New Title Radar: Week of 5/16

Watch List

Vaclav & Lena by Haley Tanner (Dial Press) is a tale set in Russian-immigrant Brooklyn about a proto-romance between two children who are inexplicably separated, then meet again seven years later. Entertainment Weekly gives, it a B+, saying it “starts off cute but slight” then heads for “something darker and deeper…. Vaclav and especially Lena never quite cohere into three-dimensional characters, but Tanner is a gifted enough storyteller to bring some real emotional heft” to their story.

A Moment in the Sun by John Sayles is the fourth novel by the well-known independent filmmaker. PW says it “will stand among the finest work on his impressive résumé. Weighing in at nearly 1,000 pages, the behemoth recalls E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime, Pynchon’s Against the Day, and Dos Passos’s USA trilogy, tracking mostly unconnected characters whose collective stories create a vast, kaleidoscopic panorama of the turn of the last century.”

Miss New India by Bharati Mukherjee (HMH) gets a starred review from Booklist: “Who better to capture the seismic shifts under way in India as the digital revolution takes hold than laser-precise and sharply witty Mukherjee? In each of her dramatic, slyly satirical novels, she dissects the legacy of colonialism, the paradoxes of technology, and the traditions that shackle Indian women. Mukherjee subtly continues the stories of the sisters from Desirable Daughters (2002) and The Tree Bride (2004) as she introduces Anjali Bose, a smart, rebellious 19-year-old who flees her provincial town after her fathers attempt to arrange her marriage goes catastrophically wrong.”

Usual Suspects

The Jefferson Key by Steve Berry (Ballantine) is the seventh novel to feature former U.S. Justice Department agent Cotton Malone. It was originally planned for the fall, then moved to lead in to Father’s Day. PW calls it “ingeniously plotted” with “plenty of twists and vivid action scenes in a feast of historical imagination.”

The Final Storm: A Novel of the War in the Pacific by Jeff Shaara (Ballantine) relates the story of the struggle for Okinawa through the eyes of combatants on both sides. Booklist says, “the previous three volumes in this series were best-sellers; expect no less for this extraordinarily evocative conclusion.”

Embassytown by China Miéville (Del Rey) is the respected author’s first foray into straight science fiction. It was covered in the Wall St. Journal this week, which describes it as “an intergalactic space romp [that] turns into a meditation on language.”


William & Catherine: Their Story by Andrew Morton (St. Martin’s Press) is among the first hardcover keepsakes of the British royal wedding, by an author who has long covered the royals.

On China by Henry Kissinger (Penguin Press) gets a respectful yet mixed review by Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times, who calls it “fascinating, shrewd and sometimes perverse,” adding that it “not only addresses the central role he played in Nixon’s opening to China but also tries to show how the history of China, both ancient and more recent, has shaped its foreign policy and attitudes toward the West.”

The Long Journey Home: A Memoir by Margaret Robison (Spiegel & Grau) is a much-anticipated memoir by the mother of the bestselling memoirists Augusten Burroughs and John Elder Robison, telling her side of the story from her Southern Gothic childhood to her tormented marriage, motherhood, mental breakdown, and journey back to sanity. PW calls it an “unremarkable tell-all.”

Not Dead & Not for Sale: A Memoir by Scott Weiland and David Ritz Scribner) is an account by the lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots of rock stardom, addiction and incarceration, and making his comeback. PW says “the writing is often bland and it displays little of the tremendous energy found in his music.”

The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter by Ian O’Connor (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is a bio of the Yankee’s star that was 15 years in the making. PW says “O’Connor peppers the bio with enough hidden gems about the notoriously private ballplayer to make this the most thorough and intriguing work on Jeter so far. And O’Connor’s ability to reconcile Jeter the man with Jeter the ballplayer means that even Red Sox fans may enjoy this bio.”

Where’s the Birth Certificate?: The Case That Barack Obama Is Not Eligible to Be President by Jerome Corsi (WND Books). Now that the President has released his birth certificate, we wonder if they’ll pull this one?

Movie tie-in

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Price of Freedom (Disney Editions); the publisher describes this as “the first original novel based on the series for adult fans,” by the author of several  Star Trek and Star Wars novels. The fourth in the film series, On Stranger Tides, just premiered in London and goes in to wide release next week.

Comments are closed.