July 16, 2013 6:00 pm
“A heartfelt, intimate, and painfully honest account of the coming of age of one shy boy and of the exotic city he left behind, but will never forget. A story of the courage of breaking away and the “you are there” descriptions of places and people that make the reader part of this narrative of struggle and triumph.”
- Barbara Goldsmith, author of the bestselling Little Gloria, Happy at Last
“My New Orleans, Gone Away is the triumph of a memoirist with the eye of an architect and the heart of a poet. With admiration, and occasionally, awe, I shared the development of his feelings and taste. This may very well be a modest classic of that enchanted city’s art, culture, lifestyle and vanishing monuments.”
– Sidney Offit, Memoir of the Bookie’s Son
July 17, 2013 6:00 pm
From literary Concord to the backwater canals of Venice, Love’s Attraction takes readers on a tantalizing and thought-provoking journey as Michael Collins, a Washington political fixer facing an impending bribery scandal, is suddenly confronted with a past he never knew and a legacy of heartbreak and deception from which he failed to escape.
Michael Collins is returning to Lowell, the derelict mill city of his childhood, and the funeral of his estranged brother. Driving route 128, he finds himself compelled to stop in nearby Concord and at Emerson Academy, where his precocious youth as a talented pianist and dreams of a rowing scholarship to Harvard ended in devastating scandal. In his senior year, he—the “Lowell-boy”—fell deeply in love with the winsome Sandra Palmer, a blueblood Yankee from an illustrious Concord family, who inexplicably betrayed him—a bitter expulsion that led him down a path he finds himself regretting each day. As Michael revisits scenes of their love affair twenty years later, Sandra’s forthright integrity—the passionate and sensitive artist he remembers—shines forth and their wrenching breakup makes less and less sense.
Leaving the Lowell cemetery on the following day, Michael is almost run down by a red pickup truck, perhaps a warning to keep his mouth shut in an upcoming grand jury investigation. Michael decides to disappear by disguising himself as a Thoreau scholar, hiding out in plain sight at the historic Concord Inn. From this oddly liberating vantage point—the life he never had—he discovers the shocking news of Sandra Palmer’s recent suicide at Harvard. Made even more troubling when he learns that Sandra had a twin sister, “helter-skelter” Angela Palmer, seventies radical and eighties porn star and internet entrepreneur, who seemingly disappeared around the same time as her sister’s senseless suicide.
With the FBI closing in, Michael’s investigation into Sandra Palmer’s untimely death transforms into an odyssey of discovery about her family’s glittering if troubled past: A search for love and redemption that will finally draw him back to his own family roots in Venice. And to the Venice of 1914 as limned in the diary of Sandra’s grandfather, the once famous painter, friend to Singer Sargent and Whistler, Joseph Palmer … where yet another tale of deceit and obsession unfolds about the artist’s pianist wife and model—Sandra Palmer’s namesake, who befriended a poor Venetian stonecutter in the months before World War One. The tragedy of this talented woman’s death—she played Boston’s Symphony Hall at sixteen—created the world that the young Michael and Sandra unwittingly inherited.
Love’s Attraction is a mysterious, romantic novel that explores universal themes of identity: how memory (or its lack), talent and intemperate desires—embodied in art as well as in our genes—are passed down through families to influence our hidden selves. The novel speaks to the role of metamorphosis in our lives and how the transforming elixir of love’s attraction makes us most fully human.
July 18, 2013 6:00 pm
1941 is a year of drama and spectacle for Americans. Joe DiMaggio’s record-breaking hitting streak enlivens the summer, and winter begins with the shock and horror of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The news from Europe is bleak, especially for the Jewish population. Joltin’ Joe, possessing a sweet swing and range in center, also has another gift: he can see the future. And he sees dark times ahead. In her inventive novel The Powers, Valerie Sayers, in both realistic and fantastic chapters, transports the reader to an age filled with giants: Dorothy Day and Walker Evans appear beside DiMaggio. The problems they face, from Catholic antisemitism to the challenge of pacifism in the face of overwhelming evil, play out in very public media, among them the photography of Evans and the baseball of DiMaggio. At once magical and familiar, The Powers is a story of witness and moral responsibility that will, like Joe DiMaggio, find some unlikely fans.
“She’s smart and irreverent, but she’s also kind and compassionate; she gives us imperfect people and makes us like and care about them, an essential task for any novelist but one accomplished by surprisingly few.” —Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post
July 23, 2013 6:00 pm
“& Sons is that novel you’ve been waiting for without knowing you were waiting.”—Jess Walter
“David Gilbert is smart, funny, and empathetic, but most important, possessed of a true literary sensibility that is seasoned, not seasonal.”—Fran Lebowitz
“The writing is gorgeous—not only the prose but the power of Gilbert’s observations.”- —John Irving
A literary masterwork for readers of The Art of Fielding, The Emperor’s Children, and Wonder Boys—the panoramic, deeply affecting story of two interconnected families, an iconic novelist, and the heartbreaking truths that fiction can hide.
