Fiction Radar: May 7th – 13th

Media attention is focusing on next week’s titles from long-time literary stars Toni Morrison, and John Irving as well as Hilary Mantel’s sequel to Wolf Hall. There’s also a hot debut romance with a touch of time travel from newcomer Beatriz Williams, another doggy bestseller from Bruce Cameron, and a prequel to The GodfatherReturning favorites include James Patterson and Maxine Paetro and Richard Paul Evans.

WATCH LIST

Overseas by Beatriz Williams (Penguin/Putnam) is a debut novel about a contemporary Wall Street analyst, who falls in love with a mystifying billionaire, and then discovers they met in another life, in WWI. PW says, “at heart this is a delicious story about the ultimate romantic fantasy: love that not only triumphs over time and common sense, but, once Kate overcomes Julian’s WWI-era ideas about honor, includes mind-blowing sex.” The author begins her book tour with her home town library in Greenwich, CT.

A Dog’s Journey: Another Novel for Humans by W. Bruce Cameron (Macmillan/Forge; Macmillan Audio; Wheeler Large Print) is the sequel to the bestseller A Dog’s Purpose that asks: Do we really take care of our pets, or do they take care of us? Booklist says, “Cameron explores the concept of canine karma with acute sensitivity and exhibits cunning insight into life from a dog’s perspective.”

The Family Corleone by Ed Falco (Grand Central; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print) is a prequel to The Godfather. We wrote about the book trailer‘s clever twist last week.

LITERARY FAVORITES

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (Macmillan/Holt) continues the story of intrigue in the Tudor court that began in the Booker Prize winning Wolf Hall. There have already been several advance reviews, including Janet Maslin’s in the New York Times (which says that Wolf Hall is “a hard act to follow. But the follow-up is equally sublime”), and in Entertainment Weekly (it gets an “A”), as well as an article in the Wall St. Journal about whether you need to read Wolf Hall first (you don’t according to her publisher, but a Washington D.C. bookseller says you do).

In the British book trailer, Mantel talks about the enduring fascination with her subject, Anne Boleyn, who had “huge sexual magnetism.”

Home by Toni Morrison (RH/Knopf; Random House Large Print; Random House Audio) is the Nobel winner’s exploration of the inner life of Korean War veteran, who endured front line trauma and returns to racist America with more than just physical scars. People magazine says, “At half the length of most of her previous works, Home is as much prose poem as long-form fiction — a triumph for a beloved literary icon who, at 81, proves that her talents remain in full flower.”

In One Person by John Irving (Simon & Schuster; Simon & Schuster Audio) is a portrait of a bisexual man described by the publisher as “a story of unfulfilled love—tormented, funny, and affecting—and an impassioned embrace of our sexual differences.” It’s well known that Irving repeats themes; Wikipedia even has a chart of which recurring subjects appear in which books. Some find that tiresome;  Entertainment Weekly asks, “What is it with John Irving and transsexuals?” but still gives it a B+. Earlier, in an interview in the same publication, Irving explained that he continues to explore issues he began writing about in Garp back in 1978 because, ”There’s still a problem. People hate each other for their sexual differences, even today.”  People, also comments on Irving revisiting old themes, but says in this book, he manages to expresses a “fresh, heartfelt urgency.”

Expect major media coverage, including a profile in Time magazine (which asserts that  In One Person marks the author’s return to being “a literary heavyweight”), an appearance on NPR’s Weekend Edition tomorrow and CBS This Morning on Tuesday. NOTE: Irving will be featured speaker at ALA on Saturday, June 23.

A person who got to know the book intimately, the audio narrator, gives a passionate promo for the book and talks about the difference between narrating a book and acting:

USUAL SUSPECTS

11th Hour by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Large Print; Hachette Audio) finds Lindsay Boxer pregnant and on the case of the murder of a millionaire with a weapon that’s linked to the deaths of four of San Francisco’s most untouchable criminals, and was taken from her own department’s evidence locker.

The Road to Grace by Richard Paul Evans (Simon & Schuster; Center Point Large Print; Simon & Schuster Audio) continues The Walk series, with Alan setting out to cover nearly 1,000 miles between South Dakota and St. Louis on foot, where he encounters a mysterious woman, a ghost hunter and an elderly Polish man.


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