Our Recommendations

  • Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

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    Staff Reviews


    This reimagining of The Snow Queen is set apart by a great heroine and a truly marvelous setting. Ophelia already knows she’s super smart, but she must discover her bravery by navigating the fascinating, terrifying traps of the Snow Queen’s palace, which has been transformed into a giant museum. Her journey through dusty passageways and secret doors on a quest to save the Marvelous Boy makes for an atmospheric and exciting fairy tale!

    ~ Mirabelle

    — From Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

    Description


    “Magic is “messy and dangerous and filled with longing,” we learn in this brave tale of grief, villainy and redemption that borrows from the story of the Snow Queen. Set in a vast, chilly museum, the tale brings together a valiant girl, a charmed boy, a magical sword and a clock ticking down to the end of the world.”—The Wall Street Journal

    This is the story of unlikely heroine Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard who doesn't believe in anything that can't be proven by science. She and her sister Alice are still grieving for their dead mother when their father takes a job in a strange museum in a city where it always snows. On her very first day in the museum Ophelia discovers a boy locked away in a long forgotten room.  He is a prisoner of Her Majesty, the Snow Queen.  And he has been waiting for Ophelia's help.

    As Ophelia embarks on an incredible journey to rescue the boy everything that she believes will be tested. Along the way she learns more and more about the boy's own remarkable journey to reach her and save the world.

    A story within a story, this a modern day fairytale about the power of friendship, courage and love, and never ever giving up.

    About the Author


    KAREN FOXLEE is the author of two young adult novels, The Anatomy of Wings and The Midnight Dress. She lives in Gympie, Australia, with her daughter.

    About the Illustrator
    YOKO TANAKA has illustrated children's books by Kate DiCamillo, Sara Pennypacker, R.L. LaFevers, Laura Godwin, and Keith McGowan.

    Praise For…


    The Wall Street Journal, January 25, 2014:
    “A present-day fairy tale that practically sparkles with its own icy menace...[a] memorable and ultimately moving novel for young readers.”

    The Christian Science Monitor, January 31, 2014:
    "Foxlee's novel will be read and loved by youngsters who've grown up on fairy tales, graduated to Harry Potter, and appreciate gorgeous writing and complex storytelling. In this story of friendship and yes, even bravery, Ophelia shines as one of the first true heroines of the 2014 crop of fabulous middle-grade novels."

    Starred Review, Kirkus, November 1, 2013:
    "A well-wrought, poignant and original reworking of Andersen’s 'The Snow Queen.'"

    Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, November 11, 2013:
    "Foxlee's writing is elegant and accessible, with a pervading melancholy... this story shines."

    Starred Review, Booklist, December 15, 2013:
    "This clever story-within-a-story reads easily yet offers deep lessons about trust, responsibility, and friendship.”

    Starred Review, The Bulletin, February 1, 2014:

    "Foxlee inventively weaves familiar folkloric elements—an evil snow queen, a magic sword, a quest, a chosen one—into her modern setting, all the while evoking a mood of dreamlike foreboding."

    Starred Review, School Library Journal, March 1, 2014:
    “The writing sparkles . . . Foxlee’s fresh and imaginative take on this classic tale will be snapped up by fantasy and adventure lovers alike.”

    The Horn Book, January/February 2014:
    "Foxlee’s deftness with characterization and setting...makes this a satisfying fantasy."
    Product Details
    ISBN: 9780385753562
    ISBN-10: 038575356X
    Publisher: Yearling
    Publication Date: February 10th, 2015
    Pages: 240
    Language: English
  • McGlue

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    Description


    Selected for the inaugural Fence Modern Prize in Prose by Rivka Galchen.

    "Short-fiction genius Ottessa Moshfegh's first novel is a gorgeously sordid story of love and murder on the high seas and in reeky corners of mid-nineteenth-century New York and points North. McGlue is a wonderwork of virtuoso prose and truths that will make you squirm and concur."--Gary Lutz

    Salem, Massachusetts, 1851: McGlue is in the hold, still too drunk to be sure of name or situation or orientation--he may have killed a man. That man may have been his best friend. Intolerable memory accompanies sobriety. A-sail on the high seas of literary tradition, Ottessa Moshfegh gives us a nasty heartless blackguard on a knife-sharp voyage through the fogs of recollection.

    They said I've done something wrong? . . . And they've just left me down here to starve. They'll see this inanition and be so damned they'll fall to my feet and pass up hot cross buns slathered in fresh butter and beg I forgive them. All of them . . .: the entire world one by one. Like a good priest I'll pat their heads and nod. I'll dunk my skull into a barrel of gin.

    Ottessa Moshfegh was awarded the 2013 Plimpton Discovery Prize for her stories in the Paris Review and a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is currently a Wallace Stegner fellow at Stanford, and lives in Oakland, California.

    About the Author


    Ottessa Moshfegh is a fiction writer from Boston. Her short stories have appeared in Fence, Noon, Vice, The Paris Review, and various other literary magazines and online journals. Last year she was awarded the Plimpton Discovery Prize for her stories in The Paris Review, and the Modern Prize in Prose given by Fence Books, who will be publishing her first novel, McGlue, in November, 2014. She was recently granted a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Holding a BA in English from Barnard College and an MFA in creative writing from Brown, she is currently a Wallace Stegner fellow at Stanford, at work on a new novel and a collection of short stories, and lives in Oakland, California.
    Product Details
    ISBN: 9781934200858
    ISBN-10: 1934200859
    Publisher: Fence Books
    Publication Date: November 4th, 2014
    Pages: 118
    Language: English
    Series: Fence Modern Prize in Prose
  • The David Foster Wallace Reader

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    Staff Reviews


    The definitive introduction to one of the best writers in modern history. There is lots of great new stuff in here to delight longtime fans, too: new short fiction never before collected, and his amazing, light hearted and heart-breaking teaching materials. Highly recommended.

