A literary novel, a police thriller, and the funniest book about war crimes and dementia you are likely to read anytime soon, Norwegian By Night is a profoundly moving, deliciously suspenseful novel about an American grandfather and a newly orphaned boy racing across the Norwegian wilderness, fleeing demons both real and imagined.
An endlessly revealing and incisive account of the King of Late Night at the height of his fame and power, by his lawyer, wingman, fixer, and closest confidant.
From 1962 till 1992, Johnny Carson hosted the Tonight Show and permeated the American consciousness. In the ’70s and ’80s, he was the country’s highest paid entertainer and its most enigmatic. He was notoriously inscrutable, as mercurial (and sometimes cruel) off-camera as he was charming and spontaneously hilarious on-stage. During the apex of his reign, Carson’s long-time lawyer and best friend was Henry Bushkin, who now shows us Johnny Carson with a breathtaking clarity and depth that nobody else could.
From the moment in 1970 when Carson hired Bushkin (who was then just 27) till the moment 18 years later when they parted ways, the author witnessed and often took part in a continuous string of escapades that still retain their power to surprise and fascinate us now. One of Bushkin’s first assignments was helping Carson break into a posh Manhattan apartment to gather evidence of his wife’s infidelity. (Carson was packing a .38 at the time, just in case.) More than once, Bushkin helped his client avoid entanglements with the Mob. Of course, Carson’s adventures didn’t just skirt the lower echelons of society. He hosted Reagan’s Inaugural concert as a personal favor to the new President, and he prevented a drunken Dean Martin from appearing onstage that evening. Carson socialized with Frank Sinatra, Jack Lemmon, Jimmy Stewart, Kirk Douglas, and dozens of other boldface names who populate this atmospheric and propulsive chronicle of the King of Late Night and his world.
But this memoir isn’t just dishy. It is a tautly rendered and remarkably nuanced portrait of Carson, revealing not only how he truly was, but why. Bushkin explains why Carson, a voracious (and very talented) womanizer, felt he always had to be married; why he loathed small-talk even as he excelled at it; why he couldn’t visit his son in the hospital and wouldn’t attend his mother’s funeral, and much more.
Bushkin’s account is by turns shocking, poignant, and uproarious — written with a novelist’s eye for detail, a screenwriter’s ear for dialogue, and a knack for comic timing that Carson himself would relish. Johnny Carson unveils not only the hidden Carson, but the raucous, star-studded world he ruled.
Are you a stupid or a clever?
Such is the refrain in Isaac Helger’s mind as he makes his way from redheaded hooligan to searching adolescent to striving young man on the make. His mother’s question haunts every choice and action. Are you a stupid or a clever? Will you find a way to lift your family out of Johannesburg’s poor inner city, to buy a house in the suburbs, to bring your aunts and cousins from Lithuania? The Lion Seeker brings to life South Africa, its Jewish community, its energy and brawny vernacular, as Isaac struggles toward his goals against the specter of a dark family secret and against his own impetuous temper and sensuous nature. A profoundly moral exploration of how wider social forces act on families and individuals, it is the kind of epic, coming-of-age, mother-son narrative in line with the work of Mordechai Richler, Leon Uris, Philip Roth, and more recently David Grossman. We are caught—challenged, sympathetic, hearts open and wrecked—between the urgent ambitions of a mother who knows what it takes to survive and a son straining against the responsibilities of the old world, even as he is endowed with the freedoms of the new.
A breakout novel from acclaimed writer Stacey D’Erasmo, Wonderland drops us into the life of an indie rock star at that moment when she decides to go all-in or give up on her dreams. Anna Brundage was a sensation. Not a one-hit wonder, but a fast-rising star who hit the top and then walked away for seven years. Now 44, she sells a piece of her famous father’s art to fund one more album and tour, and a last chance to cement her place in the life she chose, the life she struggled for, the life she’s not sure she can sustain. Wonderland takes us deep into that unknown, dreamed-of world—music, fame, and art. It examines the life of a woman on an unconventional path, wondering what happens next and what her passions might have cost her, seeking a version of herself she might recognize. It stares boldly and steps bravely into the wonderland that is the future of anyone facing change.
For Cleo Berry, the Spanish influenza devastating the East Coast feels far from the safety of Portland, Oregon. But then the disease comes west. Headstrong and foolish, seventeen-year-old Cleo is determined to ride out the pandemic at home rather than in her quarantined boarding school. But when the Red Cross pleads for volunteers, she can’t ignore the call. In the grueling days that follow her decision, she risks everything for near strangers. Strangers like Edmund, a handsome medical student. Strangers who could be gone tomorrow. And as the bodies pile up, Cleo can’t help but wonder when her own luck will run out.