Bond Street Books – $36.95
A publishing event: a major new, epic novel from the internationally acclaimed, bestselling author of 1Q84 and Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.
An unnamed thirty-something portrait painter, abandoned by his wife, becomes caretaker of the home of an aging famous artist, Tomohiko Amada. When the younger man discovers an unknown painting in the attic, entitled “Killing Commendatore”–a painting that takes its cues from Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni–he also discovers clues about Amada, his family and their involvement in a violent and failed plot to kill a Nazi leader in Vienna. As the painter slowly learns the truth, he is equally consumed by the story of a wealthy and mysterious neighbor, Menshiki, in what is, according to the author, a clear homage to The Great Gatsby. The painter becomes obsessed with Menshiki’s doomed love affair, the young girl who might be his child and a stone-lined underground space in the nearby woods where Buddhist priests were once buried alive. This pit becomes a portal into another world, a surreal place where the figures from “Killing Commendatore” take form to guide our narrator on an epic journey. Ambitious and haunting, tactile and surreal, preoccupied with questions about trauma, art and the creative process, Killing Commendatore moves between the known world and a complex underworld.
Knopf – $35.95
The Whitbread Award-winning author of A Good Man in Africa and the Costa Award-winning Restless now gives us a sweeping new novel that unfolds across fin-de-siècle Europe as it tells a story of ineffable passions–familial, artistic, romantic–and their power to shape, and destroy, a life.
Brodie Moncur is a brilliant piano tuner, as brilliant in his own way as John Kilbarron–“The Irish Liszt”–the pianist Brodie accompanies on all of his tours from Paris to Saint Petersburg, as essential to Kilbarron as the pianist’s own hands. It is a luxurious life, and a level of success Brodie could hardly have dreamed of growing up in a remote Scottish village, in a household ruled by a tyrannical father. But Brodie would gladly give it all up for the love of the Russian soprano Lika Blum: beautiful, worldly, seductive–and consort to Kilbarron. And though seemingly doomed from the start, Brodie’s passion for her only grows as their lives become increasingly more intertwined, more secretive, and, finally, more dangerous–what Brodie doesn’t know about Lika, and about her connection to Kilbarron and his sinister brother, Malachi, eventually testing not only his love for her but his ability, and will, to survive.
Our November Feature – Harper Collins – $22.99 – less 20%
Winner of the HarperCollins/UBC Prize for Best New Fiction, this powerful, sweeping novel set in Vienna during the 1930s and ’40s centres on a poignant love story and a friendship that ends in betrayal.
In the years between the two world wars, Josef Tobak builds a quiet life around his friendships, his beloved wife, Anna, and his devotion to the old Jewish cemeteries of Vienna. Then comes the Anschluss in 1938, and Josef’s world is uprooted. His health disintegrates. His wife and child are forced to flee to China. His closest gentile friend joins the Nazi Party—and yet helps Josef escape to America.
When the war ends, Josef returns to Vienna with his family and tries to make sense of what remains, including his former Nazi friend who, he discovers, protected Josef’s young female cousin throughout the war.
Back among his cemeteries in Austria’s war-shattered capital, Josef finds himself beset by secrets, darkness and outward righteousness marred by private cruelty. As the truth is unearthed, Josef’s care for the dead takes on new meaning while he confronts his own role in healing both his devastated community and his deepest wounds.
The Ghost Keeper is a story about the terrible choices we make to survive and the powerful connections to communities and friends that define us. Here is a finely accomplished novel that introduces an exciting new voice to our literary landscape.
Doubleday – $32.00 – a limited number of signed copies available
Canada’s pre-eminent satirical commentator brings down the curtain on his hugely successful show.
Rick Mercer can always be relied on to provoke a strong reaction–but what he said one fall day in 2017 truly shocked the nation. In a rant posted on social media, the great Canadian satirist announced loud and clear that the current, 15th season of the Rick Mercer Report–the nation’s best-watched and best-loved comedy show–would be the last. After more than 250 episodes, 250 rants and countless miles spent travelling the length and breadth of Canada to do everything from bungee jumping with Rick Hansen to whale watching with Measha Brueggergosman, it was time to move on. What he will do next is still unknown, and Canada eagerly awaits future developments. But meanwhile, we have this book to keep us going.
This volume brings together never-before-published rants from the last five seasons of the show, plus a selection of the very best rants from earlier years. And throughout the book, in a series of brilliant new essays, Rick shares his hilarious, moving and at times hair-raising memories from the past fifteen years. Remember when he and Jann Arden travelled by helicopter to a terrifying bat cave in a mountain? No–because that trip went so horribly wrong it never made it to the screen. Pierre Berton–what was really in that joint he rolled? (It wasn’t oregano.) What catastrophe took place in Norman Jewison’s bathroom? And can the show still go on when your director in charge is delirious from an allergic reaction? (Yes.) All this and more is revealed by Rick in some of his sharpest and funniest writing yet.
Little, Brown and Company – $45.50
The definitive biography of Edward Gorey, the eccentric master of macabre nonsense.
From The Gashlycrumb Tinies to The Doubtful Guest, Edward Gorey’s wickedly funny and deliciously sinister little books have influenced our culture in innumerable ways, from the works of Tim Burton and Neil Gaiman to Lemony Snicket. Some even call him the Grandfather of Goth.
But who was this man, who lived with over twenty thousand books and six cats, who roomed with Frank O’Hara at Harvard, and was known–in the late 1940s, no less–to traipse around in full-length fur coats, clanking bracelets, and an Edwardian beard? An eccentric, a gregarious recluse, an enigmatic auteur of whimsically morbid masterpieces, yes–but who was the real Edward Gorey behind the Oscar Wildean pose?
He published over a hundred books and illustrated works by Samuel Beckett, T.S. Eliot, Edward Lear, John Updike, Charles Dickens, Hilaire Belloc, Muriel Spark, Bram Stoker, Gilbert & Sullivan, and others. At the same time, he was a deeply complicated and conflicted individual, a man whose art reflected his obsessions with the disquieting and the darkly hilarious.
Based on newly uncovered correspondence and interviews with personalities as diverse as John Ashbery, Donald Hall, Lemony Snicket, Neil Gaiman, and Anna Sui, BORN TO BE POSTHUMOUS draws back the curtain on the eccentric genius and mysterious life of Edward Gorey.
|WW Norton – $35.95
“The election happened,” remembers Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, then deputy secretary of the Department of Energy. “And then there was radio silence.” Across all departments, similar stories were playing out: Trump appointees were few and far between; those that did show up were shockingly uninformed about the functions of their new workplace. Some even threw away the briefing books that had been prepared for them.
Michael Lewis’s brilliant narrative takes us into the engine rooms of a government under attack by its own leaders. In Agriculture the funding of vital programs like food stamps and school lunches is being slashed. The Commerce Department may not have enough staff to conduct the 2020 Census properly. Over at Energy, where international nuclear risk is managed, it’s not clear there will be enough inspectors to track and locate black market uranium before terrorists do.
Willful ignorance plays a role in these looming disasters. If your ambition is to maximize short-term gains without regard to the long-term cost, you are better off not knowing those costs. If you want to preserve your personal immunity to the hard problems, it’s better never to really understand those problems. There is upside to ignorance, and downside to knowledge. Knowledge makes life messier. It makes it a bit more difficult for a person who wishes to shrink the world to a worldview.
If there are dangerous fools in this book, there are also heroes, unsung, of course. They are the linchpins of the system—those public servants whose knowledge, dedication, and proactivity keep the machinery running. Michael Lewis finds them, and he asks them what keeps them up at night.