All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Scribner, May 6. Marie-Laure, a blind French, girl lives with her father in Paris, but when the Germans occupy the city, they flee to Saint-Malo, a town on the coast. Werner, an orphan boy growing up in Germany, becomes a master at building and fixing radios. His skill eventually makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance during the war. His work takes him to Saint-Malo, where his path collides with Marie-Laure. The writing in this book is gorgeous, and the story is captivating. I really loved this book!
Talk: A Novel of Politics and the Media by Michael A. Smerconish. Cider Mill Press, May 6. This explosive political novel exposes the inner workings of conservative talk radio. Set during an important presidential election, this novel follows Stan Powers, a Tampa talk radio host who finds himself in the position of influencing who will ascend to the Oval Office. But will he play the game according to his cynical advisors or listen to his conscience and drop a huge, unexpected political bomb?
The Painter by Peter Heller. Knopf, May 6. Years after shooting a man in the bar and serving time for it, well-known expressionist painter Jim Stener enjoys a quiet life in the valleys of Colorado. One day, however, he loses control over his dark impulses and kills a man named Dell after witnessing him beat a small horse. As he tries to evade the police and members of Dell’s gang, he also uses his paining to try to come to terms with what he has done. This wasn’t a typical read for me, but I really enjoyed it! I loved Heller’s writing about art.
The Transcriptionist by Amy Rowland. Algonquin, May 13. Lena works as a transcriptionist for a NYC newspaper, typing spoken words from reporters around the world into print. When she reads a shocking piece about Jane Doe mauled to death by a lion, she becomes obsessed with understanding what caused the woman to climb into the lion’s den. The Transcriptionist examines journalistic ethics, the decline of the newspaper, and the failure of language.
Lost for Words by Edward St. Aubyn. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, May 20. As the judges on the panel for the Elysian Prize for Literature sift through hundreds of submissions, a host of writers desperately vie for their attention. This witty, entertaining satire examines the place of art in our celebrity-obsessed culture and the difficulty of recognizing talent when everyone has an agenda.