Here’s a quick look at some notable books—new titles from Meg Howrey, Johanne Lykke Holm, Billy Collins, and more—that are publishing this week.
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They’re Going to Love You by Meg Howrey
Here’s what Publishers Weekly had to say about They’re Going to Love You: “Howrey (The Wanderers) delivers a poignant family story of alienation, regret, and desire. Carlisle Martin, 43, a Los Angeles choreographer, has learned that her father, Robert, whom she hasn’t seen for 19 years, is dying. As the daughter of two professional ballet dancers, Carlisle was a natural talent, and was especially driven to impress the astute Robert and his effusive partner, James, a ballet teacher. Growing up, she visited Robert and James two weeks a year (from her home in Ohio with her mother), relishing in the magic of their decadent Greenwich Village home. She especially craved James’s stories and strived to be closer to the pair. As she narrates in a flashback of her life at 24: ‘My father, I love, and James I sort of want to be. Maybe I mean: have?’ But then she did something Robert won’t forgive her for (the details of which don’t come out till much later), and went on to build a career without the help of her family. Now, she learns she might inherit Robert and James’s house, according to the terms of her grandfather’s trust, causing a painful flood of memories and tension with the couple, whom she assumes want her to give the house to James. The fraught scenes provoke staggering bursts of emotion, such as a flashback to Carlisle at 12 returning from New York to Ohio and realizing she doesn’t feel like she belongs with her mother’s new family. Howrey expertly builds tension, leading the reader to feel alongside Carlisle both the draw of ballet and her anxiety about her reunion with her father. It’s a breathtaking performance.”
Strega by Johanne Lykke Holm
Here’s what Publishers Weekly had to say about Strega: “Translator Holm’s stylish and spellbinding gothic debut follows a group of nine young women who arrive for seasonal work at the Olympic Hotel near the remote Alpine village of Strega. The hotel, once a playground for the rich, now sits empty, and the women spend their days cleaning and preparing for guests who never arrive. Punchy, rhythmic sentences capture the mixture of boredom and anticipation that permeates their work. Amid the routine, the narrator, Rafa, develops a bond with Alba, but their idyll is broken when a festival brings a raucous party of guests to the hotel. That night, after one of the women performs a dance routine for the guests, she disappears. A subsequent search yields nothing but her dress, which Alba finds. Holm has a sure hand in conveying the atmosphere of dread that ensues and colors Rafa and Alba’s relationship as the women resume their routine and summer winds to a close. Rafa’s narration, meanwhile, crystallizes into an unsettling reckoning with her vulnerability in which she contemplates how ‘a girl’s life could at any point be turned into a crime scene.’ Readers won’t be able to turn away from this gorgeous and captivating work.”
The Wintering Place by Kevin McCarthy
Here’s what Publishers Weekly had to say about The Wintering Place: “McCarthy follows up Wolves of Eden with another tough tale of the Dakota Territory, one as bloody and visceral as a Sam Peckinpah film. It’s 1867 and Irish immigrants Thomas Sugrue and his younger brother, Michael, are mired in a brutal struggle for survival. Both have fled a murder charge in their home country and served with Union forces in the American Civil War. Tom and his lover Sara—who is half French, half Indigenous, and whom Tom recently liberated from abusive captors by more killings—have just rescued Michael from a near-scalping and sure death following a Sioux onslaught at their fort. Over the next few months, a series of events cast the three in sharp relief against a treacherous environment that is as unforgiving as it is lawless: a deadly encounter with a pair of cutthroat fur trappers, a tense dispute with two Crow braves over rights to a pair of elk carcasses, and a final violent reckoning of unresolved grudges from the past at a frontier trading post. McCarthy effectively alternates chapters cobbled from a journal kept by Michael with stark omniscient accounts, thus combining an intimate tone with an unflinching appraisal of the territory’s harsh terms of engagement. This is a solid entry in the revisionist western fiction canon.”
I Am the Light of This World by Michael Parker
Here’s what Publishers Weekly had to say about I Am the Light of This World: “Parker (Prairie Fever) traces in this frank if uneven outing the harrowing journey of an east Texas man who attempts to build a new life after serving a 40-year prison sentence. One night in 1973 Smyrna, Tex., 17-year-old Earl Boudreaux attends a wild, druggy party. The night turns hazy: there’s an orgy Earl scarcely remembers, and a drug dealer tries to rape Tina, the woman Earl’s in love with, then murders her. In short order, Earl, whose car is coated with Tina’s blood, is arrested and convicted for murder. Upon his release in 2018, Earl receives a large sum of money bequeathed by his lawyer which enables him to make a fresh start in Cliffside, Ore., where, after staying in a motel and struggling to lead a normal life, he finds a place to live and a new set of friends, all the while concealing his history until another fateful mistake brings his past to light. While the author aptly conveys Earl’s quotidian challenges post-incarceration, the book is marred by thinly developed characters, particularly in the first half covering Earl’s teen years. It’s not bad, but other authors have done much more with stories of false convictions.”
Also out this week: Musical Tables by Billy Collins.