Food is a feature in this week’s collection of anticipated reads, which includes dinner, recipes, and even a mango (or was that a man?)
The Island of Extraordinary Captives by Simon Parkin
Following the events of Kristallnacht in 1938, Peter Fleischmann evaded the Gestapo’s midnight roundups in Berlin by way of a perilous journey to England via the Kindertransport train. But he could not escape the British police, who came for him in the early hours and shipped him off to Hutchinson Camp on the Isle of Man, under suspicion of being a spy for the very regime he had fled.
Peter’s story was no isolated incident. During Hitler’s rise to power in the 1930s, tens of thousands of German and Austrian Jews escaped and found refuge in Britain. Once war broke out in 1939, the nation turned against them, fearing that Nazis had planted spies posing as refugees. Innocent asylum seekers thus were labeled “enemy aliens” and ultimately sentenced to an indefinite period of internment.
When Peter arrived at Hutchinson Camp, he found one of history’s most astounding prison populations: renowned professors, composers, journalists, and artists. Together, they created a thriving cultural community, complete with art exhibitions, lectures, musical performances, and poetry readings. The artists welcomed Peter as their pupil and forever changed the course of his life. Meanwhile, suspicions grew that a real spy was hiding among them—one connected to a vivacious heiress from Peter’s past.
Drawing from unpublished first-person accounts and newly declassified documents from the British government, award-winning journalist Simon Parkin tells the story of this unlikely group of internees. The Island of Extraordinary Captives brings history to life in vivid detail, revealing the hidden truth of Britain’s grave wartime mistake and showcasing how hope and creativity can flourish in even the darkest of circumstances.
Due November 1
Smitten Kitchen Keepers by Deb Perelman
The long-awaited new book from the bestselling and beloved author of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook—a collection of essential recipes for meals you’ll want to prepare again and again.
Deb Perelman is the author of two bestselling cookbooks, the OG of the culinary blogosphere, the homegrown brand with more than a million Instagram followers, the self-taught cook who obsessively tests her recipes until they’re perfect.
Here, in her third book, Perelman presents 100 new recipes (plus a few old favorites from her site) that aim to make shopping easier, preparation more practical and enjoyable and food more reliably delicious for the home cook.
What’s a keeper? It’s a brilliantly fuss-free lemon poppy seed cake. It’s Perelman’s favorite roasted winter squash. It’s an epic quiche. It’s a slow-roasted chicken on a bed of unapologetically schmaltzy croutons. It’s the only apple crisp she will personally ever make. It’s perfect spaghetti and meatballs. These are the fail-safe, satisfying recipes you’ll rely on for years to come – from Perelman’s forever files to yours.
Due November 15
Dinner with Joseph Johnson by Daisy Hay
A fascinating portrait of a radical age through the writers associated with a London publisher and bookseller—from William Wordsworth and Mary Wollstonecraft to Benjamin Franklin.
Once a week, in late eighteenth-century London, writers of contrasting politics and personalities gathered around a dining table. The veal and boiled vegetables may have been unappetising but the company was convivial and the conversation brilliant and unpredictable. The host was Joseph Johnson, publisher and bookseller: a man at the heart of literary life. In this book, Daisy Hay paints a remarkable portrait of a revolutionary age through the connected stories of the men and women who wrote it into being, and whose ideas still influence us today.
Johnson’s years as a publisher, 1760 to 1809, witnessed profound political, social, cultural and religious changes—from the American and French revolutions to birth of the Romantic age—and many of his dinner guests and authors were at the center of events. The shifting constellation of extraordinary people at Johnson’s table included William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Benjamin Franklin, the scientist Joseph Priestly and the Swiss artist Henry Fuseli, as well as a group of extraordinary women—Mary Wollstonecraft, the novelist Maria Edgeworth, and the poet Anna Barbauld. These figures pioneered revolutions in science and medicine, proclaimed the rights of women and children and charted the evolution of Britain’s relationship with America and Europe. As external forces conspired to silence their voices, Johnson made them heard by continuing to publish them, just as his table gave them refuge.
A rich work of biography and cultural history, Dinner with Joseph Johnson is an entertaining and enlightening story of a group of people who left an indelible mark on the modern age.
Due November 15
Man or Mango? by Lucy Ellmann
By the Booker-shortlisted author of Ducks, Newburyport, a formally madcap and prescient novel about men (and women), mangos (and bees), and modern love.
Reclusive Eloïse lives with her cats and her cello in an English country cottage, privately building a case against men, women, the Queen, Nazi list-makers, fluorescent lighting, her ex-flatmate Howard, nuclear bombs, and toilet-roll-holder manufacturers. She has a real thing about giant pumpkin growers too. George is an American poet, recently arrived in the UK. Struggling to finish an epic poem on ice hockey, he plays a lot of pinball and gets chased around by his students. Lost, lonely, and in love, he and Eloïse really should be together, yet it seems they may never meet up…
But Man or Mango? is more than a lament for unrequited transatlantic romance. Funny and furious, it is a scathing, searing, rollicking and vertiginous reflection on life and love in a belligerent world.
Due November 8
Foster by Claire Keegan
It is a hot summer in rural Ireland. A child is taken by her father to live with relatives on a farm, not knowing when or if she will be brought home again. In the Kinsellas’ house, she finds an affection and warmth she has not known and slowly, in their care, begins to blossom. But there is something unspoken in this new household—where everything is so well tended to—and this summer must soon come to an end.
