Welcome to the fiction Newsletter, where we bring you the highlights of our monthly fiction selections of recently received new material from all genres. We hope you will find some entertaining reading and be tempted to try new authors, or titles from a different genre.
Contemporary fiction means all that is modern and current, and our selection from this month’s new material gives wonderful examples of this, from well- known writers such as Dave Eggers to young authors such as Eowyn Ivey with her highly praised second novel.
|Heroes of the frontier : a novel / Dave Eggers.
“Josie and her children’s father have split up, she’s been sued by a former patient and lost her dental practice, and she’s grieving the death of a young man senselessly killed. When her ex asks to take the children to meet his new fiancée’s family, Josie makes a run for it, figuring Alaska is about as far as she can get without a passport. Josie and her kids, Paul and Ana, rent a rattling old RV named the Chateau, and at first their trip feels like a vacation. But as they drive, pushed north by the ubiquitous wildfires, Josie is chased by enemies both real and imagined, past mistakes pursuing her tiny family, even to the very edge of civilization.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|To the bright edge of the world / Eowyn Ivey.
“Authorized to lead an 1885 winter exploratory expedition up the Wolverine River into the Alaska interior, Lt. Col. Allen Forrester leaves his wife of a few short months to travel more than 1,000 miles over the most hostile terrain imaginable. Woefully unprepared for the climate, scarcity of food, and potentially hazardous exchanges with the native inhabitants, he and his men find a land that is as deadly as it is mysterious and beautiful. Meanwhile, bride Sophie faces a difficult pregnancy alone in Vancouver, WA. The entire novel consists of the correspondence between the couple-neither of them knowing if those letters will even reach the other. Interspersed are other letters between an exhibitor in Alaska and Allen’s great nephew who wants the Forresters’ story to be curated and preserved.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|The invoice : a novel / Jonas Karlsson ; translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith.
“A passionate film buff, whose life revolves around his part-time job at a video store, the company of a few precious friends, and a daily routine that more often than not concludes with pizza and movie in his treasured small space in Stockholm. When he receives an astronomical invoice from a random national bureaucratic agency, everything will tumble into madness as he calls the hotline night and day to find out why he is the recipient of the largest bill in the entire country. What is the price of a cherished memory? How much would you pay for a beautiful summer day? How will our carefree idealist, who is content with so little and has no chance of paying it back, find a way out of this mess?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
With the beginning of four new series in this month’s selection of new graphic novels, there is some great reading to look forward to. Providence. Act 1 by Alan Moore is one of these, and is an examination of the work of the popular horror writer H. P. Lovecraft.
|Bloody Mary / Garth Ennis, writer ; Carlos Ezquerra, artist.
“In a world only slightly worse than our own, a third great European conflict has dragged the major powers into a lethal war of attrition. Whole nations are ruined, with the death toll running into many millions. Now, Mary Malone, the most dangerous assassin in a land of killers, finds herself set against adversaries whose evil insanity knows no bounds. Together with her sidekick the Major, delusional but deadly, Mary must face both a man who cannot die and a crazed cult leader whose flock are all too ready to die for him.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|Megg & Mogg in Amsterdam : and other stories / Simon Hanselmann.
“Megg the witch, Mogg the cat, their friend Owl, and Werewolf Jones struggle unsuccessfully with their depression, drug use, sexuality, poverty, lack of ambition, and their complex feelings about each other. Megg and Mogg decide to take a trip to Amsterdam for some quality couple time, although the trip gets off to a rocky start when they forget their antidepressants. They need Owl to come and help them save their relationship” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|Providence. Act 1 / story, Alan Moore ; art, Jacen Burrows.
“Alan Moore’s quintessential horror series has set the standard for a terrifying examination of the works of H.P. Lovecraft. It is being universally hailed as one of Moore’s most realized works in which the master scribe has controlled every iota of the story, art, and presentation. The result has been a masterpiece like no other, unparalleled in tone and content, and a true must have addition to his essential works in the field.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
This month’s selection from the recently received new mystery novels are set in a wide variety of places. Unfortunately we can only choose three for this newsletter and so have chosen the most far-reaching of locales.
|Journey under the midnight sun / Keigo Higashino ; translated by Alexander O. Smith, with Joseph Reeder.
“A twenty-year-old murder. A chain of unsolvable mysteries, can one detective solve this epic riddle? When a man is found murdered in an abandoned building in Osaka in 1973, unflappable detective Sasagaki is assigned to the case. He begins to piece together the connection of two young people who are inextricably linked to the crime; the dark, taciturn son of the victim and the unexpectedly captivating daughter of the main suspect. Over the next twenty years we follow their lives as Sasagaki pursues the case, which remains unsolved, to the point of obsession.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|In the month of the midnight sun / Cecilia Ekbäck.
