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Current Book Awards & Nominees: 2017
    The 2017 Man Booker Prize
    The Man Booker Prize is the world's most prestigious literary award. The prize promotes the finest in fiction by rewarding the very best novel of the year written in the English language.
  • The longlist (best 13 titles) was announced Wednesday, July 26, 2017.
  • The shortlist (best 6 titles) was announced Wednesday, September 13, 2017.
    • 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster (U.S.)
    • History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (U.S.)
    • Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Pakistan)
    • Elmet by Fiona Mozley (U.K.)
    • Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (U.S.)
    • Autumn by Ali Smith (U.K.)
  • The winner of the 2017 Man Booker Prize was announced Tuesday, October 17, 2017.
  • 2017 MAN BOOKER PRIZE NOMINEES (more...)
    All 13 longlist nominees are in stock at Walden Pond Books
    including U.K. editions published in advance of U.S. editions. The U.K. editions are always the first to sell out, so phone 510-832-4438 to reserve your copy ASAP.
    4321 by Paul Auster (U.S.) (U.S. edition in stock)
    Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (Ireland) (U.S. and U.K. editions in stock)
    History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (U.S.) (U.S. edition in stock)
    Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Pakistan) (U.S. edition in stock)
    Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (Ireland) (U.S. and U.K. editions in stock)
    Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor (U.K.) (U.K. edition in stock)
    Elmet by Fiona Mozley (U.K.) (U.K. edition in stock)
    The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy (India) (U.S. edition in stock)
    Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (U.S.) (U.S. edition in stock)
    Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (Pakistan) (U.S. and U.K. editions in stock)
    Autumn by Ali Smith (U.K.) (U.S. and U.K. editions in stock)
    Swing Time by Zadie Smith (U.K.) (U.S. and U.K. editions in stock)
    The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (U.S.) (U.S. and U.K. editions in stock)

  • 2017 NOMINEES

    (Henry Holt/MPS)
    4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster
    Paul Auster has been turning readers' heads for three decades, bending the conventions of storytelling. He now presents his most capacious, demanding, eventful, suspenseful, erotic, structurally audacious, funny, and soulful novel to date. His first novel in seven years follows Archibald Ferguson through four different, simultaneous lives starting from his birth in Newark in 1947. This ravishing 880-page opus takes in momentous events, from the cold war through the Kennedy assassination and the My Lai massacre as its various personal stories unfold.
    "An epic bildungsroman! Original and complex. . . It's impossible not to be impressed - and even a little awed - by what Auster has accomplished. . . A work of outsize ambition and remarkable craft, a monumental assemblage of competing and complementary fictions, a novel that contains multitudes." — The New York Times.
    "A stunningly ambitious novel, and a pleasure to read. Auster's writing is joyful even in the book's darkest moments, and never ponderous or showy. . . An incredibly moving, true journey." — NPR.
    "Draws the reader in from the very first sentence and does not let go until the very end. An absorbing, detailed account - four accounts! - of growing up in the decades following World War II. Auster's prose is never less than arresting. In addition to being a bildungsroman, 4321 is a kunstlerroman, a portrait of the artist as a young man whose literary ambition is evident even in childhood. . . I emerged from this prodigious book eager for more." — The San Francisco Chronicle.

    DAYS WITHOUT END by Sebastian Barry
    After fleeing the Great Famine in Ireland, seventeen-year-old Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, join the U.S. Army and experience the harrowing realities of the Indian wars and the American Civil War. Moving from the plains of Wyoming to Tennessee, Sebastian Barry's latest work is a masterpiece of atmosphere and language and a haunting and unforgettable portrait of the most fateful years in American history.
    "Some novels sing from the first line, with every word carrying the score to a searing climax, and Days Without End is such a book. Pitch-perfect, the outstanding novel of the year." — The Observer (U.K.).
    "A haunting archeology of youth. . . Barry introduces a narrator who speaks with an intoxicating blend of wit and wide-eyed awe, his unsettlingly lovely prose unspooling with an immigrant's peculiar lilt and a proud boy's humor." — The New York Times.
    "For its exhilarating use of language alone, Days Without End stands out among the year's novels. Epic in conception, this brutal, beautiful book also features the year's most beguiling narrator. A great American novel which happens to have been written by an Irishman." — The Times Literary Supplement (U.K.).
    "Mr. Barry's frontier saga is a vertiginous pile-up of inhumanity and stolen love: gore-soaked and romantic, murderous and musical. The rough-hewn yet hypnotic voice that Mr. Barry has fashioned carries the novel from the staccato chaos of battle to wistful hymns to youth. . . an absorbing story that sets the horrors of history against the consolations of hearth and home." — The Wall Street Journal.
    "One of the most compelling, bravura and heart-wrenching fictional projects of recent memory. A work of staggering openness; its startlingly beautiful sentences are so capacious that they are hard to leave behind, its narrative so propulsive that you must move on. Breathtakingly exciting. . . A crowning achievement." — The Guardian (U.K.).

