Thursday, June 23, 2016

Meg's Picks: July 2016, part 3

For my final installment this month, I feel as though I've saved the best for last. These are the novels that I not only want to share with you, but that I cannot wait to read, myself. In fact, do not be surprised if you see me reviewing these in the months to come, because all of them are at the very top of my to-read list this summer. 

This Must Be The Place, by Maggie O’Farrell. Maggie O'Farrell wrote an amazing novel back in 2007 called The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, which remains on of my favorite reads, full of amazing writing and a story that haunts me to this day. So, naturally, I'm excited about her new novel, which is being billed as a break-out title for her. Meet Daniel Sullivan, a man with a complicated life. A New Yorker living in the wilds of Ireland, he has children he never sees in California, a father he loathes in Brooklyn, and a wife, Claudette, who is a reclusive ex–film star given to pulling a gun on anyone who ventures up their driveway. Claudette was once the most glamorous and infamous woman in cinema before she staged her own disappearance and retreated to blissful seclusion in an Irish farmhouse. But the life Daniel and Claudette have so carefully constructed is about to be disrupted by an unexpected discovery about a woman Daniel lost touch with twenty years ago. This revelation will send him off-course, far away from wife, children, and home. Will his love for Claudette be enough to bring him back?

The Last One, by Alexandra Oliva. Oliva's debut novel is getting quite a bit of buzz in the publishing world, so I thought it was only right to pass on this information to you, my fellow readers. It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens—but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it man-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them—a young woman the show’s producers call Zoo—stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game. But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she comes to see that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways while they've been away--and her ability to parse the charade will either be her triumph or her undoing. I'm recommending this to readers looking for a suspenseful adventure story to tote along on vacation this summer.

The Devourers, by Indra Das. Finally, for readers like me, who love books by authors like Neil Gaiman and Margaret Atwood, this debut from Das seems a logical choice for some vacation escapism.
On a cool evening in Kolkata, India, beneath a full moon, as the whirling rhythms of traveling musicians fill the night, college professor Alok encounters a mysterious stranger with a bizarre confession and an extraordinary story. Tantalized by the man’s unfinished tale, Alok will do anything to hear its completion. So Alok agrees, at the stranger’s behest, to transcribe a collection of battered notebooks, weathered parchments, and once-living skins. From these documents spills the chronicle of a race of people at once more than human yet kin to beasts, ruled by instincts and desires blood-deep and ages-old. The tale features a rough wanderer in seventeenth-century Mughal India who finds himself irrevocably drawn to a defiant woman—and destined to be torn asunder by two clashing worlds. With every passing chapter of beauty and brutality, Alok’s interest in the stranger grows and evolves into something darker and more urgent. I'm more than a little intrigued!

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