New fiction at the UGA Libraries, May 3

May 3, 2012 – 6:43 PM

The Raising: A novel by Laura Kasischke
PS3561.A6993 R35 2011

Last year Godwin Honors Hall was draped in black. The university was mourning the loss of one of its own: Nicole Werner, a blond, beautiful, straight-A sorority sister tragically killed in a car accident that left her boyfriend, who was driving, remarkably—some say suspiciously—unscathed.

Although a year has passed, as winter begins and the nights darken, obsession with Nicole and her death reignites: She was so pretty. So sweet-tempered. So innocent. Too young to die.

Unless she didn’t.

Because rumor has it that she’s back.

Norumbega Park : A novel by Anthony Giardina
PS3557.I135 N67 2012 

Richie Palumbo, the most prosaic of men, gets lost one night in 1969 while driving home with his family. He finds himself in the town of Norumbega—hidden, remote, and gorgeous, at the far edges of Boston’s western suburbs. He sees a venerable old house and, without quite knowing why, decides he must have it. The repercussions of Richie’s wild dream to own a house in this town lead to a forty-year odyssey for his family. For his son, Jack, Norumbega becomes a sexual playground—until he meets one ungraspable girl and begins a lifelong pursuit of her. Joannie, Richie’s daughter, finds that the challenges of living in Norumbega encourage her to pursue the contemplative life. For Stella, Richie’s wife, life in Norumbega leads to surprising growth as both a sexual and a spiritual being.

Norumbega Park—by Anthony Giardina, the critically acclaimed author ofWhite Guys—is about class and parental dreams, sex and spirituality, the way visions conflict with stubborn reality, and a family’s ability to open up for others a world they can never fully grasp for themselves.

Angelica Lost and Found by Russell Hoban
PS3558.O336 A54 2010 

In Ariosto’s epic sixteenth century poem Orlando Furioso, the beautiful Angelica is rescued by the valiant Ruggiero. He swoops in riding a hippogriff, a fantastical winged creature, the offspring of a griffin and a mare. Volatore, as this hippogriff calls himself, has escaped Ariosto’s poem after being trapped within it for centuries and is now determined to find Angelica himself. Landing in San Francisco, he meets Angelica Greenberg and the unlikely couple falls in love. But events constantly conspire to separate them, and Volatore sets out to find the perfect form he must embody to consummate their love.

Angelica Lost and Found contains life-enhancing wisdom and emanates with wicked drollery, aesthetic insight and the romance of Russell Hoban at his best.

The World We Found: A novel by Thrity Umrigar
PS3621.M75 W67 2012

As university students in late 1970s Bombay, Armaiti, Laleh, Kavita, and Nishta were inseparable. Spirited and unconventional, they challenged authority and part thirty years. Following different paths, the quartet drifted apart, the day-to-day demands of work and family tempering the revolutionary fervor they once shared.

Then comes devastating news: Armaiti, who moved to America, is gravely ill and wants to see the old friends she left behind. For Laleh, reunion is a bittersweet reminder of unfulfilled dreams and unspoken guilt. For Kavita, it is an admission of forbidden passion. For Nishta, it is the promise of freedom from a bitter fundamentalist husband. And for Armaiti, it is an act of acceptance, of letting go on her own terms even if her ex-husband and daughter do not understand her choices.

In the course of their journey to reconnect, Armaiti, Laleh, Kavita, and Nishta must confront the truths of their lives- acknowledge long-held regrets, face painful secrets and hidden desires, and reconcile their idealistic past and their compromised present. And they will have to decided what matters most, a choice that may just help them reclaim the extraordinary world they once found.

We Are Doing Fine by Arno Geiger
Translated by Maria Poglitsch Bauer
PT2667.E4516 E43313 2011

We read to explore the unknown, but also to recognize ourselves in others. Arno Geiger’s We Are Doing Fine offers both pleasures, and not only to English-speaking readers. The fourth novel (winner of the German Book Prize 2005) of the 1968- born Austrian writer highlights events in the lives of three generations of a Viennese family as viewed through the eyes of Philipp, who has inherited the villa of his recently deceased grandmother. In 2001, while cleaning – no, gutting – the house and ridding it of most reminders of its former occupants, the grandson is forced to think about his family more than is to his liking.

