igloo book buzz

More Twists in Fiona Barton’s New Novel, THE CHILD

“A slow-burn portrait of loss and survival” is how Entertainment Weekly describes this week’s Igloo Book Buzz selection, THE CHILDFiona Barton’s new psychological suspense novel, on sale this week from Berkley.  Ms. Barton burst onto the scene last year with her bestselling debut thriller, THE WIDOW, one of the top breakout books of 2016.

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[caption id="attachment_6981" align="alignright" width="225"] Danielle Perez[/caption] Berkley Executive Editor Danielle Perez says, “Fiona is such a pleasure to work with. Her novels are exquisitely suspenseful and twisty, but there’s also an impressive complexity and depth to her characters.  I think Fiona’s background as a journalist gives her deep and compassionate insight into people.  Both of Fiona’s novels, THE WIDOW and THE CHILD, have stunning twists and emotionally satisfying endings that are really earned.  We’re so thrilled that THE CHILD is receiving much-deserved stellar reviews.  Kate Waters, the journalist from THE WIDOW, is an important part of THE CHILD; readers who really responded to her character in THE WIDOW will love her in THE CHILD.” TIME called THE CHILD one of the “Top 10 thrillers to read this summer,” while a PEOPLE reviewer wrote, “Satisfying…. Long after their secrets are revealed, the author’s compassion for her wounded characters lingers.” And from a Boston Globe review: “This being a Barton thriller, there’s more to pretty much everything than meets the eye.”

Fear Strikes Back in SHADOW MAN

shadow man book buzzThis week’s Igloo Book Buzz, the psychological suspense novel SHADOW MAN by Alan Drew, was published by Random House on Tuesday, May 23, amidst much buzz and enthusiasm from the media, fellow authors and inside Penguin Random House. Kate Medina, Executive Vice President, Executive Editorial

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Director, Associate Publisher, Random House, said, “It has been a dream come true to work with Alan Drew on SHADOW MAN.  Alan knows how to tell a spellbinding story about characters who seem real, in a novel that also shows how the evil secrets in a suburban town can be hiding in plain sight, until one man has the guts to say, ‘Enough.’  SHADOW MAN is riveting to read, even as it reminds us of important truths about being human.” [caption id="attachment_6304" align="alignright" width="300"]Kate Medina and Alan Drew Kate Medina and Alan Drew[/caption] Alan Drew reveals, “SHADOW MAN was in part inspired by the summer of 1985 when Richard Ramirez, The Night Stalker, terrorized the suburbs of Southern California. He preyed on neighborhoods where people felt safe, where they left windows open and doors unlocked at night. It was the first time I remember being truly terrified of another person. I was 15 at the time, and I’d always wanted to write about that moment when your sense of safety is shattered, as mine was that summer in my master-planned community of Irvine, CA.” Mr. Drew adds, “It feels a bit miraculous that this book is finally out in the world. It’s a privilege to publish a book, to have readers out there in the world, and I’m so thankful that these characters have a life beyond my little attic office.” Fellow Penguin Random House authors have been effusive with their praise:  
  • “SHADOW MAN revises the old detective story and turns it in several fascinating directions. Alan Drew writes with precision, subtlety, and a streak of suspense that does not often color the literary novel.”  —Colum McCann
 
  • “A home run—wonderfully imagined and wonderfully written, patient but propulsive, serious but suspenseful, grown up but gripping, SHADOW MAN is everything a great thriller should be.” —Lee Child
 
  • “Always thrilling and often terrifying, SHADOW MAN is a descendent of Chandler’s The Big Sleep. Underlying the grisly dangers of Drew’s novel is the forceful honesty of all good California noir, the necessary and clear-eyed exploration of the innate human truths that should and do scare us.” —Claire Vaye Watkins
 

Inside Four New Heavyweight Biographies

igloo book buzz1This week’s Igloo Book Buzz celebrates the release of four major biographies that delve inside the lives of four distinctly different, supremely gifted individuals: Muhammad Ali, Ernest Hemingway, Otis Redding and Maurice Sendak. While Ali, Hemingway and Redding are instantly