    ~ Nick

    — From The David Foster Wallace Reader

    Description


    Where do you begin with a writer as original and brilliant as David Foster Wallace? Here -- with a carefully considered selection of his extraordinary body of work, chosen by a range of great writers, critics, and those who worked with him most closely. This volume presents his most dazzling, funniest, and most heartbreaking work -- essays like his famous cruise-ship piece, "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again," excerpts from his novels The Broom of the System, Infinite Jest, and The Pale King, and legendary stories like "The Depressed Person."

    Wallace's explorations of morality, self-consciousness, addiction, sports, love, and the many other subjects that occupied him are represented here in both fiction and nonfiction. Collected for the first time are Wallace's first published story, "The View from Planet Trillaphon as Seen In Relation to the Bad Thing" and a selection of his work as a writing instructor, including reading lists, grammar guides, and general guidelines for his students.

    A dozen writers and critics, including Hari Kunzru, Anne Fadiman, and Nam Le, add afterwords to favorite pieces, expanding our appreciation of the unique pleasures of Wallace's writing. The result is an astonishing volume that shows the breadth and range of "one of America's most daring and talented writers" (Los Angeles Times Book Review) whose work was full of humor, insight, and beauty.

    About the Author


    David Foster Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York, in 1962 and raised in Illinois, where he was a regionally ranked junior tennis player. He received bachelor of arts degrees in philosophy and English from Amherst College and wrote what would become his first novel, The Broom of the System, as his senior English thesis. He received a masters of fine arts from University of Arizona in 1987 and briefly pursued graduate work in philosophy at Harvard University. His second novel, Infinite Jest, was published in 1996.

    Wallace taught creative writing at Emerson College, Illinois State University, and Pomona College, and published the story collections Girl with Curious Hair, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Oblivion, the essay collections A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, and Consider the Lobster. He was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and a Whiting Writers' Award, and was appointed to the Usage Panel for The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. He died in 2008. His last novel, The Pale King, was published in 2011.

    Praise For…


    "The best of the best."—Elissa Schappell, Vanity Fair

    "[An] intriguing collection.... What comes through clearly in the Reader is not just his originality and gorgeous prose but also Wallace's humor."—Dujour

    "And now arrives this thumping great book.... A heady reminder of why we got hooked in the first place.... Wallace...had an incredible ear for the quirks and tics of spoken American - and...that is on virtuosic display throughout this Reader."—Duncan White, The Telegraph

    "The time is right for THE DAVID FOSTER WALLACE READER.... As a reintroduction, or even introduction, to Mr. Wallace...it's a reminder of what a transgressive, digressive delight he could be. For teachers, it's a textbook geared to orthodoxy-free students who can pierce the carapace of Mr. Wallace's reputation and read his work with fresh eyes. And even for those who race through it, it's a jolt of sheer genius - and a horror. There are immense, intricate, leisurely pleasures to be had here, and they should not be glimpsed like the landscape from a speeding train."—Janet Maslin, New York Times

    "Does a fantastic job of surveying Wallace's work."—Jonathan Russell Clark, The Millions

    "A reminder of how good Wallace could be, whether he was writing about Kafka or the Illinois State Fair, whether he was making stuff up or trying to see things as they actually are."—Alexander Nazaryan, Newsweek
    Product Details
    ISBN: 9780316182393
    ISBN-10: 0316182397
    Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
    Publication Date: November 11th, 2014
    Pages: 976
    Language: English
  • Etta and Otto and Russell and James

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    Staff Reviews


    “Otto,
    I’ve gone. I’ve never seen the water, so I’ve gone there. I’ve left you the truck. I can walk. I will try to remember to come back.
    Yours (always),
    Etta.”

    Terrific -- Highly recommended

    — Frayda

    Terrific - highly recommended!

    ~Frayda

    — From Etta and Otto and Russell and James

    February 2015 Indie Next List


    “Eighty-three-year-old Etta Vogel quietly sets out one day to walk 3,200 kilometers to the coast of Canada for her first view of the ocean. As Etta travels, author Hooper gently and poignantly reveals a lifetime of morally charged events that shaped Etta as well as her husband, Otto, and her lifelong friend, Russell. This is a beautiful and sometimes hauntingly stark portrait of three WWII-generation lives, sprinkled with the wise counsel of a loyal coyote named James. I loved it!”
    — Susan Tyler, The Book Bin, Onley, VA

    Description


    A gorgeous literary debut about unlikely heroes, lifelong promises, and last great adventures.

    Otto,

    The letter began, in blue ink,

    I’ve gone. I’ve never seen the water, so I’ve gone there. Don’t worry, I’ve left you the truck. I can walk. I will try to remember to come back.

    Yours (always),

    Etta.

    Otto finds the note left by his wife in the kitchen of their farmhouse in windswept Saskatchewan. Eighty-three-year-old Etta will be walking 3,200 kilometers to see the ocean, but somehow, Otto understands. He took his own journey once before, to fight in a faraway land.

    With Etta gone, Otto struggles with his demons of war, while their friend Russell initially pursues the woman he has loved from afar.

    And James—well, James you have to meet on the page.

    Moving from the hot and dry present of a quiet Canadian farm to a dusty, burnt past of hunger, war, and passion, from trying to remember to trying to forget, Etta and Otto and Russell and James is an astounding literary debut about friendship and love, hope and honor, and the romance of last—great—adventures.

