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An American marriage : a novel [book club kit]
2019
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New York Times Review
TIME PIECES: A Dublin Memoir, by John Banville. (Knopf, $26.95.) The Booker Prize-winning novelist wanders Ireland's capital city, recalling people and places that still live in his memory. Scattered throughout are suitably atmospheric photographs by Paul Joyce. THE REAL LIFE OF THE PARTHENON, by Patricia Vigderman. (Mad Creek/Ohio State University Press, paper, $21.95.) An American scholar visits classic sites of the ancient world in a book that's part travelogue, part memoir and part musing on our complex, contested cultural heritage. SMOKETOWN: The Untold Story of the Other Great Black Renaissance, by Mark Whitaker. (Simon & Schuster, $30.) Whitaker recounts the untold history of Pittsburgh's role as a mecca for African-Americans in the mid-20th century - from figures like Billy Strayhorn and August Wilson to the local newspaper, The Courier, which covered it all. FEEL FREE: Essays, byZadie Smith. (Penguin, $28.) Deftly roving from literature and philosophy to art, pop music and film, Smith's incisive new collection showcases her exuberance and range while making a cohesive argument for social and aesthetic freedom. A GIRL IN EXILE: Requiem for Linda B., by Ismail Kadare. Translated by John Hodgson. (Counterpoint, $25.) The famed Albanian writer, and perpetual Nobel Prize contender, produces a novel that grapples with the supernatural in a story set against a backdrop of interrogation, exile and thwarted lives. AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE, by Tayari Jones. (Algonquin, $26.95.) Roy and Celestial are a young black couple in Atlanta "on the come up," as he puts it, when he's convicted of a rape he did not commit and sentenced to 12 years in prison. The unfairness of the years stolen from this couple by a great cosmic error forms the novel's slow burn. MONSTER PORTRAITS, by Del and Sofia Samatar. (Rose Metal, paper, $14.95.) Del and Sofia Samatar are brother and sister, and their beautiful new book, which braids Del's art and Sofia's text, explores monstrosity and evil while inviting a discussion about race and diaspora. THE NIGHT DIARY, by Veera Hiranandani. (Dial, $16.99; ages 8 to 12.) A 12-year-old refugee and her family make their way to India's border during the bloody events of Partition in 1947. THE HEART AND MIND OF FRANCES PAULEY, by April Stevens. (Schwartz & Wade, $16.99; ages 8 to 12.) This understated middle grade debut features a dreamy 11-year-old who spends hours among the rocks in her backyard. What the book lacks in plot, it more than makes up in observation, mood and full-on feeling. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web: nytimes.com/books
Library Journal Review
Novelist Jones (Silver Sparrow), recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and United States Artist Fellowship, begins her story with Celestial and Roy, a young, newlywed couple excited about their future together, taking a trip to visit Celestial's family. Roy then makes a simple decision that changes his life. A woman in a nearby hotel room is raped and, having encountered Roy at the ice machine, later mistakenly identifies him as the culprit. Despite the lack of evidence, Roy is sentenced to prison for 12 years. Celestial knows that he is innocent and tries to support him despite her pain. She turns to best friend Andre, who was also a friend of Roy's, eventually beginning a relationship with him. When Roy's conviction is later overturned, his return is equally a joyous and a challenging occasion that brings up issues of love, family, and race. Jones's writing is engagingly layered with letters between the main characters integrated through the narrative. Her personal letter to readers demonstrates how writing this novel changed her. VERDICT Layered like Pearl Cleage's What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day, this title will appeal to all readers of contemporary fiction. [See Prepub Alert, 8/14/17.]-Ashanti White, -Fayetteville, NC © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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