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2014 BOOKER PRIZE
Congratulations to Tasmanian author Richard Flanagan, winner of this year's Booker Prize for Narrow Road to the Deep North. Watermark staffer Arlene (who is from Tasmania's "north island") describes this book as "a brilliant novel from Australia about a self-doubting doctor, Dorrigo Evans, who becomes a hero of the Burma railway (and is modeled on real-life Australian icon, Sir Edward 'Weary' Dunlop). American readers might scratch their heads at some of the Australian vernacular, but the droll humor of the POWs in the face of unspeakable adversity is one of the (many) wonders of the story. But this is not just a war novel. It's also about love in its various manifestations, and how lives are shaped by experience. Dedicated to the author's father, an 'ordinary bloke' from Tasmania who survived the ordeal of being a POW but carried it with him for the remainder of his long life."
NEW FROM WILLIAM DIETRICH
THE NORTH CASCADES - Finding Beauty and Renewal in the Wild Nearby (Braided River, $29.95). Washington's North Cascades are home to some of the most magnificent mountains, lowland old growth forests, and pristine rivers on the planet. Some of these features are safely contained within national park boundaries or federally designated wilderness areas, but much remains unprotected. In The North Cascades, Pultizer prize-winning Anacortes author and environmentalist William Dietrich draws attention to the many reasons the integrity of this ecosystme must remain intact. The book examines the value of the area through a broad spectrum of views: conservation, natural history, ecosystem services, sustainable rural communities and recreation. Available now!
$10 LIMITED EDITION HARPER PERENNIAL PAPERBACKS
To celebrate its 50th anniversary as a publisher, Harper Perennial has issued a limited series of classic and destined-to-become-classic paperbacks, each with new covers and priced at $10 each (plus sales tax). Titles include The Monkey Wrench Gang, by Edward Abbey, State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett, The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith, Under the Volcano, by Malcom Lowry, and others.
NEW AND NOTEWORTHY
A SUDDEN LIGHT, by Garth Stein (Simon & Schuster, $26.95). From the Seattle-based author of The Art of Racing in the Rain, this is a much anticipated new novel about a boy who tries to save his parent's marriage, and uncovers a vast legacy of family secrets in the process. Spellbinding and atmospheric, A Sudden Light is rich with uncoventional characters, scenes of transcendent natural (Pacific Northwest!) beauty, and unforgettable moments of emotional truth that reflect Garth Stein's outsized capacity for empathy and keen understanding of human motivation. This is a triumphant work by a master storyteller.
THE ASSASSINATION OF MARGARET THATCHER, by Hilary Mantel (Henry Holt, $27.00) One of Britain's greatest and much-heralded modern writers, Dame Hilary Mantel here takes a break from the machinations of the Tudor 'fixer' Thomas Cromwell to bring the reader a masterly collection of short fiction. In droll, conscise prose, she writes about marriage, class, family and sex, in stories that are varied, unpredictable, sometimes shocking, and invariably entertaining.
STONE MATTRESS, by Margaret Atwood (Nan A. Talese/ Doubleday, $25.95) More short stories, by another formidably gifted female writer, in this case the cerebral, slyly humorous Canadian Margaret Atwood. In these nine tales, she brings her unique imagination and acute insight to turbulent relationships and psychological aberrations. Writers and artists find themselves caught up in variety of romantic entanglements. A man who acquires a storage space finds a gruesome surprise. A woman with a genetic abnormality is mistaken for a vampire. A tourist visiting Antarctica seizes an opportunity to avenge a long-ago crime. As always with Atwood, these offerings are impeccably crafted, frequently thought-provoking, and intelligently funny.
DEPT. OF SPECULATION, by Jenny Offill (Vintage, $15.00). An
amazingly concise novel about marriage and motherhood, adultery and
ambition, plus an array of other topics that seem to bear no relation
to the relationship in question, but actually do. It's short enough
that you can read it in one sitting – but this doesn't lessen its
impact. - Arlene