Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Heading To Screen: THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

9780385542364_94521Barry Jenkins, the writer and director of the Oscar-winning film Moonlight, will write and direct the adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s National Book Award-winning novel The Underground Railroad (PRH/Doubleday) as a series for Amazon.

“Going back to The Intuitionist, Colson’s writing has always defied convention, and The Underground Railroad is no different,” Jenkins said in a statement. “It’s a groundbreaking work that pays respect to our nation’s history while using the form to explore it in a thoughtful and original way.”

The Underground Railroad is a massive job,” he told the the LA Times. “Right now, I’m thinking I want to do that over six or seven hours, and that will take a lot of time and consideration because it absolutely has to be done the right way. It’s a landmark work.”

Consequence of Sound reports “Jenkins has been working on the project since September, just one month after Colson’s book was released.”

It is early days, so there is no word on an air date or casting.

DOWNTON Goes To GUERNSEY

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

9780385340991Called a “Downton Abbey Reunion,” the adaptation of Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (PRH/Random House, 2008), currently filming in Australia, features four actors from the popular BBC series. Lily James, who played Downton‘s Lady Rose, is the movie’s lead. Recently joining the cast are Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton‘s Lady Sybil), Matthew Goode (Henry Talbot), and Penelope Wilton (Isobel Crawley).

Also recently added are Glen Powell (Hidden Figures), Michiel Huisman (The Age of Adeline, Game of Thrones), as well as Tom Courtenay (45 Years).

Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Four Weddings and a Funeral) directs the re-titled Guernsey. Release is expected in 2018.

The epistolary novel set during WW II received strong reviews and was a long running best seller. No tie-in has been announced

Future Visions

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

9780316262330_fecffCommenting that “All science-fiction novels are about the future and about the present at the same time,” Kim Stanley Robinson discusses his new book  New York 2140 (Hachette/Orbit; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) in an interview with New York magazine. In it, he envisions a waterlogged city that climate change has turned into the Venice of the U.S.

It is one of a number of novels getting media attention for their prescience about the current political climate,

A surprisingly hopeful version of what lies ahead, Robinson’s books shows survivors coping with the aftermath of  an epic flood that has hit NYC. They move into high rise buildings, get used to tides washing up the streets, and to living with canals rather than roads. Robinson says “at some point, science fiction has to imagine the people who come after, when the situation will be natural, whatever it is.”

In her monthly Sci Fi column in the NYT Book Review, N.K. Jemisin says Robinson “deftly conveys [the transformed city’s] unnerving strangeness … it is refreshing to see a futurism that acknowledges the innate resilience of the city and, by inference, of humanity itself.”

9780765388889_dac23Wired compares it to John Scalzi’s newest, the space opera The Collapsing Empire (Macmillan/Tor; OverDrive Sample), a far less hopeful vision set in AD 3500 when humanity appears doomed. They call it “Star Wars politics in the key of Firefly,” while New York 2014 could be pitched as “Waterworld survivalists battle Wall Street bogeymen.”

9780451493583_f9dc0Daily NYT critic Michiko Kakutani devotes her attention to a novel that, like Robinson’s, imagines the impact of global warming on the U.S., Omar El Akkad’s American War (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample). In this darker version, the U.S., reduced to a much smaller country, is engaged in second Civil War.

Kakutani says “El Akkad has fashioned a surprisingly powerful novel — one that creates as haunting a postapocalyptic universe as Cormac McCarthy did in The Road (2006), and as devastating a look at the fallout that national events have on an American family as Philip Roth did in The Plot Against America (2004).”

Released today, the book is currently at #71 on Amazon’s sales rankings, moving up rapidly from a lowly #29,600.

Meyers and Saunders, Redux

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

On Monday, Seth Meyers hosted George Saunders on Late Night, a return of sorts.

As a result, Saunders’ novel, Lincoln in the Bardo (PRH/RH; RH Audio/BOT; Overdrive Sample), having already been a #1 on the NYT best seller, is moving up Amazon’s sales rankings this morning.

