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The Washington Post - The New York Times Book Review - NPR - BookPage - LibraryReads - Minneapolis Star Tribune - St. Louis Post-Dispatch Look for Elizabeth Strout's highly anticipated new work of fiction, Anything Is Possible, which is available for pre-order now. Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn't spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy's childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy's life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable. Praise for My Name Is Lucy Barton "There is not a scintilla of sentimentality in this exquisite novel. Instead, in its careful words and vibrating silences, My Name Is Lucy Barton offers us a rare wealth of emotion, from darkest suffering to--'I was so happy. Oh, I was happy'--simple joy."--Claire Messud, The New York Times Book Review "Spectacular . . . Smart and cagey in every way. It is both a book of withholdings and a book of great openness and wisdom. . . . Strout] is in supreme and magnificent command of this novel at all times."--Lily King, The Washington Post
"A short novel about love, particularly the complicated love between mothers and daughters, but also simpler, more sudden bonds . . . It evokes these connections in a style so spare, so pure and so profound the book almost seems to be a kind of scripture or sutra, if a very down-to-earth and unpretentious one."--Marion Winik, Newsday
"Potent with distilled emotion. Without a hint of self-pity, Strout captures the ache of loneliness we all feel sometimes."--Time "An aching, illuminating look at mother-daughter devotion."--People "A quiet, sublimely merciful contemporary novel about love, yearning, and resilience in a family damaged beyond words."--The Boston Globe "Sensitive, deceptively simple . . . It is Lucy's gentle honesty, complex relationship with her husband, and nuanced response to her mother's shortcomings that make this novel so subtly powerful. . . . It's] more complex than it first appears, and all the more emotionally persuasive for it."--San Francisco Chronicle "Strout maps the complex terrain of human relationships by focusing on that which is often unspoken and only implied. . . . A powerful addition to Strout's body of work."--The Seattle Times " Strout] reminds us of the power of our stories--and our ability to transcend our troubled narratives."--Miami Herald "Magnificent."--Ann Patchett
Book clubs: High-society friends
Melanie Benjamin, the bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife, offers another beautifully crafted historical novel with The Swans of Fifth Avenue. In this hypnotic mix of fact and fiction, Benjamin looks back at the friendship of Truman Capote and glamorous socialite Babe Paley. Impeccable in dress and manners, with a high-profile husband—media magnate William Paley, head of CBS—Babe leads a life that on the surface seems picture perfect. In reality, though, she’s a lonely woman in need of connection, which she finds, unexpectedly, in the mischievous, gossip-loving Truman. The two grow close, but when Truman betrays Babe’s confidence by publishing a story about her unhappy marriage, she ends their relationship. Benjamin’s account of their friendship and falling out is dazzling from start to finish. Through crisp dialogue and a glorious cast of characters that includes Frank Sinatra, Rudolph Nureyev and Katharine Graham, she brings a lost era to vivid life. Brisk, stylish and fully realized, Swans is one of Benjamin’s best.
TURMOIL IN FRANCE
One of the most talked-about books of 2015, Submission, the sixth novel from French author and critic Michel Houellebecq, is an electrifying parody of international politics. Election season 2022 finds François, an instructor at New Sorbonne University, at a dead end. His academic work is at a standstill, and he’s been sleeping with his students. When an Islamic leader named Mohammed Ben-Abbes wins France’s presidential election, life takes a surreal turn. Fearing a surge of anti-Semitism, Myriam, François’ Jewish girlfriend, flees to Israel. At New Sorbonne, only Muslims are allowed to teach, and a number of François’ fellow professors convert to Islam. In this strange new world, François must find his footing and make daunting decisions about his life. Darkly comic and provocative, Houellebecq blends fictional figures with real people, including Marine Le Pen and François Hollande. Houellebecq’s sophisticated wit, command of global politics and understanding of human motivation add up to a classic satire. This timely novel is sure to get book groups talking.
TOP PICK FOR BOOK CLUBS
Elizabeth Strout delivers a poignant look at the complexities of parental ties and the need for human connection in My Name Is Lucy Barton. Lucy left behind a difficult past in small-town Illinois to become a writer in New York City. As she recuperates in the hospital after an operation, her long-estranged mother pays a visit—and stays for five days. The two reconnect, sharing memories and catching up on gossip, but they avoid discussing sensitive family-related issues and Lucy’s literary success. Looking back on the visit, Lucy forgives these omissions and lays the past to rest. Her relationship with her mother forms the core of the novel, which Lucy narrates in a voice that’s both precise and poetic. Strout, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Olive Kitteridge, is a writer who gets better with each book.