Spring 2012 News

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (Ecco) has been shortlisted for the Orange Prize. The novel is an instant New York Times Bestseller, and an NPR Bestseller. Time Magazine says The Song of Achilles is “a wildly romantic retelling of the Trojan War,” and The Washington Post says, “in prose as clean and spare as the driving poetry of Homer, Miller captures the intensity and devotion of adolescent friendship.” USA Today says, “A new song is born, and with it, an author we’ll want to hear sing again, and soon,” and The Independent writes, “Miller has combined scholarship with imagination to turn the most familiar war epic into a fresh, emotionally riveting and sexy page-turner.” Read an interview with Madeline in the New York Times‘s T Magazine here.

The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. (Crown) by Nichole Bernier was selected by BookPage as one of the “Most Buzzed About Debuts of 2012.” Booklist says ”Bernier’s tale blends bittersweet heartaches with soaring truths.” The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. will be published in June 2012.

The Boston Globe says Nick Dybek‘s When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man (Riverhead) is “an exploration of loyalty and moral choice within a crumbling family.” The AV Club calls the novel “a hypnotic, relentless debut that explores every man’s capability to become evil,” and Nick Dybek “a thrilling talent to watch.” The Economist says When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man has “the momentum of a thrilling yarn, delivered as if by a scarred man by the consoling light of a fire.”

Anna Keesey‘s Little Century (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) is a “briskly romantic, nontraditional Western,” says O Magazine, and “Keesey portrays her men and women as deeply flawed but so achingly vulnerable that it is impossible not to identify with them.” Publisher’s Weekly says “While Keesey offers a variety of characters with intriguing stories of their own, it is the richly depicted setting — from desert to dry goods store — that showcases her talent.” A starred review in Library Journal calls Little Century ”a top-notch novel of Western Americana.”

The Advocate says of Lysley Tenorio‘s Monstress (Ecco), “These stories are so well-written and immediate, they hardly seem like fiction but rather the troubled narrative of someone’s own life — someone faced with an impossible, life-changing choice.” The AV Club writes, “Monstress is the best kind of ethnic literature, one that introduces a unique voice from an underrepresented slice of the American experience.” Read Lysley Tenorio’s recommendations for what to read next, on the Barnes & Noble Review, here.

The Washington Post calls Lauren Fox‘s Friends Like Us (Knopf) a “poignant comedy about relationships,” saying, “[Fox is] in love with language and can squeeze laughs out of the worst situations while depicting nuanced, complicated characters.” Read Lauren Fox’s short story “Ongry,” published by Five Chaptershere.

Kevin Wilson‘s The Family Fang (Ecco), now in paperback, is back on the New York Times Bestseller List and the Indie Bestseller List. The novel was also selected by readers of The Believer as a favorite book in 2011. Read an essay by Kevin Wilson, “The Law is Skinny With Hunger for Us”,  here.

The New York Times Book Review says Megan Mayhew Bergman‘s Birds of a Lesser Paradise (Scribner) ”provides alluring glimpses into the strangeness, the ruthlessness, of the animal kingdom.” Paste Magazine says “[Bergman's] writing shines when linking nature and not just womanhood, but femininity… Bergman excels at a mundane kind of gothic that is both familiar and frightening.” The Boston Globe calls Megan Bergman “a top-notch emerging writer.” Read an interview with Megan Bergman on the Wall Street Journal Speakeasy blog here.

James Renner‘s The Man From Primrose Lane (Farrer, Straus & Giroux) is “ambitious and innovative,” says The Washington Post. 

A starred review in Booklist calls Zoe Ferraris‘s Kingdom of Strangers (Little, Brown) a “fascinating mystery that provides insight into the lives of women in Saudi Arabia and exposes the plight of migrant workers there…. The combination of an exotic locale with a closed culture and first-rate psychological suspense makes this a compelling page-turner.” A starred review in Publisher’s Weekly says, “With intelligence, patience, and meticulous detail, Ferraris evokes a complex culture profoundly ambivalent about female power.”

The 2012 edition of the Pushcart Prize Anthology is now available, featuring stories by Celeste Ng and Bret Anthony Johnston.