Winner of the prestigious Davy Byrnes Award and published in an abridged version in the New Yorker, this internationally bestselling contemporary classic is now available for the first time in the US in a full, standalone edition. A story of astonishing emotional depth, Foster showcases Claire Keegan’s great talent and secures her reputation as one of our most important storytellers.
Due November 11
Now is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson
An exuberant, bighearted novel about two teenage misfits who spectacularly collide one fateful summer, and the art they make that changes their lives forever.
Sixteen-year-old Frankie Budge—aspiring writer, indifferent student, offbeat loner—is determined to make it through yet another summer in Coalfield, Tennessee, when she meets Zeke, a talented artist who has just moved into his grandmother’s house and who is as awkward as Frankie is. Romantic and creative sparks begin to fly, and when the two jointly make an unsigned poster, shot through with an enigmatic phrase, it becomes unforgettable to anyone who sees it. The edge is a shantytown filled with gold seekers. We are fugitives, and the law is skinny with hunger for us.
The posters begin appearing everywhere, and people wonder who is behind them and start to panic. Satanists, kidnappers—the rumors won’t stop, and soon the mystery has dangerous repercussions that spread far beyond the town.
Twenty years later, Frances Eleanor Budge gets a call that threatens to upend her carefully built life: a journalist named Mazzy Brower is writing a story about the Coalfield Panic of 1996. Might Frances know something about that?
A bold coming-of-age story, written with Kevin Wilson’s trademark wit and blazing prose, Now Is Not the Time to Panic is a nuanced exploration of young love, identity, and the power of art. It’s also about the secrets that haunt us—and, ultimately, what the truth will set free.
Due November 8
Ghost Town by Kevin Chen
FROM THE BEST-SELLING AUTHOR & WINNER OF THE TAIWAN LITERATURE AWARD
Keith Chen, the second son of a traditional Taiwanese family of seven, runs away from the oppression of his village to Berlin in the hope of finding acceptance as a young gay man.
The novel begins a decade later, when Chen has just been released from prison for killing his boyfriend. He is about to return to his family’s village, a poor and desolate place. With his parents gone, his sisters married, mad, or dead, there is nothing left for him there. As the story unfurls, we learn what tore this family apart and, more importantly, the truth behind the murder of Chen’s boyfriend.
Told in a myriad of voices, both living and dead, and moving through time with deceptive ease, Ghost Town weaves a mesmerizing web of family secrets and countryside superstitions, the search for identity and clash of cultures.
Due November 4
December Breeze by Marvel Moreno
A masterful novel exploring womanhood, class, and tradition in 1950s Colombia.
From her home in Paris, Lina recalls the story of three women whose lives unfold in the conservative city of Barranquilla in Colombia. Amid parties at the Country Club and strolls along the promenade in Puerto Colombia unfurls a story of sensuality suppressed by violence; a narrative of oppression in which Dora, Catalina, and Beatriz are victims of a patriarchy that is woven into the social fabric.
In Lina’s obsessive account of the past, this masterful novel transforms personal anecdotes into a profound panorama of Colombian society towards the end of the 1950s. From private memories to historical reality, the structure of this book is full of precision, poetry, and exile’s insight.
Standing above and apart from her contemporaries of the Latin American literary boom, Marvel Moreno narrates a reality that describes the private lives of the people of Barranquilla while offering a compelling perspective on the human condition.
Due November 25
Mussolini’s Daughter by Caroline Moorehead
The bestselling author of A Train in Winter returns with the definitive story of Mussolini’s daughter, Edda, one of the most influential women in 1930s Italy, whose life had more twists and turns than a spy novel.
Edda Mussolini was Benito’s favourite child: spoiled and venal, uneducated but clever, faithless but flamboyant, a brilliant diplomat, wild but brave, and ultimately strong and loyal. For much of the twenty-year period of Fascist rule, she was her father’s closest confidante.
In 1930, at the age of nineteen, Edda married Count Galeazzo Ciano, who would become the youngest Foreign Secretary in Italian history. Acting as envoy to both Germany and Britain, Edda played a part in steering Italy to join forces with Hitler. During this time, the Cianos became the most celebrated and glamorous couple in elegant, vulgar Roman fascist society.
Their fortunes turned in 1943, when Ciano voted against Mussolini in a plot to bring him down, and his father-in-law did not forgive him. Edda’s dramatic story includes hidden diaries, her father’s downfall and her husband’s execution, and an escape into Switzerland followed by a period in exile. Moorehead draws a portrait of a complicated, bold, and determined woman—one who emerges not just as a witness but as a key player in some of the twentieth century’s defining moments. And we see Fascist Italy with all its glamour, decadence and political intrigue, and the turbulence before its violent end.
Due November 1
Flight by Lynn Steger Strong
It’s December twenty-second and siblings Henry, Kate, and Martin have converged with their spouses on Henry’s house in upstate New York. This is the first Christmas the siblings are without their mother, the first not at their mother’s Florida house. Over the course of the next three days, old resentments and instabilities arise as the siblings, with a gaggle of children afoot, attempt to perform familiar rituals, while also trying to decide what to do with their mother’s house, their sole inheritance. As tensions rise, the whole group is forced to come together unexpectedly when a local mother and daughter need help.
With the urgency and artfulness that cemented her previous novel Want as “a defining novel of our age” (Vulture), Strong once again turns her attention to the structural and systemic failings that are haunting Americans, but also to the ways in which family, friends, and strangers can support each other through the gaps. Flight is a novel of family, ambition, precarity, art, and desire, one that forms a powerful next step from a brilliant chronicler of our time.
Due November 8