    HISTORY OF WOLVES by Emily Fridlund
    Fourteen-year-old Linda, the awkward daughter of ex-commune members living in rural Minnesota, begins to take her first faltering steps towards independence. The arrival of an apparently ideal family seems to promise refuge for Linda, scorned as a ‘freak’ by her schoolmates. But things are not so simple. . . A propulsive and gorgeously written novel that introduces a new writer of enormous range and talent.
    "A stellar debut. A sense of foreboding subtly permeates the story. . . the wordsmithing is fantastic, rife with vivid turns of phrase. Fridlund has elegantly crafted a striking protagonist whose dark leanings cap off the tragedy at the heart of this book, which is moving and disturbing, and which will stay with the reader." — Publishers Weekly *** starred review ***.
    "An artful story of sexual awakening and identity formation. . . a novel of ideas, a page-turner of craft and calibration." — The New York Times.
    "Electrifying. . . History of Wolves isn't a typical thriller any more than it's a typical coming-of-age novel. Fridlund does a remarkable job transcending genres without sacrificing the suspense that builds steadily in the book. It is as beautiful and as icy as the Minnesota woods where it's set. With her first book, Fridlund has already proven herself to be a singular talent." — NPR.
    "An atmospheric, near-gothic coming-of-age novel turns on the dance between predator and prey. The novel has a tinge of fairy tale, wavering on the blur between good and evil, thought and action. But the sharp consequences for its characters make it singe and sing - a literary tour de force." — Kirkus Reviews *** starred review ***

    EXIT WEST by Mohsin Hamid
    From the internationally bestselling author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, an electrifying love story that unfolds in a country teetering on the brink of civil war. Fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed embark on a furtive love affair, thrust into premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. As violence and the threat of violence escalate, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.
    "In spare, crystalline prose, Hamid conveys the experience of living in a city under siege with sharp, stabbing immediacy. He shows just how swiftly ordinary life - with all its banal rituals and routines - can morph into the defensive crouch of life in a war zone and how insidiously violence alters the calculus of daily life. By mixing the real and the surreal, and using old fairy-tale magic, Hamid has created a fictional universe that captures the global perils percolating beneath today's headlines." — The New York Times.
    “This is the best writing of Hamid's career. Readers will find themselves going back and savoring each paragraph several times before moving on. He's that good. Breathtaking!” — NPR.
    "Skillful and panoramic from the outset. A meticulously crafted, ambitious story of many layers, many geopolitical realities, many lives and circumstances. Here is the world, Hamid seems to be saying, the direction we're hurtling in. How are we going to mitigate the damage we've done?" — The New York Review of Books
    “A marvelously well-sustained dramatic monologue that reveals a great deal about its speaker, while also concealing precisely what he intends to do to his listener. Hamid employs a tone of radical simplicity that borders on brutality, and makes every conversation, every detail, every scene feel at once vital and under threat.” — The Guardian (U.K.)

    (Soho Press)
    SOLAR BONES by Mike McCormack
    Mike McCormack creates a terrifyingly real and startling world through the eyes of the late Marcus Conway, a civil engineer who reflects upon his life in one long transcendent, stream-of-conscious narrative. Memories bleed into one another, as the ghost of a man sits at his kitchen table and recalls event after event. A work of bold risks and luminous creativity, Solar Bones will draw comparisons to Ulysses - its fluid stream-of-conscious would do Joyce proud.
    "One-of-a-kind. McCormack is a wonderfully accessible, quick-witted writer - and, with references to Radiohead, Mad Max, and the post-millennial Battlestar Galactica, a smartly contemporary one. The book is alive with startling connections between the exterior and interior worlds. . . an irresistible driving rhythm. This transcendent novel should expand McCormack's following on this side of the Atlantic and further establish him as a heavyweight of contemporary fiction." — Kirkus Reviews *** starred review ***.
    "A beautifully constructed novel that blends torrential monologues with a realist portrait of small-town Ireland. Lyrical. . . Tender. . . Caustic... This is an intelligent, striking work." — Publishers Weekly *** starred review ***.
    "The work of an author in the full maturity of his talent, Solar Bones climaxes in a passage of savage, Gnostic religiosity: the writing catches fire as we draw near to the void, pass over into death itself, and therein confront the truth that even in a fallen universe, when all distractions tumble away, the only adequate response to our being is astonishment." — The Irish Times (U.K.).
    "Mike McCormack's Solar Bones is exceptional indeed: an extraordinary novel by a writer not yet famous but surely destined to be acclaimed by anyone who believes that the novel is not dead and that novelists are not merely lit-fest fodder for the metropolitan middle classes." — The Guardian (U.K.).

