick around while young Lord Byron, author Daniel Friedman’s overwrought and outlandish protagonist, makes his eccentric, in-your-face debut. But stay on for a few more pages and you’ll find yourself intrigued and then committed to Friedman’s lavish, over-the-top plot and larger-than-life characters.
Two highly detailed, dramatic historical novels and a great American coming-of-age tale of muscle cars and heartbreak make for great discussion this month.
“I'm in a swamp in County Sligo,” Kevin Barry tells me over the phone. The Irish author has lived in at least a dozen places, from his childhood home of Limerick to Spain to Santa Barbara, but he’s settled now in an old police station built in the 1840s, known as the Barracks. Sadly, he says, it doesn’t appear to be haunted.
Just after well-known British mystery writer Ruth Rendell died in May of this year, at the age of 85, her life and talents were described in the media with words like “brilliant,” “discomfiting” and “challenging.” Readers who’ve long been gripped by Rendell’s imaginative crime fiction, however, knew that already. From her popular Chief Inspector Wexford series with such hallmarks as the top-notch An Unkindness of Ravens and Not in the Flesh, to standalone classics like A Dark Adapted Eye (as Barbara Vine) and A Judgment in Stone, right up to her last, Dark Corners, the author’s unsettling prose has always attracted legions of readers.