Although Martin Amis’s new novel, Lionel Asbo: State of England, has received mixed reviews, it would be hard to argue that it lacks vividly drawn characters, a compelling storyline, or distinctive prose. Perhaps the legitimate complaint is that the title character, Lionel Asbo, falls a bit short on charm.
Being a parent can be a thankless job. Jonathan Evison explores the parent/child relationship in his new novel, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving. Through the intersecting lives of his characters, he challenges the definition of a “good” parent.
In his novel The Godfather, Mario Puzo used his life in New York, his penetrating imagination, and some kind of exotic material for polishing prose to reveal the world of the Mafia. In that world, the reader observes the coming of age of Michael Corleone, as he reluctantly confronts his complicated fate as a gangster. This leads him down the path to self-betrayal.
Pauls Toutonghi has a way with words. He writes about the unique circumstances surrounding smart, quirky, and loveable characters. At Watermark, we found his first novel, Red Weather, so endearing that we named a sandwich after it. Toutonghi’s newest book, Evel Knievel Days, features a protagonist named Khosi Saqr from Butte, Montana—Evel Knievel’s hometown. Khosi is an obsessive-compulsive Egyptian-American trying to find his identity. Well, half of his identity, anyway.
One beautiful thing about reading is the travel it allows. Through books, you can visit other times, places, or even dimensions. In “The Chaperone,” Laura Moriarty takes us to the far reaches of Douglas Avenue, Winfield, McPherson and New York City.
Laura Moriarty’s first three books were set in Kansas towns, all based on times and places she actually lived. With her latest book she takes a leap backwards to 1922 Wichita, when soon-to-be silent film star Louise Brooks was 15-years-old, heading off to New York City for the first time.
Even though Frank Money lived in Lotus, Georgia since he was four, he never considered the town his home. According to Frank, “Nobody in Lotus knew anything or wanted to learn anything.” Left to their own devices, Frank and his friends roamed the unpaved streets and countryside with Frank’s little sister Cee in-tow, biding their time until they could leave Lotus for good. That opportunity came for the boys when they enlisted to fight in the Korean War. Cee’s opportunity presented itself later when she took off with a stranger—who took off with her car.
When an author goes on a book tour, he might fall into a routine that sounds something like this: • Fly into a city. • Go from airport to hotel. • Go from hotel to bookstore. • Read from your book. • Return to hotel. • Fly out in the morning.
When Christopher Moore goes on book tour, he adds one more step. • Spend some time at the local art museum.
At Home on the Range, a cookbook presented by Elizabeth Gilbert, by her great-grandmother Margaret Yardley Potter
Elizabeth Gilbert always believed that her calling as a writer came from her great-grandfather, Sheldon Potter. He had “inspired bookishness” and would give her challenging reading assignments during their visits. But when she unpacked and began to read At Home on the Range—a cookbook penned by her great-grandmother, Margaret Yardley Potter—Gilbert started to wonder about the existence of a Family Voice.
The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau begins on a fateful night when the family of Jonas, a 15-year-old Muslim, is killed by Americans. Running for his life in the rugged mountains surrounding his home, Jonas is rescued by an American who dies the same evening. He is taken in by an international relief organization and adopted by a Christian family in Pittsburgh, Pa. As he and his new family do their best to find common ground, the dead American soldier’s mother, also coincidentally in Pittsburgh, is determined to uncover what happened to her son.
First-time novelist Christina Alger’s pedigree reads just like that of her characters’ in The Darlings: Harvard, NYU School of Law, work at Goldman Sachs. Alger takes the adage, “write what you know,” to heart and tells an entertaining story of the rise and fall of some of the “1%” during the financial crash of 2008.
The book opens at 2:00 a.m. on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, with the alleged suicide of Morty Reis off the Tappan Zee Bridge. Reis’ investment fund is suspected of a Bernie Madoff-style ponzi fraud.