    About the Author


    Raised in Alberta, Canada, Emma Hooper brought her love of music and literature to the UK, where she received a doctorate in Musico-Literary studies at the University of East-Anglia and currently lectures at Bath Spa University. A musician, Emma performs as the solo artist Waitress for the Bees and plays with a number of bands. She lives in Bath, UK, but goes home to Canada to cross-country ski whenever she can. She is the author of Etta and Otto and Russell and James and Our Homesick Songs.

    Praise For…


    Etta and Otto and Russell and James is incredibly moving, beautifully written and luminous with wisdom. It is a book that restores one's faith in life even as it deepens its mystery. Wonderful!” —Chris Cleave, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of Little Bee

    “[A] sweet, disarming story of lasting love… Hooper’s steady hand creates the perfect setup for the unexpected.”

    —The New York Times Book Review

    “Quirky, offbeat... Modern life is full of people spouting rubbish about spurious emotional and spiritual ‘journeys.’ Etta’s trek as she comes to the end of her life and reckons with the past, has, in contrast, a real and worthwhile dignity to it.”

    —The Financial Times

    “In this haunting debut, set in a starkly beautiful landscape, Hooper delineates the stories of Etta and the men she loved (Otto and Russell) as they intertwine through youth and wartime and into old age. It’s a lovely book you’ll want to linger over.”
    —People

    “Heartfelt… In simple, graceful prose, Hooper has woven a tale of deep longing, for reinvention and self-discovery, as well as for the past and for love and for the boundless unknown.”
    San Francisco Chronicle

    “[Hooper’s] crisp, unadorned prose beautifully captures her characters' sentiments, and conveys with compassion but also a degree of distance their experiences of love and pain, longing and loss… this novel pulsates with an energy that can best be described as raw but also highly restrained. “
    —Chicago Tribune

    “Hooper has conjured a character who is a gift… As the lines blur between Etta’s and Otto’s memories, and even between their physical bodies, readers emerge with a deeper appreciation for life and for its suffering against its backdrop of majesty.”

    —Dallas Morning News

    “A bit like a fairy tale, Etta and Otto and Russell and James is whimsical, even magical. A bit like the Canadian prairie, it is spare, yet beautiful.”

    —Fort Worth Star-Telegram

    “A poetic, poignant tale.”

    —US Weekly

    “Fictional journeys toward enlightenment and self-discovery fill miles of book shelves, but few are as freshly told as the road trip traced in Etta and Otto and Russell and James…It’s filled with magical realism, whimsy and the idea that you’re never too old to take risks.”

    —Minneapolis Star-Tribune

    “Hooper’s debut is a novel of memory and longing and desires too long denied…To a Cormac McCarthy–like narrative—sans quotation marks, featuring crisp, concise conversations—Hooper adds magical realism…. The book ends with sheer poetry…A masterful near homage to Pilgrim’s Progress: souls redeemed through struggle.”
    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

    "Hooper’s spare, evocative prose dips in and out of reality and travels between past and present creating what Etta tells Otto is “just a long loop.” This is a quietly powerful story whose dreamlike quality lingers long after the last page is turned."
    Library Journal (starred review)

    "Hooper, with great insight, explores the interactions and connections between spouses and friends—the rivalries, the camaraderie, the joys and tragedies—and reveals the extraordinary lengths to which people will go in the name of love."
    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    "Drawing on wisdom and whimsy of astonishing grace and maturity, Hooper has written an irresistibly enchanting debut novel that explores mysteries of love old and new, the loyalty of animals and dependency of humans, the horrors of war and perils of loneliness, and the tenacity of time and fragility of memory."
    Booklist (starred review)

    “A delicate hymn to the natural landscape and an elegy to a dwindling generation.”
    The New Yorker
    Product Details
    ISBN: 9781476755670
    ISBN-10: 1476755671
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Publication Date: January 20th, 2015
    Pages: 320
    Language: English
  • Stone Mattress

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    Staff Reviews


    A terrific new collection of darkly imaginative tales from the inimitable Margaret Atwood.

    ~Mary

    — From Stone Mattress

    Description


    A collection of highly imaginative short pieces that speak to our times with deadly accuracy. Vintage Atwood creativity, intelligence, and humor: think Alias Grace.

    Margaret Atwood turns to short fiction for the first time since her 2006 collection, Moral Disorder, with nine tales of acute psychological insight and turbulent relationships bringing to mind her award-winning 1996 novel, Alias Grace. A recently widowed fantasy writer is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband in "Alphinland," the first of three loosely linked stories about the romantic geometries of a group of writers and artists. In "The Freeze-Dried Bridegroom," a man who bids on an auctioned storage space has a surprise. In "Lusus Naturae," a woman born with a genetic abnormality is mistaken for a vampire. In "Torching the Dusties," an elderly lady with Charles Bonnet syndrome comes to terms with the little people she keeps seeing, while a newly formed populist group gathers to burn down her retirement residence. And in "Stone Mattress," a long-ago crime is avenged in the Arctic via a 1.9 billion-year-old stromatolite. In these nine tales, Margaret Atwood is at the top of her darkly humorous and seriously playful game.

    About the Author


    MARGARET ATWOOD, whose work has been published in thirty-five countries, is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. In addition to The Handmaid's Tale, her novels include Cat's Eye, short-listed for the Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; Oryx and Crake, short-listed for the 2003 Man Booker Prize; The Year of the Flood; and her most recent, MaddAddam. She is the recipient of the Los Angeles Times Innovator's Award, and lives in Toronto with the writer Graeme Gibson.


