Little, Brown and Company – $27.00
“If you loved Killing Eve, you’ll devour Conviction…. A twisting, darkly comic, thrill-a-minute ride.” (Erin Kelly, author of He Said/She Said) A true-crime podcast sets a trophy wife’s present life on a collision course with her secret past.
The day Anna McDonald’s quiet, respectable life exploded started off like all the days before: Packing up the kids for school, making breakfast, listening to yet another true crime podcast. Then her husband comes downstairs with an announcement, and Anna is suddenly, shockingly alone.
Reeling, desperate for distraction, Anna returns to the podcast. Other people’s problems are much better than one’s own — a sunken yacht, a murdered family, a hint of international conspiracy. But this case actually is Anna’s problem. She knows one of the victims from an earlier life, a life she’s taken great pains to leave behind. And she is convinced that she knows what really happened.
Then an unexpected visitor arrives on her front stoop, a meddling neighbor intervenes, and life as Anna knows it is well and truly over. The devils of her past are awakened — and in hot pursuit. Convinced she has no other options, she goes on the run, and in pursuit of the truth, with a washed-up musician at her side and the podcast as her guide.
From the award-winning, internationally best-selling Spanish writer, author of The Infatuations, comes a gripping new novel of intrigue and missed chances–at once a spy story and a profound examination of a marriage founded on secrets and lies.
When Berta Isla was a schoolgirl, she decided she would marry Tomás Nevinson–the dashing half-Spanish, half-English boy in her class with an extraordinary gift for languages. But when Tomás returns to Madrid from his studies at Oxford, he is a changed man. Unbeknownst to her, he has been approached by an agent from the British intelligence services, and he has unwittingly set in motion events that will derail forever the life they had planned. With peerless insight into the most shadowed corners of the human soul, Marías plunges the reader into the growing chasm between Berta and Tomás and the decisions that irreversibly change the course of the couple’s fate. Berta Isla is a novel of love and truth, fear and secrecy, buried identities, and the destinies we bring upon ourselves.
DoubleDay Canada – $29.95
In this bravura follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.
As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Florida, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: he is “as good as anyone.” Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the American South in the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called The Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides “physical, intellectual and moral training” so the delinquent boys in their charge can become “honorable and honest men.”
In reality, The Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors, where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear “out back.” Stunned to find himself in such a vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold on to Dr. King’s ringing assertion “throw us in jail and we will still love you.” His friend Turner thinks Elwood is worse than naive, that the world is crooked and the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble.
The tension between Elwood’s ideals and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Formed in the crucible of the evils Jim Crow wrought, the boys’ fates will be determined by what they endured at The Nickel Academy.
Based on the true story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers.
McLelland & Stewart – $32.95
From one of Canada’s most popular and connected political journalists, an unblinkered warts-and-all look at Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government’s record in power. A must-read as we head into the 2019 federal election.
Canadians are becoming increasingly skeptical about their chameleon prime minister. When he entered politics, Justin Trudeau came across as a person with no fixed principles. Now, he presents himself as a conviction politician. What motivated his metamorphosis—belief or opportunism?
Either way, in 2019’s election he will be judged on results—results that have so far been disappointing for many, even those in his own party. From the ballooning deficit to the Trans Mountain purchase to the fallout of his disastrous trip to India to the unpopular implementation of a carbon tax, Justin Trudeau has presided over his share of controversy. Most damaging, his egregious missteps during the SNC-Lavalin scandal and the subsequent resignation of two top ministers, his principal secretary, and the clerk of the Privy Council have raised serious questions about Trudeau’s integrity.
As a political columnist for the National Post since 2003and Ottawa bureau chief for Postmedia for the past three years, John Ivison has watched Trudeau evolve as a politician and leader, a fascinating transition that has not been fully captured by any writer. Trudeau traces the complexities of the man himself, now barely visible beneath the talking points, virtue signalling, and polished trappings of office. Ivison concludes that while Trudeau led a moribund Liberal Party to victory in the 2015 election, the shine of his leadership has been worn off by a series of self-inflicted wounds, broken promises, and rookie mistakes.
One of the central contentions of Trudeau is already apparent: the prime minister’s greatest strengths are also his greatest weaknesses; the famous name, high-handedness, and impulsiveness are as liable to hurl him from office as they were to get him there in the first place.
With unprecedented access and insight, John Ivison takes us inside one of the most contentious first terms of any prime minister in our history.
Doubleday – $40.00
After the Fall of Rome, when many of the great ideas of the ancient world were lost to the ravages of the Dark Ages, three crucial manuscripts passed hand to hand through seven Mediterranean cities and survived to fuel the revival of the Renaissance–an exciting debut history.
The foundations of modern knowledge—philosophy, math, astronomy, geography—were laid by the Greeks, whose ideas were written on scrolls and stored in libraries across the Mediterranean and beyond. But as the vast Roman Empire disintegrated, so did appreciation of these precious texts. Christianity cast a shadow over so-called pagan thought, books were burned, and the library of Alexandria, the greatest repository of classical knowledge, was destroyed.
Yet some texts did survive and The Map of Knowledge explores the role played by seven cities around the Mediterranean—rare centers of knowledge in a dark world, where scholars supported by enlightened heads of state collected, translated and shared manuscripts. In 8th century Baghdad, Arab discoveries augmented Greek learning. Exchange within the thriving Muslim world brought that knowledge to Cordoba, Spain. Toledo became a famous center of translation from Arabic into Latin, a portal through which Greek and Arab ideas reached Western Europe. Salerno, on the Italian coast, was the great center of medical studies, and Sicily, ancient colony of the Greeks, was one of the few places in the West to retain contact with Greek culture and language. Scholars in these cities helped classical ideas make their way to Venice in the 15th century, where printers thrived and the Renaissance took root.
The Map of Knowledge follows three key texts—Euclid’s Elements, Ptolemy’s The Almagest, and Galen’s writings on medicine—on a perilous journey driven by insatiable curiosity about the world.
Little, Brown and Company – $42.00
In his international bestsellers Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse, Jared Diamond transformed our understanding of what makes civilizations rise and fall. Now, in his third book in this monumental trilogy, he reveals how successful nations recover from crises while adopting selective changes — a coping mechanism more commonly associated with individuals recovering from personal crises.
Diamond compares how six countries have survived recent upheavals — ranging from the forced opening of Japan by U.S. Commodore Perry’s fleet, to the Soviet Union’s attack on Finland, to a murderous coup or countercoup in Chile and Indonesia, to the transformations of Germany and Austria after World War Two. Because Diamond has lived and spoken the language in five of these six countries, he can present gut-wrenching histories experienced firsthand. These nations coped, to varying degrees, through mechanisms such as acknowledgment of responsibility, painfully honest self-appraisal, and learning from models of other nations. Looking to the future, Diamond examines whether the United States, Japan, and the whole world are successfully coping with the grave crises they currently face. Can we learn from lessons of the past?
Adding a psychological dimension to the in-depth history, geography, biology, and anthropology that mark all of Diamond’s books, Upheaval reveals factors influencing how both whole nations and individual people can respond to big challenges. The result is a book epic in scope, but also his most personal book yet.