Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
PR6113.U78 S55 2010
Ruprecht Van Doren is an overweight genius whose hobbies include very difficult maths and the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. Daniel ‘Skippy’ Juster is his roommate. In the grand old Dublin institution that is Seabrook College for Boys, nobody pays either of them much attention. But when Skippy falls for Lori, the Frisbee-playing Siren from the girls’ school next door, suddenly all kinds of people take an interest – including Carl, part-time drug-dealer and official school psychopath.
While his teachers battle over modernisation, and Ruprecht attempts to open a portal into a parallel universe, Skippy, in the name of love, is heading for a showdown – in the form of a fatal doughnut-eating race that only one person will survive. This unlikely tragedy will explode Seabrook’s century-old complacency and bring all kinds of secrets into the light, until teachers and pupils alike discover that the fragile lines dividing past from present, love from betrayal – and even life from death – have become almost impossible to read . . .
The Ghost Rider by Ismail Kadare
PG9621.K3 Q5213 2010
An old woman is awoken in the dead of night by knocks at her front door. She opens it to find her daughter, Doruntine, standing there alone in the darkness. She has been brought home from a distant land by a mysterious rider she claims is her brother Konstandin. But unbeknownst to her, Konstandin has been dead for years. What follows is chain of events which plunges an Albanian village into fear and mistrust. Who is the ghost rider?
Based on the story of “The Ballad of Constantine and Doruntine”, an ancient tale that is known wherever Albanian is spoken and whose versions exist in every Balkan language and in several other European folk traditions.
The legend tells of a brother, Kostandin, who rises from his grave to fulfil his promise of bringing his married sister Doruntine back from a far-off land to see their dying mother.
Dying by René Belletto
PQ2662.E4537 M6813 2010
A metaphysical thriller about the lengths to which men will go to escape the inevitable—be it love or death. In this darkly playful novel, polymath René Belletto tells two complimentary stories: In one, a man finds himself paying a ransom demanded by the kidnappers of a woman he’s never actually met; in the other, a second man makes plans to fake his own death to escape a woman whose devotion has begun to terrify him. Fast, funny, and sarcastic, partaking of the same vocabularies, imagery, and pitch-black sense of humor, these two variations on a single theme form a novel as much at home in the surreal as in everyday reality.
Negative Space by Robert Steiner
PS3569.T376 N44 2010
While sitting on a French terrace overlooking a three-hundred-year-old olive grove at sunset, a man listens as his wife confesses her love for someone else. Preparing to leave after twenty years of marriage, she details her erotic and emotional life, a confession that leaves her husband spent but delirious with love for her. The imminent loss of the passion of his life leads him to experience the power of desire, grief, and flushed obsession—and thus begins this riveting monologue at the end of a marriage, one that is mesmerizing with anger and regret.
Entirely alive in these intense moments, the husband examines every experience, every feeling that floods his mind with grief and anticipation. And this need, this experience, becomes one of absolute truth, as the story itself becomes composed of complicating love and loss.
Negative Space joins Steiner’s earlier fictions—such as Bathers, Dread, and The Catastrophe—in evoking the dark texture and brilliant detail of erotic loss. The result is an exploration of heartbreak and sexual obsession the reader will not soon forget.
Loom: A novel by Thérèse Soukar Chehade
PS3603.H44557 L66 2010
As a blizzard blankets the northeast United States, burying residents and shutting down airports, the Zaydan family eagerly awaits the arrival of Eva, a cousin visiting from Lebanon after a long separation from the family. Over the course of one day, while Eva is stranded in New York City, Chehade’s nuanced story unfolds in the reminiscences and anxieties of each family member.
Emilie, the matriarch of this Lebanese American family, lives in a world of voluntary silence. Barely able to read and write in English and refusing to speak for the last several years, she immerses herself in her garden and leaves elaborately cooked meals anonymously for her solitary neighbor. Emilie’s oldest daughter Josephine, middle aged and still living with her mother and married brother, struggles to regain the independence and confidence she had as a young girl in Lebanon. Young Marie, stifled by her conservative family, is determined to study at Berkeley and to leave behind her immigrant identity. All three are drawn to their mysterious neighbor, nicknamed Loom, whose loneliness and isolation mirror their own and kindle within each woman a desire to make a connection. When Emilie takes off during the blizzard in the direction of Loom’s house and the rest of the family follows in her pursuit, their act is both an escape and a reaching out. Beautifully written and teeming with vivid portraits, Chehade’s novel is both heartfelt and wise.
