Rules for Visiting by Jessica Francis Kane

Staff Pick

Rules for Visiting (Penguin Press, $26) is a terrifi cally smart novel about the changing contours of friendship in the digital age, as told through the experiences of May Attaway, a charming, idiosyncratic, and stubborn recluse whose world revolves around the trees and plants she landscapes on the grounds of a local university. Attaway lives in her childhood home with her aging father and suddenly finds herself with unexpected time off from her job. She decides to visit four far-fl ung friends, none of whom she has seen in years. Having never ventured beyond her carefully constructed, solitary existence, she relies on her knowledge of classical literature and a few how-to manuals to guide her into unfamiliar terrain. There are no high dramas or epiphanies during her month-long tour, but with each visit May begins to appreciate that friendships must be cultivated and nurtured just like the plants and trees she tends back home. Author Jessica Francis Kane knows just when to layer in literary and botanical references to enhance the story, leaving the reader to meditate not only about friendship and life’s simple pleasures, but also about the costs of human encroachment on the natural world.

Rules for Visiting: A Novel By Jessica Francis Kane Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525559221
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Penguin Press - May 14th, 2019

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

Staff Pick

Originally published in Polish in 2009, Nobel laureate Olga Tokarczuk’s Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead (Riverhead, $27) is more linear than the buoyant Flights, but what may seem a breezy and almost comic story of small-town eccentrics is imbued with Tokarczuk’s wit, intelligence, and inimitable, subversive literary style. Both the narrator and the story are ingenious and winning creations. An involuntarily retired teacher and former bridge builder, Janina Duszejko is one of a handful of year-round residents in a rural outpost that serves as a summer getaway for the
wealthy. She spends her days checking on empty estates, casting horoscopes, helping a friend translate Blake (source of the novel’s title and stunningly apt epigraphs), and developing theories on everything from “testosterone autism” and why the feet—“our plugs into the socket”—are the most revealing part of the body, to why anger, which “has the power to exceed any limits,” is “the source of all wisdom”—revealing herself, like Blake, as a down-to-earth mystic. Then the murders start. The victims are all men who hunted and Duszejko believes they were killed by animals, as punishment for their cruelty. When the police laugh her off, Duszejko’s moral outrage grows, and Tokorczuk makes a powerful argument for the wisdom of the marginalized—whether old women, wild deer, or stray dogs.

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead: A Novel By Olga Tokarczuk, Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Translated by) Cover Image
By Olga Tokarczuk, Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780525541332
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - August 13th, 2019