    RESERVOIR 13 by Jon McGregor
    Midwinter in an English village. A teenage girl has gone missing. Everyone is called upon to join the search. The villagers fan out across the moors as the police set up roadblocks and a crowd of news reporters descends on what is usually a place of peace. And thirteen years go by. . . There are births and deaths; secrets kept and exposed; livelihoods made and lost. . . An extraordinary novel of cumulative power and grace explores the rhythms of the natural world and the repeated human gift for violence as the aftershocks of a tragedy refuse to subside.
    "A new novel from the absurdly gifted Jon McGregor is haunting and heartbreaking, the tale of a disappearance and its aftermath - his best yet. The rural village, the missing girl, the search for a body - then life goes on, as an archetypal story is rekindled with explosive results. McGregor is a writer with extraordinary control, and he uses the power of the archetype as well as our genre expectations for his own purposes. We’re pulled in from the first page. An enthralling and brilliant investigation of disturbing elements embedded deeply in our story tradition." — The Guardian (U.K.).
    "Award-winning Jon McGregor defies expectations with this superbly crafted and mesmerizingly atmospheric portrait of an unnamed village. Unsentimental and occasionally very funny, this is a haunting, beautiful book." — The Daily Mail (U.K.).
    "Even by the standards of his mature work, McGregor's latest novel is a remarkable achievement. Fluid and fastidious, its sparing loveliness feels deeply true to its subject. There are moments, as in life, of miraculous grace. . . a humane and tender masterpiece." — The Irish Times (U.K.).

    (JM Originals)
    ELMET by Fiona Mozley
    The clash of ancient concepts of property ownership with those of modern capitalist landlords builds to a violent climax in Fiona Mozley's debut novel. Atmospheric and unsettling, Elmet is a lyrical commentary on contemporary society and one family's precarious place in it, as well as an exploration of how deep the bond between father and child can go.
    (SPECIAL NOTE: Author Fiona Mozley wrote Elmet over a period of four years commuting to and from her job at The Little Apple Bookstore in York while studying to complete her degree in Medieval Studies.)

    "Fiona Mozley is a rising star. . . An utterly arresting novel about family, home, rural exploitation, violence and, most of all, the loyalty and love of children under siege. Elmet is in so many ways a wonder to behold. It is also this year’s David among the predictable Goliaths on the Booker list. How thrilling if David were to win against them." — The Evening Standard (U.K.).
    "A dark and delicate fairy-tale of contemporary Britain. Ms. Mozley writes with clarity and insight, and her descriptions of the natural world and human relationships are both specific and profound. Elmet is a quiet explosion of a book, exquisite and unforgettable. It is hard not to feel that at 29, Ms Mozley has only just begun." — The Economist (U.K.).
    "Thrums with energy and life. . . At the heart of the novel’s dramatic climax lies a dispute about property, about land divvied up and hacked to pieces, how borders are defined and how houses become homes. This is geopolitics played out on a small but no less powerful stage." — The Financial Times (U.K.).
    "A dark, bloody, astounding novel from Fiona Mozley. This moving tale set against a violent background has more than earned its place on the 2017 Man Booker longlist." — South China Morning Post.
    "Elmet is brave new writing, furrowing a rich vein of Yorkshire gothic, using the region’s language and landscape to chronicle a tale of an odd family under siege. Read it and rejoice in a new literary discovery." — The York Press (U.K.).

    Roy's first novel since her 1997 Booker Prize-winning debut, The God of Small Things is being acclaimed as her second masterpiece. Her new book is replete with eviscerating social critique and caustic humor, but it is also a deeply tragic and profound saga of the intersecting lives of unforgettable characters who take the reader on an intimate journey across the Indian subcontinent.
    "Fearless. . . staggeringly beautiful - a fierce, fabulously disobedient novel so fully realized it feels intimate, yet vibrates with the tragicomedy of myth. Roy is writing at the height of her powers. Once a decade, if we are lucky, a novel emerges from the cinder pit of living that asks the urgent question of our global era. Roy's novel is this decade's ecstatic and necessary answer." — The Boston Globe.
    "A fiercely unforgettable novel. . . a love story with characters so heartbreaking and compelling they sear themselves into the reader's brain." — USA Today.
    "Stirring. . . humane and impassioned. . . beautiful and rich. Roy's observations unspool as vivid and gimlet, whether she is describing personal catastrophe or national disasters. Brilliant writing - an ambitious story with a profound moral integrity and a deep emotional impact." — The Chicago Tribune.
    "This new book finds Roy writing in gorgeous, supple prose. Again and again beautiful images refresh our sense of the world. Sections of the book filled me with awe for the sheer fidelity and beauty of detail. Roy writes with astonishing vividness." — The New York Times.
    "A gem - a great tempest of a novel: a remarkable creation, a story both intimate and international. Here is writing that swirls so hypnotically it doesn't feel like words on paper so much as ink on water. This vast novel will leave you awed by the heat of its anger and the depth of its compassion."— The Washington Post.


