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Welcome to the 2015 Politics and Prose Holiday Newsletter. As we have in past years, we’ve tried to select the best—and most beautiful—recent books, fiction and nonfiction, to help you with gift-giving.

It’s also traditional to emphasize how difficult making these choices has been—it’s not just a matter of so many books, but of so many truly wonderful books. This year there’s been an especially impressive outpouring of short fiction and memoirs, but you’ll find bookseller favorites on all subjects here. Enjoy!

Pages

Adam Johnson follows-up his Pulitzer-winning second novel, The Orphan Master’s Son, with this collection of rich, expansive stories. Winning this year’s National Book Award for fiction, Fortune Smiles (Random House, $27) showcases Johnson’s craft and emotional reach. “Nirvana” portrays a programmer whose wife is suffering from a severe auto-immune disease. The woman finds solace in the unlikely pairing of a digital simulacrum of the President of the United States and a soundtrack of Nirvana music. This sounds like a writing prompt: who can turn these plot elements into a compelling statement about adulthood, suffering, pop culture, and technology? Well, the answer is right here. In “George Orwell Was a Friend of Mine,” a former sswarden of a Stasi prison denies many details about his past, even as irrefutable evidence surfaces; the warden’s ostensibly innocent revisionism makes him the most fascinating character here. And in the title story, Johnson returns to Korea, scene of Orphan Master’s Son, chronicling the efforts of two North Korean defectors to adjust to their new lives in Seoul. From the range of his subjects to the depth of his treatment of complex themes, Johnson’s mastery makes each story distinct and unforgettable.

Fortune Smiles: Stories Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780812997477
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Random House - August 18th, 2015

Fortune Smiles: Stories Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780812987232
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Random House Trade - October 4th, 2016

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