Staff Pick

Asked “what kind of friend” uses a man’s suicide as material for a book, the narrator of Sigrid Nunez’s affecting novel might respond, what kind of friend is so careless of others’ feelings that he kills himself? This imagined exchange crystallizes the themes of this meditative and beautifully written story of one writer mourning another. A lifelong friend of the late “you,” the narrator grieves with the intensity of a lover or the raw pain of an abandoned animal.  Like the dog the dead man left behind, the emotions Nunez evokes have had obedience training but don’t always heed commands. When the narrator, moved by the dog’s loneliness, adopts him despite practical difficulties, Apollo both focuses her emotions and distracts her from own pain by making her think about how dogs understand death, how much their experience is like ours, and, if this isn’t just “the magical thinking of pathological grief,” what Apollo’s suffering can tell us about the meaning of love, loyalty, and betrayal. Discovering that being read to seems to soothe the dog, the narrator muses on the power and purpose of writing, channeling the words of an anthology of writers including Woolf, Ackerley, Rilke, Auden, Kundera, and “you,” once her own writing teacher. As eloquent as those she quotes, Nunez follows her character’s “rules of good writing” as established by the students in her workshop for traumatized trafficking victims, giving us an elegant novel free of sentimentality and self-pity, and flashing with unexpected and generous humor.

The Friend Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780735219441
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Riverhead Books - February 6th, 2018

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Staff Pick

This Could Hurt by Jillian Medoff is a perfect novel to escape into the world of corporate America and the lives of those who make their careers there. The story takes you inside the HR department of Ellery Consumer Research in Manhattan, run by a 64 year old tough-as-nails executive, Rosa Guerrero, who is fiercely loyal to her employees.  The people in her department disappoint, dismay and sometimes surprise her as their lives intersect in and out of the office.  There are office crushes and friendships forged.  Sharp and funny, it’s a novel with a lot of heart.  

This Could Hurt Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062660763
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Harper - January 9th, 2018

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Staff Pick

Early in The Chateau, the narrator informs the reader that if she wants to know how the protagonist, Bill, feels when his best friend dies, too bad. Bill doesn’t know how he feels yet, and so the reader just has to wait. I laughed out loud when I read that, and dog-eared the page. I love a writer who declares that he makes his own rules—and that’s what Paul Goldberg is doing. He mixes silly and serious with abandon, goes over the top and then goes further, because why shouldn’t he? The Chateau is a book about the last days before Trump took office, when nothing made sense and everything seemed absurd. The Chateau, in all its goofy tragedy, captures that feeling perfectly. Maybe more writers should follow Paul Goldberg’s rules.  

The Chateau Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781250116093
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Picador USA - February 13th, 2018

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