Apr 27, 2010

new fiction

To each of the men and women in The Last Time I Saw You, this reunion means something different—a last opportunity to say something long left unsaid, an escape from the bleaker realities of everyday life, a means to save a marriage on the rocks, or an opportunity to bond with a slightly estranged daughter, if only over what her mother should wear.
As the onetime classmates meet up over the course of a weekend, they discover things that will irrevocably affect the rest of their lives. For newly divorced Dorothy Shauman, the reunion brings with it the possibility of finally attracting the attention of the class heartthrob, Pete Decker. For the ever self-reliant, ever left-out Mary Alice Mayhew, it’s a chance to reexamine a painful past. For Lester Heseenpfeffer, a veterinarian and widower, it is the hope of talking shop with a fellow vet—or at least that’s what he tells himself. For Candy Armstrong, the class beauty, it’s the hope of finding friendship before it is too late.
As Dorothy, Mary Alice, Lester, Candy, and the other classmates converge for the reunion dinner, four decades melt away: Desires and personalities from their youth reemerge, and new discoveries are made. For so much has happened to them all. And so much can still happen.
In this beautiful novel, Elizabeth Berg deftly weaves together stories of roads taken and not taken, choices made and opportunities missed, and thepossibilities of second chances.

Four unforgettable characters beckon you into this spellbinding new novel from the author of last year's explosive New York Times best seller The Senator's Wife. First among them is Wilhelmina--Billy--Gertz, small as a child, fiercely independent, powerfully committed to her work as a playwright. The novel centers around her play, The Lake Shore Limited, about the terrorist bombing of that train--and about a man waiting to hear the fate of his estranged wife who is traveling on it. How Billy comes to write the play out of her own painful conflicts and ambivalence, how it is then created anew by the actors and the director, how the performance itself touches and changes the other characters' lives--these form the vital core of a story that drives the novel compulsively forward.There's not a wasted word in this tour de force about the dislocations wrought in our lives by accidents of fate and time, and about how we try to make peace with whom we...

Sixteen-year-old Katya Spivak is out for a walk on the gracious streets of Bayhead Harbor with her two summer babysitting charges when she’s approached by silver-haired, elegant Marcus Kidder. At first his interest in her seems harmless, even pleasant; like his name, a sort of gentle joke. His beautiful home, the children’s books he’s written, his classical music, the marvelous art in his study, his lavish presents to her — Mr. Kidder’s life couldn’t be more different from Katya’s drab working-class existence back home in South Jersey, or more enticing. But by degrees, almost imperceptibly, something changes, and posing for Mr. Kidder’s new painting isn’t the lighthearted endeavor it once was. What does he really want from her? And how far will he go to get it?
In the tradition of Oates’s classic story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" A Fair Maiden is an unsettling, ambiguous tale of desire and control.

Library Journal
Set at a remote military base in the Iraqi desert, this debut novel unsparingly portrays the experience of fighting in the Iraq War. Private Toby Durrant is on a routine mission when his convoy gets ambushed. After the shooting has stopped, Durrant briefly leaves his vehicle to get sick. This seemingly minor infraction draws him into a complex conspiracy that involves the base's senior officers, an Iraqi translator, and many of his fellow soldiers. Zimmerman is particularly effective at developing his characters and portraying the intense relationships that can develop between soldiers in wartime, but the plot becomes increasingly convoluted and improbable as it nears resolution. VERDICT Combining elements of the suspense and military combat genres, this novel has considerable strengths but is ultimately marred by a disappointing and somewhat incoherent ending. Still, there may be interest, especially with male readers, as novels about the current war are few and far between.—Douglas Southard, CRA International, Boston

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