Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Storey Publishing: The Universe in Verse: 15 Portals to Wonder Through Science & Poetry by Maria Popova

Tommy Nelson: You'll Always Have a Friend: What to Do When the Lonelies Come by Emily Ley, Illustrated by Romina Galotta

Jimmy Patterson: Amir and the Jinn Princess by M T Khan

Peachtree Publishers: Erno Rubik and His Magic Cube by Kerry Aradhya, Illustrated by Kara Kramer

Beacon Press: Kindred by Octavia Butler

Inkshares: Mr. and Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel

Tundra Books: On a Mushroom Day by Chris Baker, Illustrated by Alexandria Finkeldey

Blue Box Press: A Soul of Ash and Blood: A Blood and Ash Novel by Jennifer L Armentrout


Books Kinokuniya Opens Near Chicago

Books Kinokuniya has opened its eighth store in the U.S., in the Mitsuwa Marketplace Chicago, in Arlington Heights. Like the company's other U.S. stores, the focus is on Japanese titles and related products, although the store carries some English-language books. Kinokuniya celebrated its grand opening over the weekend with a 10% discount on all merchandise. The new store replaces a Sanseido Bookstore.

Mitsuwa Marketplaces feature Mitsuwa Supermarkets--which specialize in Japanese food--food courts and related shops. Mitsuwa Marketplace also has malls in California and New Jersey, near large Japanese expat populations.

Weldon Owen: The Gay Icon's Guide to Life by Michael Joosten, Illustrated by Peter Emerich

After Fire, Harborwalk Books Finds Temporary Location

Harborwalk's historic building was destroyed by fire last month.

Harborwalk Books, Georgetown, S.C., whose building was among several in the town's historic district destroyed by fire last month, has opened temporarily at 105 Screven Street, near its former location, with help from Michele Overton and Lauren Call. Owner Ann Carlson wrote, "We will be moving back to the original location as soon as the building is replaced."

Harborwalk Books is also updating its progress on Facebook.

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

PNBA: It's All About Community

Last week's Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association show, at the Holiday Inn in Portland, Ore., was, in the words of one attendee, "The best PNBA I've been to. Well organized, lots of books, the food was hot, the authors were amazing! And there is nothing better than celebrating the fact we made it back one more time!" All around, a very good show, and comments often centered on community and staying power.

We were struck by how much we, the booksellers that are part of the PNBA, mean to one another. It's always great to see old friends, meet new ones, get caught up and revel in the fact that we are still doing what we love to do. We may only see each other once a year, but we have stories that tie us together through decades.

Dinner with Ivan Doig (Sweet Thunder, Riverhead, August), Jane Kirkpatrick (Emma of Aurora, WaterBrook Press, November) and Barry Lopez (Home Ground, Trinity University Press, August) was such a wonderful, warm event--eating together in a warm, well-lighted room, hearing authors talk about the books they've written about the people and landscape we love and hold dear. As author Brian Doyle said, we leave the fire, holding hands, to go into the dark, giving it the finger. PNBA is the fire we gather around in early fall. We tell stories about our stores and how we made it through the year; we find sidelines and books we want; we share ideas and learn new things and, after all these years, we still look the same! (Or is it the lighting?)

The mood at PNBA was upbeat and optimistic. People agreed, whether hopefully or confidently, that the e-book phenomenon has plateaued and real books are once again on the rise. There was a lot of talk about the "tactile sense" of a book, and how we're hearing that from customers more and more. And along with community, the trade shows are always about the books.

At Monday's breakfast, Elizabeth George talked about the impetus for her new mystery, Just One Evil Act (Dutton, October): the Italian justice system, in which she became interested after reading The Monster of Florence and stories about Amanda Knox. Nicola Griffith entranced the audience with her fascination with St. Hilda of Whitby and her 15 years of research for Hild (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, November), the first volume in a trilogy. Griffith said she wrote the book to find out what life was like 1,400 years ago; after her talk, we wanted to find out, too. Cynthia Voigt, whose latest children's book is Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things (Knopf, September), noted that writing a mystery was a challenge for her, since she claims she is "plot-impaired." She read some of Alexander McCall Smith's Ladies Detective Agency series as mystery primers. Finally, Brian Sanderson, as bracing as a Cuban coffee, told us that his inspiration for Steelheart (Delacorte, September) came to him when he was cut off in traffic, fantasizing about having superpowers. He also recalled the book that got him to start reading in the eighth grade--Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly--and said that he wants to write novels that target reluctant readers like he was.

