Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the backissue database. PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital edition via our app or online. For more information on PW's new integrated subscription plan, click here. If you are currently a PW subscriber, click "Login" for full access to the site (if you have not done so already, you will need to set up your account for the new system by going here), or click the "Subscribe" button to become a PW subscriber. Email service@publishersweekly.com with questions.

Login or Subscribe
The Forgiveness Project: Stories for a Vengeful Age

Marina Cantacuzino. Jessica Kingsley (jkp.com), $25 (208p) ISBN 978-1-84905-566-6

For a decade, Cantacuzino's non-profit organization, the Forgiveness Project, has been devoted to eliciting personal narratives about forgiveness and reconciliation from people all over the world. This inspiring and heartbreaking collection reminds readers of the variety of tragedies that exist in the world, but also of the indomitable power of the human spirit. Whether it is the tale of a woman forgiving her father's killer, a white supremacist coming to terms with the damage he has done, or an Aboriginal man pondering the Australian government's policy of forcible child adoptions, readers will be absolutely immersed in these narratives. Throughout, Cantacuzino is careful to manage reader expectations about what forgiveness and reconciliation look like. She explains that this process never happens in quite the same way, and that it is never easy. What forgiveness does require is a staggering display of empathy, to a degree that may force readers to question deeply held assumptions. Cantacuzino also reminds readers that even aggressors have people who love them and that those who commit atrocities are still human beings. This book is thought-provoking and profoundly moving—a truly excellent collection of essays. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 05/29/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Capone, the Cobbs, and Me

Rex Burwell. Univ. of West Alabama/Livingston, $17.95 trade paper (204p) ISBN 978-1-60489-148-5

Baseball legend Moe Berg provides the model for Mort Hart, the narrator of Burwell's colorful period piece set over several days in the summer of 1927. Chicago White Sox slugger Hart, who's nursing a gimpy knee, accepts an invitation to Burnham, Ill., from gangster Al Capone to view a photo that Capone says will be of great interest to him. Hart goes with some trepidation because Capone wants his opinion of Ty Cobb (who "might not be the meanest prick on earth"), and Hart is having an affair with Cobb's wife. The story unfolds mainly through Hart's fairly straightforward recounting of his baseball career and his dealings with the mercurial Capone and the hateful Cobb but also through the jive-talking slang of Mezz Mezzrow, a "voluntary Negro," and Mezz's letters to jazz great Louis Armstrong. Moe Berg was a fascinating person, and Burwell (DeSade II: A Brown Recluse Romance) captures one facet of his life with hints of others in this fast-moving novel of gangsters, ballplayers, and jazz. (June)

Reviewed on 05/29/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Ripped from the Pages: A Bibliophile Mystery

Kate Carlisle. NAL/Obsidian, $25.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-451-41600-1

Rare book expert Brooklyn Wainwright knows as much about finding corpses as she does about books, as shown in Carlisle's uneven ninth bibliophile mystery (after 2014's The Book Stops Here). Brooklyn and her hunky boyfriend, English security expert Derek Stone, are in Dharma, Calif., when a cave is opened on the property of the Sonoma County winery run by the commune where Brooklyn's parents live. Not surprisingly, there's a body in the cave, the mummified remains of a Frenchman. What's more, the cave contains a treasure trove of European artwork transported to the U.S. in secret, as the French wanted to save it from the Nazis. Guru Bob, the commune leader, is the descendant of one of those French émigrés. Brooklyn turns sleuth when a threatening stranger arrives in Dharma. It's an intriguing setup, but the characters are mostly on the thin side, so it's hard to care what happens to them. It's the reader's choice whether all the New Age accoutrements are charming or a cause for eye-rolling. (June)

Reviewed on 05/29/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Fisherman

Vaughn C. Hardacker. Skyhorse, $16.99 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-63220-479-0