    LINCOLN IN THE BARDO by George Saunders
    Short story virtuoso George Saunders delivers his first novel - a spellbinding story of love and loss that breaks free of its historical framework into a hilarious and terrifying supernatural realm. While mourning the passing of his son Willie in a Georgetown graveyard in his first year as President, Abraham Lincoln is accosted by the ghosts of dead Americans who are trapped in the Bardo - a transitional state between death and the next realm. As the spirits condemn, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance, the new President discovers that what is at stake is the fate of his son's soul.
    "A stunningly powerful work, both in its imagery and its intense focus on death, this remarkable work of historical fiction gives an intimate view of 19th-century fears and mores." — Library Journal *** starred review ***.
    "A wild and wily improvisation that mirrors, by turns, the ambience of Hieronymus Bosch and Tim Burton. A boldly imagined, exquisitely sensitive, sharply funny, and utterly unnerving historical and metaphysical drama." — Booklist *** starred review ***.
    "The novel beats with a present-day urgency - a nation at war with itself, the unbearable grief of a father who has lost a child, and a howling congregation of ghosts, as divided in death as in life, unwilling to move on." — Vogue.
    "A true artist charting hidden creative territory. . . a luminous feat of generosity and humanism. In the graveyard’s slaves and slavers, drunkards and priests, soldiers of doomed regiments, suicides and virgins, are assembled a country. The wretched and the brave, and such is Saunders’s magnificent portraiture that readers will recognize in this wretchedness and bravery aspects of their own characters as well. He has gathered 'sweet fools' here, and we are counted among their number." — The New York Times.

    HOME FIRE by Kamila Shamshie
    Relocating Sophocles' Antigone to contemporary Britain and America, Kamila Shamshie weaves a timely tale of two Muslim families with differing ideas about bigotry, belief and loyalty. A suspenseful and heartbreaking story of immigrants driven to pit love against faith, with devastating consequences.
    "Shamsie's seventh and most accomplished novel. . . The emotionally compelling plot is well served by her lucid storytelling, and she digs into complex issues with confidence. In accessible, unwavering prose and without any heavy-handedness, Shamsie addresses an impressive mix of contemporary issues, from Muslim profiling to cultural assimilation and identity to the nuances of international relations. As this deftly constructed page-turner moves swiftly toward its inevitable conclusion, it forces questions about what sacrifice you would make for family, for love." — BookPage: Top Pick, August 2017.
    "Shamsie's latest is a haunting and arrestingly current portrait of two families forever caught in the insurmountable gap between love and country, loyalty and desire. An explosive novel with big questions about the nature of justice, defiance, and love." — Kirkus Reviews
    "Gut-wrenching and undeniably relevant to today's world. . . Shamsie peers deeply into her characters' innermost selves, delineating the complicated emotions, idealistic principles, and vulnerabilities that drive them. This shattering work leaves a lasting emotional impression." — Booklist *** starred review ***.
    "The novel has an enormous wingspan that catches a wonderful storyteller's wind. . . beautifully composed, and often terribly moving." — NPR.

    AUTUMN by Ali Smith
    Elisabeth and Daniel are each other's favorite people in the world, even though their paths cross only intermittently and he is 69 years older than she is. Their extraordinary friendship and conversations - about words, art, life, books, the imagination, how to observe, how to be - are at the center of this beautiful, subtle work, the seventh novel by Smith, who consistently produces some of Britain's most exciting, ambitious and moving writing.
    "Unbearably moving in its playful, strange, soulful assessment of what it means to be alive at a somber time. Ali Smith has a beautiful mind. And where her mind goes, you want to follow. . . Shrewd and dreamy, serious-but-not-solemn. . . I am struck by, and stuck on, Autumn. — The New York Times.
    "Like any successful novel of ideas, Autumn doesn't end; it reverberates in one's bones. Thus Smith's autumnal leaves cling to trees as the questions and quandaries linger. . . Autumn shimmers with wit, melancholy, grief, joy, wisdom, small acts of love, and wonder." — The Boston Globe.
    "This is undoubtedly Smith at her best. This book sets Smith's complex creative character in stone: puckish yet elegant, angry but comforting. Long may she remain that way." — The London Times (U.K.).
    "Impressionistic and intricate. . . the first serious post-Brexit novel. Smith is brilliant on what the referendum has done to Britain. At once sardonic and heartbreaking. . . Smith feels like a genial guide leading us through a torrent of ideas - about art, history, literature, feminism, memory. In a country apparently divided against itself, a writer such as Smith, who makes you feel known, who seems to speak to your own private weirdnesses, is more valuable than a whole parliament of politicians." — The Financial Times.