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recognizable, Sendak is the wild card, with his art and such books as Where the Wild Things Are more renowned than his name. Here are compelling commentaries about each of these new biographies: STING LIKE A BEE: Muhammad Ali vs the United States of America, 1966-1971 by Leigh Montville (Doubleday, 5/16) 9780385536059Author Leigh Montville: “I’m only 18 months younger than Ali, so I dealt with the draft and Vietnam when he did, got married when he did, lived through the same headlines he did. I also covered five of his fights later in his career, so I had a small history with a bunch of the characters involved in his story. There was an easy familiarity with the subject matter from the start.  This is a slice of time book, not a biography. It is a commentary on how we lived during the sixties as much as what happened in Ali’s life. The issues around him then resonate in our country today, probably louder than ever when you look at Black Lives Matter and the Muslim bans and the military adventurism and the right-leaning government in Washington. Would the Muhammad Ali of 1966 have trouble in 2017? Ali was Colin Kapernick expanded by a multiple of ten. Did Colin Kapernick have trouble?” ERNEST HEMINGWAY by Mary V. Dearborn (Knopf, 5/16) 9780307594679Victoria Wilson, VP & Editor, Alfred A. Knopf: “Mary Dearborn’s life of Hemingway goes beyond the standard-brands portrait of the macho, hyper-charismatic figure whose celebrated exploits and adventures became associated with his lean true prose. She draws on newly available materials, among them, the so-called ‘Cuban accession’—the vast collection of papers Hemingway left behind when he fled Cuba in 1961; his complete FBI file; the newly opened files of the KGB; the letters and papers of his sister, and his mistress, as well as the previously ignored and voluminous wealth of papers of his mother, Grace Hemingway, opera singer and painter whose revealing and startling life of shattered rules and convention, and whose insistence on her own artistic expression—against all odds—give us a nuanced and illuminating, rich portrait of Hemingway, the man, and the writer. “In many aspects, Hemingway’s is the quintessential twentieth-century American story . . . a cautionary tale of how things look from the outside, as compared to the life being lived from within; a story of the accumulation of vast amounts of money and fame, adulation and legend and the withering away of discipline and talent and art . . . the story of Hemingway’s life has the feel about it of a Citizen Kane . . . a large story, a giant of a personality, the hidden demons, the hardcore values left behind; and the ‘rosebud’ of it all—the carefree Hemingway childhood that carried him along until ‘everything went to hell,’ as Hemingway said, and it all blew up . . .” OTIS REDDING: An Unfinished Life by Jonathan Gould (Crown Archetype, 5/16) 9780307453945Crown Senior Editor Matthew Inman: “While Otis Redding made music that has long served as the gold standard of 1960s soul, an aura of myth and mystery has always surrounded his life, which was tragically cut short at the height of his career by a plane crash in December 1967. Nearly a decade in the making, Jonathan Gould’s OTIS REDDING: An Unfinished Life draws on exhaustive research, the cooperation of the Redding family, and previously unavailable sources to finally present the first complete portrait of the King of Soul.  Published to coincide with 50th anniversary of Otis Redding’s legendary performance at the Monterey Pop Festival, this definitive biography is both a revealing look at a brilliant artist lost too soon and a provocative exploration of the tangled history of race and music in America.” THERE’S A MYSTERY THERE: The Primal Vision of Maurice Sendak by Jonathan Cott (Doubleday, 5/16) 9780385540438Gerry Howard, VP & Executive Editor, Doubleday: “Polymath and master interviewer Jonathan Cott first interviewed Maurice Sendak in 1976 for Rolling Stone, just at the time when Outside Over There, the concluding and by far the strangest volume of a trilogy that began with Where The Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen, was gestating. Over the course of their wide-ranging and revelatory conversation about his life, work, and the fantasies and obsessions that drove his creative process, they focused on many of the themes and images that would appear in the new book five years later. Drawing on that interview, THERE’S A MYSTERY THERE is a profound examination of the inner workings of a complicated genius’s torments and inspirations that ranges over the entirety of his work and his formative life experiences, and uses Outside Over There, brilliantly and originally, as the key to understanding just what made this extravagantly talented man tick.