Woodcutters by Thomas Bernhard
translated from the German by David McLintock
PT2662.E7 H6513 2010
This controversial portrayal of Viennese artistic circles begins as the writer-narrator arrives at an ‘artistic dinner’ given by a composer and his society wife—a couple that the writer once admired and has come to loathe. The guest of honor, an actor from the Burgtheater, is late. As the other guests wait impatiently, they are seen through the critical eye of the narrator, who begins a silent but frenzied, sometimes maniacal, and often ambivalent tirade against these former friends, most of whom were brought together by the woman whom they had buried that day. Reflections on Joana’s life and suicide are mixed with these denunciations until the famous actor arrives, bringing a culmination to the evening for which the narrator had not even thought to hope.
40: A Doonesbury Retrospective by G. B. Trudeau
Folio PN6728.D65 T782 2010
Garry Trudeau’s slogan for the twenty-fifth year of Doonesbury was, “What a long strange strip it’s been…” and that’s even more spot on for the fortieth anniversary. What began as Bull Tales in the Yale Daily News in 1968 became Doonesbury when it debuted as a Universal Press Syndicate feature in 1970. The strip followed the lives of college roommates B.D. and Mike Doonesbury from their first encounter through the intricate life turns they experience, along with the cadre of eccentric and engaging characters they encounter over the next forty years. Always political, relentlessly pointed, expertly drawn and written, Doonesbury is a classic in its own time, and this book commemorates that special place in cartoon history it holds.
Destiny and Desire: A novel by Carlos Fuentes
translated by Edith Grossman
PQ7297.F793 V6413 2011
Carlos Fuentes, one of the world’s most acclaimed authors, is at the height of his powers in this stunning new novel—a magnificent epic of passion, magic, and desire in modern Mexico, a rich and remarkable tapestry set in a world where free will fights with the wishes of the gods.
Josué Nadal has lost more than his innocence: He has been robbed of his life—and his posthumous narration sets the tone for a brilliantly written novel that blends mysticism and realism. Josué tells of his fateful meeting as a skinny, awkward teen with Jericó, the vigorous boy who will become his twin, his best friend, and his shadow. Both orphans, the two young men intend to spend their lives in intellectual pursuit—until they enter an adult landscape of sex, crime, and ambition that will test their pledge and alter their lives forever.
Idealistic Josué goes to work for a high-tech visionary whose stunning assistant will introduce him to a life of desire; cynical Jericó is enlisted by the Mexican president in a scheme to sell happiness to the impoverished masses. On his journey into a web of illegality in which he will be estranged from Jericó, Josué is aided and impeded by a cast of unforgettable characters: a mad, imprisoned murderer with a warning of revenge, an elegant aviatrix and addict seeking to be saved, a prostitute shared by both men who may have murdered her way into a brilliant marriage, and the prophet Ezekiel himself.
Mixing ancient mythologies with the sensuousness and avarice and need of the twenty-first century, Destiny and Desire is a monumental achievement from one of the masters of contemporary literature.
Friction by Eloy Urroz
translated by Ezra E. Fitz
PQ7298.31.R73 U7713 2010
A dazzling literary card game: an investigation into how and why we fall into or out of love—with a person or a book. The “friction” of the title—one letter away from “fiction”—is what’s generated when reality and the imagination begin to rub against one another, and Eloy Urroz always makes sure that these two worlds are brought into uncomfortable proximity. This playful novel, told in the second person, is the story of an escalating series of comic events at a university,touched off when Matilde, “your” young wife, becomes determined to unravel the mystery surrounding the disappear- ance of a renowned politician. While she’s conducting a series of interviews with the vanished man’s lecherous son, a professor is watching, dazed, as his second marriage and academic career both collapse around him . . . and an army of fictional and historical characters begin to materialize in a certain imaginary Baja California town.
