How To Start A Fire

When UC Santa Cruz roommates Anna and Kate find passed-out Georgiana Leoni on a lawn one night, they wheel her to their dorm in a shopping cart. Twenty years later, they gather around a campfire on the lawn of a New England mansion. What happens in between—the web of wild adventures, unspoken jealousies, and sudden tragedies that alter the course of their lives—is charted with sharp wit and aching sadness in this meticulously constructed novel.

Anna, the de facto leader, is fearless and restless—moving fast to stay one step ahead of her demons. Quirky, contemplative Kate is a natural sidekick but a terrible wingman (“If you go home with him, might I suggest breathing through your mouth”). And then there’s George: the most desired woman in any room, and the one most likely to leave with the worst man. Shot through with the crackling dialogue, irresistible characters, and propulsive narrative drive that make Lutz’s books so beloved, How to Start a Fire pulls us deep into Anna, Kate, and George’s complicated bond and pays homage to the abiding, irrational love we share with the family we choose.

The Water Knife

In the very near future, the American Southwest is battling for water. Phoenix is covered in dust, desolate, and on the verge of total breakdown. Severe drought has demolished Texas.

Into the fray, steps Angel Velasquez, a water knife working for Las Vegas water mogul Catherine Case. Case is in the Arcology business, opulent real estate in which lush, luxury living environments are raised out of dry earth. Zipping around in his tricked out Tesla, Angel “cuts” water for Case. Hijacking pumping stations or unearthing long forgotten water rights, he is a detective and mercenary rolled into one. When an informant shows up dead in Phoenix, Angel is sent to find out what has happened. It turns out that a major power play is taking place, and the race is on to find a long-forgotten deed between the state of Arizona and a Native American tribe that grants Phoenix the rights to enough water to rebuild itself but to crush Las Vegas in the process. A shady West Coast conglomerate is watching closely, as is Lucy Monroe, a Phoenix-based journalist, desperate to save the city she calls home. Angel and Lucy are natural enemies, but the two realize the only way they may stay alive is by joining forces. The missing piece to the puzzle is Maria, a fifteen-year-old Texas migrant, blessed with street smarts, but burdened by getting herself into something over her head. Pretty soon the body count begins to rise, alliances come in to question, and it looks like either Phoenix or Las Vegas is going down in flames.

Pieces of My Mother

Why would a mother ever abandon her child? And is an abandoned child destined to grow up and make the same mistake? These were some of Melissa Cistaro’s questions after her mother drove off without explanation one summer. Decades later Melissa finds herself at her dying mother’s bedside with six days to find answers, fearful that she could do the same to her own little girl. Then she discovers a cache of letters her mother wrote but never sent and stumbles on the answers she’d been seeking. Haunting and ultimately uplifting,  Pieces of My Mother is about the choices we make and their repercussions on others.


A sparkling fiction debut from the poet, translator, and FSG publisher that tells the story of the decades-long rivalry between two publishing lions over the work of an iconic female poet.

Paul Dukach is heir apparent at Purcell & Stern, one of the last independent publishing houses in New York, whose shabby offices on Union Square belie the treasures of its list. Thanks to his boss, the flamboyant Homer Stern, Paul learns well the ins and outs of the book world: how to work an agent over lunch and swim with the literary sharks at Frankfurt; how to marry flattery with criticism when combing over the manuscripts of brilliant, volatile authors. But though things can be shaky in the age of conglomerates and digital, Paul remains obsessed by one dazzling writer: poet Ida Perkins, whose outsize life and audacious verse have shaped America’s contemporary literary landscape, and whose longtime publisher–also her cousin and erstwhile lover–happens to be Homer’s biggest rival. When Paul at last meets Ida at her secluded Venetian palazzo, she entrusts him with her greatest secret–one that will change all of their lives forever. Enriched by juicy details only a quintessential insider could know, written with both satiric sharpness and sensitivity, Muse is a hilarious and touching love letter to the people who write, sell–and, above all, read–the books that shape our lives.

The Fifth Gospel

In Ian Caldwell’s masterful follow-up to his international sensation The Rule of Four, a lost gospel, a contentious relic, and a dying pope’s final wish converge to send two brothers—both Vatican priests—on an intellectual quest to untangle Christianity’s greatest historical mystery.

The Book of Speculation

The Book of Speculation is Erika Swyler’s gorgeous and moving debut, a wondrous novel about the power of books and family and magic. Simon Watson, a young librarian on the verge of losing his job, lives alone in a house on the Long Island Sound that is slowly crumbling toward the sea. One day in June, he receives a mysterious package from an antiquarian bookseller, containing a journal from the owner of a traveling carnival in the 1700s, who reports many strange and magical things, including the drowning death of a circus mermaid.  It is that woman who ties the book to Simon’s family, where generations of “mermaids” have drowned, like Simon’s mother, on July 24, which is just six weeks away. Could there possibly be a curse on his family—and what does he have to do to save his sister, who ran off with the circus six years ago?


Plum Kettle does her best not to be noticed, because when you’re fat, to be noticed is to be judged. Or mocked. Or worse. With her job answering fan mail for a popular teen girls’ magazine, she is biding her time until her weight-loss surgery. Only then can her true life as a thin person finally begin. Then, when a mysterious woman starts following her, Plum finds herself falling down a rabbit hole and into an underground community of women who live life on their own terms. There Plum is forced to deal with her past, her doubts, and the real costs of becoming “beautiful.” At the same time, a dangerous guerrilla group begins to terrorize a world that mistreats women, and as Plum grapples with her personal struggles, she becomes entangled in a sinister plot. The consequences are explosive. Dietland is a bold debut novel that takes on the beauty industry, gender inequality, and our weight loss obsession-from the inside out, and with fists flying.

The Dog Master

A must read for dog lovers, this sweeping epic explores the history of man’s best friend. The Dog Master is an evocative glimpse at prehistory, a heartwarming coming of age saga, and an exciting, imaginative look at the story of the first dog.

Eight Hundred Grapes

Complicated. That was the word her mother used when Georgia Ford returned home in search of the opposite. Home—the beloved Sonoma vineyard her father built from the ground up—had always been a place of simplicity: her parents, happily married for thirty years; her brothers, fiercely loyal, who would take a punch for their siblings; the early morning chores and the satisfaction of the setting sun over the western vines with a great glass of Pinot Noir. This was home, to Georgia.

Now, just a week before her scheduled wedding, Georgia returns to find the Ford family in turmoil. Secrets spill over as the last harvest nears, and Georgia realizes they may lose each other—and the vineyard they call home—forever. Eight Hundred Grapes is a story about the messy realities of family, the strength (and weaknesses) of romantic love, and the importance of finding a place to call home.

Gonzo Girl

Inspired by the author’s experiences working with Hunter S. Thompson, an exhilarating, full-speed-ahead novel about an ambitious young writer who takes a job as an assistant to an unmotivated, drug-addled literary icon and helps him finish his long-awaited novel—by any means necessary.