Fasten Your Seat Belts for AMERICAN KINGPIN

american kingpinThis week’s Igloo Book Buzz selection is Nick Bilton’s AMERICAN KINGPIN: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road, “the unbelievable true story of the man who built a billion-dollar online drug empire from his bedroom—and almost got away with it.” Portfolio published the book on May 2, and Mr.

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Bilton reveals, ”I’ve been covering technology for over 15 years, writing about the infighting at Twitter, the deceit at Theranos, billionaires lying and stabbing their co-founders in the back, government hackers, and the vast societal effects of everything from driverless cars to drones. “Yet when I set out to report AMERICAN KINGPIN, I had no idea how scandalous the story would become. To me, I thought it was just setting out to the tale of an overly-ambitious kid from Texas who had lost his way.  It quickly became clear that this book was about so much more, encompassing stories of cops turning into bad guys, of murders commissioned on the Internet, guns, drugs, poisons and the potential sale of body parts on the Silk Road website, and of hundreds of millions of dollars in digital currencies. In the end, the story is without question the most terrifying and inconceivable I have ever worked on.” [caption id="attachment_6033" align="alignright" width="270"]Nick Bilton Nick Bilton[/caption] Portfolio Editorial Director Niki Papadopoulos, who edited the book, says, “I knew that Nick Bilton was a phenomenal writer from working with him on Hatching Twitter, his first book with Portfolio. So my expectations were already high. But I still wasn’t prepared for the manuscript he delivered for AMERICAN KINGPIN. I read it overnight and was late to the office the next day–I couldn’t put it down, even though from conversations with my author I already knew how it was going to end! What makes this book exceptional is what isn’t in it. Nick conducted thousands of hours of research and analyzed two million words that Ross left behind him. Obviously not all of that material could make it into the final manuscript, and so the choices Nick made of what to include and how were paramount. I think he made the right ones, and all the enthusiastic early reads we’ve had confirm that hunch.” AMERICAN KINGPIN has been generating a lot of buzz in the media and the author community. Here is sampling of the praise:  
  • “Engrossing… Bilton writes in a breezy, colloquial style … A fast-paced, readable true-crime tale that frames the likely future of the underground economy.”  –Kirkus Reviews
 
  • “Cinematic… a page turner with a clever (and subversive) framing.”  — Bloomberg Businessweek
 
  • “AMERICAN KINGPIN is both a staggering feat of investigative journalism and a triumph of edge-of-your-seat storytelling. This is what true-crime writing should be.” —Bryan Burrough, author of Days of Rage
 
  • “In AMERICAN KINGPIN, Nick Bilton again proves why he’s one of tech’s best storytellers with a stunningly researched and very scary portrait of the creator of a marketplace gone mad, and the oddly uncoordinated officers who took him down.” —Steven Levy, author of Hackers and In the Plex
 

How Can We Help Save the Earth? Paul Hawken Has a Plan in DRAWDOWN

Drawdown book buzz1With Earth Day 2017 almost here, this week’s Igloo Book Buzz selection is Paul Hawken’s DRAWDOWN: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, on sale April 18 from Penguin Books. Mr. Hawken says, “Unquestionably, distress signals are flashing