Authors Willy Vlautin and Peter Brown Hoffmeister with their bags full of their fellow Feast of Authors guests' books.

The importance of stories was the theme of the Tuesday breakfast, led by Loren Long's reminiscences of his mother reading Golden Books and The Little Engine that Could to him. As an illustrator, Long (An Otis Christmas, Philomel, October) drew updated pictures for Watty Piper's classic, making the clown "less of a grown up." "Who done it?" asked thriller writer Jeffery Deaver (The October List, Grand Central, September). "You, the librarians and booksellers, are the ones promoting books and stories," he answered. Storytelling under the pressure of NaNoWriMo (National Novel writing Month, in November), Marissa Meyer placed third in a most-words-written contest, trying to win a walk-on in a Star Wars movie. She didn't win, but she is launching book two in her Lunar series, Scarlet (Square Fish, February 2014). Brian Doyle (The Plover, Thomas Dunne, April 2014) illustrated his theme that "we're story junkies, story addled" by sharing tales of his Queens Irish Catholic family. "Stories were our food... and you are in the daring and powerful story-sharing business."

Sunday's wine and dessert Nightcapper drew about 200 booksellers.

Wandering around the exhibits is always fun, especially when a gem pops out, like Monument Road by Charlie Quimby (Torrey House, November), a a superb novel about a man who is fulfilling a promise he made to his wife by taking her ashes to her favorite overlook to spread them to the wind. He has decided to step off the cliff with her. Valerie Ryan of Oregon's Cannon Beach Book Company, said, "Think of the cadence and irresistible story of Juliet in August or Benediction or Peace Like a River. Yes, it's that good."

A different abecedarian approach is found in Alphablock by Christopher Franceschelli, illustrated by Peskimo (Abrams, August)--a board book where each letter gets two pages and the letters are die-cut, so you can see through them. It's cheery and well-designed; good graphics and text.

A beauty that will have you turning pages and then starting all over and looking closely at every single picture is George Hurrell's Hollywood: Glamour Portraits from 1925 to 1992 (Running Press, November). Hurrell was the first photographer to make stars look like stars; his genius for lighting and posing the subject perfectly turned photography up several notches.

The Crimson Spoon: Plating Regional Cuisine on the Palouse by Jamie Callison (Washington State University Press, October 7, 2013) focuses on the Palouse region of the Pacific Northwest, which is a chef's playground: a creamery, an apiary, organic farms, fruit orchards and a cattle herd are all located just minutes from Chef Callison's campus kitchen--and he's in one of the best wine regions in the world. Luscious recipes and photographs make this a good bet for foodies.

Running Press is cornering the market on clever drink books with What the F*@# Should I Drink? by Zach Golden and Tequila Mockingbird by Tim Federle. Golden's book will appeal to anyone wanting a drink (perfect for a trade show) and anyone who remembers the Choose Your Own Adventure books. Pick a drink. Don't like it? Go to page 51 for an alternate choice. Federle concocts cocktails with punny names like "Gin Eyre" and "Are You There God? It's Me, Margarita." His book is charmingly illustrated by Lauren Mortimer.

Barron's Educational has followed their gorgeous books about horses and dogs with (at last) The Elegance of the Cat by Tamsin Pickeral, with photographs by Astrid Harrisson. What a great gig those two women have, but what next? We are hoping chickens.

River Run Books' Betty Morris submits her BuzzBooks ballot.

Topping off the abundance of good books is the winner of the PNBA BuzzBooks contest: more than 150 booksellers and librarians visited publishers on the trade show floor to listen to pitches for some of their most anticipated titles. Members then voted for the book they felt generated the most buzz to share with their customers and patrons. The winner was Bainbridge Island author Carol Cassella's Gemini (Simon & Schuster, March 2014), a medical mystery about a critically injured patient known only as Jane Doe, and a story about love, life and death, and family. --Marilyn Dahl, editor, Shelf Awareness for Readers; Rene Kirkpatrick, co-owner, Eagle Harbor Book Company, Bainbridge Island, Wash.; Cheryl Krocker McKeon, bookseller, Book Passage, San Francisco; Valerie Ryan, Cannon Beach Book Company, Ore.; Janis Segress, manager and co-owner, Queen Anne Book Company, Seattle

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

Nobel Winner Alice Munro, Former Bookseller

In parts of western Canada, Nobel laureate Alice Munro is also known as a former bookseller: in 1963, she and her ex-husband, Jim Munro, founded Munro's Books, Victoria, B.C., which last month celebrated its 50th birthday.