    Coverage from NPR

    Product Details
    ISBN: 9780385539128
    ISBN-10: 0385539126
    Publisher: Nan A. Talese
    Publication Date: September 16th, 2014
    Pages: 288
    Language: English
  • Wolf in White Van

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    Staff Reviews


    Haunting, strange, moving, not necessarily in that order. If you’re a fan of  The Mountain Goats, Darnielle’s band, this is a book for you. You’ll recognize the same dark humor and savage grace that characterizes his music. Even if you’ve never heard of the band, this is still a great book -- a startlingly powerful first novel.

    ~Nick

     

    — From Wolf in White Van

    Description


    The New York Times Bestseller
    Long-listed for the 2014 National Book Award in fiction
    Winner of the 2015 Alex Award for adult books with special appeal for young adults

    Welcome to Trace Italian, a game of strategy and survival! You may now make your first move. Isolated by a disfiguring injury since the age of seventeen, Sean Phillips crafts imaginary worlds for strangers to play in. From his small apartment in southern California, he orchestrates fantastic adventures where possibilities, both dark and bright, open in the boundaries between the real and the imagined. As the creator of Trace Italian—a text-based, role-playing game played through the mail—Sean guides players from around the world through his intricately imagined terrain, which they navigate and explore, turn by turn, seeking sanctuary in a ravaged, savage future America.

    Lance and Carrie are high school students from Florida, explorers of the Trace. But when they take their play into the real world, disaster strikes, and Sean is called to account for it. In the process, he is pulled back through time, tunneling toward the moment of his own self-inflicted departure from the world in which most people live.

    Brilliantly constructed, Wolf in White Van unfolds in reverse until we arrive at both the beginning and the climax: the event that has shaped so much of Sean's life. Beautifully written and unexpectedly moving, John Darnielle's audacious and gripping debut novel is a marvel of storytelling brio and genuine literary delicacy.

    About the Author


    John Darnielle’s first novel, Wolf in White Van, was a New York Times bestseller, National Book Award nominee, and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for first fiction, and widely hailed as one of the best novels of the year. He is the writer, composer, guitarist, and vocalist for the band the Mountain Goats. He lives in Durham, North Carolina, with his wife and sons.

    Praise For…


    “John Darnielle's amazing novel digs into an artist's unspoken fears . . . Like Darnielle's songwriting, the prose is often cryptic and then stunningly clear, microscopically specific and then audaciously grand. The words soothe for sentences at a time, then strike with blunt force.” —Carl Wilson, Slate

    “An electric debut novel.” —O: The Oprah Magazine

    “A stunning meditation on the power of escape, and on the cat-and-mouse contest the self plays to deflect its own guilt.” —Ethan Gilsdorf, The New York Times Book Review

    “John Darnielle is a great songwriter, tipping light toward every kind of human suffering, and his powers are on full display in Wolf in White Van. The prose lives like Sean's imagination: a breathing, glowing thing. In Darnielle's novel, as in his songs, the monstrously true and unbelievably beautiful press up against one another. Together, they begin to dance.” —Carmen Maria Machado, NPR.org

    “Possibly the best novel of the year.” —Chicagoist

    “What drives Wolf in White Van is Mr. Darnielle's uncanny sense of what it's like to feel marginalized, an outsider, a freak. He has an instinctive understanding of fetid teenage emotional states and the 'timelines of meaningless afternoons that ended somewhere big and terrible' . . . [A] strange and involving novel.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times

    “An incredible feat.” —The AV Club, (Grade: A)

    “[Wolf in White Van] will back you onto your heels with its capacity for inventiveness in structure, story, and line-writing.” —GQ, The Three Big Novels of the Month, September 2014

    “A tremendous literary achievement.” —Cristina Fries, Zyzzyva

    Wolf in White Van is a novel that unspools rather than reads. Told in a tricky, deftly structured reverse chronology, the narrator, Sean Phillips, backtracks to a traumatic teenaged event . . . Darnielle has a masterful way of putting the reader in the position of reverse engineer. . . [His] is an art that spins pain into gold.” —Emily M. Keeler, The Hairpin

    “The best rock novel of the year.” —Rolling Stone

    “Right up to its tense closing scene, Wolf in White Van is a quietly bracing novel about the power--but also the isolation--of an overactive imagination. Without becoming sentimental or excessively bleak, Darnielle has created an empathetic character study: sustained eye contact with a person from whom most would avert their glance.” —Lindsay Zoladz, Bookforum

    “A dark, nerdy delight.” —Paul Constant, The Stranger

    “John Darnielle's brain seems like it runs at just a slightly higher RPM than other people's . . . [Wolf in White Van] unfolds like a labyrinthine treasure map, one in which the treasure chest keeps moving but you're careening toward it regardless, and also you're a little scared of what you'll find when you get there.” —Emma Silvers, The San Francisco Bay-Guardian

    Wolf in White Van will provoke you, and interest you, and move you.” —Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly

    “One of the most intense reads of the year . . . surreal, emotionally explosive, and often weirdly funny . . . What makes one person wander into a fantasy world and then wander back out again, unscathed, while another is disfigured by it for life? The way that Darnielle forces you to think about these issues, in a variety of situations, will give you chills. Nothing is more terrifying, and more honest, than a story that acknowledges that there is no bright line between guilt and innocence.” —Annalee Newitz, io9

    “This puzzle-like book, riddled with pulp allusions, proves Darnielle's narrative skill.” —Time Out New York (Four Stars)

