Pacific Northwest | September 14, 2003Pacific Northwest MagazineSeptember 14, 2003seattletimes.com home
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PREVIOUS ISSUES OF PACIFIC NW


WRITTEN BY MARY ANN GWINN AND MICHAEL UPCHURCH
ILLUSTRATED BY SUSAN JOUFLAS

Falls Books 2003: Down Times, Good Times: With the rains, a deluge of new titles
 
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Literary Fiction and Poetry

SEPTEMBER

"Saul and Patsy" by Charles Baxter (Pantheon). A new novel by the National Book Award nominee ("The Feast of Love"), about a young married couple whose ideal life in small-town Michigan comes under question when a 16-year-old boy becomes unhealthily obsessed with them.

"Shipwreck" by Louis Begley (Knopf). The latest from Begley ("About Schmidt") concerns a prizewinning American writer with "a powerful desire for self-destruction."
 
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"The Great Fire" by Shirley Hazzard (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). The National Book Critics Circle Award-winning novelist ("The Transit of Venus") delivers her first novel in more than two decades, about young men and women struggling to reinvent their lives in the aftermath of World War II.

"L'Affaire" by Diane Johnson (Dutton). The latest novel by Johnson ("Le Divorce") finds a California dot.com executive running into difficulties in Europe when an avalanche (possibly started by low-flying American warplanes) strands her with a suspicious British-French family in an Alpine hotel.

"The Namesake" by Jhumpa Lahiri (Houghton Mifflin). The author of the story collection "Interpreter of Maladies," which won her a Pulitzer, writes a novel about Gogol, a young Indian-American saddled with a name he doesn't want and a heritage he can't come to grips with.

"The Fortress of Solitude" by Jonathan Lethem (Doubleday). New novel by the National Book Critics Circle Award winner ("Motherless Brooklyn") about two boys — one black, one white — growing up in a 1970s Brooklyn that's being gentrified.

"The Way the Crow Flies" by Ann-Marie MacDonald (HarperCollins). Another large-scale novel by the prize-winning Canadian author ("Fall on Your Knees"), this one about some lethal doings involving a Canadian air-force family assigned to a base near the U.S. border during the Cold War.

"Judge Savage" by Tim Parks (Arcade). The brilliant British expatriate writer ("Europa," "Italian Neighbors") delivers a new novel about a black, Brazilian-born, British-educated Crown Court judge whose double life may undo him.

"Waxwings" by Jonathan Raban (Pantheon). Seattle's Raban ("Passage to Juneau") writes a novel about two immigrants, a professor-writer and a handyman, who come to depend on each other, against the backdrop of "a boomtown in flux."
 
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OCTOBER

"Elizabeth Costello" by J.M. Coetzee (Viking). The South African Booker Prize-winner ("Disgrace"), now living in Australia, portrays "a distinguished and aging Australian novelist" in a novel that takes the form of "eight formal addresses."

"Train" by Pete Dexter (Doubleday). In his new novel, the National Book Award winner ("Paris Trout") tells the tale of a young African-American caddy at an upscale Los Angeles golf course who becomes involved in an "uneasy triangle" with a police detective and a beautiful widow. Dexter lives on Whidbey Island.
 
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"Prairie Nocturne" by Ivan Doig (Scribner). Seattle resident Doig, one of the Northwest's most revered writers, sets his new novel in Helena, Mont., during the era of the Harlem Renaissance. A voice teacher gives a friend's black chauffeur lessons and discovers that he has a voice of rare splendor, but her plans face opposition from the Ku Klux Klan.

"Our Lady of the Forest" by David Guterson (Knopf). Bainbridge Island's Guterson publishes a new novel, about a 16-year-old mushroom picker living in a tent on the Olympic Peninsula who claims to have been visited by the Virgin Mary.

"Dream Jungle" by Jessica Hagedorn (Viking). The National Book Award nominee ("Dogeaters") sets her new novel in the 1970s Philippines, where the filming of a Vietnam War movie and the (possible) discovery of a Stone Age tribe draw four wandering characters into a tangled relationship.