Last Thursday, the day Alice Munro won the Nobel, was Jim Munro's 84th birthday. Speaking about his ex-wife with the Vancouver Sun, he said, "One time, working in the store, she said, 'I can write better than these people,' so from then on she quit the store and stayed home and wrote."

He added that Munro was "pretty well bowled over by" the Nobel announcement. "But I'm not surprised because I've seen other people who have won the award and her writing is certainly on the quality."

He also told the paper that in her writing, she is "extremely observant, very meticulous, very good with dialogue. With a short story you have to make a person seem real very quickly and she does that."

Books, Bytes & Beyond's 'New Bookstore Model'

Children's bookseller Books, Bytes & Beyond, Glen Rock, N.J., has moved within its longtime building, from a streetfront space to the lower level, where it has more than 10,000 books (mostly for ages 4-14) and tables and chairs for customers "to look at books in a relaxed, library-like atmosphere," as owner Mary Brown put it.

Brown and her husband, Bob, opened the Books, Bytes & Beyond storefront in 1993, a business that grew into four elements: walk-in traffic at the store; school and library sales and curriculum advising; on- and off-site author events; and book fairs. Last year, Bob Brown joined Scholastic Book Fairs as national sales and program manager and moved Books, Bytes & Beyond's book fair business to Scholastic. At the same time, the walk-in business became more based on e-mail and the telephone, leading the company to move out of its storefront.

"I have always recognized the importance of introducing children to the right book for their reading level, and have been talking with publishers about, and designing our inventory around, leveled books for over 10 years," Brown said. "We established a guided reading leveled area in the store many years ago, and this selection is much larger now in our new location with an inventory of thousands of titles. We are also developing links between these leveled books and the Common Core Standards to further aid our customers in their title selections. Our author event schedule is still very vibrant as we have developed a reputation for seamlessly run events at schools and other off site venues."

New B&N in El Paso

Tomorrow, Barnes & Noble is opening a new store at the Fountains at Farah, 8889 Gateway West, El Paso, Tex., replacing the existing Eastside location, which will close. As part of the grand opening celebration, tonight the Fountains at Farah B&N is hosting a Friends and Family Preview Night, with proceeds going to the El Paso Children's Hospital.

Obituary Notes: Jane Humphrey; Oscar Hijuelos

Jane Humphrey, who founded Once Upon a Time bookstore, Montrose, Calif., in 1966, died October 7 after a long illness, the Glendale News-Press reported. She was 79.

The impetus for opening the store, her daughter, Susan, told the paper, came after she "realized there was a huge lack of quality children's literature and there was a void [for] a place where you could purchase children's books."

Humphrey displayed many titles on antique furniture and was owner and manager until 2003, when she sold Once Upon a Time to current owner Maureen Palacios. "The store was her fourth child," Susan Humphrey said. "Her legacy is that when she spoke to somebody [such] as a customer, each person was the most important person. Every person got her full attention."


Oscar Hijuelos, the Cuban-American novelist "who wrote about the lives of immigrants adapting to a new culture and became the first Latino to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his 1989 book, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love," died Saturday, the New York Times reported. He was 62.

On the Los Angeles Times Jacket Copy blog, Hector Tobar praised Hijuelos as "a cultural pioneer who wrote elegant novels about ambitious Cuban expatriates and music-loving New Yorkers. He told stories that revealed the texture and passion of the Latino immigrant experience to legions of non-Latino readers for the first time."


Images of the Day: Comic-con

Diana Gabaldon signed copies of Outlander (RH), joined by Battlestar Galactica producer Ron D. Moore, who is adapting her bestselling time-travel romance for Starz and Sony Pictures Television as a 16-episode series.

