Turn­ing the page for fall

Winnipeg Sun - - ENT-SHOWBIZ - HILLEL ITALIE The Associated Press

NEW YORK — As the book world’s most lit­er­ary sea­son ap­proaches, the in­dus­try still awaits the year’s big lit­er­ary pub­li­ca­tion.

While crit­ics have cel­e­brated Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West, Ge­orge Saunders’ Lin­coln in the Bardo and other works, no 2017 re­leases have ap­proached the sales or the im­pact of such older ti­tles as Mar­garet At­wood’s The Hand­maid’s Tale and Ge­orge Or­well’s 1984. Pub­lish­ers won­der if it’s a fa­mil­iar syn­drome, the Trump ef­fect, with the pub­lic too caught up in the head­lines to fo­cus on new and chal­leng­ing fic­tion.

“Peo­ple are in­deed dis­tracted, and there’s no sign of it let­ting up,” says Paul Bo­gaards, an ex­ec­u­tive vi­cepres­i­dent and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of pub­lic­ity at the Knopf Dou­ble­day Pub­lish­ing Group. “Many are weary from their so­cial feeds — men­tally ex­hausted — and some, per­haps, are sim­ply choos­ing to binge watch their favourite tele­vi­sion se­ries and eat co­pi­ous amounts of ice cream rather than read a con­tem­po­rary, lit­er­ary novel.”

“We’ve been dis­ap­pointed in sales, and other pub­lish­ers have been dis­ap­pointed,” said Scrib­ner pub­lisher and se­nior vi­cepres­i­dent Nan Graham, who hopes to break the spell this fall with new fic­tion from prizewin­ners Jennifer Egan and Jes­myn Ward. “I think it’s harder for new books to break through be­cause peo­ple are read­ing the books that other peo­ple are read­ing. They’re look­ing to talk to other peo­ple about some­thing they have in com­mon. And that drive seems more in­tense right now. Is that the Trump ef­fect? Sure.”

Bo­gaards says good books can “still sur­face and stick” and read­ers able and will­ing can look for­ward to some of the most ac­claimed writ­ers of re­cent years. Egan’s Man­hat­tan Beach is her first novel since the Pulitzer Prize-win­ning A Visit from the Goon Squad; Ward’s Sing, Un­buried, Sing, her first novel since the Na­tional Book Award win­ning Sal­vage the Bones; and James McBride’s book of short sto­ries, Five-Carat Soul, his first fic­tion since win­ning the Na­tional Book Award for The Good Lord Bird. Louise Er­drich, Celeste Ng, Sal­man Rushdie, Car­men Maria Machado and de­but nov­el­ist Gabriel Tal­lent also have books com­ing. Pulitzer Prize win­ner Jeffrey Eu­genides, whose nov­els in­clude Mid­dle­sex and The Mar­riage Plot, will re­lease his first story col­lec­tion, Fresh Com­plaint.

If lit­er­ary fic­tion doesn’t pro­duce any ma­jor hits, other books seem likely bets. John Green’s Tur­tles All the Way Down is his first novel since the block­buster The Fault in Our Stars. Dan Brown has sent pro­tag­o­nist Robert Lang­don to Spain in his thriller Ori­gin and Stephen King and son Owen King have teamed up on Sleep­ing Beau­ties. An el­derly Ge­orge Smi­ley ap­pears in John le Carre’s A Legacy of Spies, Lee Child’s lat­est Jack Reacher novel is The Mid­night Line and the late Stieg Lars­son’s Mil­len­nium Se­ries con­tin­ues with The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye, by David Lager­crantz.

Non­fic­tion re­leases range from as­tro­naut Scott Kelly’s En­durance to Toni Mor­ri­son’s The Ori­gin of Oth­ers, a book of lec­tures that in­cludes an in­tro­duc­tion by Ta-Ne­hisi Coates. Sally Quinn’s Find­ing Magic fea­tures mem­o­ries of her mar­riage to Washington Post ex­ec­u­tive editor Ben Bradlee, who died in 2014. For­mer Rep. John Din­gell of Michi­gan, 91 years old, looks back in his mem­oir The Dean: The Best Seat in the House, from FDR to Obama.

Sev­eral books about pres­i­dents past and cur­rent should be in the news this fall, no­tably Hil­lary Clin­ton’s What Hap­pened, in which she has promised a thor­ough and can­did re­count­ing of her shock­ing loss in 2016 to Trump. Alec Bald­win and Kurt An­der­sen have col­lab­o­rated on the pre­sum­ably fic­tional You Can’t Spell Amer­ica With­out Me: The Re­ally Tremen­dous In­side Story of My Fan­tas­tic First Year as Pres­i­dent Don­ald J. Trump (A So-Called Par­ody). The pres­i­dent’s first wife, Ivana Trump, will share mem­o­ries of their three chil­dren in Rais­ing Trump. Katy Tur’s Un­be­liev­able: My Fron­tRow Seat to the Cra­zi­est Cam­paign in Amer­i­can His­tory is the NBC tele­vi­sion re­porter’s take on cov­er­ing the Trump cam­paign and be­ing called “dis­grace­ful” among other in­sults from the Repub­li­can can­di­date. Bar­bara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager de­scribe life as the daugh­ters and grand­daugh­ters of pres­i­dents in Sis­ters First.

Ron Ch­er­now, whose Alexan­der Hamil­ton book is the ba­sis for the Broad­way mu­si­cal, re­turns with a 900-page bi­og­ra­phy of Ulysses Grant. Barack Obama’s vice-pres­i­dent, Joseph Bi­den, re­flects on his White House as­pi­ra­tions and his son Beau’s death in Prom­ise Me, Dad. For­mer White House pho­tog­ra­pher Pete Souza com­piles the re­cent past in Obama: An In­ti­mate Por­trait. Coates’ We Were Eight Years in Power: An Amer­i­can Tragedy chron­i­cles life un­der Obama, with a sub­ti­tle point­ing to Trump.

Coates, win­ner in 2015 of the Na­tional Book Award for Be­tween the World and Me, is among many prize-win­ning au­thors with new non­fic­tion works. Mike Wal­lace’s Greater Gotham: A His­tory of New York City from 1898 to 1919, is the se­quel to the his­to­rian’s ac­claimed Gotham: A His­tory of New York City to 1898. Anne Ap­ple­baum has com­pleted Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine and Stephen Green­blatt has writ­ten The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve, a his­tory of how the Bi­b­li­cal cre­ation story has been in­ter­preted. The Vietnam War: An In­ti­mate His­tory, by Ken Burns and Ge­of­frey C. Ward, is a com­pan­ion to Burns’ tele­vi­sion doc­u­men­tary that Ward com­pleted as Trump was tak­ing of­fice.

“I’d get up at 6:30 in the morn­ing and work un­til 8 at night and I was in the world of Richard Nixon,” Ward told the AP. “And then I would have din­ner and turn on the TV and I was in the world of Don­ald Trump.

“It was not a happy pe­riod for me.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.