"Eyeshot" by Heather McHugh (Wesleyan University Press). A new "brooding, visionary" collection of verse, pondering "the big questions — those of love and death." McHugh has taught at the University of Washington since 1984.

"One Last Look" by Susanna Moore (Knopf). Historical fiction by the author of "In the Cut," set in 1830s Calcutta, portraying an Englishwoman who finds India to be "an irresistibly seductive and endlessly confounding heaven."

"Love" by Toni Morrison (Knopf). Several women are obsessed by the same man, a wealthy owner of a resort. But he has his own obsessions, including a secret path and a "spellbinding woman named Celestial."

"True Cross" by T.R. Pearson (Viking). Virginia small-town accountant Paul Tatum, co-protagonist of Pearson's novel "Blue Ridge," is back in a tale about two friends fixated on the same "local damsel in distress."

"A Distant Shore" by Caryl Phillips (Knopf). The Caribbean author ("The Atlantic Sound") writes a novel set in contemporary England, about the "fragile, fateful connection" between an African man and an English woman.

"Fanny: A Fiction" by Edmund White (Ecco). A change of pace for the gay writer ("The Farewell Symphony"): a historical novel about Mrs. Frances Trollope (mother to novelist Anthony and an author in her own right) as she starts writing a biography of Scottish abolitionist (and plantation owner) Fanny Wright.
 
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NOVEMBER

"Yellow Dog" by Martin Amis (Miramax). A surreal-sounding novel by the author of "London Fields," about an ideal husband who, after a head injury, becomes a nasty piece of work — and seems to have plenty of similar company.

"My Life as a Fake" by Peter Carey (Knopf). The Booker Prize-winner ("The True History of the Kelly Gang") sets his new novel in Malaysia, where a London poetry magazine editor meets an aging, destitute Australian who may be a madman — or a genius.

"Genesis" by Jim Crace (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). The British novelist who won the National Book Critics Circle Award for "Being Dead" writes a novel about an actor who is charm incarnate — and who, much to his dismay, conceives a child with every woman he beds.

"The Early Stories, 1953-1975" by John Updike (Knopf). A massive (880 pages) retrospective of the writer's short fiction.

"The Way to Paradise" by Mario Vargas Llosa, translated by Natasha Wimmer (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). A novel paralleling the travels and obsessions of painter Paul Gauguin and his half-Peruvian grandmother. By the great Peruvian writer ("The Feast of the Goat").

"Old School" by Tobias Wolff (Knopf). The author of "This Boy's Life" tells a story set in a New England prep school in the early 1960s, with a narrator who tries to adopt the manners of his peers while revealing very little about himself.

"The Liberated Bride" by A.B. Yehoshua, translated by Hillel Halkin (Harcourt). One of Israel's leading authors writes an epic-comic tale about a Haifa University professor trying to uncover the causes of Algeria's civil war and, closer to home, the failure of his son's marriage.

DECEMBER

"Double Vision" by Pat Barker (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). The British writer of the "Regeneration" trilogy turns her attention to a more contemporary war in this novel about New York-based British journalists who find the Sept. 11 attacks on the city have a devastating effect on their personal lives.

Popular Fiction

SEPTEMBER

"The Five People You Meet in Heaven" by Mitch Albom (Hyperion). The best-selling author ("Tuesdays with Morrie") tries his hand at fiction, with this debut novel about a solitary war veteran who has his life explained to him after he dies and goes to heaven.

"Dune: The Machine Crusade" by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson (Tor). The latest installment in the "Dune" science-fiction series. This is a sequel to "Dune: The Butlerian Jihad." Herbert lives on Bainbridge Island.

"Babylon Rising" by Tim LaHaye and Greg Dinallo (Bantam). LaHaye, co-author of the "Left Behind" series, creates a new series about a field archaeologist whose work propels him into a confrontation with "the forces of the greatest evil."