    SWING TIME by Zadie Smith
    At a dance class offered in a local church in London in the early 1980s, two girls recognize themselves in one another and become friends. But only one is a truly talented dancer. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free.
    "With homage to dance as a unifying force, arresting observations, exceptionally diverse and magnetizing characters, and lashing satire, Swing Time is an acidly funny, fluently global, and head-spinning novel about the quest for meaning, exaltation, and love." — Booklist *** starred review ***.
    "Zadie Smith’s fifth novel and for my money her finest. . . For its plot alone, Swing Time makes for truly marvellous reading. What makes the book so extraordinary are the layers on which it operates; beneath its virtuosic plotting lies the keenest social commentary. Swing Time has brilliant things to say about race, class, and gender, but its most poignant comment is perhaps this: given who we are, who we are told that we are not, and who we imagine we might become, how do we find our way home?" — The Guardian (U.K.).
    "A story at once intimate and global, as much about childhood friendship as international aid, as fascinated by the fate of an unemployed single mother as it is by the omnipotence of a world-class singer. Swing Time uses its extraordinary breadth and its syncopated structure to turn the issues of race and class in every direction. We finally have a big social novel nimble enough to keep all its diverse parts moving gracefully toward a vision of what really matters in this life when the music stops." — The Washington Post.
    "A multilayered tour-de-force. Smith burnishes her place in the literary firmament with Swing Time, her fifth novel. The work is so absorbing that a reader might flip it open randomly and be immediately caught up. Its precision is thrilling!" — The Los Angeles Times.

    THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead

    The unforgettable odyssey of a teenage slave named Cora, who flees the Georgia plantation where she was born, risking everything in pursuit of freedom. This is both a riveting adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.
    "Whitehead proves once again that he's a master of language - there are no wasted words in the book, and it's apparent that each sentence was crafted with exacting care. In Cora, he has also created a character that will likely be remembered for generations to come." — NPR.
    "A brutal, vital, devastating novel. The subtly antique prose and detailed description combine to create a world that is entirely convincing. I haven’t been as simultaneously moved and entertained by a book for many years. This is a luminous, furious, wildly inventive tale that not only shines a bright light on one of the darkest periods of history, but also opens up thrilling new vistas for the form of the novel itself." — The Guardian (U.K.).
    "A potent, almost hallucinatory novel that leaves the reader with a devastating understanding of the terrible human costs of slavery. One of the remarkable things about this novel is how Mr. Whitehead found an elastic voice that accommodates both brute realism and fablelike allegory, the plain-spoken and the poetic - a voice that enables him to convey the historical horrors of slavery with raw, shocking power. He has told a story essential to our understanding of the American past and the American present." — The New York Times.

    The 2017 Hugo Award [presented at Worldcon 75, Helsinki, Finland, Friday, August 11, 2017 - more...]

    NOMINEES FOR THE 2017 HUGO AWARD: Best Science Fiction Novel:

  • All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
  • A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
  • Death’s End by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu
  • Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee
  • The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin *** WINNER ***
  • Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer

    The 2017 Hugo Award for Best Novel [presented August 11, 2017 - more...]

    THE OBELISK GATE by N.K. Jemisin
    Essun, an orogene who wields a power that controls geological forces, desperately searches for her eight-year-old daughter as the world of the Stillness begins to collapse and humanity faces extinction. N.K. Jemisin follows up her first Hugo Award for Best Novel (The Fifth Season) with yet another Hugo Award win for the second novel in her Broken Earth trilogy.
    "Masterly crafted. . . The epic journeys of mother and daughter through this dying realm are dynamic and emotional. Jemisin's follow-up to The Fifth Season is exceptional. Those who anxiously awaited this sequel will find the only problem is that the wait must begin again once the last page is turned." — Library Journal *** starred review ***.
    "Beyond the meticulous pacing, the thorough character work, and the staggering ambition and revelations of the narration, Jemisin is telling a story of our present, our failures, our actions in the face of repeated trauma, our responses to the heat and pressure of our times. Her accomplishment in this series is tremendous. It pole-vaults over the expectations I had for what epic fantasy should be and stands in magnificent testimony to what it could be." — NPR.
    "Compelling, challenging, and utterly gripping. . . Once again Jemisin immerses readers in a complex and intricate world of warring powers, tangled morals, and twisting motivations." — Publishers Weekly *** starred review ***.
    "The worldbuilding deepens in this installment. But as in the previous volume, it's the people who take front and center. Jemisin generates huge amounts of nuanced sympathy for some (but not all) of the characters driven to do truly dreadful things, often accidentally, to save themselves and the ones they love. Stunning, again." — Kirkus Reviews *** starred review ***.

