Almost every day here at Broadway Books we chortle with glee (seriously, we chortle; come see for yourself) as we pull open boxes of new books that make it seem like our birthday or some other fabulous gift-giving holiday almost every day of the week. It's particularly exciting when hot books arrive in their gleaming, newly published, trade paperback format, because that is the most popular format with our customers and with book clubs.
This week a couple of treasures arrived in paperback form: Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad and David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet.
A Visit from the Goon Squad recently won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, and it made the longlist for the 2011 Orange Prize (the winner will be announced June 8th). It was also a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the LA Times Book Prize and was named to numerous publications' "best of" lists for 2010.
The imaginative and intricately crafted novel is a collection of carefully arranged interlocking stories that move back and forth in time from the 1970s to a point in the near future, with time as a goon that inflicts its damage. The stories feature kleptomaniac Sasha; her boss Bennie, punk rocker turned music producer; and his sleazy mentor Lou.
Ron Charles of The Washington Post calls it a "deeply humane story about growing up and growing old in a culture corroded by technology and marketing." Janet Maslin of The New York Times says that Egan is "such a piercingly acute storyteller that the exhilaration of reading her outweighs the bleak destinies she describes.
Egan was born in Chicago and raised in San Francisco. Her previous books include The Invisible Circus, Look at Me, and The Keep.
Mitchell's epic novel centers on an earnest young clerk, Jacob de Zoet, who arrives in Japan in the summer of 1799 to make his fortune and return to Holland to wed his fiance. But his plans are shaken when he meets the daughter of a Samurai. Set in Dejima, an artificial island created as a trading outpost in Nagasaki Harbor and designed to keep the West at bay, the novel tackles intercultural relations, trust and betrayal, racial and gender boundaries, the search for identity, and finding unexpected love in a changing world.
Writing in The New York Times Book Review, Dave Eggers called the book "An achingly romantic story of forbidden love...a novel of ideas, of longing, of good and evil and those who fall somewhere in between [that] confirms Mitchell as one of the more fascinating and fearless writers alive." Publishers Weekly described it as "dense and satisfying" with "literary brawn and stylistic panache." The book was awarded a 2011 Commonwealth Writers Prize and was named one of the best novels of the year by numerous publications.
Mitchell, who lives in Ireland, is the author of the novels Ghostwritten, Number9 Dream, Cloud Atlas, and Black Swan Green.
We've got oodles more great new books on our tables -- the bowing table legs and our frequent chortling are evidence of that! Come and see. We're open every day of the week!