Early Reviews for Shriver and Trussoni

Two novels going on sale next week — one by Lionel Shriver and the other by Danielle Trussoni — are getting early media attention from major critics, though there is only moderate library demand so far.  On the other hand, Alan Brantley‘s second Flavia de Luce mystery doesn’t need media attention; customers are placing holds based on the success of the author’s debut last year, Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

Lionel Shriver‘s exploration of the plight of middle-class Americans squeezed by the current health care system, So Much for That, will hit the ground running with a very positive early review from the notoriously hard-to-please Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times, who says,

The author’s understanding of her people is so intimate, so unsentimental that it lofts the novel over [some] bumpy passages, insinuating these characters permanently into the reader’s imagination.

In a gossipy aside, freelance critic Mark Athitakas digests the recent flap in the UK over the ethics of Shriver’s decision to set a portion of her novel in a resort on Pemba Island in the Indian Ocean, and to list the owners in her acknowledgements, after having gone on a travel-writing junket there.

So Much for That
Lionel Shriver
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2010-03-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061458589 / 9780061458583

Available from Brilliance Corporation  03/09/2010

  • Compact Disc: $36.99; ISBN 9781423360995

Large Print from HarperLuxe

  • $25.99; ISBN 9780061946134

Overdrive WMA Audiobook: ISBN 9780061977510

Playaway: $74.99; SKU 11733


Danielle Trussoni‘s debut thriller, Angelology, about a nun descended from elite angelologist who solves a puzzle reminiscent of the Da Vinci Code, is a People Pick in the 3/15 issue. The review bestows 3.5 of a possible 4 stars, but reads like a 4-star review:

…breathtakingly imaginative…[the] story is over the top. But aren’t all sweeping, thoroughly entertaining tales of the supernatural? In fact, once you’ve entered Angelology‘s enthralling world…you’ll be thinking, “Vampires? Who cares about vampires?”

It gets less favorable coverage from Janet Maslin in the New York Times:

Angelology is so prettily written that it takes a while for the clumsiness to show… Ms. Trussoni does not even tie up this book’s loose ends. She leaves her story in virtual midair, set up for a sequel and mightily confused as to angelology’s future.

Library demand is relatively light, but given the heated auction for this book and the positive early reviews from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly, there’s bound to be more coverage. There’s also a movie in the works from Sony.

Danielle Trussoni
Retail Price: $27.95
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult – (2010-03-09)
ISBN / EAN: 0670021474 / 9780670021475

Available from Penguin Audiobooks: 03/09/2010

  • Compact Disc: $39.95; ISBN 9780143145264


In libraries, next week’s most anticipated new fiction title is Alan Bradley‘s The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag, featuring the dangerously brilliant eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce.  This young English girl’s passion for chemistry and solving murders helped septagenarian Bradley win many fans for his debut, Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (2009). Libraries we checked are largely on top of the demand, with up to 50 copies on hand.

Library Journal says that “while the plot at times stretches credulity, with some characters veering close to Agatha Christie stereotypes, Flavia is such an entertaining narrator that most readers will cheerfully go along for the ride.”

The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag: A Flavia de Luce Mystery
Alan Bradley
Retail Price: $24.00
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press – (2010-03-09)
ISBN / EAN: 0385342314 / 9780385342315

Available from Random House Audio:  03/09/2010

  • Compact Disc: $35; ISBN 978030757641535

Other Fiction with Buzz Coming Next Week:

Chang-Rae Lee’s The Surrendered (Riverhead), a story of war and survival that focuses on a Korean orphan and the American veteran and missionary who try to care for her, received a favorable review from Laura Miller in Salon and a glowing review in Elle,  and was also on O magazine’s list of Seven Books to Watch for in March.

Clive Cussler and Jack De Brul’s The Silent Sea (Putnam) is the “winning seventh entry in the Oregon Files nautical adventure series… [in which] Juan Cabrillo, the heroic skipper of the ‘Oregon’, a state-of-the-art warship disguised as a tramp steamer, faces a multitude of difficulties and challenges,” according to Publishers Weekly.

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