We’re always on the lookout for books that strike a chord with our readers. This week in New & Notable we focus on the human spirit. Novelist Edna O’Brien’s is rebellious and ravenous for adventure.  Memoirist Anchee Min struggles in America after shocking deprivation in China. Novelist Marisa Silver imagines the hope and disenchantment experienced by the “Migrant Mother” in the famous 30s photograph by Dorothea Lange.  And novelist Khaled Hosseini limns the spiritual scarring left by tyranny, war, crime, lies, and illness on characters living in Paris, Kabul, San Francisco, and the Greek island of Tinos.

Biography | Memoir

country-girlCountry Girl: A Memoir, by Edna O’Brien

In 1960, Edna O’Brien published The Country Girls, her first novel, which so scandalized the O’Briens’ local parish that the book was burned by its priest. O’Brien, married with two sons, was undeterred and has since created a body of work that bears comparison with the best writing of the twentieth century. Country Girl brings us face to face with a life of high drama and contemplation. It is a rich and heady accounting of the events, people, emotions, and landscape that imprint upon and enliven one lifetime. (Excerpted from a description by the publisher, Little, Brown and Company.)

Review

“This memoir is the book one has long wanted from Ms. O’Brien. She has famously had an adventurous life. In interviews and newspaper profiles, she has seemed to be on the prowl for experience in a way that, typically, only our roguish male writers are allowed to be . . . . You might come to “Country Girl” for the gossip, but you’ll stay for this memoir’s ardent portrait of a young woman struggling to find her identity both as a human being and a writer.” —The New York Times

 

Biography | Memoir

cookedseed_t700The Cooked Seed:  A Memoir, by Anchee Min

In 1994, Anchee Min published Red Azalea, a memoir of growing up during the violent trauma of the Cultural Revolution. It became an international bestseller. Twenty years later, Min returns to give us the next chapter, as she moves from the shocking deprivations of her homeland to the sudden bounty of the promised land of America, without language, money or a clear path. . . . It is her struggle throughout toward genuine selfhood that elevates this dramatic, classic immigrant story to something powerfully universal. (Excerpted from a description by the publisher, Bloomsbury U.S.A.) Note: “A cooked seed” means “a seed with no chance to sprout.”

Review

A wild, passionate and fearless American writer.” —The New York Times

 

 

 

Fiction

marycoinmedMary Coin, by Marisa Silver

In her first novel since The God of War, the critically acclaimed author Marisa Silver takes Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother” photograph as inspiration for a breathtaking reinvention—a story of two women, one famous and one forgotten, and of the remarkable legacy of their chance encounter. (Excerpted from a description by the publisher, Blue Rider Press.)

Review

“Gorgeous . . . . This narrative of mid-century hope, loss, and disenchantment is both universal and deeply personal. With writing that is sensual and rich, [Silver] shines a light on the parts of personal history not shared and stops time without destroying the moment.”—Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

 

 

 

Fiction

and-the-mountains-echoedAnd the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Kite Runner and  A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. (Excerpted from a description by the publisher, Riverhead. Release date: May 21.)

Review:

“Captivating and affecting . . . A masterful and compassionate storyteller, Hosseini traces the traumas and scarring of tyranny, war, crime, lies, and illness in the intricately interconnected, heartbreaking, and transcendent lives of his vibrantly realized characters to create a grand and encompassing tree of life.”—Booklist (starred review)

 

 

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