The two-part interview is a remarkable contrast to usual late-night celebrity fare.

Meyers introduces the second part of the interview with a phrase that may never have been uttered by a late night network host before, “the common architecture between writer and reader.”

Meyers has had experience with the author. He interviewed Saunders in February when he served as  the substitute host on the Charlie Rose Show.

AMERICAN ASSASSIN Gets Release Date

Monday, March 27th, 2017

american-assassin-9781416595199_lgCurrently filming, the adaptation of Vince Flynn’s thriller American Assassin, now has a premiere date of Sept. 15, 2017.

Dylan O’Brien plays the lead, CIA operative Mitch Rapp. The actor also stars in the Maze Runner film trilogy, based on the YA series by James Dashner. He suffered a serious injury on the set of the final movie in the series, Maze Runner: Death Cure. As a result, shooting of that movie was delayed until he recovered. The release date, also delayed, is now set for January 12, 2018. 

Michael Keaton (Birdman) is set for the role of Stan Hurley, Rapp’s CIA trainer. Michael Cuesta (Kill the Messenger, Homeland) directs. USA Today provides a few first look photos.

Although it is the eleventh in the book series, American Assassin moves back in time to depict Rapp’s first assignment, making it a good place to begin a possible movie series. A tie-in has yet to be announced. The paperback is still available (S&S/Pocket).

Saunders To Silver Screen

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

Lincoln in the BardoMegan Mullally (Will & Grace, Infinity Baby) and husband Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation, The Founder), have bought the film rights George Saunders’s NYT bestseller, Lincoln in the Bardo (PRH/RH; RH Audio/BOT; Overdrive Sample).

The couple will produce alongside the author. Both worked on the audiobook version with him.

I am thrilled to be in artistic cahoots with Megan and Nick, two artists I’ve long admired,” Saunders told Deadline Hollywood, “This is going to be big fun. My hope is that we can find a way to make the experience of getting this movie made as wild and enjoyable and unpredictable as the experience of writing it — I am so happy to have such fearless companions on the trip.”

The A.V. Club points to the challenges facing the adaptation, “The book has more than 150 narrators … then there’s the matter of the archival texts intercutting the musings of Willie and his new neighbors. And that’s all before you get into those neighbors’ appearances.” However, the producers have already dealt with those issues for the audiobook version.

RITA Award Finalists

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

The Romance Writers of America announced on Tuesday the finalists for the RITA Awards for romance fiction.

9780062100344_217efThere are 13 categories include over 80 nominees (a good opportunity for displays, see The Romance Dish for useful descriptions of all 13 classifications).

Among the finalists are popular authors such as Sabrina York, Tessa Dare, Elizabeth Hoyt, Sabrina Jeffries, J R Ward and Loretta Chase, whose Dukes Prefer Blondes (HC/Avon; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), part of her Dressmakers series, appears in the Historical Romance: Long category.

Attesting to the growing reach of self-published novels, 11 of the nominees come from the authors’ own imprints, including AAB Always a Bridesmaid by Lizzie Shane (Create Space; OverDrive Sample), in the Contemporary Romance: Long category.

RWA’s the Golden Heart award nominees for unpublished manuscripts were also released.

All the winners will be announced on July 27.

Mystery Great Colin Dexter Dies

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

9780804114905_1e4b39780804119542Colin Dexter has died, age 86. He created the character Chief Inspector Morse, the beloved, curmudgeonly detective based in Oxford who likes opera, poetry, and has a fiendishly clever mind.

The first book in the series is Last Bus to Woodstock was published in 1975. The final book, #13, The Remorseful Day, was published 24 years later in 1999. The books were adapted into the Inspector Morse TV series that ran on PBS from 1987 until 2000. The show spun-off two sequels, one about Morse’s partner, Inspector Lewis, and one about a younger Morse, Endeavour.

“He was one of the greatest crime novelists of the 20th century and deserves to be ranked alongside Chandler, Christie and Doyle,” Andrew Gulli, the editor of the mystery magazine The Strand, told the NYT.