    The 2017 Nebula Award [presented May 20, 2017 - more...]

    2017 NEBULA AWARD NOMINEES: Best Science Fiction / Fantasy Novel:

  • All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders * WINNER *
  • Borderline by Mishell Baker
  • The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin
  • Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee
  • Everfair by Nisi Shawl

    ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY by Charlie Jane Anders
    As children, Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead were gifted beyond most adults' comprehension. Now as adults, they meet again in San Francisco and find that each is working to save the world from annihilation. While Lawrence is using science, Patricia is using magic. Which will work? A stunning and perceptive novel about life, love, and the apocalypse.
    "At turns darkly funny and deeply melancholy, this is a polished gem of a novel. The depiction of near-future San Francisco shows a native's understanding (and love) of the city, while gently skewering it at the same time." — Library Journal *** starred review ***.
    "A riveting story! Anders' knock-your-socks-off blend of science and magic will be a strong contender for science fiction and fantasy awards, appealing to not only genre fans but also those looking for great literary reads." — Booklist *** starred review ***.
    "One of the most endearing literary romances of recent years. . . Charlie Jane Anders' brilliant, cross-genre novel has the hallmarks of an instant classic. It's a beautifully written, funny, tremendously moving tale that explodes the boundaries between science fiction and fantasy and 'mainstream' fiction." — The Los Angeles Times.
    "Into each generation of science fiction/fantasydom a master absurdist must fall, and it’s quite possible that Charlie Jane Anders has established herself as the one for the Millennials. It’s going to be hard for even the most jaded reader not to fall head first into this tale of a boy who builds an artificial intelligence in his bedroom closet and a girl who magically talks to birds. It’s complex, and scary, and madcap. . . as hopeful as it is hilarious, and highly recommended." — The New York Times.

    The 2017 Edgar Award [presented April 27, 2017 - more...]

    2017 EDGAR AWARD NOMINEES: Best Mystery Novel:

  • The Ex by Alafair Burke
  • Where It Hurts by Reed Farrel Coleman
  • Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye
  • What Remains of Me by Alison Gaylin
  • Before the Fall by Noah Hawley * WINNER *

    (Grand Central/Hachette)
    BEFORE THE FALL by Noah Hawley
    Eleven people - ten privileged, and one down-on-his-luck painter - depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are the painter and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family. In the aftermath of the crash, as the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. A stunning novel that raises questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.
    "A masterly blend of mystery, suspense, tragedy, and shameful media hype. A gritty tale of a man overwhelmed by unwelcome notoriety, with a stunning, thoroughly satisfying conclusion." — Publishers Weekly *** starred review ***.
    "A terrific thriller and an irresistible mystery. A tale that's both an intriguing puzzle and a painful story of human loss." — The Washington Post.
    "This is one of the year's best suspense novels, a mesmerizing, surprise-jammed mystery that works purely on its own, character-driven terms. Mr. Hawley has made it very, very easy to race through his book in a state of breathless suspense." — Janet Maslin, The New York Times.
    "Noah Hawley really knows how to keep a reader turning the pages, but there's more to the novel than suspense. On one hand, Before The Fall is a complex, compulsively readable thrill ride of a novel. On the other hand, it is an exploration of the human condition, a meditation on the vagaries of human nature, the dark side of celebrity, the nature of art, the power of hope and the danger of an unchecked media. The combination is a potent, gritty thriller that exposes the high cost of news as entertainment and the randomness of fate." — Kristin Hannah, The New York Times.

  • 2017 BEST FACT CRIME: THE WICKED BOY: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer by Kate Summerscale

    THE WICKED BOY: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer by Kate Summerscale
    The former literary editor of The Daily Telegraph, Kate Summerscale, transforms the investigation and trial of one of the most chilling murder cases of the Victorian era into an extraordinary reconstruction of turn-of-the-century Britain and an insightful tale of hard-won redemption. A masterful mixture of crime detection, courtroom drama, and sociological study.
    "Irresistible!. . . An atmospheric tale of crime and punishment from a distant era written in lucid, limber prose, The Wicked Boy also implicitly raises questions that remain with us today. The author's easy mastery of what turns out to be a complicated, at times surprising narrative drives the book forward. Ms. Summerscale draws no firm psychological conclusions, but instead leaves the mystery of the boy and the man to our imaginations, where it pricks at us throughout the book." — The New York Times.
    "Summerscale bolsters her reputation as a superior historical true crime writer with this moving account of Victorian-age murder that is a whydunit rather than a whodunit. Her dogged research yields a tragedy that reads like a Dickens novel, including the remarkable payoff at the end." — Publishers Weekly *** starred review ***.
    "A remarkable job of historical reconstruction. In the time-honored tradition of Victorian crime stories, The Wicked Boy is a compelling mixture of the gruesome and the perfectly ordinary, a brew uniquely British, a feat of genuine detective work." — Dallas Morning News.
    "Summerscale has taken her research to many levels of learning for the reader. It's more than The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer - it's a tale about change. It belongs on every reader's bookshelf." — The New York Journal of Books.

