Fiction Reviews | February 1, 2013

Library Journal Reviews starred review Hesketh, Peggy. Telling the Bees. Putnam. Mar. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780399159053. $26.95; ebk. ISBN9781101609262. F

Narrator Albert Honig is a beekeeper who has lived his 80-plus years in the same house, content with his solitude, his routines, and his bees. When he discovers the two elderly sisters next door have been murdered in their home, he is forced to relive memories he has suppressed for decades, retracing his 70-year friendship with them in search of the reason they were killed. Gradually, he finds the courage to face the guilt, happiness, pain, and love he has been avoiding for years. VERDICT Reminiscent of Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead , Hesketh’s debut explores family secrets and end-of-life reflections. The author’s exceptional storytelling skills allow us not only to understand Albert’s feelings, but to experience those emotions right along with him. Readers in search of a heartfelt, thought-provoking novel will find what they are looking for in this journey through the life of an unassuming apiarist who knows more about his reclusive neighbors than anyone could guess. [See Prepub Alert, 9/27/12.] —Katie Wernz, Powell, OH

Library Journal Reviews starred review Kerrigan, Gene. The Rage. Europa, dist. by Penguin Group (USA). Feb. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9781609450922. pap. $17; ebk. ISBN 9781609451080. F

Kerrigan is an award-winning Irish journalist (Round Up The Usual Suspects) whose crime fiction (A Midnight ChoirLittle Criminals) has an authenticity born of a socialist worldview, great writing, and a feel for the criminal and paramilitary gangs operating in urban Dublin. He deals here with “tiger kidnappings,” the post-Celtic Tiger miasma of ruin, the recently published reports on clerical abuse, police collaboration with politicians, etc. The protagonist is Detective Tidey, a complex, flawed, but humane individual. Tidey is dealing with a surfeit of domestic and work pressures while pursuing his investigations, using unorthodox measures if required, including perjury. The novel centers around his attempt to solve the murder of a high-flying banker, which eventually links to an Ordinary Decent Criminal (ODC) operation that goes awry. The rage that follows is visceral and lethal. It is also a metaphor for the suppressed rage of many Irish from years of abuse, exploitation, greed, and negligence of bankers, speculators, and politicians. VERDICT For authenticity, narrative, plot, writing skill, the gritty noirish crime milieu setting, and the post-Celtic-Tiger-Ireland toxicity, Kerrigan’s latest well deserves its CWA Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel of the Year. —Seamus Scanlon, Ctr. for Worker Education, CUNY

Library Journal Reviews starred review Morse, Eleanor. White Dog Fell From the Sky. Viking. Jan. 2013. 354p. ISBN 9780670026401. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101606209. F

In 1976, South Africa’s apartheid policy forces medical student Isaac Muthethe to leave family behind for the shelter of a more democratic Botswana. There he encounters two people who will alter the trajectory of his well-planned life. Hired by idealistic American Alice Mendelssohn, Isaac becomes a trusted gardener and caretaker. Alice, traveling on government business, embarks on a passionate affair with the older, charismatic Ian, a man whose love of Africa matches her own, while Isaac becomes involved with a friend from home, now a member of the South African resistance. When two acts of violence, one natural and one human-made, put a cruel end to the dreams of each character, the infinite, healing power of love is put to the test. VERDICT Recipient of a Best Regional Fiction in the Northeast award for An Unexpected Forest , Morse writes heartbreakingly of isolation, loss, and the soul-deadening effect of torture. Her mesmerizing descriptions of Africa will leave readers wondering how a continent of such beauty can harbor so much evil. Like Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the Banyan or Chris Bohjalian’s The Sandcastle Girls, this is for readers unafraid to plumb the depths of human emotion. —Sally Bissell, Lee Cty. Lib. Syst., Ft. Myers, FL

The following titles are reviewed in the February 1 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.