    “[A] powerful novel . . . Darnielle layers invisible causation, or mechanisms of denial, or signs of an unstable personality, into the narrative with enviable subtlety . . . An impressive achievement.” —Sam Costello, Full Stop

    “A novel is the next logical step for someone who's filled 14 studio albums, 23 EPs, and four compilations with relatable characters, dramatic situations, and recognizably literary themes like spirituality, drug addiction, and more . . . [The reading is] compelling, and leaves little doubt that Wolf in White Van is the work of a real writer, not a well-connected blog star.” —Pitchfork

    “Beautifully written psychological fiction for sophisticated readers, with not much else like it out there.” —Robert E. Brown, Library Journal

    “If ever a first novel landed with a joyful noise, it's Wolf in White Van, by John Darnielle.” —Publishers Weekly

    “John Darnielle's novel moves through the mind like a dark-windowed car through a sleepy neighborhood: quiet, mysterious, menacing, taking you places you will never, never get out of your head.” —Daniel Handler

    Wolf in White Van is utterly magnificent. I was surprised and moved and amazed page after page after page. I am talking about audible gasp type stuff, and also deeper, interior gasps of reflection and astonishment and gratitude. This story is a hard and beautiful human puzzle that will be a pleasure to solve and resolve over many readings. And you can quote me on that. Every day. That is all.” —John Hodgman

    “I can't remember the last time I so willingly followed a narrator into a frame of mind this splintered. (It helps that he's mostly wry about it.) As you read you waver between suspicions that the world itself is ill-made, and concern that the fundamental fault lies within our very brains. As for the writing, I'd go for anything else Darnielle writes like a shot.” —Helen Oyeyemi, author of Boy, Snow, Bird

    Wolf in White Van is John Darnielle's savage genius gone free range. A meditation on monstrosity, isolation, escape, and transformation, this trance of a novel lures us deep into the labyrinth of one young man's imagination. What we find there is alluring and feral, raw, unflinching and exquisite. Absolutely fucking brilliant.” —Claire Vaye Watkins, author of Battleborn

    “I loved everything about this book. Blisteringly authentic--like a garage-made bomb on a slow-burning fuse, or like Darnielle set out to adapt an old Iron Maiden T-shirt as a literary novel and succeeded beyond anyone's wildest dreams.” —Austin Grossman, author of Soon I Will Be Invincible and You

    Wolf in White Van is a testament to the ways in which all of us use imagination to survive, and the ways in which that same imagination can take over our lives until there's little else left. It brings us inside both the reality and the fantasy of day-to-day life in the way that only John Darnielle can. Read this book. You'll never hold another one like it.” —Joseph Fink, creator of Welcome to Night Vale



    Coverage from NPR

    Product Details
    ISBN: 9780374292089
    ISBN-10: 0374292086
    Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
    Publication Date: September 16th, 2014
    Pages: 224
    Language: English
  • Beautiful Chaos

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    Staff Reviews


    One of the most honest books on what it takes to produce regional theatre. A fantastic history and memoir by the Artistic Director of American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.

    “Those of us who make theatre in America today are constantly depressed by our own marginalization; it is difficult to believe that what we do matters...We desperately seek relevance and look for ways to engage audiences in the art form we love, so that it will seem more meaningful, more central to the cultural discourse.”

    ~Antonia

    — From Beautiful Chaos

    Description


    "Beautiful Chaos is an extraordinary journey of Carey Perloff and her theatre, ACT. Their continued evolution and ability to define and re-define themselves with courage, tenacity, and bravery allow them to confront what seem like insurmountable odds. This continues to shape and inspire Carey and those who work with her."--Olympia Dukakis, Academy Award-winning actress

    "Carey Perloff's lively, outspoken memoir of adventures in running and directing theatre will be a key document in the story of playmaking in America."--Tom Stoppard, Playwright

    "Carey Perloff, quite literally, raised a vibrant new theater from the rubble of an old one. This refreshingly honest account of her triumphs and misfires over the past two decades is both a fascinating read and an invaluable handbook for anyone attempting such a labor of love."--Armistead Maupin, author of Tales of the City

    "Carey Perloff's marvel of a book is part memoir of a working mother, a passionate artist, a woman flourishing in a male-dominated craft- and part lavish love letter to theater. It is as lively, thoughtful, and insightful an account I have ever read about the art form. This one is for any person who has ever sat in the dark and been spellbound by the transformative power of theater."--Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner

    "Carey Perloff is a veteran of the regional theatre wars. Beautiful Chaos is her vivacious account of her ambitious work commanding San Francisco's American Conservatory Theatre (ACT). The book exudes Perloff's trademark brio: smart, outspoken, full of fun and ferment."--John Lahr, author of Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh

    "This is an engaged, engaging, deeply intelligent, and passionate account of why the theatre matters and how it works in a city and in a society. It is also a fascinating and essential chapter in the history of San Francisco itself, as well as the story of a committed theatre artist's determination and vision."--Colm Toibin, author of Nora Webster

    Carey Perloff, Artistic Director of San Francisco's legendary American Conservatory Theater, pens a lively and revealing memoir of her twenty-plus years at the helm and delivers a provocative and impassioned manifesto for the role of live theater in today's technology-infused world.

    Perloff's personal and professional journey--her life as a woman in a male-dominated profession, as a wife and mother, a playwright, director, producer, arts advocate, and citizen in a city erupting with enormous change--is a compelling, entertaining story for anyone interested in how theater gets made. She offers a behind-the-scenes perspective, including her intimate working experiences with well-known actors, directors, and writers, including Tom Stoppard, Harold Pinter, Robert Wilson, David Strathairn, and Olympia Dukakis.

