Family Album - Penelope Lively

In The Family Album (Viking, $25.95) Penelope Lively paints a wonderful portrait of an ostensibly perfect family. Parents Alison and Charles, six children, and one au pair, live at Allersmead, a shabby-genteel, sprawling Edwardian edifice where the huge kitchen is the heart of the home.  Alison prides herself on her mothering, cooking, and homemaking and frets when family life is beyond her control. Her husband Charles remains aloof, constantly locked in his study while he researches and writes books. Most of the family scenes are presented in flashback as each of the adult children returns to the childhood home; thus memory is of keen interest here, along with a dark secret from the past.

Family Album: A Novel By Penelope Lively Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143117872
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - August 31st, 2010

The Year of the Flood - Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood’s visionary The Year Of The Flood (Nan A. Talese, $26.95) continues where Oryx and Crake left off. The long-awaited flood, which is actually a plague, has destroyed most human life on the planet, but two women remain: Toby and Ren, who once lived together in the group called God’s Gardeners, a religious organization devoted to preserving the natural world. The women now lead totally different lives, each surviving in her own way, and their combined memories reveal the painful events which have led to their present situation. Atwood perfectly creates a future world, one where gene-splicing, corporate power, cosmetic perfection, and class disparities have spiraled out of control.

The Year of the Flood (The MaddAddam Trilogy #2) By Margaret Atwood Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307455475
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Anchor - July 27th, 2010

The Maples Stories, My Father's Tears and Other Stories, & Endpoint and Other Poems - John Updike,

Suddenly, without foreshadowing, he died.  I mean John Updike, whose carefully crafted flow of adjectives and adverbs, bursting with resonance, continue to give so much aesthetic pleasure.  He wrote movingly about his mother’s death but seemed to leave us with a blank canvas at his own sudden exit.  But then Random House surprised us with three volumes put together in the year before his final deadline.  The author and publisher, it appears, stealthily planned this canonical bequest.  

From his midlife, The Maples Stories (Everyman, $15), those poignant linked short fictions of a disintegrating marriage, originally—30 years ago—titled Too Far to Go, has been reissued with a new addition, “Grandparenting,” along with Updike’s reassurance that the Maples are “both still alive and look well, considering.”  My Father’s Tears (Knopf, $25.95), Updike’s last short story collection, is quintessential Updike: thinly veiled autobiography. The volume’s final story leaves us with a benediction as a toast is drunk to the visible world, “impending disappearance from it be damned.”  Finally, Endpoint (Knopf, $25) is a book of poems Updike wrote in the last seven years of his life. I loved all of them, especially Updike’s own valedictory farewell, “Requiem”: For life’s a shabby subterfuge,/ and death is real, and dark, and huge,/ the shock of it will register/ Nowhere but where it will occur.”

The Maples Stories (Everyman's Library Pocket Classics Series) By John Updike Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307271761
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Everyman's Library - August 4th, 2009

My Father's Tears: And Other Stories By John Updike Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345513809
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - May 25th, 2010

Endpoint and Other Poems By John Updike Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307272867
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Knopf - March 31st, 2009