Harper Voyager hosted a digital e-book signing, powered by Autography, with authors C. Robert Cargill, Alison Gaylin, Richard Kadrey, Adam Mansbach, Wendy Corsi Staub, David Wellington.

"Here's the thing about fairy tales," Catherynne M. Valente (The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two) said during one of the many panels devoted to science fiction and fantasy literature during this past weekend's New York Comic Con, held at Manhattan's Javits Convention Center. "They are the best-edited stories of all time... boiled down, espresso-like stories that go straight to the back of your reptile brain." The several dozen writers who populated those panels--and the hundreds of fans who filled their audiences (out of an estimated 130,000 attendees over four days)--were an effective testament to the genre's popularity; though comic books, movies and television were the weekend's primary attraction, books also appeared to draw consistently strong crowds. Even an early Sunday morning panel swiftly filled to capacity, with Lemony Snicket and Shannon Hale among the participants.

A couple of superheroes with Superheroes! (Crown), a tie-in to the PBS documentary on the history of comic books and superheroes that debuts on PBS tonight.

The panels covered a wide variety of sub-genres, including urban fantasy, dystopian horror, paranormal thrillers and young adult fiction--often with some overlap among the categories. As Benedict Jacka, author of the Alex Venus series, said, "In England, when I was growing up, they didn't call it urban fantasy. They called it children's books." Similarly, Wendy Corsi Staub laughingly described how, after the success of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, she learned that she was writing suburban noir: "I always thought it was domestic psychological suspense."

Whatever their chosen genre, authors face the challenge of keeping things new. During a session on horror literature, David Wellington, whose career began when he started serializing a trilogy of zombie novels online and then moved on to vampires, werewolves and, in his latest novel Chimera, genetically engineered mutants, described how he would dig into the existing stories about those monsters "looking for the things I don't want to do." Valente, coming at it from the fairy tale side, made much the same point, challenging the notion that any mythological or folkloric creatures were overplayed in modern fantasy. Any creature, she suggested, could still be done in an interesting way. "Everything's already been told," she said--"but you haven't told everything." --Ron Hogan

Green Business: Bestsellers Café

Bestsellers Café, Medford, Mass., has won the 2013 Green Business Award from the Medford Energy Committee of the City of Medford. The store explained: "We've been recognized for our efforts in recycling as well as donating pounds and pounds of coffee grounds for composting. Business recycling has a long way to go, but we're hopeful that more improvements will be made in the future."

PGW Adds Eight Publishers

PGW has added the following publisher clients:

Patagonia Books, the publishing division of outdoor clothing and gear company Patagonia, which publishes titles on wilderness, wildlife and outdoor sports that "restore connection to the natural world and raise awareness about environmental challenges and solutions." Patagonia Books' list includes titles by company founder Yvonne Chouinard; it plans to publish five or more titles each year beginning in 2014.
Los Angeles Review of Books, beginning with the inaugural issue of the LARB Quarterly Journal. Beginning next year, Los Angeles Review of Books will publish original standalone works by established authors, as well as digital-only essay and fiction collections.
Cool Tools Lab, publisher of Cool Tools, an illustrated catalogue of the best tools as reviewed by users on the Cool Tools website, founded by Kevin Kelly.
Three Rooms Press, which was founded in 1993 and publishes "cutting edge, real-life" poetry, fiction, drama and art, including On and Off Bass, by legendary Minutemen and Stooges bass player Mike Watt.
Four Elephants Press, founded by Sam Harris and Annaka Harris, which launches this fall with Lying by Sam Harris and I Wonder, a children's title by Annaka Harris.
Rangjung Yeshe Publications, which publishes translations of authentic Buddhist literature as well as commentaries by contemporary Buddhist masters of the Tibetan tradition. PGW distribution starts in December.
Figure 1, founded by former D&M Publishers executives Richard Nadeau, Chris Labonte and Peter Cocking, begins publishing in spring 2014. It specializes in illustrated books in the genres of art & architecture, food & wine, illustrated history and children's literature.
Goosebottom Books, which publishes fun nonfiction for middle-grade readers. Its series include the Thinking Girl's Treasury of Real Princesses and the Thinking Girl's Treasury of Dastardly Dames. PGW starts to distribute Goosebottom Books in January.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Graydon Carter on CBS This Morning

This morning on CBS This Morning: Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair 100 Years: From the Jazz Age to Our Age (Abrams, $65, 9781419708633). He will also appear on Charlie Rose.


