July 3, 2021
As the country approaches the 245th celebration of Independence Day, we mark the occasion with a probing and hilarious view of an American wife at a crossroads during the Trump Years, a timely and heartfelt essay about loneliness told in graphic novel form, stories about coming of age, and murder and mayhem in New York City. Happy Fourth of July!
Buyer, The Center for Fiction Bookstore
By DANA SPIOTTA
Published by KNOPF
Ever since I read Eat the Document, Spiotta’s first fiction about the 70s Vietnam protest era in America, I have admired her ability to delve into American politics through her character’s actions, always mindful of the particular time in our country that shapes their behavior. Her canny cultural referencing serves her well in her new novel about a middle-aged woman in crisis during the wreckage of the Trump years who upends her family life in upstate New York to reinvent herself alone in a decrepit but historic house.
The Great Mistake
By JONATHAN LEE
Published by KNOPF
The Great Mistake sits comfortably alongside other riveting tales in the classic canon of great New York novels like E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime and Caleb Carr’s The Alienist. Like them, there are actual historical characters and a murder at the heart of the story. This time the victim is an aging self-made scion of the city at the turn of the century, responsible for many of the great institutions like the NY Public Library and the Met. Lee, author of the hilarious High Dive, is an ex-pat Brit. Sometimes it takes an outside view to nail the grand city of New York with such accuracy and art..
Dear Miss Metropolitan
By CAROLYN FERRELL
Published by HENRYL HOLT & COMPANY
A breathless ride through the shocking story (inspired by real events) of the kidnapping of three young girls: how they lived through ten years imprisoned in a house on an unassuming Queens residential street, who they were before, how they coped during and after, how the women in the community, especially the rather unstable journalist (“Miss Metropolitan”), were affected by it—all told in a symphony of voices with pitch-perfect prose. This is raw and intense but through all the darkness of an unbearable situation, heart is what saves them all.
Objects of Desire
By CLARE SESTANOVICH
Published by KNOPF
Sestanovich is an editor at the New Yorker and a Brooklyn resident. In her debut collection we discover eleven stories that capture the agony and ecstasy of coming of age. Within you’ll find a terrific dry wit (“If you live long enough . . . everyone thinks your mother is your sister” from “Annunciation”). Sestanovich seems less interested in locations and setting than in the interior spaces of her character’s psyches. And throughout her short fiction the characters look both backward and forward to describe lives moving through time in a continuum. Little moments in each story will stay with you, as they beautifully encapsulate what it means to grow up..
By KRISTEN RADTKE
Published by PANTHEON
Radtke, also a Brooklyn resident, returns to the graphic format she is quickly perfecting with this beautiful and very personal exploration she calls, “A Journey Through American Loneliness.” Through a range of investigations from rhesus monkey behavior to the alienation of social media, she helps identify the search for connection in all of us. She says, “I started writing this book because I was often lonely, and as I read and researched I realized that the rest of the country is lonely, too.” Not just an opportune cultural subject, Seek You should resonate with readers everywhere and also make us feel less alone.
Dead Dead Girls
By NEKESA AFIA
Published by BERKLEY BOOKS
Afia has captured the incomparable period of artistic creativity and expression of the Harlem Renaissance during the 1920s: speakeasies and jazz and murder abound in this delectable cozy mystery. Black girls keep turning up dead and our heroine Louise Lloyd finds herself conscripted to help solve the cases after she gets herself in trouble. The author is well under thirty and has a promising future in this genre that manages to mix Black history, feminism and high and low society into an immensely readable package. Let’s hear more from Louise in the future..