    The 2017 Pulitzer Prize [presented April 10, 2017 - more...]


    THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead
    The unforgettable odyssey of a teenage slave named Cora, who flees the Georgia plantation where she was born, risking everything in pursuit of freedom. This is both a riveting adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.
    "Whitehead proves once again that he's a master of language - there are no wasted words in the book, and it's apparent that each sentence was crafted with exacting care. In Cora, he has also created a character that will likely be remembered for generations to come." — NPR.
    "A brutal, vital, devastating novel. The subtly antique prose and detailed description combine to create a world that is entirely convincing. I haven’t been as simultaneously moved and entertained by a book for many years. This is a luminous, furious, wildly inventive tale that not only shines a bright light on one of the darkest periods of history, but also opens up thrilling new vistas for the form of the novel itself." — The Guardian (U.K.).
    "A potent, almost hallucinatory novel that leaves the reader with a devastating understanding of the terrible human costs of slavery. One of the remarkable things about this novel is how Mr. Whitehead found an elastic voice that accommodates both brute realism and fablelike allegory, the plain-spoken and the poetic - a voice that enables him to convey the historical horrors of slavery with raw, shocking power. He has told a story essential to our understanding of the American past and the American present." — The New York Times.


    EVICTED: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
    A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: Washington Post | Kirkus Reviews | Politico | The Guardian | Publishers Weekly | BookPage
    : THE 10 BEST BOOKS OF 2016
    Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary. In vivid, intimate prose, Matthew Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem.
    "Gripping and important. . . Desmond, a Harvard sociologist, is one of a rare academic breed: a poverty expert who engages with the poor. His portraits are vivid and unsettling. It's not easy to show desperate people using drugs or selling sex and still convey their courage and dignity. Evicted pulls it off. " — The New York Review of Books.
    "Thank you, Matthew Desmond. Thank you for writing about destitution in America with astonishing specificity yet without voyeurism or judgment. Thank you for proving that the struggle to keep a roof over one's head is a cause, not just a characteristic of poverty. Evicted is an extraordinary feat of reporting and ethnography. Desmond has made it impossible to ever again consider poverty in America without tackling the role of housing and without grappling with Evicted. — The Washington Post.
    "Extraordinary! I can't remember when an ethnographic study so deepened my understanding of American life." — The Guardian (U.K.).
    "An exhaustively researched, vividly realized and, above all, unignorable book - after Evicted, it will no longer be possible to have a serious discussion about poverty without having a serious discussion about housing. Eye-opening and original. . . But Evicted is most memorable for its characters, rendered in such high-resolution detail that their ghost images linger if you shut your eyes." — The New York Times.


    BLOOD IN THE WATER: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson
    A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: The Boston Globe | Newsweek | Kirkus Reviews | Publishers Weekly
    The first definitive telling of the Attica prison uprising, the state's violent response, and the victims' decades-long quest for justice. Drawing from more than a decade of extensive research, historian Heather Ann Thompson sheds new light on every aspect of the uprising and its legacy, giving voice to all those who took part in this forty-five-year fight for justice: prisoners, former hostages, families of the victims, lawyers and judges, and state officials and members of law enforcement. A searing and indelible account of one of the most important civil rights stories of the last century.
    "Gripping. . . A masterly account. The power of this superb work of history comes from its methodical mastery of interviews, transcripts, police reports and other documents, covering 35 years, many released only reluctantly by government agencies. It's Ms. Thompson's achievement, in this remarkable book, to make us understand why this one group of prisoners rebelled, and how many others shared the cost." — The New York Times.
    "A real eye-opener for readers whose interest in Attica and knowledge of what happened ended when the headlines receded. Compelling. . . Sensitive. . . Impressively authoritative and thoughtfully composed." — Kirkus Reviews *** starred review ***..
    "Writing with cinematic clarity from meticulously sourced material, Thompson brilliantly exposes the realities of the Attica prison uprising. Thompson's superb and thorough study serves as a powerful tale of the search for justice in the face of the abuses of institutional power." — Publishers Weekly *** starred review ***.
    "Blood in the Water is extraordinary - a true gift to the written history of civil rights and racial justice struggles in America." — Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow.


