Exploring the art of prose


New Books Out This Week!

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

John Banville, Mrs. Osmond

From Kirkus Reviews: “A sequel to The Portrait of a Lady that may well delight fans of that Henry James masterpiece and leave other readers bemused by the contemporary work’s 19th-century sensibility. When last seen in Portrait, Isabel Osmond, nee Archer, has left London to return—inexplicably or inevitably—to Rome and her psychologically abusive husband, Gilbert. In this sequel, Isabel delays that confrontation for almost two months as she seeks counsel from friends and ponders her shortcomings, dead marriage, and the sort of freedom she desires… A sequel that honors James and his singular heroine while showing Banville to be both an uncanny mimic and, as always, a captivating writer.”


Gurjinder Basran, Someone You Love is Gone
Perennial / Harper Collins

From Kirkus Reviews: “Basran’s (Everything Was Goodbye, 2010) second novel takes the reader on an intergenerational journey through a family’s history of loss. Centered primarily on Simran, the oldest daughter of an Indian family living in Canada, the novel is divided into three interwoven storylines titled only “Before,” “Then,” and “Now.” We travel with Simran into the depths of grief and struggle with her to emerge out the other side. While the contemporary storyline is the most developed and interesting, “Before” and “Then” serve to add depth to the characters and their histories…Through the story of Simran and her family, Basra illustrates the way losing a loved one shakes the foundations of a person’s life, transforming her and altering all the relationships that remain.”

Renee Gladman, Houses of Ravicka
Dorothy Project

From Kirkus Reviews: “In her fourth slim novel about the surreal and complicated city of Ravicka, Gladman (Prose Architectures, 2017, etc.) unfurls the meditative story of a city official searching for a lost house… The tantalizing mystery of how and why a building might be lost seems to be less of an engine for plot and more of a doorway constructed to allow the reader to pass through to a contemplation of the surreal concepts and images of the Ravickian world. Narrative logic and momentum give way to a spacious creation of ideas, sometimes expressed in vivid images and sometimes in didactic explanation of imagined facts.”

Ivy Pochoda, Wonder Valley
Harper Collins

From Kirkus Reviews: “It begins with a classic LA overture—a traffic jam on the freeway, its physical, metaphysical, and sociological aspects evoked by Pochoda (Visitation Street, 2013, etc.) in shimmering detail. On this sunny morning in 2010 there’s something to break up the monotony—a man jogging stark naked against the flow of traffic. To decode this image, the rest of the book moves back and forth between 2006 and 2010, picking out the thread of each character like strands of a knot loosened and tightened.”