In a brilliantly spare and precise language, Geiger mixes crucial incidents of Austrian history with both everyday and tragic occurrences in the family’s private lives. His ear for and empathy with the characters, particularly the women in the story, is exceptional. A dysfunctional family emerges and is even more poignant because the specific Austrian background only makes the universal in such families more apparent.

Philipp is following family tradition, when he tries to make clear to his married girlfriend that he neither knows much nor wants to find out more about his family. This is the crux of We Are Doing Fine and the reason why it has more than regional appeal. Austrians have sometimes been accused of having a selective memory, of an aptitude to gloss over uncomfortable truths, and of a penchant for appearances. Geiger’s characters display all of these characteristics to various degrees, but one cannot help but notice that such shortcomings are by now shared by most of society as we know it. Maybe one only can make it through the day when one surfs the surface and when one uses a pat response to all inquiries about one’s general state of being: “We are doing fine.”

Dog-heart by Diana McCaulay
PR9265.9.M18 D64 2010

Dog-Heart is a novel about the well-meaning attempt of a middle-class single mother to transform the life of a boy from the ghetto who she meets on the street. Set in present-day, urban Jamaica, Dog-Heart tells the story from two alternating points of view – those of the woman and the boy. They speak in the two languages of Jamaica that sometimes overlap, sometimes display their different origins and world views. Whilst engaging the reader in a tense and absorbing narrative, the novel deals seriously with issues of race and class, the complexity of relationships between people of very different backgrounds, and the difficulties faced by individuals seeking to bring about social change by their own actions.

Mistaken by Neil Jordan
PR6060.O6255 M57 2011

‘I had been mistaken for him so many times that when he died it was as if part of myself had died too. ‘Kevin Thunder grew up with a double – a boy so uncannily like him that they were mistaken for each other at every turn. As children in 1960s Dublin, one lived next to Bram Stoker’s house, haunted by an imagined Dracula, the other in the more refined spaces of Palmerston Park.
Though divided, like the city itself, by background and class, they shared the same smell, the same looks, and perhaps, as he comes to realize, the same soul.   They exchange identities when it suits them, as their lives take them to England and America, and find that taking on another’s personality can lead to darker places than either had imagined.
 Neil Jordan’s long-awaited new novel is an extraordinary achievement – a comedy of manners at the same time as a Gothic tragedy, a thriller and an elegy.   It offers imaginative entertainment of the highest order.

Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman
PS3608.A8613 G57 2012

In my life of still dreaming the trailer park, I walk through all of its streets. They are short streets, it is a short life. It is nighttime, the moon shines through the yellow streetlights onto dirt and cement and gravel and every pool of light and every shadow is all my own. There is no sound in the whole park except the sound of my voice, loud like a vandal, like a baseball bat, bouncing from corrugated wall to corrugated wall, yelling back at me from empty carports and half-open sheds, so confident, crazy and strong, I can’t be sure if it is my own or my Mama’s, if it is my own or Grandma’s bones, full of both threat and promise, walking along the Calle and waking it with these words, one word for each step: I am a heaven and hell flower. I am a heaven and hell flower. I am a heaven and hell flower. I am a heaven and hell flower. I am a heaven and hell flower. I am a heaven and hell flower. I am a heaven and hell flower. I am a heaven and hell flower. I am a heaven and hell flower. I am a heaven and hell flower. I am a heaven andhell flower. I am a heaven and hell flower. I am a heaven and hell flower. I am a heaven.  

Nobody Does the Right Thing: A novel by Amitava Kumar
PR9499.4.K8618 N636 2010

A young poet is killed by her lover, a politician, in the eastern Indian state of Bihar. Soon afterward, across India in Bombay, an idealistic journalist is hired by a movie director to write a Bollywood screenplay about the murdered poet. Research for the script takes the writer, Binod, back to Bihar, where he and his cousin Rabinder were raised. While the high-minded Binod struggles to turn the poet’s murder into a steamy tale about small towns, desire, and intrigue, Rabinder sits in a Bihari jail cell, having been arrested for distributing pornography through a cybercafé. Rabinder dreams of a career in Bollywood filmmaking, and, unlike his cousin, he is not burdened by ethical scruples. Nobody Does the Right Thing is the story of these two cousins and the ways that their lives unexpectedly intertwine. Set in the rural villages of Bihar and the metropolises of Bombay and Delhi, the novel is packed with telling details and anecdotes about life in contemporary India. At the same time, it is a fictional investigation into how narratives circulate and vie for supremacy through gossip, cinema, popular fiction, sensational journalism, and the global media.