    THE RETURN: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between by Hisham Matar
    : THE 10 BEST BOOKS OF 2016
    One of the Qaddafi regime's most prominent opponents in exile, Hisham Matar's father was kidnapped off the streets of Cairo in 1990 and held in a secret prison in Libya. Twenty-two years later, after the fall of Qaddafi, Hisham returns to the homeland he never thought he'd see again to search for his father. The Return is the story of what he found there. It is at once an exquisite meditation on history, politics, and art, a brilliant portrait of a nation and a people on the cusp of change, and a disquieting depiction of the brutal legacy of absolute power.
    "A masterful memoir, a searing meditation on loss, exile, grief, guilt, belonging, and above all, family. It is, as well, a study of the shaping and breaking of the bonds between fathers and sons. This is writing of the highest quality." — The Sunday Times (U.K.).
    "A moving, unflinching memoir of a family torn apart by the savage realities of today's Middle East. The crushing of hopes raised by the Arab spring at both the personal and national levels is conveyed all the more powerfully because Matar's anger remains controlled, his belief in humanity undimmed." — The Guardian (U.K.).
    "Hisham Matar writes with both a novelist's eye for physical and emotional detail, and a reporter's tactile sense of place and time. The prose is precise, economical, chiseled; the narrative elliptical, almost musical. The Return is, at once, a suspenseful detective story about a writer investigating his father's fate at the hands of a brutal dictatorship, and a son's efforts to come to terms with his father's ghost. . . It seems unfair to call this extraordinary new book a memoir, since it is so many other things besides: a reflection on exile and the consolations of art, an analysis of authoritarianism, a family history, a portrait of a country in the throes of a revolution, and an impassioned work of mourning." — The New York Times.


    OLIO by Tyehimba Jess
    With ambitious and skillful manipulations of poetic forms, Jess presents the sweat and story behind America's blues, worksongs and church hymns. Part fact, part fiction, Jess's tapestry weaves sonnet, song, and narrative to examine the lives of mostly unrecorded African American performers directly before and after the Civil War up to World War I. Marvelously accessible, inventive and unique, this is a 21st century hymnal of black evolutionary poetry.
    "The content of this book really is a remarkable one. Tyehimba Jess gathers the histories of the lives - untold lives of many of the African-American artists who built the blues and jazz and the sound that we consider quintessentially American. And he's written these poems as history in a variety of voices, in a chorus." — NPR.
    "Encyclopedic, ingenious, and abundant, this outsized volume from Jess celebrates the works and lives of African-American musicians, artists, and orators who predated the Harlem Renaissance. Line drawings by Jessica Lynne Brown, exuberant typography, and the innovative layout reinforce the grand tribute that Jess's words project." — Publishers Weekly *** starred review ***.
    "The variety that Tyehimba Jess packs into Olio amply supports his goals of celebrating African-American musicial genius and bearing witness to first generation freed voices - especially those of never recorded nineteenth-century artists. Olio is so plentiful it is impossible to read in one sitting. Not only does its format invite browsing, but Jess encourages readers to weave their own chosen way between the voices." — The Hudson Review.
    "One of the most inventive, intensive poetic undertakings of the past decade. Through photos, drawings, interviews, foldouts, tables, facts, fictions, and so many strong poems, Olio assembles and raises the voices of an essential chorus." — The Boston Globe.

    The 2017 National Book Award
    The National Book Award for Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People's Literature
    is presented by the National Book Foundation in partnership with The New Yorker.
    The longlist of 10 nominees in each category was announced on Friday, September 15, 2017
    The shortlist of 5 finalists in each category were announced on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 (* finalist)
    The awards were presented to the winners on Wednesday, November 15, 2017.


    * Dark at the Crossing by Elliot Ackerman
    The King Is Always Above the People: Stories by Daniel Alarcón
    Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig
    Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
    * The Leavers by Lisa Ko
    * Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
    * Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado
    A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
    WINNER: * Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
    Barren Island by Carol Zoref

    * Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar
    * The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America by Frances FitzGerald
    WINNER: * The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia by Masha Gessen
    * Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
    No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need by Naomi Klein
    * Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America by Nancy MacLean
    The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
    The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy B. Tyson
    Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News by Kevin Young

    WINNER: * Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 by Frank Bidart
    When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities by Chen Chen
    * The Book of Endings by Leslie Harrison
    Magdalene: Poems by Marie Howe
    Where Now: New and Selected Poems by Laura Kasischke
    * WHEREAS by Layli Long Soldier
    * In the Language of My Captor by Shane McCrae
    Square Inch Hours by Sherod Santos
    * Don’t Call Us Dead: Poems by Danez Smith
    Afterland by Mai Der Vang

    * What Girls Are Made Of by Elana K. Arnold
    WINNER: * Far from the Tree by Robin Benway
    All the Wind in the World by Samantha Mabry
    You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins
    Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
    * I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez
    Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder
    The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    * Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia
    * American Street by Ibi Zoboi

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