Exploring the art of prose


New books Out This Week!

Here’s a quick look at some of the great books out the week of October 16.
Happy pub day to all!

C. Morgan Babst, The Floating World
Algonquin / Workman 

From Kirkus Reviews:’Grief was infinite, though, wasn’t it,’ thinks one of the characters midway through this powerful, important novel, “something like love that, divided, did not diminish.” Babst’s debut tracks the experiences of five family members from the pre-Katrina evacuation of the city through late November 2005, 93 days after landfall… This novel is New Orleans to the bone, an authentic, detailed picture of the physical and emotional geography of the city, before, during, and after the tragedy, its social strata, its racial complications, the zillion cultural details that define its character: the parrots in the palm trees, the pork in the green beans, the vein in the shrimp, ‘the goddamned tacky way he flew his Rex flag out of season.’”


Kevin Catalano, Where the Sun Shines Out
Skyhorse Publishing

From Publishers Weekly: “One summer day in 1992, 10-year-old Dean Fleming, the protagonist of Catalano’s gripping first novel, is waiting in line with his brother, Jason, and their father for autographs of the Munchkins at the annual Chittenago, N.Y., festival celebrating L. Frank Baum, local hero and author of the Oz books… This tale of loss, punishment, and the struggle for forgiveness grabs the reader by the throat and never lets go.”


Roddy Doyle, Smile
Penguin Random House 

From The Guardian: “Smile – classic Roddy Doyle, but with a shocking twist – opens with the 54-year-old narrator, Victor, alone in a Dublin pub. He doesn’t share a home with Rachel, the woman he calls his wife, but is vague about why… There’s a sense of fine margins haunting this book, an awareness of how easily a life’s potential can be snuffed out. By the end, the book’s title takes on the air of a taunt, as we’re left with an unutterably bleak picture of institutional abuse, entirely without hope.”


Emily Geminder, Dead Girls and Other Stories

From Kirkus Reviews:Geminder’s cohesive debut features diverse settings, but whether in India, Cambodia, or New York, her female protagonists face similar anxieties. These are the horrors of the body, the limitations of language, and the constant presence of death. Events recur and become motifs… There is an eerie convergence of female identities and experiences across time and space—mass faintings, possession by aliens and by spirits, and the horrific series of dead girls that permeates the lives of the living in the title story and throughout.”


Tom Hanks, Uncommon Type

From Publishers Weekly: “Oscar-winner Hanks’s debut collection is a wide-ranging affair of 17 stories threaded together by the recurring image of typewriters—some stories, like the intriguing “These Are the Meditations of My Heart,” build entire narratives around the machines, while others mention them in passing…Hanks’s narrators speak with similar verbal tics—multiple narrators say “Noo Yawk,” for example—but the stories they tell generally charm.”


Ross Raisin, A Natural
Penguin Random House

From The Guardian : “To a non-fan, the literary football novel can seem a little daunting… Luckily, Ross Raisin’s exceptional new novel addresses and overturns these preconceptions and conventional notions of masculinity in the most unexpected and sophisticated fashion. And, as with most sports novels, it’s not really about sport. It’s about ambition, friendship, rivalry, talent, and how early potential always meets the implacable wall of adult reality. Also, it’s about the love that still dare not speak its name.”