The paper also reports that he won two Golden Dagger awards from the Crime Writers’ Association of Britain and, in 1997, he received the organization’s lifetime achievement award, the Diamond Dagger.

Dexter killed off Morse in his last book, using for the title a line from an A. E. Housman poem, “How Clear, How Lovely Bright,” as a way of saying goodbye:

How heavily it dies
Into the west away;
Past touch and sight and sound
Not further to be found,
How hopeless under ground
Falls the remorseful day.

BERNADETTE Begins Filming This Summer

Monday, March 20th, 2017

9780316204262Richard Linklater’s adaptation of Where’d You Go, Bernadette starring two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett will start filming July 2017, reports Austin360.

The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Maria Semple (Hachette, 2012). Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (500 Days of Summer and The Fault in Our Stars) wrote the screenplay.

Fans of the book will have to wait to find out who will play Bernadette’s 15-year-old daughter, Bee Branch, the story’s narrator.

Semple won an Alex Award for the book in 2013. It spent a few weeks on the NYT Hardcover Bestseller list, and many more in trade paperback, hitting a high of #2.

As we noted earlier, Semple has another title headed to a screen. Julia Roberts will star in HBO’s adaptation of her newest novel, Today Will Be Different (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample).

No stranger to TV herself, Semple, who worked on Beverly Hills, 90210, Mad About You, Suddenly Susan, and Arrested Development, will write the script, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

EXIT WEST Hits NYT Bestseller List

Friday, March 17th, 2017

9780735212176_8834cAfter weeks of critical attention, Mohsin Hamid’s newest novel, Exit West (PRH/Riverhead; Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) debuts on the NYT Bestseller list at #5.

Coverage is continuing. PBS Newshour and The Wall Street Journal released video interviews. The Seattle Times reviews it, saying the “penetrating, prescient new novel feels like bearing witness to events that are unfolding before us in real time.” The Guardian writes:

Exit West shifts between forms, wriggles free of the straitjackets of social realism and eyewitness reportage, and evokes contemporary refugeedom as a narrative hybrid: at once a fable about deterritorialisation, a newsreel about civil society … and a speculative fiction that fashions new maps of hell.”

Holds are strong across libraries we checked, with the majority showing holds at 5:1 or higher.

AMERICAN GODS: New Trailer

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

9780062572233_d8645Starz’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods premieres on Sunday, April 30, 2017. A just-released new trailer is making news, and is now #1 YouTube.

Entertainment Weekly says it is “full of gorgeous fantasy imagery and gothic drama.” The Verge notes it is the “most extensive and violent look yet [and it] gives a better idea of the stakes: the older gods face an existential crisis, and Shadow will help with the fight.” RollingStone gives more specific warnings, “The teaser also showcases some disturbing … visuals: bloody beaches, rain pouring on corpses, eerie caves and a zombie-like woman walking down a picturesque suburban street while clutching her chopped-off arm.”

Tie-ins hit shelves in late March: American Gods, Neil Gaiman (HC/William Morrow; also in mass market;HC Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Next MILLENNIUM Film,
No Mara, No Craig, No Larsson

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Many names will be missing from the second English-language adaptation of the Millennium series, following 2011’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Sony has announced that the movie will be released on October 5, 2018, but that neither of the two leads, Rooney Mara or Daniel Craig will return.

Also missing from the credits is the originator of the series of novels, Stieg Larsson. This second movie will be based on the fourth book in the series, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, written by David Lagercrantz after Larsson’s death.

1487331620_MILLENNIUM-CROPPEDThe date of the movie release was announced at a launch party for the fifth book in the Millennium series, also by Lagercrantz, titled in Swedish The Man who Chased His Shadow (Mannen som sökte sin skugga;cover at left), but listed in the US as Untitled Millennium Book 5 (PRH/Knopf, 9/12/17). The Swedish publication The Local describes the plot,”[Lisbeth Salander]  will begin the novel serving a short sentence at a women’s prison, where she is attempting to avoid conflicts between prisoners, and the tale will develop into a story of ‘state abuse, honour problems and shadows from a childhood that still haunts Salander’.”

