In January 2015, Barbara Lipska—a leading expert on the neuroscience of mental illness—was diagnosed with melanoma that had spread to her brain. Within months, her frontal lobe, the seat of cognition, began shutting down. She descended into madness, exhibiting dementia- and schizophrenia-like symptoms that terrified her family and coworkers. But miraculously, just as her doctors figured out what was happening, the immunotherapy they had prescribed began to work. Just eight weeks after her nightmare began, Lipska returned to normal. With one difference: she remembered her brush with madness with exquisite clarity. In The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind, Lipska describes her extraordinary ordeal and its lessons about the mind and brain. She explains how mental illness, brain injury, and age can change our behavior, personality, cognition, and memory. She tells what it is like to experience these changes firsthand. And she reveals what parts of us remain, even when so much else is gone.
Outside an east Belfast mission hall, pastor and family man Samuel Orr meets Anna, a young Beckett scholar. They embark on an intense, passionate affair, their connection fueled by their respective love of Christ and Beckett. When Anna falls pregnant the affair is revealed. The repercussions are slow to emerge but inescapable, and the fallout when it finally comes is shocking, cruel, and violent. Over thirty years later Sam, their son, is in New York, living a steady, guarded life, his childhood and family safely abandoned. But the sins of the fathers are visited often on their children, and the past crashes into his life as violently as in his youth. He is forced to confront the fears he has kept close all these years.
The First Day is the story of an affair and its consequences—on family and on faith. It is an intense, questioning novel of the search to understand our origins and to free ourselves from the burdens of our early years. It’s a stunning debut, meditative and compelling, incantatory, at times devastating and always mesmerizing.
From a dazzling new literary voice, a debut novel about a Palestinian family caught between present and past, between displacement and home
Salt Houses begins with Alia, the spirited, willful matriarch who marries Atef in politically tense Nablus, Palestine in the early 60s. Following the Six-Day War of 1967, Alia moves to Kuwait, where she reluctantly builds a life with Atef and their three children Riham, Karam, and Souad. Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 scatters the family all over the world: Riham and her parents settle in Amman, Karam moves to Boston, and Souad heads to Paris to begin school. The following excerpt is from Souad’s first section in the book. We see her navigating her new life in Paris.
A hilarious debut novel about a wealthy but fractured Chinese immigrant family that had it all, only to lose every last cent—and the road trip they take across America that binds them back together.
The one thing that’s certain is they met on a Cambridge street by chance and felt a connection that would last a lifetime. But as for what happened next . . . They fell wildly in love, or went their separate ways. They kissed, or they thought better of it. They married soon after, or were together for a few weeks before splitting up. They grew distracted and disappointed with their daily lives together, or found solace together only after hard years spent apart.
With The Versions of Us, Laura Barnett has created a world as magical and affecting as those that captivated readers in One Day and Life After Life. It is a tale of possibilities and consequences that rings across the shifting decades, from the fifties, sixties, seventies, and on to the present, showing how even the smallest choices can define the course of our lives.
From the New York Times best-selling author of The Drunken Botanist comes an enthralling novel based on the forgotten true story of one of the nation’s first female deputy sheriffs.
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.
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.
A gorgeous, moving memoir of how one of America’s most innovative and respected journalists found his voice by coming to terms with a painful past.
New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow mines the compelling poetry of the out-of-time African-American Louisiana town where he grew up—a place where slavery’s legacy felt astonishingly close, reverberating in the elders’ stories and in the near-constant wash of violence.
Blow’s attachment to his mother—a fiercely driven women with five sons, brass knuckles in her glove box, a job plucking poultry at a nearby factory, a soon-to-be-ex husband, and a love of newspapers and learning—cannot protect him from secret abuse at the hands of an older cousin. It’s damage that triggers years of anger and searing self-questioning.
Finally, Blow escapes to a nearby state university, where he joins a black fraternity after a passage of brutal hazing, and then enters a world of racial and sexual privilege that feels like everything he’s ever needed and wanted, until he’s called upon, himself, to become the one perpetuating the shocking abuse.
A powerfully redemptive memoir that both fits the tradition of African-American storytelling from the South, and gives it an indelible new slant.
Mark Helprin’s enchanting and sweeping new novel asks a simple question: can love and honor conquer all? New York in 1947 glows with post-war energy. Harry Copeland, an elite paratrooper who fought behind enemy lines in Europe, returns home to run the family business. In a single, magical encounter on the Staten Island ferry, the young singer and heiress Catherine Thomas Hale falls for him in an instant, too late to prevent her engagement to a much older man. Harry and Catherine pursue one another in a romance played out in postwar America’s Broadway theaters, Long Island mansions, the offices of financiers, and the haunts of gangsters. Catherine’s choice of Harry over her long-time fiancé endangers Harry’s livelihood and eventually threatens his life. Entrancing in its lyricism, In Sunlight and in Shadow so powerfully draws you into New York at the dawn of the modern age that, as in a vivid dream, you will not want to leave.