"Quicksilver" by Neal Stephenson (Morrow). This follow-up to Stephenson's best-selling novel "Cryptonomicon" is 900-plus pages, and relates the life and times of one Daniel Waterhouse in the age of Isaac Newton, Samuel Pepys and Benjamin Franklin. Many subsidiary characters and fabulous plot developments. Projected as the first of "The Baroque Cycle" trilogy.

"The Wedding" by Nicholas Sparks (Warner). In this sequel to "The Notebook," Noah and Allie's son-in-law, Wilson Lewis, finds the romance has gone out of his marriage.
 
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OCTOBER

"Last Car to Elysian Fields" by James Lee Burke (Simon & Schuster). The latest Dave Robicheaux thriller finds the detective back in New Iberia probing a car crash that killed three girls.

"Shepherds Abiding" by Jan Karon (Viking). The latest installment in Karon's "Mitford Years" series is a seasonal tale about Southern priest Father Tim and a derelict nativity scene he stumbles across.

"The Valley of Light" by Terry Kay (Atria). New novel by the Southern writer ("Shadow Song") about a simple war veteran with "a mystical gift for fishing" who is haunted by his memories of liberating Dachau.

"The Pleasure of My Company" by Steve Martin (Hyperion). A new novel by the actor-author ("Shopgirl"), portraying a loner whose "only relationships seem to be with people who barely know he exists."

"Blacklist: A V.I. Warshawski Novel" by Sara Paretsky (Putnam). Chicago's most famous Polish female detective delves into the history of two great Chicago families and discovers that their travails have some shockingly contemporary ramifications.

"Balance of Power" by Richard North Patterson (Ballantine). The marriage of a president and a television journalist, followed by "an unspeakable tragedy," start off this thriller about "the hidden connections between guns, money and the fight for power in the White House, Congress and the courts." In November, the other Patterson — James Patterson — pens

"The Big Bad Wolf" (Little, Brown), a new Alex Cross novel, in which the psychiatrist-detective gets a job with the FBI — and puts his family in terrible danger.

"The Babes in the Wood" by Ruth Rendell (Crown). A new Inspector Wexford mystery from the British writer, about two local teenagers who go missing along with their baby-sitter.

"A Handbook of American Prayer" by Lucius Shepard (Four Walls Eight Windows). The Vancouver writer ("Valentine") portrays a homicidal American messiah with "a direct line to God."

"O'Hara's Choice" by Leon Uris (HarperCollins). A final novel by Uris ("Exodus"), about a band of Marine Corps veterans who try to wield their influence on a younger generation.

NOVEMBER

"Lord John and the Private Matter" by Diana Gabaldon (Delacorte). A mystery set in 18th-century London, featuring Lord John Grey, from Gabaldon's "Outlander" series.

"The Conspiracy Club" by Jonathan Kellerman (Ballantine). Kellerman gives Alex Delaware a rest to pen a tale of a psychologist who becomes the chief suspect in a string of brutal murders.

"The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla" by Stephen King (Scribner). Volume 5 in King's fantasy series brings the total page count to more than 2,500 — with two more "Dark Tower" titles to come in 2004.
 
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"By Sorrow's River" by Larry McMurtry (Simon & Schuster). Volume 3 in McMurtry's "Berrybender Narratives." The further adventures of the Berrybender clan as they make their way across the Great Plains to Santa Fe.

"Christmas, Present" by Jacquelyn Mitchard (HarperCollins). A family's final Christmas together provides the subject of the new novel by the author of "The Deep End of the Ocean."

"Number 10" by Sue Townsend (Soho). Political satire from the creator of "The Adrian Mole Diaries," about a British prime minister who decides the only way to get back in touch with his country is to tour incognito — and in drag.

DECEMBER

"Pompeii" by Robert Harris (Random House). The thriller writer ("Fatherland") exchanges his usual World War II settings for ancient Pompeii, where a young aqueduct engineer discovers a disaster in the making.