“Stockholm 1856. A telegram arrives on the Minister of Justice’s desk, with the news of a massacre on one of Lapland’s mountains; a priest, a law enforcement officer, and a local settler have been slaughtered by one of the indigenous Sami people. The murderer is in custody; he refuses to talk. The Minister dispatches his son-in-law, a geologist, to investigate for there is more than one reason to visit Blackasen: it is a mountain with many secrets, a mountain that has never been mapped. Magnus does not journey alone. The Minister’s daughter, in disgrace, is sent with him. What they discover about the murders and what lies behind them will be as nothing compared with what they discover about themselves.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|A rising man / Abir Mukherjee.
“Captain Sam Wyndham, former Scotland Yard detective, is a new arrival to Calcutta. Desperately seeking a fresh start after his experiences during the Great War, Wyndham has been recruited to head up a new post in the police force. But with barely a moment to acclimatise to his new life or to deal with the ghosts that still haunt him, Wyndham is caught up in a murder investigation that will take him into the dark underbelly of the British Raj. With rising political dissent and the stability of the Raj under threat, Wyndham and his two new colleagues, arrogant Inspector Digby and British-educated, but Indian-born Sergeant Banerjee, one of the few Indians to be recruited into the new CID embark on an investigation that will take them from the luxurious parlours of wealthy British traders to the seedy opium dens of the city.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Many hours of pure escapism are guaranteed with our selection of new science fiction and fantasy novels, where the imagination of the writers knows no bounds.
|The Swarm / Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston.
“Earth survived the attack of the first Formic scoutship. But can the heroes of that first invasion save humanity from the full fleet that’s on its way? The Swarm picks up a few years after the conclusion of the First Formic War series. Earth has begun preparing a desperate defense. The Hegemon, Polemarch, and Strategos are in place, and the newly minted International Fleet is working with corporate forces to build an armada and weapons as fast as possible. Will it be enough? And can humanity overcome the dangers posed by political machinations, careerism, international squabbles, and petty bureaucracy?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|Time siege / Wesley Chu.
“A sequel to Time Salvager, a futuristic saga that pits fugitive time traveler James Griffin-Mars and his allies, who seek to rescue a ravaged Earth from utter destruction, against Valta, the megacorporation that rules the galaxies. While James and Grace Priestly, the Mother of Time, embark on an interplanetary search for a cure for James’s unwell sister, Sasha, scientist Elise Kim and the Elfreth tribe seek refuge from Valta’s ruthless Senior Securitate Kuo on “the dreaded Mist Isle,” formerly Manhattan.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|Dark matter : a novel / by Blake Crouch.Dark Matter
“Brilliant scientist Jason Dessen was on the verge of a major breakthrough when his life took a different turn instead of completing his work on quantum superposition, he married his pregnant girlfriend and now lives a relatively happy life as husband to the gorgeous Daniela, father to teenage Charlie, and professor of undergrad physics at a small Chicago-area college. All is well if not very exciting until the night he is abducted and bludgeoned, and wakes up in a different time and place or, perhaps, it’s a different plane. It appears there is another world, one where Jason didn’t marry Daniela but went on to create a box that can transport someone into a parallel universe.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Debut novelists are the feature in our ‘Other Genre’ category of selected new additions to the collection. As these are first novels, we are sure there will be many that will excite many readers, with their writing skill and inventive narratives, perhaps earning many followers eager for future novels.
|Cooking for Picasso : a novel / Camille Aubray.
“Juan-les-Pins, the French Riviera, 1936: Ondine is a sixteen-year old girl working at her family’s cafe when she is called upon to cook for Picasso, who has secretly rented a nearby villa. Picasso is successful, powerful, and virile, yet he is also a man beset by his own demons, and he’s at a great crossroads in his personal and professional life. The spirited Ondine is just beginning to discover her own talents and appetites, and she quickly blossoms in many ways from her encounter with Picasso – each inspires the other. New York, 2016: Celine, Ondine’s American granddaughter, decides to embark on a journey to the French Riviera in a quixotic quest to do what her fragile mother Julie is no longer able to do, that is, to find out what really happened when her grandmother Ondine crossed paths with the great Picasso and possibly recover a lost family treasure.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|The nix / Nathan Hill.
“In Norwegian folklore, a nix is a spirit, sometimes appearing as a white horse, that steals children away. It’s 2011, and college professor Samuel Andresen-Anderson has a Nix of his own: his mother, Faye. She abandoned the family when he was a boy; now she’s re-appeared, having committed an absurd crime that electrifies the nightly news and inflames a politically divided country. To save her Samuel will uncover long buried secrets that stretch across generations and have their origin all the way back in Norway. As he does so Samuel will relearn everything he thought he knew about his mother, and himself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|The paper house / Anna Spargo-Ryan.
“Heather and Dave have found the perfect place to raise their first child. The house has character, but it’s the garden that really makes it: red-faced impatiens, pockmarked gums, six upright pittosporums to keep the neighbors out. It’s a jungle, a hiding place, a refuge, and then, without warning, that life is over. Heartbreaking, fearless, and ablaze with a coruscating beauty all its own, The Paper House tells the story of a woman sinking into the depths of grief, and the desperate efforts of her loved ones to bring her up for air.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)