Hardacker (Sniper) fails to generate much heat in this rather clumsily put together thriller that never jells into a coherent whole. Mike Houston and Anne Bouchard are private investigators, once partnered as Boston cops and now romantically involved. Bouchard talks Houston into meeting Betty and Archie Guerette, whose granddaughter Cheryl has gone missing. Cheryl, an addict and prostitute, has been taken by Willard Fischer, a seriously disturbed and dangerous man known as the Fisherman. Bouchard and Houston quickly learn that numerous prostitutes have disappeared without a trace, and they turn to Jimmy O'Leary, a leading Boston mobster, who has underworld connections who can help with the search. Hardacker splits his story into three parts: the first details Fischer's strange obsessions and sick behavior; the second, the gradually narrowing investigation of Houston and Bouchard; and the third, O'Leary dealing in his own violent fashion with a huge trafficking operation involving powerful figures. Unfortunately, all the pieces fail to make a satisfying whole. (June)

Reviewed on 05/29/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Killing Monica

Candace Bushnell. Grand Central, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-0-446-55790-0

Bestseller Bushnell's latest is a poorly executed attempt at tongue-in-cheek self-awareness that never really comes together. Novelist Pandy Wallis's alter ego, Monica—star of four wildly successful novels and celebrated movies—has amassed a global following. But the shiny, happy life Monica leads, once a reflection of Pandy's own, has become a mocking reminder of how much things have changed. Pandy's former best friend SondraBeth, the actress who portrays Monica on the big screen, years earlier slept with a man Pandy loved; Pandy's serial-cheating celeb-chef husband ran through most of her money and wants to take whatever's left in the divorce; and the non-Monica book she's written has been rejected by her publisher, a devastating blow reluctantly delivered by Pandy's agent, Henry. Add a trio of girlfriends able to while away weekday mornings drinking champagne at über-trendy NYC rooftop pools, an obsession with high-end footwear, and seemingly savvy women who make awful choices when it comes to love, and the result is a tired retread of familiar motifs paired with characters any reader would be hard-pressed to care about. (June)

Reviewed on 05/29/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Hugo & Rose

Bridget Foley. St. Martin's, $25.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-05579-8

Foley's debut is an inventive, cinematic domestic novel filled with Wizard of Oz–like dreams. Unhappy protagonist Rose is married to Josh, a trauma surgeon, with three small children: Isaac, Adam, and toddler Penny. Rose and her family live in "a shitty small town in eastern Colorado" where she drives a minivan, takes her kids to soccer games, and bemoans Josh's long hours at work. As a six-year-old, she suffered a serious bicycle mishap that precipitated her lifelong dreams of an imaginary play companion she calls Hugo, and of their quest to reach the Crystal City (à la Emerald City). By strange happenstance, she bumps into the real-life Hugo, who goes by the name David. Something of a loser, he works at a fast food chain restaurant called Orange Tastee and is divorced, with his ex and daughter, Rosalie, now residing in Fort Lauderdale. Rose obsesses over Hugo both in her dreams and her daily life, and the plot takes a more sinister turn when she suspects he intends to do harm to her and her family. Desperate to rescue his distressed wife, Josh gives her a variety of sleep medications. The old Hugo-and-Rose dreams continue to besiege her as she tries to come to grips with her inner turmoil. Foley's novel is interesting enough for its strange premise, but readers may have trouble discerning just how all the pieces fit together. (May)

Reviewed on 05/29/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Loving Day

Mat Johnson. Spiegel & Grau, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-0-8129-9345-5

Politically correct attitudes regarding racial identity get a satirical skewering in Johnson's (Pym) latest droll turn. Comic book illustrator Warren Duffy, the light-skinned son of a black mother and a white father, has always considered himself black and has benefited from working for publishers who want "an authentic ambiguous Negro for political cover." When Warren returns to his family home in the Philadelphia suburb of Germantown to settle his father's estate, he discovers that he has a teenage daughter, Tal, from a brief high-school fling with a Jewish girlfriend. Tal, unlike Warren, embraces her biracial status and enrolls at the Mélange Center, a learning institution dedicated to finding "the sacred balance. An equilibrium that allows you to live a life that expresses all of who you are and hides none of it." Warren's efforts to placate Tal without sacrificing his own convictions concerning race pit him between friends who see the world (as he does) in terms of black and white, and the more militant members of Tal's "Mulattopian" fringe who treat any challenge to their beliefs as a racist affront. Johnson skillfully navigates his novel's sensitive subject matter, seeing the humor in the more absurd behaviors around race. The wit and shrewdness of his approach perfectly handle serious themes. (May)