    Whether reminiscing about her turbulent first years as a young woman taking over an insolvent theater in crisis and transforming it into a thriving, world-class performance space, or ruminating on the potential for its future, Perloff takes on critical questions about arts education, cultural literacy, gender disparity, leadership, and power.

    Carey Perloff is an award-winning playwright, theater director, and the artistic director of the American Conservatory Theater of San Francisco since 1992.

    About the Author


    Carey Perloff is an award-winning playwright, theater director, and the Artistic Director of the American Conservatory Theater of San Francisco since 1992. She also teaches and directs in the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program. Perloff is a recipient of France's Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the National Corporate Theatre Fund's 2009 Artistic Achievement Award. In 2011 Perloff won the Blanche and Irving Laurie Theater Visions Award for her play HIGHER.
    Product Details
    ISBN: 9781931404143
    ISBN-10: 1931404143
    Publisher: City Lights Books
    Publication Date: February 10th, 2015
    Pages: 232
    Language: English
  • Sylvia, Queen of the Headhunters

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    Staff Reviews


    A compelling biography of the last and possibly wackiest British rulers of Sarawak, a kingdom on the island of Borneo. Sylvia’s story is EXTREMELY juicy, let me tell you. Scandal! Intrigue! Appalling colonialism! Totally fascinating.

    ~Fiona

     

    — From Sylvia, Queen of the Headhunters

    Description


    THE EXTRAORDINARY TALE OF SYLVIA BROOKE, THE LAST WHITE RULER OF THE JUNGLE KINGDOM OF BORNEO

    Sylvia Brooke was one of the more exotic and outrageous figures of the twentieth century. Otherwise known as the Ranee of Sarawak, she was the wife of Sir Vyner Brooke, the last White Rajah, whose family had ruled the jungle kingdom of Sarawak on Borneo for three generations. They had their own flag, revenue, postage stamps, and money, as well as the power of life and death over their subjects—Malays, Chinese, and headhunting Dyak tribesmen. The regime of the White Rajahs was long romanticized, but by the 1930s, their power and prestige were crumbling. At the center of Sarawak's decadence was Sylvia, author of eleven books, mother to three daughters, an extravagantly dressed socialite whose behavior often offended and usually defied social convention. Sylvia did her best to manipulate the line of succession in favor of her daughters, but by 1946, Japan had invaded Sarawak, sending Sylvia and her husband into exile, ending one of the more unusual chapters of British colonial rule.

    Philip Eade's Sylvia, Queen of the Headhunters is a fascinating look at the wild and debauched world of a woman desperate to maintain the last remains of power in an exotic and dying kingdom.

    About the Author


    PHILIP EADE has worked as a criminal barrister, English teacher, and journalist. His first book, Sylvia Queen of the Headhunters, was a runner-up for the Biographers' Club Prize; his second, Prince Philip, became a Sunday Times bestseller. He lives in London.

    Praise For…


    “Philip Eade's exhaustive, penetrating study of this remarkable woman, Sylvia, Queen of the Headhunters, shows that her life did indeed resemble a fairy tale, even one by the Brothers Grimm…The details are reliably enthralling.” —The Wall Street Journal

    “A courtier's daughter runs off to help rule an exotic, far-away kingdom--but it's not the next Game of Thrones novel. In fact, this story, chronicled by journalist Eade in his first book, is true. Born in 1885 in London, Sylvia marries Vyner Brooke--'the last white Raja' of Sarawak in 1911. (His family ruled the land for three generations). We get a picture that includes too much drinking, prostitutes, odd relatives and flying saucers. Plus an end to the British colonial way of life with Japan's invasion of Sarawak in 1941.” —New York Post

    “This smashing biography--an updated American version of a 2007 British edition--transports readers to a not-so-stuffy Edwardian England and the far edges of the British Empire....Journalist Philip Eade does more than rescue Brooke from obscurity.” —The Christian Science Monitor

    “[An] engaging account...Eade's book...may restore her to at least some of the renown that escaped her not long after her death. She may have been barmy, to use a word favored by that chronicler of English eccentricity P.G. Wodehouse, but barmy can be a lot of fun so long as it's in someone else's house.” —Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

    “Suitably dishy...If there's anything that might have annoyed Rani Sylvia about Eade's rendition of her life, it's that one of the story's supporting characters may top her in sheer outrageousness.” —The New York Times Book Review

    “British journalist Eade debuts with a well-written biography of Sylvia Brett Brooke....Vivid portraits of some fairly crazy Brits and a way of life that deserved to be doomed.” —Kirkus Reviews

    “[A] dishy non-fiction bonbon...Sylvia is the sort of character we should be grateful to no longer have as a head of state, but even more grateful to have capture on the page, in all her bat-shit crazy glory.” —Passport

    “For those intrigued by the peculiarities of the British Raj and the waning days of the empire, this makes fascinating reading.” —Booklist

    “Biting biography...Draws on family archives to tell the full, jaw-dropping story of a family more than usually mischievous and dysfunctional.” —The Times (London)

    “The kind of gift subject that a biographer must dream of...Colorful anecdotes of eccentricity, lunacy, and infidelity crowd every page.” —The Sunday Times (London), Books of the Year

    “Philip Eade is eminently readable, with a detective's pertinacity at finding the clues to forgotten secrets and a raconteur's gift for sustaining his narrative interest....A rollicking good read.” —The Sunday Telegraph (London)

    “[Eade] traces this tangled tale with diligence, humor, and an easy style.” —The Spectator (London)

    “Amazing and hilarious.” —Daily Express (London)

    “Richly entertaining.” —The Irish Times (Dublin)

    “An incredible story.” —Daily Mail (London)

    Product Details
    ISBN: 9781250045898
    ISBN-10: 1250045894
    Publisher: Picador
    Publication Date: June 3rd, 2014
    Pages: 384
    Language: English
  • Honeydew

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    Staff Reviews


    These short stories are elegant, wise, and generous. The Times of London calls her “the best short story writer in the world.” You are in for a great treat! For all Alice Munro and Chekov fans.

