Great Book Club Books from Kate Alcott, Tom McCarthy, Tatjana Soli, & More | Fiction Previews, Feb. 2015, Pt. 4

Alcott, Kate. A Touch of Stardust. Pantheon. Feb. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9780385539043. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780385539050. CD: Random Audio. HISTORICALstardust
How fun is this? Alcott, author of the New York Times best-selling The Dressmaker, has written a big, sprawling novel about the filming of Gone with the Wind, with a side trip to the boiling-over romance between its leading man, Clark Gable, and sunny Carole Lombard.

Hannaham, James. Delicious Foods. Little, Brown. Feb. 2015. 384p. ISBN 9780316284943. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780316284929. lib. ISBN 9780316294768. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. AFRICAN AMERICAN
Stunned by her husband’s death, Darlene turns to drugs, which blunt her judgment so badly that she leaves behind her 11-year-old son for work at a mysterious, cagily run farm. Mother and son must then struggle to reclaim each other—and to beat Darlene’s addiction. Billed as forthright study of race and the crack cocaine epidemic; from a much-published author (e.g., BOMB, Spin) whose God Says No was a Lambda Book Award finalist.

Link, Kelly. Get in Trouble. Random Feb. 2015. 352p. ISBN 9780804179683. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780804179713. CD: Random Audio. SHORT STORIES
Karen Russell has called Link “Franz Kafka with a better understanding of ladies’ footwear and bad first dates,” which nicely sums up the dark wackiness and pop cultural relevance of her stories. In these nine examples, a movie star finds himself in the Florida swamps, where a ghost-hunting reality show is being filmed, while a teenager’s suburban slumber party features a life-size animated doll.

McCarthy, Tom. Satin Island. Knopf. Feb. 2015. 192p. ISBN 9780307593955. $24; ebk. ISBN 9781101874684. LITERARYmccarthy
McCarthy’s C was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize, and in 2013 he won the recently established Windham-Campbell Prize, given by Yale to recognize literary achievement. So the cognoscenti will be looking for his latest, another ruminative mind-bender featuring a narrator named U., who begins reflecting on all that is veiled and ungraspable in life after spotting a reference to the Shroud of Turin on his laptop while waiting for a plane. With a 30,000-copy first printing.

Nicholson, William. Amherst. S. & S. Feb. 2015. 464p. ISBN 9781476740409. $26. HISTORICAL
Nicholson (Motherland) is graced with BAFTA and Tony awards and two Academy Award nominations, background that figures in his latest novel. Young and ambitious ad executive Alice Dickinson leaves London for Amherst, MA, to research a screenplay she’s planning about the adulterous affair between an Amherst college faculty wife and Austin Dickinson, brother of the poet. Of course, she launches an affair of her own with the married English academic at whose house she is staying.

Padua, Sydney. The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage. Pantheon. Feb. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780307908278. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780307908285. GRAPHIC NOVEL
As the London-based author notes, her eponymous webcomic “started as a punchline to a one-shot comic—hey, wouldn’t it be hilarious if there was a comic about Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage fighting crime?—has evolved into… well, a really really long punchline. With footnotes!” James Gleick kindly brought this hilarity to the attention of Pantheon’s editors, and a book was born—the publisher’s biggest graphic novel of 2015.

Reardon, Bryan. Finding Jake. Morrow. Feb. 2015. 272p. ISBN 9780062339485. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062339539. SUSPENSE
A freelance writer specializing in medical communications who cowrote Ready, Set, Play with retired NFL player Mark Schlereth, Reardon offers a topical first novel that should spark discussion. When there is a shooting at the local high school, stay-at-home dad Simon Connolly rushes to the scene, only to find that as parents and children tearfully reunite, son Jake is the only one missing. Simon begins reflecting on his dreams and fears for Jake, wondering if he ever solireally knew his son. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

Soli, Tatjana. The Last Good Paradise. St. Martin’s. Feb. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9781250043962. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466842304. LITERARY
Fleeing the modern world for an idyllic atoll in the South Pacific isn’t working as intended for a bunch of jaded Westerners, including Los Angeles power couple Ann and Richard, fading rock star Dex Cooper, and French resort owner Loren, while locals Titi (a descendant of Tahitian royalty) and Cooked look for ways to help the atoll’s indigenous peoples. Juicy work from Soli (The Lotus Eaters, The Forgetting Tree), a James Tait Black Award winner and New York Times best-selling author, being pitched especially for book clubs.

Prepub Alert is taking a vacation on Monday, September 1, and will be back Monday, September 8.


Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @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.