Upcoming Books From Algonquin & Random House

June 28, 2010

We’re at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. and having a great time. Without exception, the programs we’ve attended have been inspiring and full of good ideas to be put to use when we return to Essex. We had the opportunity to attend a publishing book blast on Friday afternoon and heard about a handful of favorites from their publishers. We especially enjoyed the presentation by Ina Stern from Algonquin Books for West Of Here by Jonathan Evison (not to be released until Feb. 2011–such a long time to wait!) A brief synopsis of the plot:

An epic western adventure wrapped in the history of one small town, from the rugged mudflats of the northwestern frontier, to a rusting strip mall cornucopia, West of Here is a conversation between two epochs, one rushing blindly toward the future, and the other struggling to undo the damage of the past.

Ina also spoke passionately about the upcoming release, certain to be a bestseller, by Brock Clarke who also wrote An Arsonist’s Guide To Writer’s Homes In New England.  Exley (to be released in October, 2010), is a terrific follow-up for a writer who has been compared with John Irving and Richard Ford. The plot:

For nine-year-old Miller, who lives with his mother in Watertown, New York, life has become a struggle to make sense of his father’s disappearance, for which he blames himself. Then, when he becomes convinced that he has found his father lying comatose in the local VA hospital, a victim of the war in Iraq, Miller begins a search for the one person he believes can save him, the famously reclusive — and, unfortunately, dead — Frederick Exley, a Watertown native and the author of his father’s favorite book, the “fictional memoir” A Fan’s Notes. The story of Miller’s search, told by both Miller himself and his somewhat flaky therapist, ultimately becomes an exploration of the difference between what we believe to be real and what is in fact real, and how challenging it can be to reconcile the two.

We heard an eloquent and moving description of Sir Salman Rushdie’s forthcoming book, Luka And The Fire Of Life, a fairy tale, written for his son Milan, to be enjoyed by children and adults alike.  After hearing Sir Salman himself speak on Saturday afternoon about the book, we’re convinced it’s going to become a well-loved classic. It’s a companion book to Haroun And The Sea Of Stories. You’ll want to go read that while you wait for the release of Luka (November, 2010). The plot:

The adventure begins one beautiful starry night in the land of Alifbay, where a terrible thing happens: Luka’s father, Rashid, the legendary storyteller of Kahani, falls suddenly and inexplicably into a sleep so deep that nothing and no one can rouse him. To save him from slipping away entirely, Luka must embark on a journey through the world of magic with his loyal companions, Bear the dog and Dog the bear, as they encounter a slew of fantastical creatures, strange allies, and challenging obstacles along the way—all in the hopes of stealing the Fire of Life, a seemingly impossible and exceedingly treacherous task.