Spot-Lit for April 2013
The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner
An aspiring artist with a passion for Italian racing motorcycles heads to 1970s New York. The romance she falls into while there propels her to Rome, where she gets mixed up in Italy's radical late '70s politics. Advance reviews have been hugely enthusiastic.
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Ursula Todd lives and dies many times, always reborn back into the same family, where she sometimes corrects her past mistakes, and where she finds herself in a position to truly change the world. From the author of Behind the Scenes at the Museum and Started Early, Took My Dog.
Woke Up Lonely by Fiona Maazel
Thurlow Dan is separated from his wife and daughter, and he runs Helix, a loneliness-battling cult complete with communes and speed dating. As it's grown, Helix has attracted the attention of governments from around the world – which leads to botched reconnaissance and hostage-taking, and involves his ex-wife. A crazy quilt, funny look at mass culture and loneliness.
Snapper by Brian Kimberling
An eccentric cast of characters swirls through this finely written tale about a young, barely-scraping-by bird researcher living in Indiana, his love for a mysterious woman, and the twisty, risky road to full adulthood. Humorous and thoughtful reading.
The Movement of Stars by Amy Brill
Hannah Price lives within the restraining principles of her 1840s Nantucket Quaker community, but her nights are given to rooftop star-gazing in hopes of discovering a comet and attaining scientific recognition. Based by the work of America's first female astronomer, Maria Mitchell.
Amity and Sorrow by Peggy Riley
A mother flees from the compound of a polygamist cult with her daughters Amity and Sorrow, who have never seen the outside world.
Crime Fiction / Suspense
Submergence by J.M. Ledgard
Readers open to non-linear, beautiful, and thought-provoking storytelling should take a look at this novel that explores the tensions between Islamic fundamentalism and Western views, while also exploring marine biology and other subjects. A visceral, rewarding and unusual "spy thriller" set in Somalia and France.
Tuesday's Gone by Nicci French
A social worker finds her client serving tea to a dead man. Frieda Klein is called in to investigate, but fears whoever killed this man may be targeting her next.
SF / Fantasy / Horror
River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay
Another epic, historical fantasy from the acclaimed Kay (Under Heaven), this one set in China's Song dynasty.
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