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throughout nature and society, from drought, sea level rise, and unrelenting increases in temperatures to immigration, conflict, and dislocation. This is not the whole story. “We have endeavored in DRAWDOWN to show that many people are staunchly and unwaveringly on the case. Although carbon emissions from fossil fuel combustion and land use have a two-century head start on these solutions, we will take those odds. The build-up of greenhouse gases we experience today occurred in the absence of human understanding; our ancestors were innocent of the damage they were doing. That can tempt us to believe that global warming is something that is happening to us—that we are victims of a fate that was determined by actions that preceded us. If we change the preposition, however, and consider that global warming is happening for us—an atmospheric transformation that inspires us to change and reimagine everything we make and do—we can begin to live in a different world. We take 100 percent responsibility and stop blaming others. We see global warming not as an inevitability but as an invitation to build, innovate, and effect change, a pathway that awakens creativity, compassion, and genius. This is not a liberal agenda, nor is it a conservative one. This is the human agenda.” Drawdown_QuoteCard_8Viking Executive Editor Rick Kot: “When Paul pitched the idea for DRAWDOWN to me several years ago over dinner, I was skeptical. By that point I’d worked with him on three books on environmentalism and activism that had become classics in their field, and there are few writers I enjoy working with as much as I do Paul. For an editor it’s equivalent to being on a vacation to be able to engage in ideas rather than the body and fender jobs that many manuscripts require, and Paul’s ideas always leave me challenged and inspired by the possible future a genuine visionary can imagine. “But a book about ways to reverse global warming? Wouldn’t that be chasing a moving target, given the rapidly changing pace of technology? When I raised that point, he countered by asking me to guess what the biggest factor would be in the carbon reduction effort, and after I ran through the usual suspects (cars, coal, etc.) he told it me was women’s education. That was, granted, a great ‘gotcha!’ but I still was dubious, and for the next year or so we circled around the project, with Paul patiently sending me more and more compelling research that the DRAWDOWN team was compiling. When I presented it to Penguin and the Academic Promotions Department, both saw the potential, and a contract was soon signed. “In the time since we made that deal, climate change has become an issue of even greater concern, not only because of the ever more alarming findings of the effects of global warming, but on the recent actions undertaken by the government to reverse the policies that address it. As several early reviews of DRAWDOWN have noted, the book could not have been published at a better time, as it offers solutions that are practical, imaginative, scalable, and economical. When I first read the manuscript, I was expecting an encyclopedic overview of the latest research in the area. While all that science is definitely a fundamental aspect of the book, it’s so much more than that, as it takes in cultural history, ethnography, botany, design, and many other fields. It’s an engagingly readable book—few writers in this area have Paul’s lyrical touch—and one that surprises on every page. For those of us old enough to remember it, DRAWDOWN will be reminiscent of the epochal Whole Earth Catalog: a window into another world, and a door to lead you there.” Drawdown_QuoteCard_8Media praise for the book has been nothing short of amazing. Outside Magazine calls it a “bold plan to beat back climate change” while Fast Company, who profiled Mr. Hawken for their “World Changing Ideas” column, describes the book as a “blueprint for what comes next if the U.S. government (and the global community) begins to aggressively focus on altering the climate future.” On tour, Paul will give 13 presentations on DRAWDOWN in 10 cities, including Santa Barbara, California where he will be awarded the Environmental Hero Award, presented by actor Jeff Bridges along with the President of Santa Barbara City College.
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How Seeing “Hamilton” on Broadway Inspired Melissa de la Cruz to Write ALEX & ELIZA

alex and eliza book buzzIn this week’s Igloo Book Buzz selection, ALEX & ELIZA: A Love Story, on sale from G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers on April 11,  #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz brings to life the romance of young Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler. “It is set when Alexander Hamilton is about 19 years old and Elizabeth

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Schuyler is 17, around 1777, until their marriage in 1780,” says Ms. de la Cruz. “I thought of my book as very much a Jane Austen retelling of Alex and Eliza’s story.” Ms. de la Cruz was inspired to write her book after seeing Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway show, Hamilton: An American Musical, which was based on Ron Chernow’s New York Times-bestselling book, ALEXANDER HAMILTON (Penguin Press/Penguin Books).   As she told Entertainment Weekly: “I am a sucker for the popular girl-poor boy love story trope, from Reality Bites to Moulin Rouge. And I had always had a soft spot for Elizabeth Schuyler, whom I used in my Blue Bloods vampire books as well: my heroine Schuyler Van Alen is named after her. After we saw Hamilton, my 10-year-old daughter was obsessed with Eliza, and it was her keen interest in Alex and Eliza’s story that led me to thinking that there was something more I wanted to discover more about the subject. I was originally just doing the research to answer my daughter’s questions, but I got caught up in it as well. [caption id="attachment_5791" align="alignright" width="200"]Melissa de la Cruz Melissa de la Cruz[/caption] “After we saw Hamilton, I sobbed for a good 10 minutes. I had never realized how much of an outsider I had felt to American history until we (brown people) were suddenly thrust in the center of it. It was such a profound moment for me, and I am tearing up just thinking of it. Hamilton made this bold statement that you – yes you, Puerto Rican, African American, Asian — are part of the founding father’s story too. The story of America is also our story. I had never felt entitled to that before. I had never felt so embraced by American history. It was shocking how deeply I craved it, how I didn’t even know how much I needed to feel that way. I’m in awe of what Lin-Manuel Miranda has done, not just as a work of art, but as a work of citizenship for all of us immigrants and people of color to be part of the greatest story of the founding of our country.” The publication of ALEX & ELIZA has generated widespread advance buzz across many national media outlets, including Entertainment Weekly, Teen Vogue, GoodReads.com, EpicReads.com, Brit + Co, Bustle, Broadway World and PopSugar, among a host of others. The author’s upcoming appearances include the LA Times Festival of Books  (April 23), YALLWest (April 29) and BookCon (June 3-4).

