Lots of buzz on next week’s titles, including two novels that are the #1 and #2 Indie Next Picks for March: Carol Anshaw‘s Carry the One and Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles. Literary favorites Kathryn Harrison and Jeanette Winterson are back too – Harrison with a novel of the Romanovs and Winterson with a memoir of overcoming her difficult relationship with her adoptive mother. Usual suspects include Clive Cussler, Patricia Briggs, Thomas Perry and a tie-in to the second season of the George R.R. Martin HBO TV series.
Carry the One by Carol Anshaw (Simon and Schuster; Tantor Audio; Thorndike Large Print) begins with a fatal car crash after a wedding reception that haunts the bridal party for the next 25 years. Booklist‘s starred review sums up the universally positive trade reviews: “masterful in her authenticity, quicksilver dialogue, wise humor, and receptivity to mystery, Anshaw has created a deft and transfixing novel of fallibility and quiet glory.” It just received an “A” rating from Entertainment Weekly and is the #1 Indie Next Pick for March 2012.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (HarperCollins/Ecco Press) retells Homer’s epic from the point of view of Patroclus, an exiled Greek prince taken in by the father of Achilles. Over the years, the two boys’ tentative friendship grows into a deep and passionate love that stands firm despite disapproval of the elders and the gods. The #2 Indie Next Pick for March, the annotation says, “Miller’s homage to The Iliad is sharp and strengthened by her knowledge and exquisite prose.” It’s also on Oprah’s Must-Read List for March.
Monday Mornings by Sanjay Gupta (Grand Central Publishing; Hachette Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is a debut novel by CNN’s chief medical correspondent, also the host of TV’s House Call with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and author of the best-selling Cheating Death. It pulls back the curtain on the Morbidity and Mortality conference at Chelsea General, where surgeons answer for bad outcomes. LJ says, “Anyone who enjoys medical fiction should like this novel, despite a few less-than-realistic plot developments. Gupta keeps his numerous characters and their intermingled lives and crises in play and convinces readers to care about each one.”
Enchantments by Kathryn Harrison (Random House; Center Point Large Print) is set in the final days of Russia’s Romanov Empire, as the Bolsheviks place the royal family under house arrest and Rasputin’s 18-year-old daughter, Masha finds solace with the Czar’s son, Prince Alyosha. LJ says, “though the narrative can be confusing as Masha’s tales move rapidly from reality to fantasy, the ever-fascinating story of the fall of the Romanov dynasty will appeal to readers of historical fiction.” The author will appear on NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered on March 4, and the book will be covered in the New York Times Book Review on March 11. It’s also on Oprah’s Must-Read List for March.
Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru (RH/Knopf; Thorndike Large Print) follows a husband and wife after their son, Raj, vanishes during a family vacation in the California desert and reappears inexplicably unharmed—but not unchanged. This one is also on Oprah’s Must-Read List for March, which says “at its core, this thrill ride of a novel is about searching for truth, even as wife Lisa finally comes to realize, ‘at the heart of the world…is a mystery into which we are not meant to penetrate.'” Reviewed in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, it gets a B+, with points off for not always being “narratively satisfying,” although “it’s still a compelling exploration of cosmic-American weirdness.”
The Thief by Clive Cussler (Penguin/Putnam; Wheeler Large Type; Penguin Audio) is set on the ocean liner “Mauretania,” where two European scientists with a dramatic new invention are barely rescued from abduction by the Van Dorn Detective Agency’s intrepid chief investigator, Isaac Bell.
Fair Game (Alpha and Omega Series #3) by Patricia Briggs (Ace Books) is the third book in the popular urban fantasy series.
Poison Flower: A Jane Whitefield Novel by Thomas Perry (Grove Atlantic/Mysterious Press; Tantor Audio; Thorndike Large Print) is the seventh novel in this series about a Seneca woman who helps abused women and other victims disappear. Here, Jane spirits James Shelby, a man unjustly convicted of his wife’s murder, out of a criminal court building, and must endure the torment of men posing as police who kidnap her.
Everlasting by Elizabeth Chandler (Simon Pulse) finds fallen angel Ivy reunited with her her formerly dead boyfriend Tristan. But he has been cast down in the body of a murderer, and they must clear him before they can be together.
A Clash of Kings (HBO Tie-In Edition): A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Two by George R.R. Martin (RH/Bantam; Random House Audio) is a tie-in to the HBO series that begins April 1.
Why Be Happy When You Could be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson (Grove Press) is a memoir about this accomplished author’s life work to find happiness, after growing up in a north England industrial town with an abusive Pentacostal adoptive mother. But getting herself into Oxford and becoming an acclaimed literary author doesn’t satisfy her quest for love. Kirkus says, “this is a highly unusual, scrupulously honest, and endearing memoir.” It’s also on Oprah’s Must-Read List for March.
Shades of Hope: A Program to Stop Dieting and Start Living by Tennie McCarty (Penguin/ Amy Einhorn Books; Penguin Audio) offers advice breaking the diet cycle, by one of the foremost experts on eating addiction who has a famous retreat center, Shades of Hope. This is the first foray into self-help for star editor Amy Einhorn, who is better known for fiction (The Help, The Postmistress, The Weird Sisters).