H.G. Adler, Dean Koontz, Phillip Margolin, Wes Moore, & Ludmila Ulitskaya | Barbara’s Picks, Dec. 2014, Pt. 1

Adler, H.G. The Wall. Random. Dec. 2014. 720p. tr. from German by Peter Filkins. ISBN 9780812993066. $30. LITERARYadlerwall
Born in Prague in the early 1900s, Adler lost most of his family in the Holocaust and himself spent time in the camps; he died in London in 1988. With the 2008 publication of The Journey, his first work to be translated into English, he was declared a major rediscovery and compared to the likes of Kafka, Woolf, and Musil; he’s also referenced in W.G. Sebald’s Austerlitz. All of which highly recommends this conclusion to his Shoah trilogy. Here, Holocaust survivor Arthur Landau first returns to Prague, then ends up in exile in London with his second wife and their children. Eventually, he manages to knock down the wall that separates him from life and forge ahead with a brighter future. A celebration, then, of the human spirit.

Koontz, Dean. Saint Odd: An Odd Thomas Novel. Bantam. Dec. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780345545879. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780345545886. FANTASY
Here’s the end of the series featuring Odd Thomas, and we’ll miss him. Our hero has circled back to his hometown, Pico Mundo, with the unenviable task of facing down a terrible evil set on destroying humanity. Koontz has a huge social media presence (e.g., he boasts more than 1.4 million Facebook fans), and the Odd Thomas series has sold more than ten million print copies and 900,000 ebooks in the United States alone,

Margolin, Phillip. Woman with a Gun. Harper. Dec. 2014. ISBN 9780062266521. $26.99. SUSPENSEphilipmargolin
In this thriller with a difference, the Pulitzer Prize–winning photograph Woman with a Gun, showing a bride facing an expanse of ocean with a six-shooter held behind her back, sparks the imagination of aspiring novelist Stacey Kim—especially when she learns that the woman in question was suspected of killing her millionaire husband on their wedding night. What does the photographer know? Especially intriguing because this photograph actually exists; Margolin is branching out in interesting new directions these days.

Moore, Wes. The Work: Creating Success in New and Meaningful Ways. Spiegel & Grau. Dec. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780812993578. $26. MEMOIR
An American student at Oxford after 9/11. A combat officer in Afghanistan. Special assistant to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. An Obama campaigner. A Wall Street banker as the stock market crashed. And now a community activist in his hometown, Baltimore. As already suggested in his first book, The Other Wes Moore—which has sold more than 500,000 copies in hardcover and paperback—Moore has come far from his days as a fatherless boy on the streets, and he’s had some cliff-hanging moments along the way. Here he tells his life story to help others, especially young people, struggling with the question, “What is my work?” Expect lots of publicity; with a 12-city author tour to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Baltimore, Atlanta, Kansas City (MO), St. Louis, Little Rock, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Pushed back from April.

Ulitskaya, Ludmila. The Big Green Tent. Farrar. Dec. 2014. 544p. tr. from Russian by Bela Shayevich. ISBN 9780374166670. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780374709716. LITERARYgreentent
A former scientist who now directs Moscow’s Hebrew Repertory Theater, Ulitskaya is an accomplished enough author of fiction, children’s books, and plays to have won Russia’s Booker Prize and been nominated for the International Man Booker Prize. Her new work aims to capture the risky radiance of the Soviet dissident experience. Opening in 1950s Moscow, it follows three friends—a poet, a pianist, and a photographer—as they come of age with the heroes they might use as models censored, jailed, or exiled. A big novel of social consequences, fitting its topic.

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (bhoffert@mediasourceinc.com, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.