How Timothy Snyder’s ON TYRANNY Became a Must-Read Book

on tyrannyThis week’s Igloo Book Buzz selection is ON TYRANNY: Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder. Publisher Tim Duggan, who edited ON TYRANNY, says, “Snyder has been making the case for years that the world of the 1930s, especially the world of fascism, is not nearly as far behind us as we’d like to think. There are

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lots of parallels to today’s world, which are becoming harder and harder to ignore.  When he first wrote his ‘Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century’ on Facebook right after the election, it clearly touched a nerve, and readers began asking, then pleading, then practically begging him to turn it into a book.  We’re always trying to figure out whether there’s an audience for a new book, but in my experience, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the audience literally come to us first and say ‘Please publish this – we’re dying to read it,’ which is what happened here.” [caption id="attachment_5575" align="alignright" width="216"]Timothy Snyder Timothy Snyder[/caption] Timothy Snyder says, “The book is for every American.  It starts with our Founding Fathers, and asks us to follow their example in learning from history.  What I can add is the historical warnings that came later, those of the dark twentieth century. “For me this is a sort of homecoming.  I’ve spent my adult life learning languages, reading sources, writing about eastern and central Europe.  Now I see tendencies I recognize appearing in my own country.  And so I have to do something and this book is what I can do. The idea of lessons from history is to give us some place to stand, some leverage, a realization that nothing is entirely new, a program for action.  I wrote the book so that Americans could get some distance on themselves, get away from shock and from normalization, and decide for themselves how to preserve democracy. PullQuote_Infographics_OnTyranny2“The darkness of the twentieth century were the new forms of tyranny: fascism and communism.  But we have the wisdom of people who experienced them and resisted.  Some of these people were my teachers.  The book is meant to put us in touch with people who are wiser than ourselves and who have experienced more.” Here is a small sampling of what fellow Penguin Random House authors and the media are saying about ON TYRANNY: “We are rapidly ripening for fascism. This American writer leaves us with no illusions about ourselves.” —Svetlana Alexievich, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature “Timothy Snyder reasons with unparalleled clarity, throwing the past and future into sharp relief. He has written the rare kind of book that can be read in one sitting but will keep you coming back to help regain your bearings. Put a copy in your pocket and one on your bedside table, and it will help you keep going for the next four years or however long it takes.” —Masha Gessen, author of THE MAN WITHOUT A FACE: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin and THE BROTHERS: The Road to an American Tragedy “Easily the most compelling volume among the early resistance literature … A slim book that fits alongside your pocket Constitution and feels only slightly less vital … Clarifying and unnerving … A memorable work that is grounded in history yet imbued with the fierce urgency of what now.” —Carlos Lozada, The Washington Post

Knopf Author Michael Finkel Uncovers the Story of the Last True Hermit

stranger in the woodsMany people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it. THE STRANGER IN THE WOODS: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality—not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own. 

