Fiction

Cloudsplitter | ,

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A triumph of the imagination, rich in incident and beautiful in its detail, Cloudsplitter brings to life one of history's legendary figures--John Brown, whose passion to abolish slavery lit the fires of the American Civil War in a conflagration that changed civilization..

Fiction

Rule Of The Bone | Russell Banks

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Chappie is a punked-out teenager rejected by his mother and abusive stepfather. Out of school and in trouble with the police, he drifts through crash pads, doper squats, and malls until he finally settles in an abandoned school bus with Rose, a seven-year-old child, and I-Man, an exiled Rastafarian who will dramatically change his life. Together they begin an amazing journey....

Fiction

The Melody | Jim Crace

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From the Booker Prize-shortlisted author of Harvest, Quarantine, and Being Dead, a tender new novel about music, lost love, and the way barely whispered fears and desires push their way into the light. Alfred Busi lives alone in his villa overlooking the waves, with only his trusted piano for company. Famed in his town for his music and songs, he is mourning the recent death of his wife and quietly living out his days--occasionally performing the classics in small venues, though never in the stadiums he could fill when in his prime. On the night before receiving his town's highest honour, Busi is wrested from his bed by noises in his courtyard, and then stunned by an attacking intruder. His hands and neck are scratched, and his face is bitten. Busi can't say what it was that he encountered, exactly, but he feels his assailant was neither man nor animal. The attack sets off a chain of events that will cast a shadow on Busi's career, imperil his home, and alter the fabric of his town. Busi's own account of what happened is embellished to fan the flames of old rumour--of an ancient race of people living in the surrounding forest--and to spark new controversy: something must finally be done about the town's poor, the feral vegabonds whose numbers have been growing. Meanwhile Busi, weathering a media storm, must come to terms with his wife's death and decide whether to sing one last time. The Melody is a story about grief and aging, about reputation and its loss, and the peculiar way myth seeps into real life. In trademark crystalline prose, Jim Crace portrays a man taking stock of his life and looking into an uncertain future, all while bearing witness to a community in the throes of great change--with echoes of today's most pressing social questions..

Social Science

Archaic Societies | Thomas E. Emerson,Dale L. McElrath,Andrew C. Fortier

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Essential overview of American Indian societies during the Archaic period across central North America..

Fiction

Foregone | Russell Banks

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A searing story about memory and betrayal from the acclaimed and bestselling Russell Banks In his late seventies and dying of cancer, famed Canadian-American documentary filmmaker Leonard Fife, one of sixty thousand draft evaders who fled to Canada to avoid Vietnam, has agreed to one final interview, determined to bare all his secrets and demythologize his mythologized life. But the story that unspools in front of the camera and an intimate chorus of observers, including Fife’s wife, his nurse, and his acolyte and former star student Malcolm Macleod, is confoundingly unexpected, the dark and affecting account of a man entirely unknown to all. A searing novel about memory, betrayal, love, and the faint grace note of redemption, Russell Banks’s Foregone is a daring and resonant work about the scope of one man’s mysterious life, revealed through the fragments of his recovered past..

Literary Criticism

Amnesia and Redress in Contemporary American Fiction | M. Gauthier

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This book shows how a political and cultural dynamic of amnesia and truth telling shapes literary constructions of history. Gauthier focuses on the works of Don DeLillo, Toni Morrison, Michelle Cliff, Bharati Mukherjee, and Julie Otsuka..

Fiction

The Good Lord Bird | James McBride

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Now a Showtime limited series starring Ethan Hawke and Daveed Diggs Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction From the bestselling author of Deacon King Kong (an Oprah Book Club pick) and The Color of Water comes the story of a young boy born a slave who joins John Brown’s antislavery crusade—and who must pass as a girl to survive. Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1856--a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces--when legendary abolitionist John Brown arrives. When an argument between Brown and Henry's master turns violent, Henry is forced to leave town--along with Brown, who believes Henry to be a girl and his good luck charm. Over the ensuing months, Henry, whom Brown nicknames Little Onion, conceals his true identity to stay alive. Eventually Brown sweeps him into the historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859--one of the great catalysts for the Civil War. An absorbing mixture of history and imagination, and told with McBride's meticulous eye for detail and character, The Good Lord Bird is both a rousing adventure and a moving exploration of identity and survival..

Fiction

The Reserve | Russell Banks

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In this compelling novel – a cross between Lady Chatterley’s Lover and The Aviator – the acclaimed modern master takes us to riveting new territory. Part love story, part murder mystery, Russell Banks’s The Reserve is as gripping as it is beautifully written, set in a pre-WWII world of class, politics, art, love and madness. Vanessa Cole is a stunningly beautiful and wild heiress, her parents’ adopted only daughter. Twice-married, she has been scandalously linked to rich and famous men. On the night of July 4, 1936, inside the Cole family’s remote Adirondack Mountain enclave, known as the Reserve, Vanessa will lose her father to a heart attack – and meet Jordan Groves, a seductively carefree local artist whose leftist political loyalties to his working class neighbours are undercut by his wealth and his clientele. Jordan is easy prey for Vanessa’s electrifying charm. But the heiress carries a dark family secret. Unhinged by her father’s unexpected death, she begins to spin out of control, manipulating and destroying the lives of all who cross her path. Moving from the secluded beauty of the Adirondacks to war-torn Spain and fascist Germany, filled with characters that pierce the heart, The Reserve is a passionately romantic novel of suspense and drama that adds a new dimension to this acclaimed author’s extraordinary repertoire..

