March 9, 2018
Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks is an iconic rock album shrouded in legend that has touched generations of listeners (the record topping many personal “Desert Island” music lists) and influenced everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Martin Scorsese. ASTRAL WEEKS: A Secret History of 1968 (Penguin Press), the first book by musician/ journalist Ryan H. Walsh, unearths the album’s fascinating backstory and takes a mind-expanding deep dive into a lost chapter of Boston, circa 1968, featuring both the famous and the forgotten, including Van Morrison himself, folkie-turned-cult-leader Mel Lyman, Timothy Leary, the Velvet Underground, Andy Warhol, Peter Wolf, and James Brown.expand
February 6, 2018
THE LINE BECOMES A RIVER: Dispatches from the Border, published by Riverhead Books, presents a first-person narrative by author and former Border Patrol agent Francisco Cantú. The border between the United States and Mexico is in his blood: his mother, a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, raised him in the scrublands of the Southwest. Haunted by the landscape of his youth, Cantú became an agent for the United States Border Patrol in 2008, working in the deserts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. He and his partners were posted to remote regions crisscrossed by drug routes and smuggling corridors, where they learned to track other humans under blistering sun and through frigid nights. They hauled in the dead and delivered to detention those they found alive. Plagued by nightmares, Cantú abandoned the Border Patrol for civilian life in 2012. But when an immigrant friend traveled to Mexico to visit his dying mother and did not return, Cantú discovered that the border had migrated with him.
In our Behind the Pages interview, Francisco Cantú and Rebecca Saletan, Vice President, Editorial Director for Riverhead, share personal insights into the creation of THE LINE BECOMES A RIVER, ongoing border-related issues, and the harsh realities that this book illuminates.expand
January 8, 2018
Celebrating the publication of THE IMMORTALISTS, one of the most highly anticipated books of 2018, we present a special “Behind the Pages” interview with the novel’s editor, Sally Kim, Vice President, Editorial Director, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, and author Chloe Benjamin.expand
(C) Nathan Jandl[/caption] I’ve always been drawn to big questions: What are the benefits and perils of knowledge? How can we live fully in the face of uncertainty? And how do we love through and despite the possibility of loss? These questions simmered in the background as I built the structure of THE IMMORTALISTS, which follows four siblings who, as children, receive prophecies about the dates that they will supposedly die. The structure of the novel–it’s told in four sections, one per each sibling, each picking up where the previous one let off–came to me very early. I also knew I wanted each sibling to be quite different, both in their life experiences and in their orientation toward the prophecy. All four required a great deal of research. How do you see readers identifying with your novel and its characters? A reader may not be a magician like Klara, or a gay man finding himself in 1980s San Francisco, like Simon–but the questions about life and loss that these characters struggle with are, I think, universal. Secretly, I hope that readers will connect with the siblings who are on the face of it quite different from them. We live in hard, fractured times, and books are rare in their ability to inspire empathy.