This morning on the Today Show: Helen Fielding, author of Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy (Knopf, $26.95, 9780385350860).

Also on Today: Soleil Moon Frye, author of Let's Get This Party Started: DIY Celebrations for You and Your Kids to Create Together (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $22.50, 9781617690341). She will also appear today on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live and tomorrow on the View.

Also on Today: Octavia Spencer, author of Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective: The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit (Simon & Schuster, $16.99, 9781442476813). She will also appear today on the View and tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends.


Today on NPR's Here & Now: Bobby Orr, author of Orr: My Story (Putnam, $27.95, 9780399161759).


Today on ABC's the Chew: Clinton Kelly, author of Freakin' Fabulous on a Budget (Gallery, $26, 9781476715520).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Ana L. Flores, co-author of Bilingual Is Better: Two Latina Moms on How the Bilingual Parenting Revolution is Changing the Face of America (Bilingual Readers, $17.95, 9788492968213).


Tomorrow on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live: Rachael Ray, author of Week in a Day (Atria, $24.99, 9781451659757).

Also tomorrow on Watch What Happens Live: Jessica Seinfeld, author of The Can't Cook Book: Recipes for the Absolutely Terrified! (Atria, $27.99, 9781451662252).


Tomorrow on Entertainment's Inside Edition: Gavin Edwards, author of Last Night at the Viper Room: River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left Behind (It, $24.99, 9780062273154).


Tomorrow on Connie Martinson Talks Books: Kathy Eldon, author of In the Heart of Life: A Memoir (HarperOne, $26.99, 9780062048622).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Debbie Wasserman Schultz, co-author of For the Next Generation: A Wake-Up Call to Solving Our Nation's Problems (St. Martin's Press, $25.99, 9781250000996).


Tomorrow on MSNBC's the Cycle: J. Michael Lennon, author of Norman Mailer: A Double Life (Simon & Schuster, $40, 9781439150191).


Tomorrow on the Wendy Williams Show: Al Sharpton, author of The Rejected Stone: Al Sharpton and the Path to American Leadership (Cash Money Content, $22, 9781936399475).


Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Robbie Robertson, co-author of Legends, Icons & Rebels: Music That Changed the World (Tundra Books, $29, 9781770495715).


Tomorrow on the Late Show with David Letterman: Bill O'Reilly, co-author of Killing Jesus (Holt, $28, 9780805098549).

TV: Wolf Hall; Meg Ryan as 'Hotshot' Editor

Peter Kosminsky will direct and Mark Rylance will star as Thomas Cromwell in an "intensely political" £7 million (about US$11.2 million), six-part BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall, which is expected to air in 2015. The Guardian reported that BBC "will also broadcast the sequel Bring Up the Bodies and producer Company Pictures has an option on the as-yet-unpublished final book of Mantel's Tudor trilogy, The Mirror and the Light."

"This is a first for me," Kosminsky said. "But it is an intensely political piece. It is about the politics of despotism, and how you function around an absolute ruler. I have a sense that Hilary Mantel wanted that immediacy."

Pairing Kosminsky with playwright Peter Straughan, who has adapted Mantel's work, "suggests the BBC is looking for a darker and grittier take on British history," the Guardian wrote.

"When I saw Peter Straughan's script, only a first draft, I couldn't believe what I was reading," Kosminsky added. "It was the best draft I had ever seen. He had managed to distil 1,000 pages of the novels into six hours, using prose so sensitively. He's a theater writer by trade."

Mantel called Straughan's scripts a "miracle of elegant compression and I believe with such a strong team the original material can only be enhanced."

Meg Ryan, who played a children's bookseller in You've Got Mail, will star in and produce an NBC comedy "revolving around a former hotshot New York editor," according to the Hollywood Reporter, which noted that Ryan "will play a sunny, devoted and desperately non-confrontational single mom who decides to return to her New York publishing house where she was once a brilliant editor to find that she now works for Brenda, a neurotic 30-year-old who was once her former intern. Now she must find a way to keep her boss, her teenage kids, her almost ex-husband and her meddlesome mother-in-law all happy, which results in her overcomplicating every situation and somehow always making it worse."