"The Murder Room" by P.D. James (Knopf). The doyenne of British crime fiction brings back Scotland Yard Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh, in a whodunit about a series of murders that mirrors the exhibits in a small London museum.

"Truth or Dare" by Jayne Ann Krentz (Putnam). An Arizona-set sequel to the Seattle writer's earlier "Light in Shadow," in which interior designer Zoe Luce and her new husband, private investigator Ethan Traux, have to deal with "a shadowy figure" from Zoe's past.

"The Interruption of Everything" by Terry McMillan (Viking). The "Waiting to Exhale" author's new novel concerns a "consummate" wife and mother who's in bad need of realizing some of her postponed dreams.

"Double Tap" by Steve Martini (Putnam). A new legal thriller featuring defense attorney Paul Madriani. From the Bellingham writer.

"Rumpole and the Primrose Path" by John Mortimer (Viking). The curmudgeonly London barrister is back in this collection of six new stories.

Nonfiction

SEPTEMBER

"Madam Secretary" by Madeleine Albright (Miramax). Memoir by the Czechoslovak refugee who grew up to become President Clinton's secretary of state — the first woman to serve in that office.

"The Bounty: the True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty" by Caroline Alexander (Viking). The author of the highly regarded "The Endurance" revisits the story of the mutiny against Captain Bligh and comes up with some surprising conclusions.
 
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"Inside George Orwell: A Biography" by George Bowker (Palgrave Macmillan) and "Orwell: The Life" by D.J. Taylor (Holt). Bowker, the biographer of Malcolm Lowry and Lawrence Durrell, draws on new material to illuminate the sometimes "reckless" sexual side and life-endangering politics of the author of "1984." Taylor, biographer of Thackeray, examines Orwell's "profound totalitarian streak" and his stage-managing of his literary career.

"Where I Was From" by Joan Didion (Knopf). Didion reassesses her life, her work and her history, as well as ours.

"Naked in Baghdad" by Anne Garrels (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). The National Public Radio newswoman tells how she stuck it out in Baghdad as a "non-embedded" journalist during the recent Iraq war.

"Mountains Beyond Mountains: Healing the World — the Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World" by Tracy Kidder (Random House). A distinguished nonfiction author looks at the story of Farmer, a world-renowned infectious-disease specialist who has singlehandedly changed people's minds and practices about the control of disease and other matters.

"A Hundred Little Hitlers: The Death of a Black Man, the Trial of a White Racist, and the Rise of the Neo-Nazi Movement in America" by Elinor Langer (Metropolitan). A Portland journalist uses the death of a black man at the hands of Portland skinheads to investigate the neo-Nazi movement in America.

"Seattle and the Demons of Ambition: A Love Story" by Fred Moody (St. Martin's Press). Moody, the Bainbridge-based author of "I Sing the Body Electronic," writes the story of Seattle during the 1990s, and how it turned from a paradise for artists, slackers and utopians into an "it" destination for the new urbanite, putting in jeopardy its rambunctious soul.

"Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason" by Nancy Pearl (Sasquatch). The Seattle librarian, book reviewer and creator of "If All Seattle Read the Same Book" shares her bibliophilic enthusiasms.

"Eccentric Seattle: Pillars and Pariahs Who Made the City Not Such a Boring Place After All" by J. Kingston Pierce (Washington State University Press). Pierce's subjects include hill-flattener Reginald H. Thomson and Seattle Mayor Bertha Landes, first female to rule a major American city.

In October: "Washington Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff" by Harriet Baskas (Globe Pequot). A Seattle author's tour of "more than 200 of the unusual people, places and things that make Washington such a kooky state." Kooky?

"Beyond the Miracle: Inside the New South Africa" by Allister Sparks (University of Chicago Press). Sparks, author of the splendid "The Mind of South Africa," looks with an unflinching eye at the first nine years of democratic government in South Africa and considers whether it can create a true democracy.

"Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill" by Jessica Stern (HarperCollins). A terrorism expert uses her interviews with religious militants around the world — Christian, Jewish and Muslim — to distill some conclusions about how religious fervor turns into murder.

