Six November Book Releases

November is usually the last month of the year for notable book releases, and the last chance we get to pick out something from a genre we may not have read before; November is also the slowest month for new releases.  As we head, full steam, into the holiday season here are six new releases that I feel may be worth your time to pick up:

valley_of_amazementTitle – The Valley of Amazement
Author – Amy Tan
ISBN 13– 978-0062107312
Pub Date – November 5 2013
Publisher – Ecco

Description – Moving between the dazzling world of courtesans in turn of the century Shanghai, a remote Chinese mountain village, and the rough-hewn streets of nineteenth-century San Francisco, Amy Tan’s sweeping new novel maps the lives of three generations of women connected by blood and history-and the mystery of an evocative painting known as “The Valley of Amazement.”

Violet is one of the most celebrated courtesans in Shanghai, a beautiful and intelligent woman who has honed her ability to become any man’s fantasy since her start as a “Virgin Courtesan” at the age of twelve. Half-Chinese and half-American, she moves effortlessly between the East and the West. But her talents belie her private struggle to understand who she really is and her search for a home in the world. Abandoned by her mother, Lucia, and uncertain of her father’s identity, Violet’s quest to truly love and be loved will set her on a path fraught with danger and complexity-and the loss of her own daughter.

Lucia, a wilful and wild American woman who was once herself the proprietress of Shanghai’s most exclusive courtesan house, nurses her own secret wounds, which she first sustained when, as a teenager, she fell in love with a Chinese painter and followed him from San Francisco to Shanghai. Her search for penance and redemption will bring her to a startling reunion with Flora, Violet’s daughter, and will shatter all that Violet believed she knew about her mother.

Spanning fifty years and two continents, The Valley of Amazement is a deeply moving narrative of family secrets, the legacy of trauma, and the profound connections between mothers and daughters, that returns readers to the compelling territory Amy Tan so expertly mapped in The Joy Luck Club. With her characteristic wisdom, grace, and humor, she conjures a story of the inheritance of love, its mysteries and senses, its illusions and truths

Comments – Author of The Joy Luck Club and The Kitchen God’s Wife

All Fudged UpTitle – All Fudged Up (Candy-Coated Mystery with Recipes)
Author – Nancy Coco
ISBN 13– 978-0758287106
Pub Date – November 5 2013
Publisher – Kensington

Description – Welcome to the Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop–where life is sweet, revenge is sweeter, and murder is here to stay…

You Can’t Fudge An Alibi.

Allie McMurphy is up to her neck in renovations at the grand old hotel that’s been in her family for generations. With its quaint Victorian charm–and world-famous fudge shop–the place is one of Mackinac Island’s most beloved landmarks.

Sure, every family has a skeleton or two in the closet. But Allie didn’t expect to find an actual corpse inside hers, especially one Joe Jessup, who had a long-running feud with her dear departed grandfather. Which makes Allie the number-one suspect.

Can she sniff out the culprit before another victim checks in?

HildTitle – Hild: A Novel
Author – Nicola Griffith
ISBN 13– 978-0374280871
Pub Date – November 12 2013
Publisher – Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Description – Hild is born into a world in transition. In seventh-century Britain, small kingdoms are merging, usually violently. A new religion is coming ashore; the old gods’ priests are worrying. Edwin of Northumbria plots to become overking of the Angles, ruthlessly using every tool at his disposal: blood, bribery, belief.

Hild is the king’s youngest niece. She has the powerful curiosity of a bright child, a will of adamant, and a way of seeing the world—of studying nature, of matching cause with effect, of observing human nature and predicting what will happen next—that can seem uncanny, even supernatural, to those around her. She establishes herself as the king’s seer. And she is indispensable—until she should ever lead the king astray. The stakes are life and death: for Hild, her family, her loved ones, and the increasing numbers who seek the protection of the strange girl who can read the world and see the future.

Comments – Will be reviewed at a later date

 
Black HairTitle – Death of the Black-Haired Girl
Author – Robert Stone
ISBN 13– 978-0618386239
Pub Date – November 12 2013
Publisher – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Description – In an elite college in a once-decaying New England city, Steven Brookman has come to a decision. A brilliant but careless professor, he has determined that for the sake of his marriage, and his soul, he must extract himself from his relationship with Maud Stack, his electrifying student, whose papers are always late and too long yet always incandescent. But Maud is a young woman whose passions are not easily contained or curtailed, and their union will quickly yield tragic and far-reaching consequences.

As in Robert Stone’s most acclaimed novels, here he conjures a complex moral universe where nothing is black and white, even if the characters—always complicated, always compelling—wish it were. The stakes of Brookman and Maud’s relationship prove higher than either one could have anticipated, pitting individuals against one another and against the institutions meant to protect them.

Comments – Author of Dog Soldiers

Permanent memberTitle – A Permanent Member of the Family
Author – Russell Banks
ISBN 13– 978-0061857652
Pub Date – November 12 2013
Publisher – Ecco

Description – Suffused with Banks’ trademark lyricism and reckless humor, the twelve stories in A Permanent Member of the Family examine the myriad ways we try—and sometimes fail—to connect with one another, as we seek a home in the world. In the title story, a father looks back on the legend of the cherished family dog whose divided loyalties mirrored the fragmenting of his marriage. In “Christmas Party,” a young man entertains dark thoughts as he watches his newly remarried ex-wife leading the life he once imagined they would share. “A Former Marine” asks, to chilling effect, if one can ever stop being a parent. And in the haunting, evocative “Veronica,” a mysterious woman searching for her missing daughter may not be who she claims she is.

Comments – Author of Rule of the Bone

First Phone callTitle – The First Phone Call from Heaven: A Novel
Author – Mitch Albom
ISBN 13– 978-0062294371
Pub Date – November 12 2013
Publisher – Harper

Description – The First Phone Call from Heaven tells the story of a small town on Lake Michigan that gets worldwide attention when its citizens start receiving phone calls from the afterlife. Is it the greatest miracle ever or a massive hoax? Sully Harding, a grief-stricken single father, is determined to find out. An allegory about the power of belief–and a page-turner that will touch your soul–Albom’s masterful storytelling has never been so moving and unexpected.

Comments – Author of The Five people You Meet in Heaven

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2 thoughts on “Six November Book Releases

  1. Thank you for posting these! I like the sound of the Robert Stone book and the Russell Banks book. I will look for them when they come out! I’m just finishing up “The Dark Road” by Ma Jian….an intense book, a translation from the original Chinese, about a married couple, who are peasants and how the “one child rule” enforced by the Chinese government affects their lives when Meili becomes pregnant for the second time. It is horrific what these people go through. Incredible book. Highly recommend!

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