Novel En­coun­ters

10 great reads to start next

ZOOMER Magazine - - CONTENTS - By Nathalie Atkin­son

10 great reads to start next

With so many big new books from our some of our favourite au­thors, the fall fic­tion sea­son is an em­bar­rass­ment of riches. New thriller The Res­i­dence from Canada’s own An­drew Pyper, for ex­am­ple, is a chill­ing su­per­nat­u­ral tale set in the 19th-cen­tury White House, while Ruth Ware’s psy­cho­log­i­cal sus­pense story One by One takes in­spi­ra­tion from an Agatha Christie clas­sic. Ann Cleeves’ acer­bic DCI Vera Stan­hope is back on the case in The Dark­est Evening, ex­plor­ing fam­ily se­crets close to home. And at 83, de­tec­tive nov­el­ist Peter Lovesey marks the 50th an­niver­sary of his first novel with The Fin­isher.

Spoiled for choice? Show us what you watch, and we’ll tell you what to read.

You loved

The Best Ex­otic Marigold

Ho­tel, Thanks for Shar­ing READ The Com­pany We Keep by Frances Itani (Aug. 18)

> It’s not a far-flung lo­cale that throws this dis­parate group to­gether, just a shared need for the com­fort of strangers in the hum­ble back room of a lo­cal café. Haz­z­ley, dis­con­so­late and still grap­pling with wid­ow­hood, starts a weekly grief dis­cus­sion group. Its mem­bers don’t ini­tially share the whole story of their loss, but each has a ca­pac­ity for rein­ven­tion. As she did in her ac­claimed novel Tell, poet and es­say­ist Itani is wise about cap­tur­ing the or­di­nary drama of dif­fer­ent lives.

It’s large in scope yet an in­ti­mate il­lus­tra­tion of E.M. Forster’s edict: only con­nect.

You loved Hail, Cae­sar!, Feud: Bette and Joan READ The Queen of Tues­day by Darin Strauss (Aug. 18)

> Bette Davis may have been known as the fourth Warner Brother, but it was Lu­cille Ball who blazed a trail as Hol­ly­wood’s first fe­male me­dia mogul. This his­tor­i­cal novel charts her am­bi­tion and rise as the in­dus­try’s most suc­cess­ful busi­ness­woman. While the co­me­dian was a sym­bol of do­mes­tic har­mony in her epony­mous sit­com, off screen she had to con­tend with sex­ist Hol­ly­wood power dy­nam­ics and a ma­cho, un­faith­ful hus­band. Add to that the Strauss fam­ily leg­end, which has it that Ball and the au­thor’s grand­fa­ther Isi­dore car­ried on a years-long af­fair, and even Ryan Mur­phy couldn’t blend fact with fic­tion more en­ter­tain­ingly.

You loved Rag­time, The Sweet Smell of Suc­cess READ Black Bot­tom Saints by Alice Ran­dall (Aug. 18)

> Named for the long­van­ished Detroit neigh­bour­hood razed in 1950 in the name of ur­ban re­newal, this richly tex­tured his­tor­i­cal novel is told in the voice of Ziggy John­son, the pe­riod’s lead­ing club em­cee and en­ter­tain­ment columnist, as he lies dy­ing. With an in­ven­tive struc­ture in­spired by the Catholic Book of Saints, Ziggy memo­ri­al­izes dozens of cul­tural lu­mi­nar­ies and lo­cal fig­ures – from poet lau­re­ate Robert Hay­den and singer Ethel Waters to golfer Ted Rhodes and li­brar­ian Sadye Pryor, who lob­bied for life­guards at de­seg­re­gated beaches. To­gether, the in­ter­con­nected chap­ters form a kalei­do­scopic por­trait of what Ran­dall calls “a Black Camelot.”

You loved Be­fore Sun­rise, Ro­manc­ing the Stone

READ In­di­ans on Va­ca­tion by Thomas King (Aug. 25)

> When mar­ried cou­ple Bird and Mimi dis­cover a cache of post­cards sent long ago by a rel­a­tive, it sends them on an in­fec­tiously clever quest re­trac­ing his ad­ven­tures in search of a sa­cred an­ces­tral bun­dle. They be­gin in Prague and make their way through Europe. Through­out their mis­ad­ven­tures, their finely tuned dialogue nails the in­tri­ca­cies (and bar­gains) of any long-term re­la­tion­ship. King, the cel­e­brated Cana­dian-Amer­i­can writer of Chero­kee and Greek an­ces­try and win­ner of the RBC Taylor Prize for

The In­con­ve­nient In­dian, of­fers arm­chair travel and wry ob­ser­va­tional truths about con­tem­po­rary life in equal mea­sure.

You loved The Fisher King, This Is Us

READ For­est Green by Kate Pullinger (Aug. 25)

> On a rainy Van­cou­ver day, Art Lunn lies tan­gled up in a blan­ket in a door­way.

