Friday, June 2, 2017

LIVE FROM BOOK EXPO: The Buzz Books for Fall - Adult Fiction

Happy Armchair Book Expo! Stacy here from The Novel Life and an On-Site Correspondent for Armchair Book Expo. One of the events I attended was the Adult Editors' Buzz.

5 of the 6 titles shared at the event

What gets a book on the buzz list? and what IS the buzz list? It's a list of the top authors and titles expected to resonate with readers for the rest of the year.

At the podium: Owner of Bank Square Books
Seated L-R: Editors from Scout Press, Alfred A. Knopf, Riverhead Book
Little, Brown and Company, Putnam, and William Morrow

Three separate committees of booksellers, librarians, and other industry professionals debate their selections to come up with the widest possible consensus. Then, at Book Expo, the editor of each book is given 10 minutes to promote the book. And wow do these editors know how to pitch a room! Each book sounded better than the previous.

What do you think? Any of these sound appealing to you?


Unraveling Oliver
“I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.”

So begins Liz Nugent’s astonishing debut novel—a chilling, elegantly crafted, and psychologically astute exploration of the nature of evil.

Oliver Ryan, handsome, charismatic, and successful, has long been married to his devoted wife, Alice. Together they write and illustrate award-winning children’s books; their life together one of enviable privilege and ease—until, one evening after a delightful dinner, Oliver delivers a blow to Alice that renders her unconscious, and subsequently beats her into a coma.

In the aftermath of such an unthinkable event, as Alice hovers between life and death, the couple’s friends, neighbors, and acquaintances try to understand what could have driven Oliver to commit such a horrific act. As his story unfolds, layers are peeled away to reveal a life of shame, envy, deception, and masterful manipulation.
 




My Absolute Darling
A brilliant and immersive, all-consuming read about one fourteen-year-old girl's heart-stopping fight for her own soul. 

Turtle Alveston is a survivor. At fourteen, she roams the woods along the northern California coast. The creeks, tide pools, and rocky islands are her haunts and her hiding grounds, and she is known to wander for miles. But while her physical world is expansive, her personal one is small and treacherous: Turtle has grown up isolated since the death of her mother, in the thrall of her tortured and charismatic father, Martin. Her social existence is confined to the middle school (where she fends off the interest of anyone, student or teacher, who might penetrate her shell) and to her life with her father. 

Then Turtle meets Jacob, a high-school boy who tells jokes, lives in a big clean house, and looks at Turtle as if she is the sunrise. And for the first time, the larger world begins to come into focus: her life with Martin is neither safe nor sustainable. Motivated by her first experience with real friendship and a teenage crush, Turtle starts to imagine escape, using the very survival skills her father devoted himself to teaching her. The reader tracks Turtle's escalating acts of physical and emotional courage, and watches, heart in throat, as she struggles to become her own hero--and in the process, becomes ours as well. 

Shot through with striking language in a fierce natural setting, My Absolute Darling is an urgently told, profoundly moving read that marks the debut of an extraordinary new writer.




Stay With Me
In the spirit of Chris Cleave's Little Bee and Emma Donoghue's Room, this unforgettable novel set in Nigeria gives voice to both husband and wife as they tell the story of their marriage--and the forces that threaten to tear it apart. 

Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage--after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures--Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time--until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin's second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant. Which, finally, she does--but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine. An electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, Stay With Me asks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.




The Woman in the Window 
It isn’t paranoia if it’s really happening . . .

Anna Fox lives alone, a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, mother, their teenaged son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble?and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.

Twisty and powerful, ingenious, and moving, The Woman in the Window is a smart, sophisticated novel of psychological suspense that recalls the best of Hitchcock.




The Immortalists
If you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?

It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone their date of death. In search of one thing they can know for sure, the Gold siblings — four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness — sneak out to hear their fortunes.

Their prophecies inform the next five decades. Golden boy Simon runs away to San Francisco, where he lives a life of decadence and unmitigated sexuality; chameleonic Klara becomes a magician obsessed with blurring fantasy and reality; Daniel, a natural leader, rises in ranks as a prestigious military doctor; and shy, bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immorality.

A sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, THE IMMORTALISTS probes the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion, this world and the next. It is a deeply moving testament to the power of story, the nature of belief and the unrelenting pull of familial bonds.


The World of Tomorrow

Three brothers caught up in a whirlwind week of love, blackmail, and betrayal culminating in an assassination plot, set in prewar New York

June 1939. Francis Dempsey and his shell-shocked brother Michael are on an ocean liner from Ireland bound for their brother Martin's home in New York City, having stolen a small fortune from the IRA. During the week that follows, the lives of these three brothers collide spectacularly with big-band jazz musicians, a talented but fragile heiress, a Jewish street photographer facing a return to Nazi-occupied Prague, a vengeful mob boss, and the ghosts of their own family's revolutionary past. 


When Tom Cronin, an erstwhile assassin forced into one last job, tracks the brothers down, their lives begin to fracture. Francis must surrender to blackmail, or have his family suffer fatal consequences. Michael, wandering alone, turns to Lilly Bloch, a heartsick artist, to recover his lost memory. And Martin and his wife, Rosemary, try to salvage their marriage and, ultimately, the lives of the other Dempseys.

From the smoky jazz joints of Harlem to the Plaza Hotel, from the garrets of artists in the Bowery to the shadowy warehouses of mobsters in Hell's Kitchen, Brendan Mathews brings prewar New York to vivid, pulsing life, while the sweeping and intricate storytelling of this remarkable debut reveals an America that blithely hoped it could avoid another catastrophic war and focus instead on the promise of the World's Fair: a peaceful, prosperous "World of Tomorrow."

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