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All Tomorrow’s Parties

Rob Spillman—the award-winning, charismatic cofounding editor of the legendary Tin House magazine—has devoted his life to the rebellious pursuit of artistic authenticity. Born in Germany to two driven musicians, his childhood was spent among the West Berlin cognoscenti, in a city two hundred miles behind the Iron Curtain. There, the Berlin Wall stood as a stark reminder of the split between East and West, between suppressed dreams and freedom of expression. After an unsettled youth moving between divorced parents in disparate cities, Spillman would eventually find his way into the literary world of New York City, only to abandon it to return to Berlin just months after the Wall came down. Twenty-five and newly married, Spillman and his wife, the writer Elissa Schappell, moved to the anarchic streets of East Berlin in search of the bohemian lifestyle of their idols. But Spillman soon discovered he was chasing the one thing that had always eluded him: a place, or person, to call home. In his intimate, entertaining, and heartfelt memoir, All Tomorrow’s Parties, Spillman narrates a colorful, music-filled coming-of-age portrait of an artist’s life that is also a cultural exploration of a shifting Berlin.

Bream Gives Me Hiccups

Bream Gives Me Hiccups: And Other Stories is the remarkable fiction debut by Academy Award-nominated actor Jesse Eisenberg, famous for his roles in The Social Network and other films, but also for his regular pieces in the New Yorker and his two critically acclaimed plays. This collection of hilarious, moving, and highly inventive stories explore the ridiculousness of modern-day life, in the tradition of Woody Allen, Simon Rich, and David Sedaris. Taking its title from a group of stories that begin the book, Bream Gives Me Hiccups moves from contemporary L.A. to the dorm rooms of an American college to ancient Pompeii, throwing the reader into a universe of social misfits, reimagined scenes from history, and ridiculous overreactions. In one piece, a tense email exchange between a young man and his girlfriend is taken over by his sister, who is obsessed with the Bosnian genocide (The situation reminds me of a little historical blip called the Karađorđevo agreement); in another, a college freshman forced to live with a roommate is stunned when one of her ramen packets goes missing (she didn’t have “one” of my ramens. She had a chicken ramen); in another piece, Alexander Graham Bell has teething problems with his invention (I’ve been calling Mabel all day, she doesn’t pick up! Yes, of course I dialed the right number – 2!).United by Eisenberg’s gift for humor and character, and grouped into chapters that each open with an illustration by award-winning cartoonist Jean Jullien, the witty pieces collected in Bream Gives Me Hiccups explore the various insanities of the modern world, and mark the arrival of a fantastically funny, self-ironic, and original voice.

The Sympathizer

A profound, startling, and beautifully crafted debut novel, The Sympathizer is the story of a man of two minds, someone whose political beliefs clash with his individual loyalties. In dialogue with but diametrically opposed to the narratives of the Vietnam War that have preceded it, this novel offers an important and unfamiliar new perspective on the war: that of a conflicted communist sympathizer. It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong. Viet Thanh Nguyen’s astonishing novel takes us inside the mind of this double agent, a man whose lofty ideals necessitate his betrayal of the people closest to him. A gripping spy novel, an astute exploration of extreme politics, and a moving love story, The Sympathizer explores a life between two worlds and examines the legacy of the Vietnam War in literature, film, and the wars we fight today.

The Undertaking

A much-anticipated debut from a remarkable new talent in Irish fiction—a terrifyingly intimate story of a war marriage caught up in the horror of World War II.

In a desperate bid to escape the trenches of the Eastern Front, Peter Faber, an ordinary German soldier, marries Katherina Spinell, a woman he has never met, in a marriage of convenience that promises “honeymoon” leave for him and a pension for her should he die in the war. With ten days’ leave secured, Peter visits his new wife in Berlin, and both are surprised by the passion that develops between them.

When Peter returns to the horror of the front, it is only the dream of Katherina that sustains him as he approaches Stalingrad. Back in Berlin, Katherina, goaded on by her desperate and delusional parents, ruthlessly works her way into Nazi high society, wedding herself, her young husband, and her unborn child to the regime. But when the tide of war turns and Berlin falls, Peter and Katherina find their simple dream of family cast in tragic light and increasingly hard to hold on to.

Reminiscent of Bernard Schlink’s The Reader, this is an unforgettable novel of marriage, ambition, and the brutality of war, which heralds the arrival of a breathtaking new voice in international fiction.

