Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Gal Power! Five New Fiction Releases (Four by Women) on This Week's Boswell's Best.

It's Tuesday, and that means time to write up some new releases, although they didn't necessarily come out today. This week we're focusing on fiction that's on the Boswell's Best. All titles are 20% off list price, through at least next Monday, April 15.

I am intrigued by the jacket of Motherland (Simon and Schuster), the new novel from William Nicholson. It's the summer of 1942 and Kitty is an army driver stationed in Sussex, who finds herself in a love triangle with a Royal Marine commando and a liaison officer in Combined Ops. The author has been nominated for Oscars for his screenplays of "Shadowland" and "Gladiator." This book has already come out in the UK, so there are also recs like this one from the Observer: "William Nicholson is a subtle and addictive writer who deserves to be a household name."

Boswellian Sharon has already been talking up Reconstructing Amelia (Harper), a novel by Kimberly McCreight about a lawyer who is summoned to her daughter's private school after she is accused of cheating. But when Kate gets to Grace Hall, Amelia is dead, having jumped off the school roof in an act of impulsive suicide. And then she gets a message--Amelia didn't jump. McCreight's work has appeared in American Review, Oxford Magazine, and Bubble. Sharon orders you to "clear your schedules for this one."

There's a particularly attractive book jacket for Elizabeth Berg's new novel, Tapestry of Fortunes (Random) , a different and more luxurious take on the ubiquitous tea cup icon.  This time Berg focuses on Cecelia Ross, a motivational speaker who encourages others to make their lives better but can't seem to take her own advice. The story is set in the midwest, but alas, I had to tell several folks that Berg is not doing a Milwaukee stop for her newest novel, though she is doing lots and lots of appearances in Chicago. The closest she appears is April 17 at Book Stall in Winnetka. She's a wonderful writer and speaker and definitely worth the trip south (a little less than 90 minutes, most likely).

Meg Wolitzer has a great fan in Jeffrey Eugenides, who said "the wit, intelligence, and deep feeling of Wolitzer's writing are extraordinary, and The Interestings (Riverhead) brings her achievement, already so steadfast and remarkable, to an even higher level." I have been reading Wolitzer on and off for years, and if I wasn't reading innumerous books in fifty-page increments for a promotion this fall, I'd be reading this now. The Interestings focuses on six teens who meet at a summer camp for the arts who remain friends through middle age, amidst the highs and lows of the various characters. Note an all-type jacket for a female writer--a rare and exciting entity. I want to show my solidarity by buying it right now. (My sister Merrill is reading it and has been waxing enthusiastic. (usage officially corrected).

And finally there is Rachel Kushner's The Flame Throwers (Scribner), who has among her fans Robert Stone, Karen Russell, and Jonathan Franzen. One of them said, "a novelist of the first order." I leave it to you to figure out which. Telex from Cuba was nominated for a National Book Award. Her second novel is about a young artis in New York and Rome in the mid 1970s, an exploration of the mystique of the feminine, the fake, the terrorist. I don't exactly know what that means, but I'm intrigued!

If anyone didn't believe me when I said that publishers release a lot of fiction written by women in advance of Mother's Day, here is a bit of proof. Four out of five dentists who don't chew gum avoid sweets by reading novels.

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