    If you believe gorgeous literature nourishes the soul, then you must read Edith Pearlman.  She is a master of the short story form; elegant, witty, and wise.

    ~Frayda


     

    — From Honeydew

    Description


    Over the past several decades, Edith Pearlman has staked her claim as one of the all-time great practitioners of the short story. Her incomparable vision, consummate skill, and bighearted spirit have earned her consistent comparisons to Anton Chekhov, John Updike, Alice Munro, Grace Paley, and Frank O'Connor. Her latest work, gathered in this stunning collection of twenty new stories, is an occasion for celebration.

    Pearlman writes with warmth about the predicaments of being human. The title story involves an affair, an illegitimate pregnancy, anorexia, and adolescent drug use, but the true excitement comes from the evocation of the interior lives of young Emily Knapp, who wishes she were a bug, and her inner circle.

    "The Golden Swan" transports the reader to a cruise ship with lavish buffets-and a surprise stowaway-while the lead story, "Tenderfoot," follows a widowed pedicurist searching for love with a new customer anguishing over his own buried trauma. Whether the characters we encounter are a special child with pentachromatic vision, a group of displaced Somali women adjusting to life in suburban Boston, or a staid professor of Latin unsettled by a random invitation to lecture on the mystery of life and death, Pearlman knows each of them intimately and reveals them to us with unsurpassed generosity.

    In prose as knowing as it is poetic, Pearlman shines a light on small, devastatingly precise moments to reflect the beauty and grace found in everyday life. Both for its artistry and for the recognizable lives of the characters it renders so exquisitely and compassionately, Honeydew is a collection that will pull readers back time and again. These stories are a crowning achievement for a brilliant career and demonstrate once more that Pearlman is a master of the form whose vision is unfailingly wise and forgiving.

    About the Author


    Edith Pearlman's last collection, Binocular Vision, won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award as well as the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Story Prize. The author of three other story collections, she has also received the PEN/Malamud Award for excellence in the short story.

    Her widely admired stories have been reprinted numerous times in The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and The Pushcart Prize. A New Englander by both birth and preference, Pearlman lives with her husband in Brookline, Massachusetts.

    Praise For…


    "Honeydew should cement [Pearlman's] reputation as one of the most essential short story visionaries of our time."

    The New York Times Book Review

    "There remain a few dedicated practitioners of the short story, and Edith Pearlman is one to be cherished... The 20 stories [in Honeydew] are vinegary, rueful, droll, humane and endlessly inquisitive. Though intricately constructed, they are slight in drama and emphasis, set down like a light footprint that nevertheless fixes itself in one's memory as though pressed in wet cement."
    The Wall Street Journal


    "Pearlman is our greatest living American short story writer, and Honeydew is her best collection yet."—The Boston Globe


    "One of the key dynamics of Pearlman's fiction is the ability she has to reveal someone in an instant... [Honeydew] cements her reputation as an American short fiction avatar. The work is smart and deeply rendered, full of striking observations and some of the best sentences you'll ever want to read... I bow my head in awe... Ruthless writing, sharp and piercing."
    David Ulin, Los Angeles Times


    "Pearlman's short fiction is interesting for the ways in which it
    combines proximity and distance... Pearlman can also move back from characters, in order to see the entire span of their lives. Then she
    becomes one of God's spies, condensing a life into a few sentences,
    taking on the power of prophecy.
    .. Pearlman's fiction brings together,
    with uncanny wisdom, short views and long views: the hours of lives and
    the length of our lives. She is tender and distant at once."—James Wood for The New Yorker

    "Even though [Pearlman's] characters have feet of clay like the rest of us, they often seem to float above the ordinary world like the figures in a Chagall painting... What a pleasure to encounter a writer who can speak volumes in a few short sentences."—The Seattle Times


    "Reading a Pearlman story is like entering the jet stream of some stranger's life. You feel the rush and fear and excitement, and then you exit, overcome but satisfied. Her nuanced stories, each one a small gem, explore complicated relationships and strange conundrums found in everyday life."—San Fransisco Chronicle


    "If you have never read Edith Pearlman, you're in for a lovely surprise, and if you have, you're in for another treat... Honeydew is ripe with often bittersweet, unconventional love stories that somehow manage to encompass loss and pain yet reaffirm the value of living... Like Alice Munro, Pearlman deftly encapsulates whole lifetimes in compact stories by focusing on pivotal moments that reverberate over decades."
    The Washington Post


    "Exquisite work... Such narrative judgment and authority are a pleasure to be in the presence of... This newest book contains 20 stories in fewer than 300 pages, and even the shortest among them convey a depth and a texture well out of proportion to what their word counts might suggest them capable of."
    The Chicago Tribune


    "Like Alice Munro, Pearlman confronts the earthier aspects of life without a steady authorial gaze... Pearlman conveys heft and profundity in few words and with the lightest of touches; her climactic revelations are nver thudding or melodramatic, nor do her conclusions trail off disappointingly... Her stories are beautifully crafted and formally coherent... The stories in Honeydew are original, unsentimental and profoundly bizarre... unforgettable."—Commentary

