Saturday, November 19, 2011
New Arrivals: Fiction, etc
Haruki Murakami, 1Q84
"Murakami is like a magician who explains what he's doing as he performs the trick and still makes you believe he has supernatural powers . . . But while anyone can tell a story that resembles a dream, it's the rare artist, like this one, who can make us feel that we are dreaming it ourselves." --"The New York Times Book Review"
"The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.
A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver's enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 --"Q is for 'question mark.' A world that bears a question." Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.
As Aomame's and Tengo's narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer: a beautiful, dyslexic teenage girl with a unique vision; a mysterious religious cult that instigated a shoot-out with the metropolitan police; a reclusive, wealthy dowager who runs a shelter for abused women; a hideously ugly private investigator; a mild-mannered yet ruthlessly efficient bodyguard; and a peculiarly insistent television-fee collector.
A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell's--"1Q84" is Haruki Murakami's most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers"
Colson Whitehead, Zone One
“[Whitehead] takes the genre of horror fiction, mines both its sense of humor and self-seriousness, and emerges with a brilliant allegory of New York living.”-- New York Observer
"A zombie story with brains...Readers who wouldn't ordinarily creep into a novel festooned with putrid flesh might be lured by this certifiably hip writer who can spine gore into macabre poetry...Everything comes to life in this perfectly paced, horrific, 40-page finale shot through with grim comedy and desolate wisdom about the modern age in all its poisonous, contaminating rage. It's a remarkable episode, but elevated by the power of Whitehead's prose to the level of those other ash-covered nightmares imagined by T.S. Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Cormac MacCarthy.--Ron Charles, The Washington Post
"Highbrow novelist Colson Whitehead plunges into the unstoppable zombie genre in this subtle meditation on loss and love in a post-apocalyptic Manhattan, which has become the city that never dies."--USA Today
"For-real literary -- gory, lyrical, human, precise."--GQ
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot
“Wry, engaging and beautifully constructed.” —William Deresiewicz, The New York Times Book Review
“[The Marriage Plot] is sly, fun entertainment, a confection for English majors and book lovers . . . Mr. Eugenides brings the period into bright detail—the brands of beer, the music, the affectations—and his send-ups of the pretensions of chic undergraduate subcultures are hilarious and charmingly rendered . . . [His] most mature and accomplished book so far” —Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal
“No one’s more adept at channeling teenage angst than Jeffrey Eugenides. Not even J. D. Salinger . . . It’s in mapping Mitchell’s search for some sort of belief that might fill the spiritual hole in his heart and Madeleine’s search for a way to turn her passion for literature into a vocation that this novel is at its most affecting, reminding us with uncommon understanding what it is to be young and idealistic, in pursuit of true love and in love with books and ideas.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
Nicholson Baker, House of Holes: A Book of Raunch
"Shandee finds a friendly arm at a granite quarry. Ned drops down a hole in a golf course. Luna meets a man made of light bulbs at a tanning parlor. So begins Nicholson Baker's fuse-blowing, sex-positive escapade, "House of Holes." Baker, the bestselling author of "The Mezzanine," "Vox," and "The Fermata," who "writes like no one else in America" ("Newsweek"), returns to erotic territory with a gleefully over-the-top novel set in a pleasure resort, where normal rules don't apply. Visitors, pulled in via their drinking straws or the dryers in laundromats, can undergo crotchal transfers . . . make love to trees . . . visit the Groanrooms and the twelve-screen Porndecahedron . . . or pussy-surf the White Lake. It's very expensive, of course, but there are work-study programs. In charge of day-to-day operations is Lila, a former hospital administrator whose breast milk has unusual regenerative properties.
Brimful of good-nature, wit, and surreal sexual vocabulary, "House of Holes" is a modern-day Hieronymous Boschian bacchanal that is sure to surprise, amuse, and arouse."
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