The Fat Years: A novel by Chan Koonchung
Translated from the Chinese by Michael S. Duke
PL2840.G84 S5413 2011

Beijing, sometime in the near future: a month has gone missing from official records. No one has any memory of it, and no one could care less—except for a small circle of friends, who will stop at nothing to get to the bottom of the sinister cheerfulness and amnesia that have possessed the Chinese nation. When they kidnap a high-ranking official and force him to reveal all, what they learn—not only about their leaders, but also about their own people—stuns them to the core. It is a message that will astound the world.

A kind of Brave New World reflecting the China of our times, The Fat Years is a complex novel of ideas that reveals all too chillingly the machinations of the postmodern totalitarian state, and sets in sharp relief the importance of remembering the past to protect the future.

The Blue Book by A.L. Kennedy
PR6061.E5952 B58 2011

You are crossing the Atlantic on a liner with your boyfriend who may or may not be planning to propose.

You are fleeing the past – your ex-lover Arthur, the man who helped you dupe the vulnerable into believing loved ones were trying to make contact from beyond the grave. 

But there’s a secret you’ve kept from Arthur, a deception about the two of you that threatens to emerge when you discover Arthur’s presence on the boat.

Horse’s Head: A novel by Jaafar Modarres-Sadeghi
Translated from the Persian by Ali Anooshahr and M. R. Ghanoonparvar
PK6561.M73 K3513 2011

Horse’s Head is a quest story of sorts in which the protagonist, Kasra, an unemployed white-collar worker, becomes acquainted with a young Kurdish woman and is infatuated with her and her plight with regard to Kurdish autonomy; after her departure he goes to the Kurdish regions in search of her, to in fact find himself. In a sense, Kasra, whose life seems aimless, is searching for a cause, a reason to give his existence meaning, and he tries to make the Kurdish girl’s cause his own.

Magpies by Lynne Barrett
PS3552.A73468 M3475 2011

In Magpies, Lynne Barrett’s characters move through the past decade’s glitter and darkness. From the Internet’s fragmented pages to a gossip columnist’s sweet poison to the ABCs of a hurricane season, these tales explore story form and storytelling as a means of connection, betrayal, and survival for characters who learn, sometimes too late, the value of what’s grasped and what’s lost.

Penthouse F by Richard Kalich
PS3561.A416526 P46 2011

This novel, by the author of the renowned Charlie P, takes the form of an inquiry into the suicide—or murder?—of a young boy and girl in the penthouse of a writer named Richard Kalich. Is Kalich (also the author of the book) responsible? The reader must decide! A frighteningly comic tale.

The Peninsula by Julien Gracq
Translated from the French by Elizabeth Deshays
PQ2613.R124 P713 2011

Simon is waiting on the Normandy coast for the arrival of his lover. While awaiting her, he decides to take a tour of the landscape wherein he plans to travel with her. His beautifully described and sensuous voyage along the coast reveals his varying emotions with regard to the woman he is about to meet.

The Governess and Other Stories by Stefan Zweig
Translated from the German by Anthea Bell
PT2653.W42 A2 2011

This new selection of novellas, translated by the award-winning Anthea Bell, begins with Did He Do It? A curious whodunit set in England, it nonetheless has the extraordinary psychological insight that typifies Zweig’s best work. The Miracles of Life explores the conflicting forces of belief and art, love and obsession, amidst the religious struggles of Renaissance Antwerp. Finally, two Viennese stories, The Governess and Downfall of the Heart are shattering in their portrayal of disillusionment—two little girls move from cosy chidlhood to the cold glare of adulthood in a single morning, and a father’s heart breaks irrevocably.

 

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