Movies: Fifty Shades Loses Its Christian Grey

Charlie Hunnam dropped out of the film adaptation of E.L. James's Fifty Shades of Grey, with the studio, Focus/Universal, "citing a sort of scheduling conflict with his FX motorcycle club drama Sons Of Anarchy but it could be code for the already-coded 'creative differences,' " Indiewire reported. suggested that it "seems more likely that Hunnam had time to think about it, and decided the role didn’t fit him like that Sons leather jacket he wears. There is a lot of nudity in the film, and calls for the kind of things that might make a veteran actor like Hunnam uncomfortable."

In addition to the major cast change, Universal and Focus have hired Patrick Marber (Notes on a Scandal) "to polish the screenplay" and "amp up the characters in Kelly Marcel's script," Variety reported, adding that with the Sam Taylor-Johnson-directed movie expected to shoot next month and the studio now seeking a new male lead, "production on the racy project could be delayed." The movie is scheduled to be released August 1, 2014.

Books & Authors

Awards: PEN Pinter for International Writer of Courage

Irina Khalip, a journalist arrested for her investigative reporting of Alexander Lukashenko's regime in Belarus, won the PEN Pinter Prize for International Writer of Courage, which "encapsulates Harold Pinter's commitment to freedom of expression." The Guardian reported that Khalip "was given the prize by the playwright Tom Stoppard on the seventh anniversary of the murder of another crusading journalist, Anna Politkovskaya."

"I have to start my short speech with the name of Anna Politkovskaya," said Khalip. "Seven years ago this day she was killed. She was a courageous journalist, a person who cared and my colleague."

The PEN Pinter prize is awarded annually to two writers--one who is either British or living and working in the U.K., and another "writer of courage" selected by the British winner in consultation with the writers-at-risk team of English PEN.

"I salute her courage and her example; she is the reporter I wanted to be," said Stoppard.

Book Review

Review: At Night We Walk in Circles

At Night We Walk in Circles by Daniel Alarcon (Riverhead, $27.95 hardcover, 9781594631719, October 21, 2013)

Daniel Alarcón, whose first novel, Lost City Radio, was widely praised as an eloquent fable-like tale of war's arbitrary consequences, continues the theme in the ambitious At Night We Walk in Circles.

Once again, Peruvian-born Alarcón sets his story in a nameless South American country ravaged by war. The novel begins by shifting back and forth between Henry Nunez, a troubled playwright who has spent years in the country's most notorious prison on charges of terrorism for his subversive political play The Idiot President, and Nelson, a young actor fresh out of theater school, still in love with a sometime girlfriend and left to care for his widowed and devastated mother. Henry is staging a revival of his play with a small troupe and performing the title role, with plans for a tour through the provinces. Star-struck and in awe of the famous playwright, Nelson does not hesitate when invited to play the part of the president's son.

Only here, well into the novel, does the real narrator emerge, a nameless investigator who pieces together the story of what happens when, midway through the tour, Henry visits the family of his long-ago prison lover and accidentally reveals a secret detail that sets off a chain of events with a shattering conclusion.

How Alarcón manages this layered and complex structure is one of the novel's many pleasures. The country is nameless, but the descriptions are specific and vivid. The village where the trouble begins is "a village without men." Young men leave, their faces full of hunger. It is a picturesque and idyllic place, but Alarcón's lush descriptions are ultimately depictions of absence, underlining the obliterations caused by war. The narrator, all but absent at the beginning of the story, increasingly inserts himself, spinning out subplots, cutting back and forth in time, making us question his motives and his connection to the characters even as he begs the question of whose story is being told. It is everyone's story, the novel seems to be telling us, as each character is by turn a perpetrator and a victim of thoughtless cruelties, with luck and fate hinging on the most random of actions. In this way, too, we slowly fill in the blanks about the love story at the novel's heart.

At Night We Walk in Circles is a breathtaking novel, intimate and sweeping, about the capriciousness of fate and how its ultimate brutality can come in the form of absence and longing. --Jeanette Zwart

Shelf Discovery: An important new novel about the enduring consequences of war and love, based on Alarcón's New Yorker short story.

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