Es­tranged from fam­ily, the home­less man finds so­lace in his mem­o­ries. As they jumble to­gether some­where be­tween awake and dream­ing, lyri­cal prose by the Gover­nor Gen­eral’s Lit­er­ary Award-win­ner slowly un­rav­els the past that led to this present. Art re­mem­bers, for ex­am­ple, the deep dark quiet of the woods at night and that he was once prac­ticed at walk­ing on the log booms of camps across Bri­tish Columbia. The poignant glimpses and frag­ments take shape to re­veal how child­hood trauma can set decades of mis­for­tune in mo­tion.

You loved The Usual Sus­pects, Wait­ing for Godot READ Anx­ious Peo­ple by Fredrik Back­man (Sept. 8)

> Set in the af­ter­math of an ac­ci­den­tal hostage sit­u­a­tion, eight strangers form an in­stant com­mu­nity be­fore the hap­less wouldbe bank rob­ber van­ishes into thin air. Told in flash­backs, asides and di­gres­sions, the story of serendip­ity and the in­ter­con­nect­ed­ness of all things is re­counted through wit­ness state­ments to po­lice. The story walks the fine line be­tween pathos and farce with the same brand of ab­sur­dist hu­mour that made Back­man’s pre­vi­ous novel about cranky re­tiree A Man Called Ove such a hit (and soon to be a movie star­ring Tom Hanks).

You loved The Mal­tese Fal­con, The Thomas Crown Af­fair

READ The Finder by Will Fer­gu­son (Sept. 1)

> The lat­est from the Sco­tia­bank Giller Prize-win­ner is a pacey, glo­be­trot­ting tale of du­plic­ity and mis­di­rec­tion that asks, What if the MacGuf­fin is the story? A se­nior In­ter­pol agent has spent a decade trac­ing the prove­nance of ob­jects of cul­tural im­por­tance: Muham­mad Ali’s Olympic gold medal, a Fabergé egg, sev­eral stolen Stradi­var­iuses, the glasses Buddy Holly was wear­ing when his plane crashed. From a lonely sub­sta­tion on Ja­pan’s Hateruma Is­land to a dis­so­lute travel writer in Christchur­ch, N.Z., they’re all linked to a sin­gle shad­owy fig­ure – or so the agent thinks.

You loved Black Pan­ther, Daugh­ters of the Dust READ Mas­ter of Poi­sons by An­drea Hairston (Sept. 8)

> The world of this spec­u­la­tive novel is at once wholly orig­i­nal and un­set­tlingly fa­mil­iar: a swiftly spread­ing poi­son desert be­sets an em­pire. “It’s about de­col­o­niz­ing the mind,” the award-win­ning au­thor says of the epic that draws on Afro-fu­tur­ism and In­dige­nous-fu­tur­ism. “I want to bring the wis­dom of re­cov­ered an­ces­tors in con­ver­sa­tion with the fu­ture.” Hairston’s abil­ity to weave these com­plex his­to­ries and is­sues into the ex­pe­ri­ences of char­ac­ters like Awa, a heroic young wo­man train­ing in the griot tra­di­tion of West African sto­ry­tellers, is daz­zling yet never feels laboured – even with tren­chant com­men­tary on the cli­mate emer­gency.

You loved The Af­fair, Grace & Frankie

READ Monogamy by Sue Miller (Sept. 8)

> When you marry your mistress, as the late fi­nancier (and no­to­ri­ous phi­lan­derer) Jimmy Gold­smith fa­mously said, you cre­ate a job va­cancy. Yet An­nie never thought it of Graham, al­though she went from be­ing his mistress to hap­pily mar­ried wife nearly 30 years ago. Af­ter his un­ex­pected death, she dis­cov­ers a re­cent af­fair. Fo­cused on the in­ner lives of ex­tended fam­ily like Graham’s ex-wife, who is An­nie’s close friend, and their re­spec­tive adult chil­dren, Miller’s emo­tion­ally acute novel of­fers thought­pro­vok­ing points of view about the na­ture of love and fidelity and the nu­ance of re­la­tion­ships.

You loved The Never-End­ing Story, Room

READ Pi­ranesi by Su­sanna Clarke (Sept. 15)

> Af­ter posit­ing an al­ter­nate 19th-cen­tury Eng­land in her de­but Jonathan Strange and Mr. Nor­rell, an un­likely global hit that swept awards and spawned a BBC adap­ta­tion, Clarke’s long-awaited fol­low-up ex­plores the labyrinthi­ne World within a house. In this inim­itable fan­tasy, the in­side is larger than the out­side – halls so vast they con­tain an ocean and all the sea­sons. In cross-in­dexed jour­nals, Pi­ranesi spends ev­ery day map­ping its tides and cat­a­logu­ing the stat­ues that line the end­less stair­cases and halls. All the while, the sci­en­tist is reg­u­larly meet­ing with the Other, the only ad­di­tional known per­son there. It’s dense and sprawl­ing with sur­re­al­ity, and the in­ter­nal logic is mes­mer­iz­ing.

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