Faber, Michel. The Book of Strange New Things. Hogarth: Crown. Oct. 2014. 480p. ISBN 9780553418842; ebk. ISBN 9780553418859. $28. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY
Published in 2002, Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White has since sold more than a half million copies; I’ve been a fan since reading his exquisitely rendered collection, The Courage Consort. In one of his more fantastical novels (see also Under the Skin, appearing this month in a film adaptation starring Scarlett Johansson), gung-ho pastor Peter is sent by the mysterious USIC to the new planet Oasis to ascertain the peacefulness of the natives. But missives from wife Bea suggest that Earth is in collapse, and Peter, questioning the motives behind his assignment, is torn between love and duty.
Rash, Ron. Above the Waterfall. Ecco. Oct. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780062349316. $26.99. LITERARY
Following up the PEN/Faulkner finalist and New York Times best-selling novel Serena, coming to the big screen this fall in a film adaptation starring Jennifer Lawrence, as well as The Cove (utterly searing; read it if you haven’t already), Rash again takes us to beautiful but hardscrabble Appalachia. A brutal crime brings together longtime sheriff Les, burned out by the impact of crystal meth on his insular community, and a park ranger named Becky who arrives in the North Carolina wilderness with a desire to forget the past. With a 75,000-copy first printing.
Rice, Anne. Prince Lestat: The Vampire Chronicles. Knopf. Oct. 2014. 464p. ISBN 9780307962522. $27.95; ekb. ISBN 9780385361781. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. SUPERNATURAL
Vampire fans, you’ve been waiting a long time—since 2003’s Blood Canticle, in fact—for Rice to revisit the territory first trod by that immortal dazzler, Lestat. “Chronicles” readers will be familiar with the settings (ancient Egypt, fourth-century Rome, Renaissance Venice, contemporary New York) and characters (Louis de Pointe du Lac, beatific Armand, the ever-elusive Lestat), but something new is going on. Vampires have proliferated dangerously, leading to mass burnings; even old vampire are consigning newbies to the flames, obeying a cryptic Voice. A book you can chew on.
Stein, Garth. A Sudden Light. S. & S. Oct. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781439187036. $26.95. LITERARY
Like Stein’s hugely best-selling The Art of Racing in the Rain, this new work adds a touch of magic to a heartfelt story. Trevor is 14 when his father finally takes him to Riddell House, the family mansion built from whole trees on Puget Sound. Just separating from Trevor’s mother, Jones Riddell is conniving with his sister to send ailing Grandpa Riddell to a graduated living facility, then sell the house and land to a developer and split the proceeds. But the ghost of family patriarch Elijah wants the land returned to wilderness to make amends for the millions of trees harvested by the Riddell Timber Company. The 25-city author tour says it all.