From dewy lanes at morning / The grapes’ sweet odors rise; / At noon the roads all flutter / With yellow butterflies. ~ Helen Hunt Jackson
Poet Glyn Maxwell wakes up in a mysterious village one autumn day. He has no idea how he got there—is he dead? In a coma? Dreaming?—but he has a strange feeling there’s a class to teach. And isn’t that the poet Keats wandering down the lane? Why not ask him to give a reading, do a Q and A, hit the pub with the students afterwards?
Soon the whole of the autumn term stretches ahead, with Byron, Yeats and Emily Dickinson, the Brontës, the Brownings, Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, Wilfred Owen, and many more all on their way to give readings in the humble village hall.
And everything these famed personalities say—in class, on stage, at the Cross Keys pub—comes verbatim from these poets’ diaries, essays, or letters. A dreamy novel of a profound autumn term with Poe, Yeats, Whitman, Dickinson, and the Brontës.
I’ve started the novel and it’s absolutely delightful. I am reading it slowly to savor its comfortable weirdness.
My thanks to Iris at Pegasus for the review copy.
Drinks with Dead Poets
A Season of Poe, Whitman, Byron, and the Brontes
By Glyn Maxwell
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Pegasus Books (August 8, 2017)
It looked like any other carnival, but of course it wasn’t. The boy saw it from the car window, the tops of the large trailer rides over the parked trains by the railway tracks. His parents were driving towards the new mall and he was looking forward to that too, but the tracery of lights above the gloomy trains caught his imagination . . .
Andy walks into Burleigh’s Amazing Hall of Mirrors, and then he walks right into the mirror, becomes a reflection. Another boy, a boy who is not Andy, goes home with Andy’s parents. And the boy who was once Andy is pulled–literally pulled, by the hands, by a girl named Mona–into another world, a carnival world where anything might happen.
Master storyteller Neil Jordan creates his most commercial novel in years in this crackling, cinematic fantasy–which is also a parable of adolescence, how children become changelings, and how they find their own way.
The magical realism in this one is addictive. It’s uneven in parts but when it’s good, it’s really good.
My thanks to Rayshma at Bloomsbury.
By Neil Jordan
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (June 6, 2017)
Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 8.5 inches
Stella Krakus, a curator at Manhattan’s renowned Central Museum of Art, is having the roughest week in approximately ever. Her soon-to-be ex-husband (the perfectly awful Whit Ghiscolmbe) is stalking her, a workplace romance with “a fascinating, hyper-rational narcissist” is in freefall, and a beloved colleague, Paul, has gone missing. Strange things are afoot: CeMArt’s current exhibit is sponsored by a Belgian multinational that wants to take over the world’s water supply, she unwittingly stars in a viral video that’s making the rounds, and her mother–the imperious, impossibly glamorous Caro–wants to have lunch. It’s almost more than she can overanalyze.
As she teases out the links between a haunting poem, several unusual novels, a counterfeiting scheme, and one of the museum’s colorful early benefactors, she discovers the unbearable secret that Paul’s been keeping, and charts a course out of the chaos of her own life.
I haven’t started this one yet but it sounds enchanting, and look at athat cover!
My thanks to Penguin Press for the review copy.
By Lucy Ives
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Penguin Press (August 1, 2017)
Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
Based on true events in nineteenth century Ireland, Hannah Kent’s startling new novel tells the story of three women, drawn together to rescue child from a superstitious community.
Nora, bereft after the death of her husband, finds herself alone and caring for her grandson Micheál, who can neither speak nor walk. A handmaid, Mary, arrives to help Nóra just as rumours begin to spread that Micheál is a changeling child who is bringing bad luck to the valley. Determined to banish evil, Nora and Mary enlist the help of Nance, an elderly wanderer who understands the magic of the old ways.
Set in a lost world bound by its own laws, The Good People is Hannah Kent’s startling new novel about absolute belief and devoted love. Terrifying, thrilling and moving in equal measure, this follow-up to Burial Rites shows an author at the height of her powers.
I’ve only read the first couple of chapters so far but Kent continues in her ability to draw incredibly realistic local society.
My thanks to Little, Brown and Company for the egalley on NetGalley.
The Good People
By Hannah Kent
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (September 19, 2017)
Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 1.1 inches