Tinkers - Paul Harding

Tinkers (Bellevue Literary Press, $14.95), by Paul Harding, tells the story of George Washington Crosby, an old man on his deathbed, observing the present, remembering the past, and reconstructing in his imagination the life of his father who left his family when Crosby was a boy.  Howard Crosby had been a tinker, traveling over the Maine countryside, selling odds and ends and fixing household items.  An enthusiastic naturalist, he fashioned art out of flowers and grass and reveled in the changes of the natural world.  He was also epileptic, which made him an oddball in his small community.  Winner of this year’s Pulitzer Prize for fiction, Tinkers is lyrical, image-rich, and strikingly original.

Tinkers By Paul Harding Cover Image
ISBN: 9781934137123
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Bellevue Literary Press - January 1st, 2009

The Madonnas of Echo Park - Brando Skyhorse

When The Madonnas Of Echo Park (Free Press, $14) came out about a year ago, I was certain that Brando Skyhorse would be recognized as one of the best young writers working today. This novel comprises interconnected stories set in a once lustrous, but now working-class and Chicano, neighborhood in Los Angeles.  The characters are realistic, the sights and sounds are vivid and exciting, and the stories pack an emotional punch. Take a moment and read the first page of this marvelous first novel—you’ll be hooked.

Brando Skyhorse’s debut novel, The Madonnas of Echo Park, recounts the lives of Mexican Americans living in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Echo Park, once a fashionable home for people in the movie business and now a working-class community. Through a series of shifting points of view, we meet Felicia, a cleaning lady, and her daughter Aurora. We meet Efren Mendoza, a bus driver, and his brother Manny former jefe of the street gang Locos and father to Juan who’s just enlisted in the Army. And there are others - all of these people who make up a neighborhood, people we see every day, never imagining the richness of their lives, or knowing how they intersect. The title comes from an incident that shaped the whole community, an accidental shooting, affecting some tangentially and affecting others deeply and crucially. This is a fine and beautiful novel by any standard, but as a first novel, it is astoundingly good.

The Madonnas Of Echo Park (Free Press, $23), by first-time novelist Brandon Skyhorse, tells the story of a community of Mexican-Americans living in Los Angeles.  The group includes a bus driver, a cleaning lady, a student, a retail clerk, a mom, and a gang member. The lives of this disparate bunch of middle-class people are affected—some immediately and some tangentially—by an act of senseless violence. Skyhorse unfolds the narrative with enormous compassion and beauty; it resonates long after you put down the book.

The Madonnas of Echo Park: A Novel By Brando Skyhorse Cover Image
ISBN: 9781439170847
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Free Press - February 8th, 2011

Wanting - Richard Flanagan

In Tasmania, Mattina, a young aboriginal girl, is removed from her tribe to be raised as a proper English girl by Lady Franklin and her husband, the explorer Sir John Franklin.  Later, in England, Lady Franklin enlists Charles Dickens to help restore the good name of her husband after his arctic expedition fails and London buzzes with rumors that his crew has resorted to cannibalism.  In Wanting (Atlantic Monthly, $24) Richard Flanagan uses this extraordinary history to tell a story of desire, deceit, and betrayal, juxtaposing the brutally colonized wilds of Tasmania and the crowded, polluted environs of Dickens’s London. 

Wanting By Richard Flanagan Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802144775
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Grove Press - June 8th, 2010