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This week’s Igloo Book Buzz selection goes on sale from Alfred A. Knopf on Tuesday, March 7 and in this feature Mr. Finkel shares insights into how he connected with, got to know and explored the life of the solitary subject of his book: [caption id="attachment_5360" align="alignright" width="224"]Michael Finkel Michael Finkel[/caption] “I first learned about Christopher Knight from a small article in the on-line edition of The Kennebec Journal, a central Maine newspaper. I was intrigued that a man, who’d been arrested for stealing food from the kitchen of a summer camp, claimed that he had lived by himself, alone in the woods, for 27 years. I was fascinated by his statement that he never once lit a fire, for fear that smoke would give his campsite away. I was stunned to read that he never had a single conversation the entire time he was in the woods, or was ever sick, or drove in a car, or spent money, or slept indoors. I was curious to know how he’d managed to remain hidden for so long, and of course I was itching to know why. “But I think what shifted my profound interest into something bordering on obsession was a single tidbit in that first article: that Knight stole hundreds, perhaps thousands, of books.  Two of my favorite activities in life are camping out in the woods and reading books — most wondrously, both at once. And here, it seemed, was the world champion of both. Of course, I needed to contact Mr. Knight. “Knight is an American original, to say the very least. A very strong case can be made that Knight is the most solitary known person in all of human history. Not surprisingly, it was somewhat difficult to interview such a man. stranger in the woods pull quote“For several weeks, Knight and I exchanged hand-written letters. He refused to use a telephone, so we never once spoke over the phone.  I visited Knight while he was being held in jail nine times, each visit lasting an hour. Knight did not like to make eye contact, so we spent most of the visits staring over each other’s shoulders. Knight sometimes allowed long, uncomfortable (for me) silences to pass between making statements. “But at the same time, Knight had such a lively and witty and quirky mind, and such an elegant way of speaking, that listening to him tell his tale not only riveted me because of the sheer unrivaled audacity and daring and difficulty and, at times, joy of his solitary existence, but also thrilled the writer in me because of the lyricism of his language and the depths of his insight. I don’t think I will ever in my life come across a story as strange and compelling as this one.” Mr. Finkel’s agent, Stuart Krichevsky, commented, “If I had to assign a single attribute to Mike Finkel, I’d choose intensity: it perfectly describes the author, his reporting, and his approach to his work.  Mike’s first draft of THE STRANGER IN THE WOODS, which he shared with no one, ran to thousands of pages.  He then worked obsessively to boil that mountain of information down to its very essence, resulting in 195 pages of seamless and utterly gripping prose.”

Riverhead’s Rebecca Saletan on EXIT WEST by Mohsin Hamid

exit westThis week’s Igloo Book Buzz selection is Mohsin Hamid’s EXIT WEST, one of the most anticipated books of 2017. Riverhead Vice President & Editorial Director Rebecca Saletan, Mohsin’s longtime editor, shares her insights: “I have had the enormous privilege of publishing Mohsin Hamid for the entire span of

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his extraordinary writing life, some twenty years now. He has the rare and precious gift, never more evident than in this new book, of being able not only to see into the future but to imagine, in the shape of real human lives, plausible and humane alternatives to the dark places where our worst impulses could lead us.” [caption id="attachment_5265" align="alignright" width="218"]Mohsin Hamid. Photo by Jillian Edelstein Mohsin Hamid. Photo by Jillian Edelstein[/caption] From the internationally bestselling author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, EXIT WEST goes on sale from Riverhead Books on March 7 and is an astonishingly timely love story that brilliantly imagines the forces that transform ordinary people into refugees — and the impossible choices that follow — as they’re driven from their homes to the uncertain embrace of new lands.  Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, this book tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time. EXIT WEST is the #1 Indie Next Pick for March and has been lauded with tremendous advance praise. Here is a sampling: “Mohsin Hamid’s dynamic yet lapidary books have all explored the convulsive changes overtaking the world…His compelling new novel, EXIT WEST, is no exception…Writing in spare, crystalline prose, Hamid conveys the experience of living in a city under siege with sharp, stabbing immediacy….Hamid does a harrowing job of conveying what it is like to leave behind family members, and what it means to leave home, which, however dangerous or oppressive it’s become, still represents everything that is familiar and known.” –Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times “[A] thought experiment that pivots on the crucial figure of this century: the migrant… [A] wry, intelligent novel… brilliantly managed… Hamid’s cautious, even fastidious prose makes the sudden flashes of social breakdown all the more affecting,” the author continues. “Evading the lure of both the utopian and the dystopian, Exit West makes some rough early sketches of the world that must come if we (or is it ‘you’?) are to avoid walling out the rest of the human race in the 21st century.” –The Financial Times “Writers should be wise, and Hamid is wiser than many… No novel is really about the cliche called ‘the human condition,’ but good novels expose and interpret the particular condition of the humans in their charge, and this is what Hamid has achieved here.” –The Washington Post “Hamid’s prose powerfully evokes the violence and anxiety of lives lived ‘under the drone-crossed sky.’ But his whimsical framing of the situation offers a hopeful metaphor for the future as the ‘natives’ come to accept their new neighbors.” –TIME Magazine