There’s been no explanation about why the movie will skip ahead to the fourth book in the series, but  Sony, whose options on the rights to the Larsson books ran out in 2015, may have decided to avoid dealing with Larsson’s famously contentious estate.

The Next CORMORAN STRIKE Novel

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Today, J.K. Rowling fans are pondering the meaning of the title of her next book, which she revealed yesterday in an online contest.

The next in the Cormoran Strike series, written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, it’s titled Lethal White. So far the leading guess is that the title refers to a rare genetic disorder among horses.

At this point, there’s no ISBN and it’s not listed on wholesaler or retailer sites. Rowling did not give a publication date, but said that she is at work on chapter 23. Based on that, there is a slim possibility that it will be released this fall, which would be good timing since the first in the TV series adaptation of the books is expected to air on HBO later this year.

9781338132311_cc2efShe has plenty of other projects to occupy her time, including the screenplays for the upcoming Fantastic Beasts movies, with the second scheduled for November, 2018. There may also be another non-HP book in the works under her own name, as she teased back in December.

Yesterday’s release of an updated version of the faux Hogwarts text book, Fantastic Beasts, also set the internet ablaze because it contains some new details about the HP universe.

Lost and Found

Monday, March 13th, 2017

9780143107316_af1eaA novel by the influential Harlem Renaissance author Claude McKay, Amiable with Big Teeth (PRH/Penguin; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) was all but lost in the Columbia University archives. It remained unpublished for 70 years until it was discovered by a doctoral student while doing research, causing a flurry of news reports.

Published last month, it now sports an eye-catching cover and has received a series of pre-pub reviews that drove libraries to buy copies.

Consumer coverage is now catching up.

Time says the novel “lives up to McKay’s reputation. The book satirizes life in Harlem during the 1935 Italian invasion of Ethiopia … Socialites, intellectuals and hucksters debate the conflict abroad from the parlors and churches of Harlem … McKay mocks both sides, but he knows the stakes: ‘If a native state can maintain its existence in Africa and hold its head up among the white nations,’ one character says, ‘it adds to the self-respect of the colored Americans.'”

Paste reports on the find and the authentication process. The Atlantic provides an in-depth feature.

Claude McKay was already known to the literary world. His 1922 collection of poetry, Harlem Shadows, was a landmark work “that helped usher in the Harlem Renaissance” writes The Atlantic.

At the time the novel was discovered, the NYT provided a account of McKay’s writing and influence on a “generation of black writers, including Langston Hughes. His work includes the 1919 protest poem If We Must Die, (quoted by Winston Churchill) … He also wrote the 1928 best-selling novel Home to Harlem.”

Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Harvard University scholar and one of experts who examined the novel, told the paper, “This is a major discovery … written in the second half of the Harlem Renaissance, it shows that the renaissance continued to be vibrant and creative and turned its focus to international issues.”

White, Black and Blue

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

9780451493699_50a6dOn NPR’s Morning Edition Sunday, author Hari Kunzru is interviewed about his new book, White Tears (PRH/Knopf; RH Audio), a story about two white hipsters from Brooklyn who become deeply involved in collecting old Blues music. NPR calls it “a mystery, a coming of age story, a history.”

The interview explores the complex historical relationship between the black creators of the Blues and the “elite white men” who collected the music, making it popular with other elite whites and, in the process, turning it into an “image that suited them.” One of the most famous collectors made recordings from Southern penitentiaries without seeming to be touched by the conditions suffered there.

Reviews are very strong. The Washington Post calls the novel “captivating” and writes “Kunzru’s graceful writing is exquisitely attuned to his material … White Tears is a profoundly darker and more complex story of a haunting that elucidates the iniquitous history of white appropriation of black culture.”

The Huffington Post calls it “The Horror Story La La Land Should Have Become.”

It is also a March Indie Next pick.