Ghost Light by Joseph O’Connor
PR6065.C558 G56 2011
Dublin 1907, a city of whispered rumours. An actress still in her teens begins an affair with a damaged older man, the leading playwright at the theatre where she works. Rebellious, irreverent, beautiful, flirtatious, Molly Allgood is a girl of the inner city tenements, dreaming of stardom in America. Witty and watchful, she has dozens of admirers. But in the backstage of her life, there is a secret. Her lover, John Synge, is a troubled, reticent genius, the son of a once prosperous landowning family, a poet of fiery language and tempestuous passions. Yet his life is hampered by Edwardian conventions and by the austere and God-fearing mother with whom he lives. Scarred by a childhood of immense loneliness and severity he has long been ill , but he loves to walk the wild places of Ireland. The affair, sternly opposed by friends and family, is turbulent, sometimes cruel, often tender. Many years later, an old woman makes her way across London on a morning after it has been struck by a hurricane. Christmas is coming. As she wanders past bombsites and through the forlorn beauty of wrecked terraces and wintry parks, a snowdrift of memories and lost desires seems to swirl. She has twice been married: once widowed, once divorced, but an unquenchable passion for life has kept her afloat as her dazzling career has faded. A story of love’s commitment, of partings and reconciliations, of the courage involved in living on nobody else’s terms, “Ghost Light” is a profoundly moving and finally uplifting novel from the award-winning author of “Star of the Sea” and “Redemption Falls”. Full of exhilarating language and unforgettable characters, it is a homage to the act of storytelling itself.
School for Tricksters: A novel in stories by Chris Gavaler
PS3607.A984 S36 2010
This is a novel in stories depicting radical incidents of racial crossing in the early twentieth century. The alternating chapters are closely based on two real-life students, Ivy Miller, a semi-orphaned white girl seeking a free education, and Sylvester Long, a black youth escaping the Jim Crow South. Both passed illegally as Indians while attending the U.S. government’s most prestigious Indian boarding school.
The Undiscovered Island by Darrell Kastin
PS3611.A787 U53 2009
Alarmed by her father Sebastião’s unexplained disappearance, Julia Castro travels from California to the family’s ancestral home in the Azores to find the mid-Atlantic islands abuzz with tales of ghost ships, seductive sirens and unknown islands emerging from the sea. As she pursues the search for her father, Julia gradually succumbs to the bewitching allure of the Azores—and to Nicolau, a fellow musician—eventually discovering a place where dreams lie just beyond the horizon, shrouded in mist. Kastin’s novel has received high praise from Gregory Rabassa, translator of One Hundred Years of Solitude, who calls the book “…a romp of detective story, epic, and family quest. What a great read!”
Dramaturg, playwright and poet JoSelle Vanderhooft writes in her review that “The Undiscovered Island is a book of wonders¬ – a family saga, a chronicle of Portuguese history as it was and should have been, a scholarly text, a quixotic quest, and a beguiling mystery… I will call it a book that can stand toe-to-toe with the work of Umberto Eco, and a major work of the 21st century’s first decade.”
Broken: A novel by Karin Slaughter
Y9914 (Leisure Main)
YS5739 (Leisure Science)
Ga Room PS3569.L275 B76 2010 (Non-circulating)
Karin Slaughter’s internationally bestselling novels are as notable for their vivid portraits of lives shadowed by loss and heartbreak as they are for their dramatic criminal investigations. Her latest offering features the return of her most compelling characters and introduces memorable new ones in a tale of corruption, murder, and confrontation that will leave more than one life . . .
When Special Agent Will Trent arrives in Grant County, he finds a police department determined to protect its own and far too many unanswered questions about a prisoner’s death. He doesn’t understand why Officer Lena Adams is hiding secrets from him. He doesn’t understand her role in the death of Grant County’s popular police chief. He doesn’t understand why that man’s widow, Dr. Sara Linton, needs him now more than ever to help her crack this case.
While the police force investigates the murder of a young woman pulled from a frigid lake, Trent investigates the police force, putting pressure on Adams just when she’s already about to crack. Caught between two complicated and determined women, trying to understand Linton’s passionate distrust of Adams, the facts surrounding Chief Tolliver’s death, and the complexities of this insular town, Trent will unleash a case filled with explosive secrets—and encounter a thin blue line that could be murderous if crossed.
Spellbinding and keenly paced, Broken is Karin Slaughter at her best. Here is an unforgettable story of raw emotions, dangerous assumptions, the deadly and layered game of betrayal, and a man’s determination to expose the most painful of human truths—no matter how deeply they’re hidden . . . or how devastating.