Fiction

The Angel On The Roof | Russell Banks

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Throughout his career as a novelist, Banks has also been a master of the short form, publishing four story collections, and winning O. Henry and Best American Short Story Awards and other prizes. Now with The Angel on the Roof, he offers readers an astonishing collection of thirty years of short fiction, resonant with irony and compassion, honesty and insight, extending into the vast territory of the heart and world, from working-class New England to Florida, the Caribbean and Africa. Along with nine new stories that are among the finest fiction he has ever written, he has selected the best from his collections and revised them for this volume..

Fiction

Book of Jamaica | Russell Banks

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Russell Banks explores the complexities of political life in the Caribbean..

Fiction

Leaving Brooklyn | Lynne Sharon Schwartz

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An injury at birth left Audrey with a wandering eye. Though flawed, the bad eye functions well enough to permit her an idiosyncratic view of the world, one she welcomes in the stifling postwar Brooklyn of the 1950s. During a journey to Manhattan to see a doctor about her sight, she begins to explore the sexual rites of adulthood. But can her romance last? In this beautifully observed novel, Lynne Sharon Schwartz raises themes of innocence and escape while illuminating the rich inner life of a singular girl..

Fiction

Insurrectionist | Herb Karl

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A compelling historical novel, The Insurrectionist follows the militant abolitionist John Brown from his involvement in Bleeding Kansas to the invasion of Harpers Ferry and the dramatic conclusion of his subsequent trial. Meticulous historical detail blends with dramatic personal descriptions to reveal critical episodes in Brown's life, illuminating his character and the motives that led up to the Harpers Ferry invasion, giving readers a complete picture of the man who has too often been dismissed as hopelessly fanatical. Brown's friendship with Frederick Douglass and their ongoing debate on how to end slavery, his devoted family who stands by him despite the danger, and his struggles to secure funding and political favor for his cause against deeply entrenched politicians, makes for a surprisingly contemporary story of family, passion, race, and politics..

Fiction

Lost Memory of Skin | Russell Banks

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The author of Continental Drift, Rule of the Bone and The Sweet Hereafter returns with a very original, riveting mystery about a young outcast, and a contemporary tale of guilt and redemption. The perfect convergence of writer and subject, Lost Memory of Skin probes the zeitgeist of a troubled society where zero tolerance has erased any hope of subtlety and compassion. Suspended in a modern-day version of limbo, the young man at the centre of Russell Banks's uncompromising and morally complex new novel must create a life for himself in the wake of incarceration. Known in his new identity only as the Kid, he is shackled to a GPS monitoring device and forbidden to go near where children might gather. He takes up residence under a south Florida causeway, in a makeshift encampment with other convicted sex offenders. Barely beyond childhood himself, the Kid, despite his crime, is in many ways an innocent. Enter the Professor, a university sociologist of enormous size and intellect who finds in the Kid the perfect subject for his research. But when the Professor's past resurfaces and threatens to destroy his carefully constructed world, the balance in the two men's relationship shifts. Banks has long been one of our most acute and insightful novelists. Lost Memory of Skin is a masterful work of fiction that unfolds in language both powerful and beautifully lyrical..

Fiction

Trailerpark | Russell Banks

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Get to know the colorful cast of characters at the Granite State Trailerpark, where Flora in number 11 keeps more than a hundred guinea pigs andscreams at people to stay away from her babies, Claudel in number 5 thinks he is lucky until his wife burns down their trailer and runs off with Howie Leeke, and Noni in number 7 has telephone conversations with Jesus and tells the police about them. In this series of related short stories, Russell Banks offers gripping, realistic portrayals of individual Americans and paints a portrait of New England life that is at once dark, witty, and revealing..

Fiction

Hamilton Stark | Russell Banks

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Hamilton Stark is a New Hampshire pipe fitter and the sole inhabitant of the house from which he evicted his own mother. He is the villain of five marriages and the father of a daughter so obsessed that she has been writing a book about him for years. Hamilton Stark is a boor, a misanthrope, a handsome man: funny, passionately honest, and a good dancer. The narrator, a middle-aged writer, decides to write about Stark as a hero whose anger and solitude represent passion and wisdom. At the same time that he tells Hamilton Stark's story, he describes the process of writing the novel and the complicated connections between truth and fiction. As Stark slips in and out of focus, maddeningly elusive and fascinatingly complex, this beguiling novel becomes at once a compelling meditation on identity and a thoroughly engaging story of life on the cold edge of New England..