Andy Ward on George Saunders’ LINCOLN IN THE BARDO

George Saunders book buzzAndy Ward, Vice President, Editor in Chief, Random House, offers insights into the editing of this week’s Igloo Book Buzz selection, George Saunders’ LINCOLN IN THE BARDO:  “I’d be lying if I said I had any idea what a novel by George Saunders would look like. This is a guy who was fiercely devoted to the short story

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form – who once actually said, ‘A novel is a story that hasn’t figured out how to be short yet.’ But then, one day in September 2015, the draft appeared in my inbox, with a simple message: ‘Here it is.’ I opened the file. It was … historical fiction. It was … a story told by ghosts … in a swirling chorus of voices, oral-history style … unfolding in a graveyard over the course of a single night in 1862 … starring Abraham Lincoln and his recently departed, 11-year-old son, Willie… a novel that blended fiction and nonfiction. But given that it’s George, I can’t say I was surprised. Thrilled is probably the better word. Thrilled by the formal innovation, the total commitment to the idea, and the central story of a father trying to come to terms with the loss of his beloved son.” [caption id="attachment_5187" align="alignright" width="262"]George Saunders George Saunders[/caption] In a New York Times Book Review cover review of LINCOLN IN THE BARDO, Penguin Random House author Colson Whitehead wrote, in part, “It’s a very pleasing thing to watch a writer you have enjoyed for years reach an even higher level of achievement. To observe him or her consolidate strengths, share with us new reserves of talent and provide the inspiration that can only come from a true artist charting hidden creative territory. George Saunders pulled that trick off with Tenth of December…. How gratifying and unexpected that he has repeated the feat with Lincoln in the Bardo, his first novel and a luminous feat of generosity and humanism…. Here is a crucible for a heroic American identity: fearful but unflagging; hopeful even in tragedy; staggering, however tentatively, toward a better world. The father must say goodbye to his son, the son must say goodbye to the father. Abraham Lincoln must stop being the father to a lost boy and assume his role as a father to a nation, one on the brink of cataclysm.” More praise has been heaped on Mr. Saunders and LINCOLN IN THE BARDO. Here is a small sampling: “Opening a George Saunders book feels like falling into a lucid dream: a world so fantastically vivid and strange that it wouldn’t be entirely surprising to wake up and find some new, untraceable stamp on your passport. A master of the short form for more than two decades, Saunders has finally produced his first full length novel — though that word hardly begins to convey the literary wonder contained within its pages, an extraordinary alchemy of free-verse ghost story, tender father-son devotional, and backdoor presidential biography….wild high-wire pastiche. He’s always been a dazzlingly clever voice in fiction, but Bardo is something else: a heartfelt marvel, sad and funny and surreal.” — Entertainment Weekly “A stunning depiction of the sixteenth President’s psyche … witty and garrulous … Saunders does a fine job—and has a fine time—quickening his little necropolis to literary life…These are the voices of fiction, not history, but they are also the voices of history still having to be made, with whatever hopelessness, in whatever time.”—New Yorker “A brilliant, Buddhist reimagining of an American story of great loss and great love… Saunders has risen an unsentimental novel of Shakespearean proportions, gorgeously stuffed with tragic characters, bawdy humor, terrifying visions, throat-catching tenderness, and a galloping narrative, all twined around the luminous cord connecting a father and son and backlit by a nation engulfed in fire.”—Elle In case you missed it, check out this recent feature: Nearly 60 Colleagues Featured on George Saunders’ LINCOLN IN THE BARDO Random House Audio Title