Mailbox Monday's host for October is Kate at The Parchment Girl.
This weeks new books include:
- Passing On - Penelope Lively (purchase) - A domineering old woman dies in a Cotswold village. Her death "releases" her two middle-aged unmarried children - a spinster librarian and a nature-loving schoolmaster - to make their lives.
- We Sinners; Hanna Plyvainen (Amazon Vine) - The Rovaniemis and their nine children belong to a deeply traditional church (no drinking, no dancing, no TV) in modern-day Michigan. A normal family in many ways, the Rovaniemis struggle with sibling rivalry, parental expectations, and forming their own unique identities in such a large family. But when two of the children venture from the faith, the family fragments and a haunting question emerges: Do we believe for ourselves, or for each other? Each chapter is told from the distinctive point of view of a different Rovaniemi, drawing a nuanced, kaleidoscopic portrait of this unconventional family. The children who reject the church learn that freedom comes at the almost unbearable price of their close family ties, and those who stay struggle daily with the challenges of resisting the temptations of modern culture. With precision and potent detail, We Sinners follows each character on their journey of doubt, self-knowledge, acceptance, and, ultimately, survival.
- NW; Zadie Smith (Penguin Audio) - North West London comes vividly to life in "NW", the new novel by the author of the bestselling "White Teeth" and Man Booker-shortlisted "On Beauty". This is the story of a city. The north-west corner of a city. Here you'll find guests and hosts, those with power and those without it, people who live somewhere special and others who live nowhere at all. And many people in between. Every city is like this. Cheek-by-jowl living. Separate worlds. And then there are the visitations: the rare times a stranger crosses a threshold without permission or warning, causing a disruption in the whole system. Like the April afternoon a woman came to Leah Hanwell's door, seeking help, disturbing the peace, forcing Leah out of her isolation...Zadie Smith's brilliant tragic-comic new novel follows four Londoners - Leah, Natalie, Felix and Nathan - as they try to make adult lives outside of Caldwell, the council estate of their childhood. From private houses to public parks, at work and at play, their London is a complicated place, as beautiful as it is brutal, where the thoroughfares hide the back alleys and taking the high road can sometimes lead you to a dead end. Depicting the modern urban zone - familiar to town-dwellers everywhere - Zadie Smith's "NW" is a quietly devastating novel of encounters, mercurial and vital, like the city itself.
- Frozen Heat; Richard Castle ( Hyperion ) - NYPD Homicide Detective Nikki Heat arrives at her latest crime scene to find an unidentified woman stabbed to death and stuffed inside a suitcase left on a Manhattan street. Nikki is in for a big shock when this new homicide connects to the unsolved murder of her own mother. Paired once again with her romantic and investigative partner, top journalist Jameson Rook, Heat works to solve the mystery of the body in the suitcase while she is forced to confront unexplored areas of her mother's background. Facing relentless danger as someone targets her for the next kill, Nikki's search will unearth painful family truths, expose a startling hidden life, and cause Nikki to reexamine her own past. Heat's passionate quest takes her and Rook from the back alleys of Manhattan to the avenues of Paris, trying to catch a ruthless killer. The question is, now that her mother's cold case has unexpectedly thawed, will Nikki Heat finally be able to solve the dark mystery that has been her demon for ten years?
- The Worst Intentions; Piperno (Europa - purchase) -
Italy's leading daily newspaper called The Worst Intentions "a dangerous novel." Right from the title, wrote La Repubblica, this daring book "proclaims the furiously bellicose and iconoclastic spirit that drives it."
Daniel is the thirty-three-year-old heir to the dappled fortunes of the Sonninos, a wealthy Jewish-Italian family whose staggering rise and fall during the years spanning the end of World War II and the beginning of the twenty-first century provides the richly colored backdrop to this remarkable tragicomedy. Daniel has inherited his grandfather's extravagant passions and his father's servility, as well as the excesses of his social class. He is also the victim of a crippling infatuation with Gaia, fountainhead of his erotic fantasies and fetishes.
This novel will be justly compared to the works of Philip Roth and Saul Bellow. An audacious, sumptuous saga about ritual and liberty, love and war, sex and betrayal, set in the opulent neighborhoods of contemporary Rome.
- Faith Fox; Jane Gardam (purchase) - Faith Fox has led a life full of heartbreak and abandonment, lacking in simplicity and love—and she's not even one week old. She has suffered the unexpected and inexplicable loss of her mother in childbirth; her father, an overworked doctor grown callous with stress, has neither the ability nor the interest to take on the difficult task of raising his child alone; her grandmother, Thomasina, has decided to abscond to Egypt with a retired general rather than acknowledge and accept the loss of her daughter, whom she loved so distressingly well. And so Faith finds herself improbably at the rearing of her father's brother, Jack, an ascetic priest whose current endeavor is an occult "experimental community" comprised mainly of expatriate Tibetans. What ensues is a brilliant comedy of manners that revives the tradition begun by Jane Austen—an endlessly charming passage through the North and South of England that finally gives a major and lavishly gifted award-winning British writer the American readership she so richly deserves.
Hope you had a great week for new books as well.