Carole DeSanti is Vice President, Editor at Large for Viking and Penguin. She is the also author of The Unruly Passions of Eugénie R., a novel.
Waters takes illicit love between women, passion and criminal intent to a whole new level with this story set in London high and low just after the close of the First World War. Waters leads us step by step from the mundane to the impassioned to the murderous through a perilous landscape of secrecy and deceit — a nail-biter to the last page. This is an incredibly deft, smart novel – and packed with integrity and grit.
Here is a seriously beautiful book: bursting with life, the smell of the streets of Saigon, cry of street-vendors and the shock and terror of sniper fire on a leafy suburb of tamarind trees. What we consider known history – the Vietnam War – is revealed in an entirely new light as Mai tells her story, and Minh, a commanding general for the South, tells his. Lotus turns the dominant version of the war inside out and upside down, conveying a more complicated truth than we have known. A searing, indelible novel by a brilliant woman – truly a life’s work from the heart, many years in the making.
Booker finalist, winner of the LA Times Book Prize, the Red Tentacle Prize, the Sunburst Award and other recognitions, A Tale has connected with a diverse and impassioned readership from science geeks to Zen priests….but this doesn’t take away from the extraordinarily personal, astounding experience of reading it. This kaleidoscopic and layered novel introduces Nao Yasutani, a 16 year old suicidal teenager in Tokyo; her 104 year old grandmother Jiko (a Zen nun) … a tsunami, a barnacled lunchbox washed up on a beach; quantum physics; the Friends of the Pleistocene and the poetry-reading kamikaze pilots of World War II — just for starters. Ozeki’s third novel is intricate, brilliant, and tells us a lot about compassion and meditation, too.
“What would you give up to become the person you were meant to be?” is one question Cascade asks, among others that have resonated with me since I turned the last page of this gorgeous, thoughtful and surprising page turner. Cascade touches the heart of the matter for women artists and writers. O’Hara explores her material by way of the story of Dez Hart, a Paris-trained, Boston painter who marries hastily and disastrously, then finds herself first chained to her husband’s conformity and rigid desires. When the town they live in is scheduled to submerged under a reservoir – a history based on the story of the Quabbin in Western Massachusetts – Dez chooses to free herself as an artist, a lover, a woman – against terrible odds.
Flaubert’s masterpiece of realism (the novel changed forever the way fiction was written, as Lydia Davis reminds us) is always worth a re-read, and this new translation is the perfect excuse. Davis provides useful historical context for the novel, as well as details on its creation and publication – Flaubert’s painstaking writing techniques (many drafts, much discarding), the early censorship of the novel; Bovary’s subsequent bestseller-dom and elevation to classic status. The text itself is both faithful to the original and more precise historically, lending further pleasure and nuance to this always-magnificent, harrowing tale of a woman’s passionate desires and her disastrous fall. (A perfect gift for the bibliophile in your life, especially the Penguin Drop Caps edition!)
It begins with A Discovery of Witches, continues with Shadow of Night and its grand finale is The Book of Life. The Trilogy is now complete and a luscious romp from start to finish, taking up the tale of a spellbound witch and the sexiest 1,500 year old vampire ever to wander into a novel. Bestselling fun with historical and literary heft, and along the way we learn a lot about magic, too. (It’s all true, I think.) My favorite of the three volumes is Shadow, a sensuous and sweeping time-travel saga through the England of Shakespeare, Marlowe, and the alchemical laboratory of Mary Sidney. A little bonus in the boxed set is Diana Bishop’s Commonplace Book, courtesy of the author and our design team at Viking.
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