August 15, 2013 6:00 pm
Dazzling in scope, Ecstatic Nation illuminates one of the most dramatic and momentous chapters in America’s past, when the country dreamed big, craved new lands and new freedom, and was bitterly divided over its great moral wrong: slavery.
With a canvas of extraordinary characters, such as P. T. Barnum, Walt Whitman, Frederick Douglass, and L. C. Q. Lamar, Ecstatic Nation brilliantly balances cultural and political history: It’s a riveting account of the sectional conflict that preceded the Civil War, and it astutely chronicles the complex aftermath of that war and Reconstruction, including the promise that women would share in a new definition of American citizenship. It takes us from photographic surveys of the Sierra Nevadas to the discovery of gold in the South Dakota hills, and it signals the painful, thrilling birth of modern America.
An epic tale by award-winning author Brenda Wineapple, Ecstatic Nation lyrically and with true originality captures the optimism, the failures, and the tragic exuberance of a renewed Republic.
September 9, 2013 6:00 pm
In riveting first-person prose, Dr. Brendan Reilly takes us to the front lines of medicine today. Whipsawed by daily crises and frustrations, Reilly must deal with several daunting challenges simultaneously: the extraordinary patients under his care on the teeming wards of a renowned teaching hospital; the life-threatening illnesses of both of his ninety-year-old parents; and the tragic memory of a cold case from long ago that haunts him still. As Reilly’s patients and their families survive close calls, struggle with heartrending decisions, and confront the limits of medicine’s power to cure, One Doctor lays bare a fragmented, depersonalized, business-driven health-care system where real caring is hard to find. Every day, Reilly sees patients who fall through the cracks and suffer harm because they lack one doctor who knows them well and relentlessly advocates for their best interests.
Filled with fascinating characters in New York City and rural New England—people with dark secrets, mysterious illnesses, impossible dreams, and many kinds of courage—One Doctor tells their stories with sensitivity and empathy, reminding us of professional values once held dear by all physicians. But medicine has changed enormously during Reilly’s career, for both better and worse, and One Doctor is a cautionary tale about those changes. It is also a hopeful, inspiring account of medicine’s potential to improve people’s lives, Reilly’s quest to understand the “truth” about doctoring, and a moving testament to the difference one doctor can make.
September 10, 2013 6:00 pm
This sweeping, evocative, and absolutely unforgettable novel about the charismatic and passionate Axie Muldoon who changed the lives of countless women was inspired by a real midwife who became one of the most controversial figures in Victorian New York City.
Set in gritty New York City in the last half of the nineteenth century, My Notorious Life is a vibrant portrait of Axie Muldoon, a plucky orphan who becomes one of the most successful—and controversial—midwives of her time. Told in a magnetic voice, pulsing and vivid, Axie recounts how she is separated from her mother and siblings, apprenticed to a doctor and midwife, and how she later parlays the sale of a few bottles of “lunar tonic for female complaints” into a thriving midwifery practice with her husband and fellow orphan friend, Charles G. Jones. But Axie is on a collision course with one of the most zealous, censorious characters of her era: Anthony Comstock, founder of the Society for the Suppression of Vice, and it will take all of Axie’s power to outwit him and save both herself and her family from ruin.
A love story, a family saga, and a brilliant rendering of a historical time, this is also a moving and nuanced commentary on an important topic: women’s control of their bodies. But ultimately, it is the story of one woman making her indomitable way in a difficult world; with her fierce and vibrant spirit, Axie Muldoon is an indelible heroine for the ages.
September 12, 2013 6:00 pm
Katherine Hill left her small New England hometown in pursuit of a dream. Now, twelve years later, she’s a high-powered cosmetics executive in Manhattan and a much glossier version of her former self, unrecognizable to her family and old friends. Not that she would know—she hasn’t been home in over a decade.
Laney Marten always swore she’d never get “stuck” in Manchester, Vermont. No, she was destined to live out her glamorous big-city dreams. Instead, she wound up a young wife and mother. That was when her best friend ran out.
When Katherine receives word of an inheritance from former neighbor Luella Hancock, she reluctantly returns home to the people and places she left behind. Hoping for a second chance, she’s met by an unforgiving Laney, her former best friend. And there’s someone else who’s moved on without her—someone she once loved.
Tethered to their shared inheritance of Luella’s sprawling Victorian mansion, Katherine and Laney are forced to address their long-standing grudges. Through this, they come to understand that while life has taken them in different directions, ultimately the bonds of friendship and sisterhood still bind them together. But are some wounds too old and deep to mend?