Backhaus, Jeff. Hikikomori and the Rental Sister. Algonquin. 2013. 256p. ISBN 9781616201371. $23.95; ebk. ISBN 9781616201883. F

Berg, Elizabeth. Tapestry of Fortunes. Random. Apr. 2013. 220p. ISBN 9780812993141. $26; ebk. ISBN9780679644699. F

Brennert, Alan. Palisades Park. St. Martin’s. Apr. 2013. 432p. ISBN 9780312643720. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250024336. F

Chaix, Marie. Silences, Or a Woman’s Life. Dalkey Archive. 2012. 180p. tr. from French by Harry Mathews.ISBN 9781564787958. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9781564788283. F

Eisner, William. The Stone Lion. Permanent. Feb. 2013. 340p. ISBN 9781579623128. $29.95. F

Ephron, Hallie. There Was an Old Woman. Morrow Apr. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9780062117601. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780062117625. F

Everett, Percival. Everett Percival by Virgil Russell. Graywolf. Feb. 2013. 256p. ISBN 9781555976347. pap. $15. F

Goodman, Thea. The Sunshine When She’s Gone. Holt. Mar. 2013. 140p. ISBN 9780805096620. $24; ebk. ISBN 9780805096637. F

Green, Jane. Family Pictures. St. Martin’s. Mar. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780312591830. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250025951. F

Hall, Louisa. The Carriage House. Scribner. Mar. 2013. 288p. ISBN 9781451688634. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781451688658. F

Jansma, Kristopher. The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards. Viking. Mar. 2013. 272p. ISBN 9780670026005. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101606131. F

Khadivi, Laleh. The Walking. Bloomsbury, dist. by Macmillan. Mar. 2013. 272p. ISBN 9781596916999. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781608194391. F

Kincaid, Jamaica. See Now Then. Farrar. Feb. 2013. 176p. ISBN 9780374180560. $23; ebk. ISBN 9781466827684. F

King, Claire. Night Rainbow. Bloomsbury, dist. by Macmillan. Apr. 2013. 272p. ISBN 9781608199440. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9781620400210. F

Kingsbury, Karen. The Chance. Howard: S. & S Mar. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9781451647037. $$22.99; ebk. ISBN9781451647044. F

Library Journal Reviews starred review Kirk, David. Child of Vengeance. Doubleday. Mar. 2013. 336p. ISBN 9780385536639. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385536646. F

McCorkle, Jill. Life After Life. Algonquin. Mar. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9781565122550. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781616201777. F

Maxwell, Abi. Lake People. Knopf. Feb. 2013. 224p. ISBN 9780307961655. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780307961662. F

Meyers, Randy Susan. The Comfort of Lies: A Novel. Atria: S.& S. Feb. 2013. 326p. ISBN 9781451673012. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781451673036. F

Mohr, Joshua. Fight Song. Soft Skull. Feb. 2013. 272p. ISBN 9781593765088. pap. $15.95. F

Porter, Jane. The Good Daughter. Berkley: Penguin Group (USA). Feb. 2013. 380p. ISBN 9780425253427. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9781101619261. F

Sloss, Aria Beth. Autobiography of Us. Holt. Feb. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9780805094558. $25; ebk. ISBN9780805095357. F

Suri, Manil. The City of Devi. Norton. Feb. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780393088755. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393089660. F

Wecker, Helene. The Golem and the Jinni. Harper: HarperCollins. May 2013. 496p. ISBN 9780062110831. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062110855. F

Wilder, Gene. Something To Remember You By: A Perilous Romance. St. Martin’s. Apr. 2013. 176p. ISBN 9780312598914. $19.99; ebk. ISBN9781250029607. F

Library Journal Reviews starred review Willig, Lauren. The Ashford Affair. St. Martin’s. Apr. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9781250014498. $24.99; ebk. ISBN9781250027191. F

Wolitzer, Meg. The Interestings. Riverhead: Penguin Group (USA). Apr. 2013. 464p. ISBN 9781594488399. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101602034. F


Library Journal Reviews starred review Haigh, Jennifer. News from Heaven: The Bakerton Stories. Harper: HarperCollins. Feb. 2013. 224p. ISBN 9780060889647. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062097385. F

Hall, Sarah. The Beautiful Indifference: Stories. HarperPerennial: HarperCollins. Feb. 2013. 208p. ISBN 9780062208453. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062208460. F

Kane, Jessica Frances. This Close. Graywolf. Mar. 2013. 200p. ISBN 9781555976361. pap. $15. F

Lipsyte, Sam. The Fun Parts: Stories. Farrar. Mar. 2013. 224p. ISBN 9780374298906. $24; ebk. ISBN9781466836051. F

Library Journal Reviews starred review Scanlon, Seamus. As Close As You’ll Ever Be. Cairn. 2012. 154p. ISBN 9780985319717. pap. $18; ebk. ISBN 9780985319724. F