Saturday, March 10, 2012

Book Radar: Tom Wolfe, Stephen Dobyns, Andrew Sean Greer

Book Radar rounds up some of the latest publishing deals which have caught my eye, gathered from reports at Publishers Marketplace, Galley Cat, office water-coolers and other places where hands are shaken and promises are made. As with anything in the fickle publishing industry, dates and titles are subject to change.

It looks like Tom Wolfe's long-discussed, much-anticipated novel about immigration will finally be published this October.  At least that's what Amazon has posted on its page for Back to Blood.  It also carries this full-to-bursting plot synopsis:
As a police launch speeds across Miami’s Biscayne Bay--with officer Nestor Camacho on board--Tom Wolfe is off and running. Into the feverous landscape of the city, he introduces the Cuban mayor, the black police chief, a wanna-go-muckraking young journalist and his Yale-marinated editor; an Anglo sex-addiction psychiatrist and his Latina nurse by day, loin lock by night--until lately, the love of Nestor’s life; a refined and oh-so-light-skinned young woman from Haiti and her Creole-spouting, black-gang-banger-stylin’ little brother; a billionaire porn addict, crack dealers in the ’hoods, ‘de-skilled’ conceptual artists at the Miami Art Basel Fair, ‘spectators’ at the annual Biscayne Bay regatta looking only for that night’s orgy, yenta-heavy ex-New Yorkers at an ‘Active Adult’ condo and a nest of shady Russians.
Back to Blood has been lobbed like a shuttlecock across the net in media reports since at least 2008 when the New York Times broke the news that Wolfe had decided to leave his long-time (42 years) publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux for a reported $7 million advance from Little, Brown.  Wolfe didn't comment on the move, but he did have this to say about the book: “Two years ago when I got the idea of doing a book on immigration, people would say, ‘Oh, that’s fascinating,’ and then they would go to sleep standing up like a horse. Since then the subject has become a little more exciting, and in Miami it’s not only exciting, it’s red hot.”  So, what do you think?  Will the octogenarian's next novel be hot as a bonfire, or will it fizzle like his last novel, the campus romp I Am Charlotte Simmons?

Here's another plot description that sets my radar to beeping and blipping:
[The novel] is set in a small Rhode Island town where a newborn baby is replaced by a snake in its hospital bassinet, a mysterious stranger is shot dead and scalped and large, ornery coyotes have taken to roaming the streets.
That's for The Burn Palace by Stephen Dobyns (The Church of Dead Girls) which will be coming from Blue Rider Press, an imprint of Penguin, sometime in winter 2013.  Ornery coyotes are always good.

The plot description for Andrew Sean Greer's next novel, Many Worlds, doesn't exactly set off the sprinkler system for me, but I have full faith that the author of The Story of a Marriage and The Confessions of Max Tivoli will pull off another dazzler.  Here's the brief synopsis which appeared at Publisher's Marketplace: "a young woman living in 1985 receives electroconvulsive therapy for her depression and, as a result, travels through time to parallel worlds where she is forced to confront the uncertainties of love and the unpredictable consequences of even the most carefully considered choices."  In an interview with the Haighteration blog last summer, Greer elaborated a little more on the story, saying it was about "three different versions of her life, one in which she's living in 1918, one in which she's living in 1941, and one in 1985. So she gets to see how her life would have been different if she had been born in different times."  Many Worlds will be coming from Ecco sometime in 2013.

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