John Saturnall’s Feast

Twelve years in the writing, John Saturnall’s Feast is a masterpiece from one of England’s greatest living historical novelists. Set in rural England in the early seventeenth century, John Saturnall’s Feast is the story of a young orphan who begins working in the kitchens of Buckland Manor House, and grows to become one of the greatest cooks of his generation. John’s elaborate creations, great jellied desserts with glazed baubles, and rich forcemeats and stews, are unrivaled in their creativity and execution—and he cooks for aristocratic guests visiting the Manor including King Charles I and his wife. When the young daughter of the Lord of the Manor, Lady Lucretia, vows to fast until her father calls off her engagement to her insipid husband-to-be, it falls to John to try to cook her delicious foods that might tempt her to eat. As John serves meals to Lucretia, an illicit attraction grows between them, but fate is conspiring against the pair—Lucretia’s marriage cannot be undone, and the English Civil War is about to break out. Reminiscent of Wolf Hall, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, and works by David Mitchell and Peter Carey, John Saturnall’s Feast is a fantastically rich novel of food, forbidden love, turbulent history, and ancient myths. Beautifully produced with illustrations and recipes, and printed in two colors of ink,it is a delight for all the senses.

The Blood of Heaven

The Blood of Heaven is the prodigious first novel from twenty-six-year-old Kent Wascom. One of the most powerful and impressive debuts Grove/Atlantic has ever published, The Blood of Heaven tells the epic story of the American frontier in the early days of the nineteenth century. The Blood of Heaven is the story of Angel Woolsack, a preacher’s son, who flees the hardscrabble life of his itinerant father, falls in with a charismatic highwayman, then settles with his adopted brothers on the rough frontier of West Florida, where American settlers are carving their place out of lands held by the Spaniards and the French. The novel moves from the bordellos of Natchez, where Angel meets his love Red Kate to the Mississippi River plantations, where the brutal system of slave labor is creating fantastic wealth along with terrible suffering, and finally to the back rooms of New Orleans among schemers, dreamers, and would-be revolutionaries plotting to break away from the young Unite d States and create a new country under the leadership of the renegade founding father Aaron Burr. The Blood of Heaven brilliantly captures the energy and wildness of a young America where anything was possible. It is a startling debut.

Heart of Palm

A debut novel that is already winning acclaim from authors and booksellers, Heart of Palm is a warm, witty, assured portrait of one dysfunctional, unforgettable Florida family choosing between the life they know and a lucrative real estate offer that promises to shake everything up. The story opens on a sweltering July day, as Frank Bravo, dutiful middle son, is awakened by a distress call. Frank dreams of escaping to cool mountain rivers, but he’s only made it ten minutes from the family restaurant he manages every day and the decrepit, Spanish-moss-draped house he was raised in, and where his strong-willed mother and spitfire sister—both towering redheads, equally matched in stubbornness—are fighting another battle royale. Little do any of them know that Utina is about to meet the tide of development that has already engulfed the rest of Northeast Florida. When opportunity knocks, tempers ignite, secrets are unearthed, and each of the Bravos is forced to confront the tragedies of their shared past. Reminiscent of Kaye Gibbons, Lee Smith, Anne Tyler, and Fannie Flagg, Heart of Palm introduces Laura Lee Smith as a captivating new voice in American fiction.

Just What Kind of Mother Are You?

Lisa Kallisto—an overwhelmed working mother—is the not-so-perfect model of the modern woman. She holds down a busy job running the local animal shelter, she cares for three demanding children, and she worries that her marriage is not getting enough attention. During an impossibly hectic week, Lisa takes her eye off the ball for just a moment, and her whole world descends into a living nightmare. Not only is her best friend’s thirteen-year-old daughter missing, but it is all Lisa’s fault. And to make matters worse, Lucinda is the second teenage girl to disappear in the past two weeks. The first one turned up stripped bare and abandoned on the main street after a horrible ordeal. Wracked with guilt over her mistake, and having been publicly blamed by Lucinda’s family, Lisa sets out to right the wrong. But as she begins digging under the surface, Lisa learns that everything is not quite what it first appears to be. In Paula Daly’s heart-stopping and heartbreaking debut novel, motherhood, marriage, and friendship are tested when a string of horrifying abductions tear through a small-town community. Just What Kind of Mother Are You? is a gut-wrenching thriller and a shrewd examination of family life—and the deception that can lie beneath

Painted Horses

A big, enthralling debut of America in its ascendance, of history versus modernity, and a love story of the West, Painted Horses introduces an extraordinary new literary voice. In the mid-1950s, America was flush with prosperity and saw an unbroken line of progress clear to the horizon, while the West was still very much wild. In this ambitious, incandescent debut, Malcolm Brooks animates that time and untamed landscape, in a tale of the modern and the ancient, of love and fate, and of heritage threatened by progress. Catherine Lemay is a young archaeologist on her way to Montana, with a huge task before her—a canyon “as deep as the devil’s own appetites.” Working ahead of a major dam project, she has one summer to prove nothing of historical value will be lost in the flood, but from the moment she arrives, nothing is what she expects. And then there’s John H, a former mustanger and veteran of the U.S. Army’s last mounted cavalry campaign, living a fugitive life in the canyon. John H inspires Catherine to see beauty in the stark landscape, and her heart opens to more than just the vanished past. Painted Horses sends a dauntless young woman on a heroic quest, sings a love song to the horseman’s vanishing way of life, and reminds us that love and ambition, tradition and the future, often make strange bedfellows. It establishes Malcolm Brooks as an extraordinary new talent.