When Sally Rooney has a new novel, readers sit up and take note. In England, bookstores opened at midnight so at 12:01 on Tuesday folks could get their copies. It's gonna be big.
This book, like Normal People and Conversations with Friends, is a novel relying heavily on characterization to tell the story. In this case it's Alice, a brilliant but troubled author, and her best friend and email correspondent Eileen, and the men in their lives as they all begin to realize that, in their 30s now, they aren't waiting for 'real life' - they are in it.
If everyone were as introspective and able to communicate their thoughts on everything from sex to politics to global issues to relationships the way these 30-somethings are, the world would either be incredibly morose or incredibly, happily self-aware. The mere fact of the title, Beautiful World, Where Are You, lets us know that Rooney's characters are going to be of the angsty variety.
I think as with Normal People, readers in their 20s and 30s will eat this up. Older readers like myself may be left feeling as if we've been too busy just living our lives to give it the thorough examination Alice and her tribe are struggling to understand.
Classic Alice Feeney - dark, twisted, and surprising.
Mr. and Mrs. Wright's outwardly perfect marriage has actually gone very wrong. In a last-ditch effort to save the union, they take the weekend away in Scotland which Amelia won at a raffle at work.
Interspersed throughout the 'he said, she said' chapters are letters Adam's wife wrote each anniversary and never let him read. Until now. Because this is a trip that Adam and Amelia didn't win, and at least one of them is lying.
Even if you think you figured this one out, I'm positive you didn't figure it all out. It's that good.
This is one of those delicious novels in which there is no one to like.
Florence Darron is a small-town girl convinced she deserves a spot among the country's most celebrated authors. She's not willing to work her way there, when a little cheating, sleeping, and blackmailing her way there will be so much faster.
When that doesn't work out and Florence lands the coveted position as assistant to a very famous but anonymous novelist whose pseudonym is Maud Dixon, Florence is sure it's her big break.
Helen - aka Maud - seems to be taking young Florence under her wing. She even invites her along on a research trip to Morocco. But when a freak accident leaves Helen/Maud dead, Florence thinks an upgrade in her life is in order. Why not? No one knows who Maud Dixon really is anyway...
Aloysius Archer, the WWII vet who is straight out of prison after serving a sentence for a murder that was actually self-defense, decides it's time for a fresh start and heads west.
But not before he picks up a 1939 French Delahaye convertible and aspiring actress Liberty Callahan for the journey.
Archer and Callahan make it to Bay Town, CA, where Archer has arranged to apprentice himself to wizened P.I. Willie Dash, and Callahan looks for work to showcase her talents.
Unsurprisingly, the dance hall where Callahan is singing and dancing becomes the center of Archer's first case as prominent townspeople and showgirls alike start turning up dead.
This mystery is set in the 1950s and Baldacci uses the era's mores and peculiarities to bring this story to life.
This book is like a novelized version of The Professor and the Madman - the very popular nonfiction book and, more recently, Netflix film.
In this novel, Esme is a young girl growing up in the Scriptorium where her father is assistant to Dr. Murray, the Scotsman in charge of the OED.
Early on, Esme gets into trouble for sneaking off with words whose slips have fallen beneath the table where she played.
And as Esme grew, she began to see that certain words - many having to do with women - were left out of the decades-in-the-making dictionary.
Autor Pip Williams, bothered by the thought that all of the dictionary's editors were men, did some research and discovered female volunteers, contributors, assistants and spouses - none of whose contributions were acknowledged. And that gave her the germ of her story. The Dictionary of Lost Words.
Lovers of the language, of historical fiction, of The Professor and the Madman will revel in this retelling from Esme's point of view.
Ramesh Kumar was plucked from his abusive father's tea stand and given an education by a kindly nun, and his life is changed forever. But, rather than taking the all-important All India's exam and going to a prestigious university as planned, Ramesh ends up taking the exams for rich families' children - and doing so well that he finds himself with a thriving business. And then Ramesh takes Rudi's exams, and places first in the nation. Immediately Rudi is a star, and Ramesh sees a way to cash in on Rudi's new found celebrity as his manager.
This book is satiric and irreverent, and manages to poke fun at Indian culture and Western culture at the same time.
Author Rahul Raina has been called a mesmerizing new talent even as he splits his time between working at his start-up in England and working for charities benefitting street children and teaching English in India.
The Plot refers to the plot of a mega-bestselling book. The novel was written by Jacob Finch Bonner, whose first novel was critically acclaimed, and for whose second novel there was trouble finding a publisher. Bonner hadn't had a great new idea in some time.
So when, as a teacher at a low-res creative writing MFA, he is assigned an arrogant, obnoxious young man who boasts of a plot that will hit the top of the bestselling charts and surely someday be produced by an A-Lister in Hollywood, Bonner is less than impressed. Until Evan Parker tells him the storyline. It was so original and so outrageous, that Bonner couldn't help but be jealous that this brute had come up what in years of writing had eluded Bonner. But, years later, no such blockbuster book has been published. Jake decides to Google Evan Parker to see what the aspiring novelist is up to, and discovers that he has died.
And that plot...Evan's sure-fire winner of a plot...was never written. So Jake decides to write it himself. And sure enough, he's a world-wide success, praised and admired wherever he goes.
But not by one person. The person who emails "You are a thief." And then the plot thickens...
There are lots of great twists and turns in this thriller that every fan of the genre is going to appreciate.
Get ready - you're going to love The Plot.
'Madam' is what all of the female teachers are called at Caldonbrae Hall - the prestigious, 150-year-old boarding school in Scotland that educated England's finest young women. Rose Christle, at 26, is by far the youngest Madam at the school chosen to head their Classics department. At first, Rose is just intimidated, by the enormous school on the cliff, by the decades of tradition she didn't share, and of the other staff, who felt less than welcoming.
But as the year unfolds, Rose discovers that the purpose of the school is not what the public is told. And, horrified as she is, Rose sees no way out of the hold the school now has over her, and no way to save the young girls she's come to care about.
This unexpected novel is a dark feminist treaty wrapped up in a fresh look at mythology and ancient history. It will leave you questioning whether or not things have really changed for women in eons.
The Good Company is a quiet book that sneaks up on the reader who is assuming they are reading a book about actors and the theater and NYC and LA, only to discover the novel is about trust and family and relationships and growing into one's own consciousness.
When Flora makes a discovery that makes her question everything she'd always assumed about her husband Julian and her best friend Margo, she needs to discover if all of their talent for becoming someone else can translate into reinvention of their actual lives.
D'Aprix Sweeney also wrote The Nest, another favorite among readers who love to plumb the depths of families in distress.