Fiction

The Passages of H. M. | Jay Parini

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From the author of the international bestseller The Last Station, a stirring novel about the adventurous life and tragic literary career of Herman Melville. As The Passages of H. M. opens, we see, through the eyes of his long-suffering wife Lizzie, an aging, angry, and drunken Herman Melville wreaking domestic havoc in his unhappy New York home. He is decades past his flourishing career as a writer of bestselling tales of seagoing adventures like Typee and Omoo. His epic but ungainly novel Moby-Dick was meant to make him immortal, but critics scoffed and readers fled. His days are spent trudging the docks of New York as a customs inspector and contemplating his malign literary fate. But within him is stirring, perhaps, one great work yet—the tale of a handsome sailor in the Napoleonic Wars, undone by one moment of uncontrollable rage . . . Lizzie’s chapters alternate with third-person accounts of Melville’s crowded life: his shipping off to sea on a merchant vessel as an impoverished young aristocrat; his fateful voyage on a whaling ship; his desertion in the Marquesas Islands and sojourn with cannibals—a great adventure and polymor­phous sexual idyll—and his instant fame as a novelist; his fateful encounter and soul-deep friendship with Nathaniel Hawthorne; and the long years of physical decline and liter­ary obscurity. Jay Parini creates a Melville who is at once sympathetic and maddening, in sync with the vast forces of the universe and hopelessly impractical and abstracted. And one who, in thought and deed, is unambiguously attracted to men—a surmise well supported by the known biographical facts but still sure to cre­ate controversy. Parini penetrates the mind and soul of a liter­ary titan, using the resources of fiction to humanize a giant while illuminating the sources of his matchless creativity..

Juvenile Fiction

Henry's Freedom Box | Ellen Levine

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A stirring, dramatic story of a slave who mails himself to freedom by a Jane Addams Peace Award-winning author and a Coretta Scott King Award-winning artist.Henry Brown doesn't know how old he is. Nobody keeps records of slaves' birthdays. All the time he dreams about freedom, but that dream seems farther away than ever when he is torn from his family and put to work in a warehouse. Henry grows up and marries, but he is again devastated when his family is sold at the slave market. Then one day, as he lifts a crate at the warehouse, he knows exactly what he must do: He will mail himself to the North. After an arduous journey in the crate, Henry finally has a birthday -- his first day of freedom..

Fiction

The Corrections | Jonathan Franzen

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Enid, long-time matriarch of the Lambert family, sets her heart on an elusive goal: bringing her family together for one last Christmas at home. Published to universal acclaim, Jonathan Franzen’s novel about a post-modern family breaking down in late twentieth-century America is a comic, tragic masterpiece. Richly realistic, darkly hilarious, and deeply human, The Corrections was a #1 bestseller across North America and the winner of the National Book Award..

Fiction

Frog Music | Emma Donoghue

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Frog Music is an atmospheric and gripping novel by Emma Donoghue, author of the multi-million-copy bestseller Room, adapted as a major motion picture directed by Lenny Abrahamson. San Francisco, 1876: a stifling heat wave and smallpox epidemic have engulfed the City. Deep in the streets of Chinatown live three former stars of the Parisian circus: Blanche, now an exotic dancer at the House of Mirrors, her lover Arthur and his companion Ernest. When an eccentric outsider joins their little circle, secrets unravel, changing everything - and leaving one of them dead. Inspired by a true unsolved crime, Frog Music, a New York Times bestseller, is a dark and compelling story of intrigue and murder..

History

Patriotic Treason | Evan Carton

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John Brown is a lightning rod of history. Yet he is poorly understood and most commonly described in stereotypes -- as a madman, martyr, or enigma. Not until Patriotic Treason has a biography or history brought him so fully to life, in scintillating prose and moving detail, making his life and legacy -- and the staggering sacrifices he made for his ideals-fascinatingly relevant to today's issues of social justice and to defining the line between activism and terrorism. Vividly re-creating the world in which Brown and his compatriots lived with a combination of scrupulous original research, new perspectives, and a sensitive historical imagination, Patriotic Treason narrates the dramatic life of the first U.S. citizen committed to absolute racial equality. Here are his friendships (Brown lived, worked, ate, and fought alongside African Americans, in defiance of the culture around him), his family (he turned his twenty children by two wives into a dedicated militia), and his ideals (inspired by the Declaration of Independence and the Golden Rule, he collaborated with black leaders such as Frederick Douglass, Martin Delany, and Harriet Tubman to overthrow slavery). Evan Carton captures the complex, tragic, and provocative story of Brown the committed abolitionist, Brown the tender yet demanding and often absent father and husband, and Brown the radical American patriot who attacked the American state in the name of American principles. Through new research into archives, attention to overlooked family letters, and reinterpretation of documents and events, Carton essentially reveals a missing link in American history. A wrenching family saga, Patriotic Treason positions John Brown at the heart of our most profound and enduring national debates. As definitions of patriotism and treason are fiercely contested, as some criticize religious extremism while others mourn religion's decline, and as race relations in America remain unresolved, John Brown's story speaks to us as never before, reminding us that one courageous individual can change the course of history..