Ackerman, Harkness, Hosseini, & More | Barbara's Fiction Previews, Sept. 2018

Ackerman, Elliot. Waiting for Eden. Knopf. Sept. 2018. 192p. ISBN 9781101947395. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101947401. Downloadable. LITERARY Having served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and now covering the Syrian conflagration from Istanbul, Ackerman surely knows war; his highly praised Green on Blue and National Book Award finalist Dark at the Crossing prove it. Here he portrays war’s aftermath as veteran Eden Malcom lies speechless and immobilized in a hospital bed. Wife Mary sits by daily, but one Christmas when she is gone, Eden’s consciousness glimmers forth. Narrated by a fellow soldier who didn't make it back. Atkinson, Kate. Transcription. Little, Brown. Sept. 2018. 352p. ISBN $28; ebk. ISBN 9780316479752. CD. LITERARY/THRILLER A multi-award-winning MBE widely beloved for her literary-with-an-edge writing, Atkinson here opens with 18-year old Juliet Armstrong working in MI5 in 1940, tasked with tracking the movements of British Fascist sympathizers. A decade later, when she’s a BBC radio producer, her past intelligence activities come back to haunt her. Bernières, Louis de. So Much Life Left Over. Pantheon. Aug. 2018. 288p. ISBN 9781524747886. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781524747893. LITERARY Best known for the award-winning Corelli’s Mandolin but the author of multiple good books (my favorite: Birds Without Wings), Granta Best of Young British Novelists de Bernières introduces us to childhood friends shattered and scattered by World War I. But their paths keep crisscrossing, with the center held by RAF flying ace Daniel and wife Rosie, a wartime nurse, whose marriage is foundering. Harkness, Deborah. Time’s Convert. Viking. Sept. 2018. 400p. ISBN 9780399564512. $29; ebk. ISBN 9780399564529. Downloadable. FANTASY A history professor when she’s not writing No. 1 New York Times best sellers like A Discovery of Witches, Harkness starts off in Revolutionary America, where young surgeon Marcus MacNeil leaps at Matthew de Clermont’s offer to make him a vampire. Marcus’s liberty-and-brotherhood ideals sit uneasily with de Clermont’s traditionalism, a conflict that resonates all the way to contemporary times, when Marcus woos a Sotheby’s employee. The theme: transitioning to vampiredom is not so easy. Hosseini, Khaled. Sea Prayer. Riverhead. Sept. 2018. 48p. ISBN 9780525539094. $15; ebk. ISBN 9780525539117. LITERARY Who better than Kite Runner author Hosseini to capture world attention in a work clarifying our understanding of the refugee’s awful yearning and sometimes awful fate? Inspired by the heartrending image of three-year-old Syrian Alan Kurdi, found drowned on Turkey’s shore in September 2015, this brief, illustrated work is presented as a letter from a father to his son, reflecting on the dangerous life they’re leaving behind and the dangerous sea voyage they face. Shteyngart, Gary. Lake Success. Random. Sept. 2018. 352p. ISBN 9780812997415. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780812997422. CD/downloadable. LITERARY In his first novel in seven years, relentlessly best-booked Shteyngart (Absurdistan, Super Sad  True Love) introduces us to ultrarich but clueless and self-absorbed hedge fund manager Barry Cohen, upset by an SEC investigation and his son’s diagnosis of autism, who runs cross-country on a Greyhound bus as visions of uncomplicated romance with his high school sweetheart dance in his head. His ambitious wife, Seema, a first-generation American who wanted the luxurious life, has her own problems. Life is hard. Vasquez, Juan Gabriel. The Shape of the Ruins. Riverhead. Sept. 2018. 560p. tr. from Spanish by Anne McLean. ISBN 9780735211148. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780735211162. Downloadable. LITERARY In this latest from Vasquez, author of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award winner and national best seller The Sound of Things Falling, a man is arrested when he attempts to steal the bullet-pocked suit a Colombian politician was wearing when he was murdered. The man's private obsession reveals larger issues, as Vasquez investigates the conspiracy theories and political violence that have shaped his nation.

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