"Out of Left Field: How the Mariners Made Baseball Fly in Seattle" by Art Thiel (Sasquatch). The Seattle Post-Intelligencer sports writer explains how the Mariners rose "from the basement to the penthouse of Major League Baseball."

OCTOBER

"Every Second Counts" by Lance Armstrong with Sally Jenkins (Broadway Books). The five-time Tour de France winner continues the story he began in "It's Not About the Bike."

"The Oath: The Remarkable Story of a Surgeon's Life Under Fire in Chechnya" by Dr. Khassan Baiev, with Ruth and Nicholas Daniloff (Walker & Co.) A Russian doctor tries to minister to civilians and soldiers on both sides of the Chechen conflict, and is nearly killed by both Russian soldiers and Chechen extremists.

"Reflections: Life After the White House" by Barbara Bush (Scribner). The former first lady talks about having a president for a son, as well as her family's reactions to Sept. 11.

"Sanity and Grace: A Journal of Suicide, Survival and Strength" by Judy Collins (Tarcher/Putnam). The folk singer writes her memoirs, including her efforts to rebound from the death of her only child.

"The Funny Thing Is . . ." by Ellen DeGeneres (Simon & Schuster). The comedian finds she has more to say than she had space available in her first book ("My Point . . . and I Do Have One"). Keyed to the debut of her daytime talk show.

"Pitching My Tent" by Anita Diamant (Scribner). The popular novelist ("The Red Tent") reflects on the "milestones, revelations and balancing acts of life as a wife, mother, friend and member of a religious community."

"Bill Clinton: An American Journey: Great Expectations" by Nigel Hamilton (Random House). The first of two volumes on the life of the former president, focusing on his early years. Hamilton, a British historian, is the author of "JFK: Restless Youth."

"The Singular Mark Twain: A Biography" by Fred Kaplan (Doubleday). The biographer of Gore Vidal, Henry James and Charles Dickens takes on Twain and argues that "ferociously progressive ideas about race informed all his later work and absolve him from absurd charges of racism laid in recent years."

"Giving Up the Ghost" by Hilary Mantel (Holt). Memoir of an unsettled childhood and a still more troubled young adulthood. By the gifted British novelist ("The Giant, O'Brien," "A Place of Greater Safety").

"King of Fish: The Thousand-Year Run of Salmon" by David R. Montgomery (Westview). The author, a University of Washington professor, tells how human activity has shaped the fate of the Northwest's icon species and what lessons we can draw from that process.

"Visible Bones: Journeys Across Time in the Columbia River Country" by Jack Nisbet (Sasquatch). The author of "Sources of the River" attempts to "connect the present moment to the distant past" with this look at relics of the Columbia River valley.

"On Sacred Ground: The Spirit of Place in Pacific Northwest Literature" by Nicholas O'Connell (University of Washington Press). O'Connell, author of "At the Field's End: Interviews with 22 Pacific Northwest Writers," explores how the natural environment of the Pacific Northwest carries over into its literature.

"Yodel-Ay-Ee-Oooo: The Secret History of Yodeling Around the World" by Bart Plantenga (Routledge). All you ever wanted to know about that most peculiar sound, from its Swiss incarnation to the songs of Jimmie Rodgers.

"The Pythons: Autobiography by the Pythons" (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin's). A retrospective of the career of Monty Python's Flying Circus, done in the style of "The Beatles Anthology."

"Heart Full of Lies" by Ann Rule (Free Press). The latest by the Seattle true-crime author is the story of an Oregon woman who murdered the man who loved her most of all.

"The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings" by Amy Tan (Putnam). The novelist ("The Joy Luck Club") takes a break from fiction with this book that contemplates "the choices, charms, influences, attitudes and lucky accidents that shape us all."

"Blood Libels: Why the New Anti-Semitism is an Attack on America" by Kenneth Timmerman (Crown). Timmerman is the author of the highly praised "Death Lobby: How the West Armed Iraq." He looks at the emergence of anti-Semitism in the Middle East today and contends that it not only threatens Jews, but the Western way of life.
 
