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THE BURIED GIANT, by Kazuo Ishiguro (Knopf, $26.95). From the author of Never Let Me Go and the Booker Prize-winning The Remains of the Day, this new novel is set in the unfamiliar territory of early medieval Britain. The country has been ruined by wars, but now enters a period of relative peace. Axl and Beatrice, an elderly couple decide that now is the time for them to set off through the mists to find the son they have not seen for years. They expect to face hazards but cannot imagine how their journey will reveal to them the dark and forgotten corners of their love for one another. Sometimes savage, sometimes mysterious, always intensely moving, Ishiguro's first novel in a decade is both a luminous story of memory and forgetting, and a resonant tale of love, vengeance and war.

DEAD WAKE - THE LAST CROSSING OF THE LUSITANIA, by Erik Larson (Crown, $28.00) On May 1, 1915, ten months into WWI, the sleek luxury liner Lusitania set forth from New York bound for Liverpool. Though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone, the liner's captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that kept civilian ships like his safe from attack. But Germany was intent on changing the rules of the game, with ambitious U-Boot captain Walther Schweiger, keen to oblige. An ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schweiger's submarine, but refused to pass on the information, lest their own existence be revealed. As the Lusitania and U-20 neared Liverpool, a combination of factors - hubris, fog, secrecy - fatally converged to bring about one of the greatest maritime disasters in history. Author Erik Larson switches thrillingly between hunter and hunted, while bringing many of the Lusitania's doomed passengers and crew back to life.

THE LOVE SONG OF MISS QUEENIE HENNESSY, by Rachel Joyce (Random House, $25.00) Readers of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry will know that Harold's journey was spurred by a letter from his old friend Queenie Hennessy, who wrote to him from a hospice to say goodbye. But Harold's decision to walk all the way to see her prompted Queenie to make a journey of her own. If she lived to see Harold, what would she say to him? If she died before he got there, she would need to write to him again, to explain. This book is Queenie's story, as she puts pen to paper and confronts the past - including the devastating secret she has kept from Harold all these years. Wise and tender, this is a layered novel that beautifully illuminates the small yet pivotal moments that can change people's lives.


LEAVING BEFORE THE RAINS COME, by Alexandra Fuller (Penguin, $26.95). Raised on a farm in southern Africa, Alexandra Fuller wrote about her extraordinary childhood in the now-classic memoir, Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight (Random House, $16.00). In 1994, Fuller moved to Wyoming, and in this new book she continues her story, confronting the tough questions about her past, about the American man she married and eventually divorced, and about the family she left behind in Africa. It's a story full of pain, but Fuller writes, as always, with exceptional wit, grace, and intellect, threading panoramic vistas with her deepest insights as a fully grown woman, wife and mother. Her ultimate revelation, after a lifetime of waiting for someone to show up and save her: in the end, we all simply have to save ourselves. 

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