    "The short story master... At her best, Pearlman invigorates our curiosity about others, encouraging us to flip page after page just to see what a character ate for lunch... Pearlman's stories encourage us to sink deeply into them, and we become contented ghosts snooping on these unadorned, authentic lives... The Bottom Line: Pearlman may not be innovating the short-story form, but she's executing it perfectly."—Time Out New York

    "This writer of elegant short stories--frequently likened to Alice Munro and Grace Paley--deserves all the recognition she can get."—Newsday

    "Finely wrought [stories]... these characters are quirky and vulnerable, and it is clear that Pearlman has great affection for them. Readers will, too."—Minneapolis Star-Tribune

    "Edith Pearlman is the best short story writer in the world. A lot of people know that. More will."—The Times of London

    "Prepare to be dazzled. Edith Pearlman's latest, elating work confirms her place as one of the great modern short-story writers... Vivacity and zest enliven every page. Body language is wittily caught... Personalities are keenly explored. Honeydew elatingly continues the celebration of life's diversity to which Binocular Vision so excitingly introduced us."—Sunday Times (UK)

    "Honeydew will afford an international audience another opportunity to enjoy Pearlman's distinctive and memorable fictions... Pearlman's stories--slightly old-fashioned in their use of conceit; refreshingly loose in their capacity for digression or tangent; occasionally Whartonian in the bemused and acidic clarity of their narrative eye--are sui generis...[these stories] share a particular perspective that, like a perfume, floats throughout... to make of life's everyday leavings a life-saving nectar--is perhaps, Pearlman's most consistent endeavor. She is wise, yes, but also unfailingly generous, even joyous... it certainly makes her fiction a fortifying pleasure to read."
    Claire Messud for Financial Times

    "Intricately imagined... [Pearlman] doesn't inhabit her characters so much as create space for their lives to play out... Honeydew is a warmly imagined and impressively crafted collection."—Sydney Morning Herald


    "These elegant, compassionate stories bring 'regular' people to complex life. Pearlman's flawed characters demand your attention and win your heart."—People Magazine


    "HONEYDEW is a collection of work so vivid, so true, and so vital that the reader herself comes away all the more real. How can a story do what Pearlman's stories do? She is an incomparable master."Kelly Link, author of Magic for Beginners and Stranger Things Happen

    "Edith Pearlman's work, so wise and witty, pierces right to the heart. Like Grace Paley and Penelope Fitzgerald, she can capture characters and their whole world in a few perfect lines: how does she do that? Her brilliant economy is matched only by her depth of feeling."Andrea Barrett, author of Servants of the Map and Ship Fever

    "Edith Pearlman is a contemporary master of the short story, with an utterly distinctive voice-tartly observant, unfailingly compassionate, slyly amused. HONEYDEW is a stellar collection, a wide-ranging examination of Pearlman's favorite subjects-the mysteries of love and friendship, the indignities and compensations of growing older, and the knotty complexities of the human heart."—Tom Perrotta, New York Times bestselling author of Election, Little Children, and The Leftovers

    "To read an Edith Pearlman story is to sense a mysterious voice singing just under the surface of the prose; it is to be so beguiled by elegance and wit that the inexorable surging power of the story astonishes when it finally hits the reader. Honeydew is brilliant. Edith Pearlman is among the greatest of the greats."—Lauren Groff, New York Times bestselling author of Arcadia and The Monsters of Templeton

    "For nearly five decades, Edith Pearlman has written stories that illumine and educate the mind and heart. Honeydew is the crowning achievement of an extraordinary career, required reading for all of us who love the short story form. To say it stands with the very best of Pearlman's work is the highest praise I can conceive of. She is a treasure."—Jennifer Haigh, PEN/ Hemingway winner and New York Times bestselling author of The Condition and News from Heaven

    "Pearlman returns with another collection of closely observed, often devastating stories . . . [She] writes with the wisdom of accumulated experience . . . Pearlman fills volumes with her economy of language . . . [and] serves up exemplary tales, lively and lovely."—Kirkus (Starred Review)

    "This affecting collection periscopes into small lives, expanding them with stunning subtlety... Magical and sensual."--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)


    "Pearlman not only writes with bewitching clarity, she also fathoms much about our inner lives and relationships that is unexpectedly wondrous."
    Booklist (Starred Review)


    "A generous collection of depth and sensitivity featuring a range of unusual characters."
    O Magazine

    "Edith Pearlman's short stories have often been compared with John Updike's, and the comparison is apt...All of the powerful emotions are depicted in rich, controlled prose, one of the earmarks of a Pearlman story. Whether it be for carefully dissecting her characters' feelings or observing tiny details, Pearlman reveals her acute eye time and time again... In the tradition of Joyce, Chekhov, Updike and Munro, Pearlman's surprising, memorable stories are joys to behold."
    Shelf Awareness


    "Pearlman repeatedly thrills us by opening up secret worlds, and it's because of the exquisite care with which these worlds are formed that we come to care deeply about her people ("characters" just doesn't cut it)... Her stories hold a reverence for the magical, the anomalous, and the chance encounters all around us... Something about this book feels so urgent, so wise, and it had me turning pages until the wee hours."—The Millions


    "Pearlman's prose shimmers, and the stories are filled with beguiling details of color, taste and smell... Honeydew is a solid group of stories by a very great writer indeed."—Bookpage
    Product Details
    ISBN: 9780316297226
    ISBN-10: 0316297224
    Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
    Publication Date: January 6th, 2015
    Pages: 288
    Language: English

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