Reviewed on 05/29/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
A New Index for Predicting Catastrophes

Madhur Anand. McClelland & Stewart (Penguin Random House Canada, North American dist.), $19.95 trade paper (102p) ISBN 978-0-7710-0698-2

Anand's exquisitely crafted debut poetry collection combines scientific, observational, socially conscious, haunting and reflexively personal, and almost Romantic strains into a cohesive, captivating whole. The publisher's descriptions of her work as "ecologist poetics" and her index as "a way of cataloguing and measuring the world and human experience" are entirely apt for this collection's seemingly effortless, deeply humanist sleight of hand. Through four sections of intricately constructed overarching narrative, Anand's attention to and ability to evoke explicit, exponential beauty in scientific and natural form are simply stunning. Evocations are most keenly felt in "Cosmos Bipinnatus" and "Held in a Fist," but are scattered throughout the whole. Indeed, from the volume's opening quiescences and meditations, deeply personal yet ghostlike, in "Somewhere, a Lake," to its cultural and familial recollections in "Two Jars," to its marriage of personal and scientific and logical forms in "Conditional B," to the perfect, closing encapsulation of theory and personal notes in the final lines of "Too Exhaustive to Survey Here," Anand's debut is in every measure a triumph. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 05/29/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Hacker Packer

Cassidy McFadzean. McClelland & Stewart (Penguin Random House, North American dist.), $18.95 trade paper (80p) ISBN 978-0-7710-5722-9

McFadzean's debut collection is a finely layered exploration of language and archetype rooted in mythology, history, intimate reflections, and more external ghosts. In its strata lie both discrete and delicately interwoven strands: the medieval Unicorn Tapestries are given galloping, irreverent voice; fire and water become focal points for meditations on identity and change; underworlds and iconography of the dead vie with depictions of Romanesques turned viciously on their heads, piety, and sainthood; and the intrusion and seamless melding of the modern upon the historical. Through the whole runs a vein of recurring notes—a conversation held between the silt of the book's internal, delineated eras in both text and subtext. It is examined most directly in the naming puzzles in "I Smile Earwide," "His Arms Primed," "Leave Her and She Swells," "Beneath a Golden Altar," and "Born of a Wolf." Other, subtler notes also pervade, their presence giving the book a holistic cast rendered in bronze, atria, ossuaries, and gnosis. It is all unearthed in deliciously adroit wordplay and exploration of form, capped off in two perfect, mirrored closing notes—one long, one short—that leave the tongue still thirsty, tasting peaty, tilled earth. A most satisfying and accomplished collection. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 05/29/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
At Night

Lisa Ciccarello. Black Ocean (SPD, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (72p) ISBN 978-1-939568-09-0

Incantatory, ruthless, and seductive, the poems in Ciccarello's debut roam a vast and timeless dark. More than a time of day, night represents the environment, mood, and the aesthetic and emotional qualities around which each poem coalesces. Beginning with action spun from intimacy and violence, where "I show you the back of my neck & you spit in your hand," Ciccarello deals in clear, forceful declarations that turn vulnerable and mysterious as they accrue. Duplicity and concealment govern the transactions both between people and within them: "I got an eye that speaks its mind but a body that does what it's told." This variance extends to the nature of description in the poems—which often outline a single thing, be it the moon, a house, a crime, an experience of desire, or nighttime itself—such that description has not pinned its object but made it multiple and shape-shifting. Even darkness, abiding and total throughout the book, takes on endlessly varied sounds, whether "like being underwater" or "the warble & the scrape of feather on bark" or "the sound of a man talking low, of a shoe going on, the sound of a heel in the street." From traditions of the folkloric and the lyric, Ciccarello offers a strange and commanding poetry of atmosphere. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 05/29/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
X
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.