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"Ultimate Punishment: A Lawyer's Reflections on Dealing with the Death Penalty" by Scott Turow (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). The popular courtroom-thriller writer ("Presumed Innocent") looks at the death penalty and his experience with it as a lawyer, prosecutor and investigator.

"The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary" by Simon Winchester (Oxford University Press). Winchester tells the full story of the O.E.D., after touching on it in his best seller, "The Professor and the Madman."

NOVEMBER

"Opal: A Life of Enchantment, Mystery, and Madness" by Kathrine Beck (Viking). The Seattle mystery writer tries her hand at biography with this examination of the life of Opal Whiteley, whose diary about her mystical girlhood adventures in the Oregon woods became a best-selling sensation in the 1920s — and also a topic of controversy.

"Ready for Revolution: The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture)" by Stokely Carmichael with Ekwueme Michael Thelwell (Scribner). A hefty autobiography of the Black Power/Pan Africanism activist, with Miriam Makeba, Toni Morrison, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Fidel Castro making appearances in its 640 pages.

"The Sword and the Cross: The Conquest of the Sahara" by Fergus Fleming (Grove Press). The "Barrow's Boys" author, who seems to specialize in crazed British and European explorers, looks at two Frenchmen who were "determined to tame the Sahara." Complications ensued.

"Bering: The Russian Discovery of America" by Orcutt Frost (Yale University Press). Billed as the first "modern" biography of Bering, the explorer who charted the Northwest coast of the U.S. for the Russians, ensuring a Russian legacy from Alaska to San Francisco.

"They Marched Into Sunlight: October 1967; War and Peace in Vietnam and America" by David Maraniss (Simon & Schuster). Maraniss, author of critically acclaimed biographies of Vince Lombardi and Bill Clinton, looks at the Vietnam War through the experiences of infantrymen who march into a horrific ambush, and students at the University of Wisconsin who are demonstrating against Dow Chemical, manufacturers of napalm and Agent Orange.

"Living to Tell the Tale" by Gabriel García Márquez (Knopf). The Nobel laureate for literature's memoirs for the years 1927 through the 1950s. This volume by the "100 Years of Solitude" author was released first in this country in Spanish and is already a runaway success.

"The World: Travels 1950-2000" by Jan Morris (Norton). A collection of pieces by Morris, the acclaimed British travel writer.

"Sea of Glory: America's Voyage of Discovery, the U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842" by Nathaniel Philbrick (Viking). The "In the Heart of the Sea" author tells the story of this seafaring journey of Pacific exploration, which made thousands of major discoveries but took a major toll on its members — 28 crew members dead, two ships lost.

"Rising Tide: The Untold Story of the Russian Submarines that Fought the Cold War" by Gary E. Weir and Walter J. Boyne (Basic Books). The authors tell the Soviet side of the Cold War, submarine version.

DECEMBER

"Madame Bovary, C'est Moi: The Great Characters of Literature and Where They Came From" by André Bernard (Norton). How Nero Wolfe was named after a Roman emperor; why Hercule Poirot was a Belgian and not a Frenchman, and why Long John Silver was missing a foot. Among other things.

"Merce Cunningham: The Modernizing of Modern Dance" by Roger Copeland (Routledge). A study of the life and work of the Centralia-born dancer-choreographer who reinvented dance in New York — with some preliminary work done at Seattle's Cornish College of the Arts, where he met John Cage.

"The Making of Bigfoot: The Inside Story" by Greg Long (Prometheus). A Mill Creek author delivers the skinny on Roger Patterson of Yakima, who for 36 years had many Bigfoot fans believing he'd caught the creature on film in Northern California in 1967. The footage was exposed as a hoax last year.

Mary Ann Gwinn is The Seattle Times book editor. Michael Upchurch is a Times staff book critic. Susan Jouflas is a Times staff artist.

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