National Book Award-winner Denis Johnson’s compact and intense Train Dreams (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $18) tells the story of Robert Granier, who spent his life from the early 1900s through the early 1960s working on lumber crews in Idaho and Montana.  After losing his wife and daughter in a fire, Granier led a mostly solitary life homesteading and dealing with the enormous changes taking place around him, such as the advent of the automobile and the airplane. Rather than tell the story of a man’s life in exhaustive detail, Johnson captures the totality of Granier’s life by detailing just a few experiences over the course of his lifetime. Granier never lets go of the tragic deaths of his wife and daughter, and their passing merges in his mind with local folklore. Johnson’s character study reveals the essence of an ordinary man, and in that very ordinariness lies his glory.

Train Dreams Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374281144
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - August 30th, 2011

We the Animals Cover Image
$13.99
ISBN: 9780547844190
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - September 11th, 2012

The main character of The Buddha in the Attic (Knopf, $22) is “we.” In her remarkable second novel, Julie Otsuka, author of the acclaimed When the Emperor was Divine, uses the first-person plural to tell the story of the hundreds of Japanese picture brides, ages 12 to 37, who came to America in the early 1900s. The book is divided into sections focusing not on different protagonists, but on stages of the community’s life cycle: there’s the crossing, the meeting of the husband, work, childbirth, the second generation, more work, and World War II. Otsuka conveys the diverse experience of the group from its ongoing struggle as an “invisible world” within the mainstream culture to its literal disappearance after Pearl Harbor. This makes for a rich tapestry, and the events gain emotional depth from a rhythmic, incantatory prose built of lists and litanies, names and concrete details. 

The Buddha in the Attic Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307700001
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Knopf - August 23rd, 2011

The Buddha in the Attic Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780307744425
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Anchor - March 20th, 2012

Chuck Klosterman’s second novel, The Visible Man (Scribner, $25), is half science-fiction thriller and half cultural satire. It tells the story of Victoria Vick, a psychotherapist, and Y__, a patient who has developed a cloak that renders him invisible. In their sessions, Y__ recounts how he has observed people when they think they’re alone—he believes these observations reveal something essential about humanity. Victoria becomes infatuated with Y___,  a genius and real-life Invisible Man, and works to unravel the mystery of his inner life.  Is he a scientist doing important research that blurs a moral line, or is he a sick voyeur with a high IQ and an invisibility cloak? Klosterman uses his trademark wit to comment on the personal disconnect in the digital age via Y__’s many monologues, yet the book’s strength comes from Y__’s very unreliability. In the tradition of Kurt Vonnegut, Klosterman uses the fantastic not as a means to escape reality, but as a way to face it head on. 

The Visible Man: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781439184479
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - June 5th, 2012

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