Three Can Keep a Secret (Book Acquired Some Time in August, 2014)

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Archer Mayor’s Three Can Keep a Secret is, the press materials assure me, the 24th in a series of Joe Gunther mysteries. Holy cow! Publisher Macmillan/Tor’s blurb:

Joe Gunther and his team—the Vermont Bureau of Investigation (VBI)—are usually called in on major cases by local Vermont enforcement whenever they need expertise and back-up.  But after the state is devastated by Hurricane Irene, the police from one end of the state are taxed to their limits, leaving Joe Gunther involved in an odd, seemingly unrelated series of cases. In the wake of the hurricane, a seventeen year old gravesite is exposed, revealing a coffin that had been filled with rocks instead of the expected remains.

At the same time, an old, retired state politician turns up dead at his high-end nursing home, in circumstances that leave investigators unsure that he wasn’t murdered.  And a patient who calls herself The Governor has walked away from a state mental facility during the post-hurricane flood. It turns out that she was indeed once “Governor for a Day,” over forty years ago, but that she might have also been falsely committed and drugged to keep her from revealing something that she saw all those years ago.  Amidst the turmoil and the disaster relief, it’s up to Joe Gunther and his team to learn what really happened with the two corpses—one missing—and what secret “The Governor” might have still locked in her brain that links them all.

 

The Purchase (Book Acquired, 9.03.2014)

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Linda Spalding’s novel The Purchase is new in trade paperback from Random House. Their blurb:

Pennsylvania, 1798. Daniel Dickinson, a devout Quaker, has just lost his wife. When he marries a fifteen-year-old Methodist orphan to help with his five small children, his fellow Quakers disown him for his impropriety. Forced out of the only community he’s ever known, Daniel moves his family to the Virginia frontier. He has in hand a few land warrants, with which he plans to establish his new homestead.
Although determined to hold to his Quaker belief in abolitionism, Daniel is now in a slave state, and he soon finds himself the owner of a young boy named Onesimus. This fatal purchase sets in motion a twisted chain of events that will forever change his children’s lives—and his own. An unforgettable story of sacrifice and redemption, The Purchase powerfully explores questions of fate, faith, loyalty, and conscience.

Dmitry Samarov’s Where To? (Book Acquired, 8.22.2014)

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Where To? A Hack Memoir is Dmitry Samarov’s sequel to Hack.

Publisher Curbside Splendor’s blurb:

Dmitry Samarov’s illustrated memoir captures encounters with drunken passengers, overbearing cops, unreasonable city bureaucracy, his fellow cabdrivers, a few potholes, and other unexpectedly beautiful moments. Accompanied by dozens of Samarov’s original artworks—composed during traffic jams, waits at the airport, and lulls in his shifts—the stories in Where To? provide a street-level view of America from the perspective of an immigrant painter driving a cab for money.

I interviewed Dmitry about his art and his writing a few years ago, and he described Hack:

Hack started as a zine around 2000 as a way for me to make sense of my three years driving a cab in Boston (1993-1997). It was called Hack because the license to operate a taxi in Boston was called a Hackney Carriage License and they used to call cabbies hacks in the old days. It was my first attempt at writing outside of school homework assignments and there really wasn’t much writing, it was mostly pictures. Those pictures were a challenge too because, as I’ve said, I work primarily from direct observation and the only way to do these were from memory. These illustrations were made to work together with the words, not to stand on their own and that has continued to be the case through the whole history of Hack.

I started driving a taxi in Chicago in 2003 and revived Hack as a blog late in 2006. To my surprise, it got notice pretty quickly from some in the local press—Whet Moser, then of theChicago Reader especially—-and my high school pal John Hodgman mentioning it in a magazine didn’t hurt either. That got it noticed by a publicist at University of Chicago Press named Levi Stahl. He bought a copy of my self-published compilation (see the third one down) and eventually pitched Hack as a book to his employers. They published it in October 2011.

“Indiscretion” — Guy de Maupassant

“Indiscretion”

by 

Guy de Maupassant

They had loved each other before marriage with a pure and lofty love. They had first met on the sea-shore. He had thought this young girl charming, as she passed by with her light-colored parasol and her dainty dress amid the marine landscape against the horizon. He had loved her, blond and slender, in these surroundings of blue ocean and spacious sky. He could not distinguish the tenderness which this budding woman awoke in him from the vague and powerful emotion which the fresh salt air and the grand scenery of surf and sunshine and waves aroused in his soul.
She, on the other hand, had loved him because he courted her, because he was young, rich, kind, and attentive. She had loved him because it is natural for young girls to love men who whisper sweet nothings to them.
So, for three months, they had lived side by side, and hand in hand. The greeting which they exchanged in the morning before the bath, in the freshness of the morning, or in the evening on the sand, under the stars, in the warmth of a calm night, whispered low, very low, already had the flavor of kisses, though their lips had never met.
Each dreamed of the other at night, each thought of the other on awaking, and, without yet having voiced their sentiments, each longer for the other, body and soul.
After marriage their love descended to earth. It was at first a tireless, sensuous passion, then exalted tenderness composed of tangible poetry, more refined caresses, and new and foolish inventions. Every glance and gesture was an expression of passion. Read More

Lars Iyer’s Wittgenstein Jr (Book Acquired, 8.29.2014)

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Lars Iyer’s latest is now available in hardback from Melville House. Iyer discussed the novel a bit with me when I interviewed him last year:

Wittgenstein Jr? A difficult novel to write, not least because it is my first attempt at pure fiction. I had the safeguard of basing it on the life of the real Wittgenstein, replaying it in a Cambridge University of the present. But I had to dream up characters, narrative incident, narrative colour… Above all, I had to find new rhythms of writing, which fit my version of Wittgenstein himself, and fit his students. Everything is about rhythm!

There’s high despair and low humour – a lot of humour. There’s romance. There’s paranoia. There’s utopianism: dreams of friendship, of politics, of meaning. There’s lyricism. There’s madness. There’s anti-Cambridge-dons invective. There’s dance. There are songs (all novels should have songs). There are long walks in the snow. Allusions to Paul, paraphrases of rabbinical commentaries on the Bible, quotes from Wallace Stevens, from Goethe, lines from Pretty Woman… Dramatic re-enactments of great philosophical deaths…

We could probably maybe add the novel to David Markson’s list from Vanishing Point: