Tuesday, February 20, 2024

"The Dredge"

New from Grove Atlantic: The Dredge by Brendan Flaherty.

About the book, from the publisher:

In Brendan Flaherty’s debut novel, two estranged brothers must confront the violence of the past when they find out a pond where they played as children will be dredged.

After some traumatic teenaged years in rural Connecticut, Cale and Ambrose Casey had nothing left to say to each other. Cale ran off to Hawaii to sell luxury real estate. Ambrose stayed behind and built up his construction company. Neither thought they’d be in touch again and were glad for it—until they learned of a real estate developer’s plan to drain and expand Gibbs Pond.

Nearly 30 years before, the Casey brothers buried a secret in that pond, which fell somewhere between self-defense and family preservation.

Lily Rowe, the contractor in charge of the dredging, can also trace her roots—and her trauma—to the banks of Gibbs Pond. After a childhood that saw her and her brother yanked across the country by her abusive father, it was here where she finally stayed put, even if they didn’t. But as ambitious as Lily is, and as much as she wants answers of her own, her family also has secrets to protect.

Now, the haunted lives of Cale, Ambrose, and Lily collide once more as they reunite to unearth the devastation of the past.
Visit Brendan Flaherty's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Ways of Living Religion"

New from Cambridge University Press: Ways of Living Religion: Philosophical Investigations into Religious Experience by Christina M. Gschwandtner.

About the book, from the publisher:

Ways of Living Religion provides a philosophical analysis of different types of religious experience - ascetic, liturgical, monastic, mystical, devotional, compassionate, fundamentalist - that focuses on the lived experience of religion rather than reducing it to mere statements of belief or doctrine. Using phenomenology, Christina M. Gschwandtner distinguishes between different kinds of religious experiences by examining their central characteristics and defining features, as well as showing their continuity with human experience more broadly. The book is the first philosophical examination of several of these types, thus breaking new ground in philosophical thinking about religion. It is neither a confessional treatment nor a reduction of the lived experience to psychological or sociological phenomena. While Gschwandtner's treatment focuses on Christian forms of expression of these different types, it opens the path to broader examinations of ways of living religion that might enable scholars to give a more nuanced account of their similarities and differences.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Inside the Mirror"

New from the University of Nebraska Press: Inside the Mirror: A Novel by Parul Kapur.

About the book, from the publisher:

Winner of the AWP Prize for the Novel

In 1950s Bombay, Jaya Malhotra studies medicine at the direction of her father, a champion of women’s education who assumes the right to choose his daughters’ vocations. A talented painter drawn to the city’s dynamic new modern art movement, Jaya is driven by her desire to express both the pain and extraordinary force of life of a nation rising from the devastation of British rule. Her twin sister, Kamlesh, a passionate student of Bharata Natyam dance, complies with her father’s decision that she become a schoolteacher while secretly pursuing forbidden dreams of dancing onstage and in the movies.

When Jaya moves out of her family home to live with a woman mentor, she suffers grievous consequences as a rare woman in the men’s domain of art. Not only does her departure from home threaten her family’s standing and crush her reputation; Jaya loses a vital connection to Kamlesh.

Winner of the AWP Prize for the Novel, Parul Kapur’s Inside the Mirror is set in the aftermath of colonialism, as an impoverished India struggles to remake itself into a modern state. Jaya’s story encompasses art, history, political revolt, love, and women’s ambition to seize their own power.
Visit Parul Kapur's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Subjects and Sojourners"

New from the University of California Press: Subjects and Sojourners: A History of Indochinese in France by Charles Keith.

About the book, from the publisher:

During the era of French colonial rule in Indochina, as many as two hundred thousand Indochinese sojourned in France. Subjects and Sojourners is a vivid and comprehensive social, cultural, and political history of this diverse group, which ranged from ruling monarchs to the most marginal laborers. Drawing from a range of rich but underused archives, Charles Keith explores how French colonialism extended Indochina’s colonial society into France, where Indochinese subjects studied, labored, fought, and lived in imperial spaces and contexts that were profoundly different from those they had left behind. Time in France transformed these sojourners, and when they returned to Indochina, they in turn transformed colonial society. Indochinese, in short, did not simply encounter “France” in the colony: they went and lived it for themselves.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 19, 2024

"Murder at la Villette"

New from Soho Press: Murder at la Villette by Cara Black.

About the book, from the publisher:

Parisian private investigator Aimée Leduc has been framed for the murder of her daughter’s father—now she’s on the lam, and must find the real killer to clear her name in this thrilling 21st installment of Cara Black’s New York Times bestselling mystery series.

Parisian private investigator Aimée Leduc doesn’t know that her life is about to be upended. Her ex, Melac, has been hounding her to move their daughter, Chloé, to Brittany. Aimée is fed up with his threats to take her to court and has stopped answering his calls. Which is why she doesn’t know he’s waiting for her by the Bassin de la Villette as she leaves a client’s office late one night. When she finds him there, bleeding in the canal, he has just been stabbed by an assailant, who knocks Aimée unconscious and plants the bloody knife in her hands.

Now Aimée is in police custody, debilitated by a concussion, with overwhelming evidence pointing to her as Melac’s killer. She must figure out who murdered Melac—not an easy job, given the target on his back as a former homicide investigator. Cut off from her typical network and forced to operate under multiple layers of cover, Aimée must go deep into the underbelly of Paris’s 19th arrondissement, where she rubs shoulders with biker gangs, paranoid journalists, grieving parents, and frustratingly tight-lipped ex-cops on her hunt for justice.
Visit Cara Black's website and follow her on Twitter.

The Page 69 Test: Murder at the Lanterne Rouge.

My Book, the Movie: Murder at the Lanterne Rouge.

The Page 69 Test: Murder below Montparnasse.

The Page 69 Test: Murder in Pigalle.

My Book, The Movie: Murder in Pigalle.

My Book, The Movie: Murder on the Champ de Mars.

The Page 69 Test: Three Hours in Paris.

The Page 69 Test: Night Flight to Paris.

Writers Read: Cara Black (March 2023).

--Marshal Zeringue

"Taming the Octopus"

New from W.W. Norton: Taming the Octopus: The Long Battle for the Soul of the Corporation by Kyle Edward Williams.

About the book, from the publisher:

The untold story of how efforts to hold big business accountable changed American capitalism.

Recent controversies around environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing and “woke capital” evoke an old idea: the Progressive Era vision of a socially responsible corporation. By midcentury, the notion that big business should benefit society was a consensus view. But as Kyle Edward Williams’s brilliant history, Taming the Octopus, shows, the tools forged by New Deal liberals to hold business leaders accountable, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, narrowly focused on the financial interests of shareholders. This inadvertently laid the groundwork for a set of fringe views to become dominant: that market forces should rule every facet of society. Along the way, American capitalism itself was reshaped, stripping businesses to their profit-making core.

In this vivid and surprising history, we meet activists, investors, executives, and workers who fought over a simple question: Is the role of the corporation to deliver profits to shareholders, or something more? On one side were “business statesmen” who believed corporate largess could solve social problems. On the other were libertarian intellectuals such as Milton Friedman and his oft-forgotten contemporary, Henry Manne, whose theories justified the ruthless tactics of a growing class of corporate raiders. But Williams reveals that before the “activist investor” emerged as a capitalist archetype, Civil Rights groups used a similar playbook for different ends, buying shares to change a company from within.

As a rising tide of activists pushed corporations to account for societal harms from napalm to environmental pollution to inequitable hiring, a new idea emerged: that managers could maximize value for society while still turning a maximal profit. This elusive ideal, “stakeholder capitalism,” still dominates our headlines today. Williams’s necessary history equips us to reconsider democracy’s tangled relationship with capitalism.
Visit Kyle Edward Williams's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"What Monstrous Gods"

New from Balzer + Bray: What Monstrous Gods by Rosamund Hodge.

About the book, from the publisher:

A rich and romantic new standalone fantasy loosely inspired by the classic Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, from the New York Times bestselling author of Cruel Beauty! Perfect for fans of These Violent Delights and The Shadow Queen.

Centuries ago, the heretic sorcerer Ruven raised a deadly briar around Runakhia's palace, casting the royal family into an enchanted sleep—and silencing the kingdom's gods.

Born with a miraculous gift, Lia's destiny is to kill Ruven and wake the royals. But when she succeeds, she finds her duty is not yet complete, for now she must marry into the royal family and forge a pact with a god—or die.

To make matters even worse, Ruven's spirit is haunting her.

As discord grows between the old and new guards, the queen sends Lia and Prince Araunn, her betrothed, on a pilgrimage to awaken the gods. But the old gods are more dangerous than Lia ever knew—and Ruven may offer her only hope of survival.

As the two work together, Lia learns that they're more alike than she expected. And with tensions rising, Lia must choose between what she was raised to believe and what she knows is right—and between the prince she is bound to by duty...and the boy she killed.
Learn more about the book and author at Rosamund Hodge's website, Facebook page, and on Instagram.

The Page 69 Test: Cruel Beauty.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Devoured"

New from LSU Press: Devoured: The Extraordinary Story of Kudzu, the Vine That Ate the South by Ayurella Horn-Muller.

About the book, from the publisher:

Kudzu abounds across the American South. Introduced in the United States in the 1800s as a solution for soil erosion, this invasive vine with Eastern Asian origins came to be known as a pernicious invader capable of smothering everything in its path. To many, the plant's enduring legacy has been its villainous role as the "vine that ate the South." But for a select few, it has begun to signify something else entirely. In its roots, a network of people scattered across the country see a chance at redemption—and an opportunity to remedy a fragment of troubled history.

Devoured: The Extraordinary Story of Kudzu, the Vine That Ate the South detangles the complicated story of the South's fickle relationship with kudzu, chronicling the ways the boundless weed has evolved over centuries, and dissecting what climate change could mean for its future across the United States. From architecture teams experimenting with it as a sustainable building material, to clinical applications treating binge-drinking, to chefs harvesting it as a wild edible, environmental journalist Ayurella Horn-Muller investigates how kudzu's notorious reputation in America is gradually being cast aside in favor of its promise.

Weaving rigorous research with poignant storytelling, Horn-Muller reveals how the "vine that ate the South" became a vessel to "other" those with origins from beyond U.S. borders. A timely narrative, Devoured challenges readers to reconsider how we decide who and what belongs in the changing landscapes around us.
Visit Ayurella Horn-Muller's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 18, 2024

"The New Couple in 5B"

New from Park Row Books: The New Couple in 5B: A Novel by Lisa Unger.

About the book, from the publisher:

A couple inherits an apartment with a spine-tingling past in this unputdownable thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six.

Rosie and Chad Lowan are barely making ends meet in New York City when they receive life-changing news: Chad’s late uncle has left them his luxury apartment at the historic Windermere in glamorous Murray Hill. With its prewar elegance and impeccably uniformed doorman, the building is the epitome of old New York charm. One would almost never suspect the dark history lurking behind its perfectly maintained facade.

At first, the building and its eclectic tenants couldn’t feel more welcoming. But as the Lowans settle into their new home, Rosie starts to suspect that there’s more to the Windermere than meets the eye. Why is the doorman ever-present? Why are there cameras everywhere? And why have so many gruesome crimes occurred there throughout the years? When one of the neighbors turns up dead, Rosie must get to the truth about the Windermere before she, too, falls under its dangerous spell.
Visit Lisa Unger's website.

Q&A with Lisa Unger.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Spectacular Listening"

New from Oxford University Press: Spectacular Listening: Music and Disability in the Digital Age by Byrd McDaniel.

About the book, from the publisher:

Imagine a powerful listening experience that you want to share with others. You could describe it to someone with words, or you may choose a flashier alternative. You could, for example, costume yourself and take to the stage in a famous concert venue, delivering a rousing air guitar interpretation of a beloved rock solo for a live audience. Maybe you seek something more subtle, so you pull out your smartphone and record yourself lip-syncing to a guilty pleasure, showing your followers how seamlessly the music fits your movements. Perhaps instead you want others to hear how the music makes you feel, which leads you to record a podcast episode that translates the thrill of listening into audible exclamations.

In ways both mundane and sensational, listening can be an expressive act, enabling people to stage consumption as a public practice -- what author Byrd McDaniel calls "spectacular listening." Contemporary digital platforms not only support such activity but actively encourage people to package personal music reception into a performance that may be widely shared. With a range of compelling ethnographic case studies, McDaniel investigates a broad shift in contemporary listening norms and the stakes for listeners with disabilities. He reveals how listening-as-performance can be an opportunity for play, as well as a critical practice that exposes ableism in music institutions, technologies, and discourse.
Visit Byrd McDaniel's website.

--Marshal Zeringue