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Spring preview 2013: international books

Rumours to the contrary notwithstanding, publishing is alive and well moving into spring. In the January/February issue, Q&Q looks ahead at some of the spring’s biggest international titles.

Fiction

Afghan-born Khaled Hosseini, author of the best-selling novels The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, is back with his first work of fiction in six years. And the Mountains Echoed (Viking Canada, $30 cl., May) revisits the theme of family, this time in a multi-generational story about a brother and sister and the ways they love, betray, and sacrifice for each other.

Coming in June is the latest from another big name in fiction: Irish author Colum McCann, winner of the National Book Award for Let the Great World Spin. His new novel, Transatlantic (HarperCollins, $29.99 cl.), tells the story of the first pilots to cross the Atlantic ocean, and interweaves it with a cast of characters spanning 150 years. • See, Now, Then (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux/Raincoast, $27.50 cl., Feb.) is the first novel in a decade from Jamaica Kincaid. Billed as the Antigua-born author’s most thematically daring work yet, it seeks to reveal the joys and agonies in the marriage of a New England couple.

The Mothers (Scribner/Simon & Schu­ster, $28.99 cl., April), by Jennifer Gilmore, is about a couple who, after years of trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant, decide to navigate the difficult path of open adoption. Along the way, they find themselves dealing with their own conceptions of race, class, and culture, and with a very difficult emotional and bureaucratic process. • The latest from perennial bestseller Jodi Picoult presents readers with a moral dilemma: is forgiveness possible for a truly evil act? In The Storyteller (Atria/S&S, $32 cl., Feb.), Sage Singer must come to her own conclusions when she befriends a beloved old man, who asks her to kill him because of a terrible secret from his past.

This year’s London Book Fair was abuzz about up-and-coming English author Abigail Tarttelin’s second novel. In Golden Boy (Atria/S&S, $24.99 cl., May), Max Walker is the ideal son in an ideal family. But when his father runs for Parliament, Max fears the repercussions should people discover his secret – that he was born intersex. • From English author Rhidian Brook comes The Aftermath (Random House Canada, $22.95 pa., May), a novel set in post–Second World War Germany, in which Captain Lewis, charged with rebuilding the ruined city of Hamburg, finds his family in close quarters with a German widower and his daughter.

Crime & fantasy

More than 50 years after publishing his first spy novel, John le Carré is set to release his 22nd this spring. In the latest thriller from the former MI5 operative, a rising Foreign Office star needs to find out why he was kept out of the loop about a covert counter-terror operation. A Delicate Truth (Viking Canada, $32 cl.) is out in May. • A new psychological horror story is on its way from prolific U.S. author Joyce Carol Oates. In The Accursed (HarperCollins, $19.99 pa., Feb.), residents of early 20th-century Princeton, New Jersey, realize they’re facing the devil himself after a terrible crime in a nearby town is covered up.

After languishing unpublished for 80 years, a new work from the creator of Middle-­earth appears in May. J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fall of Arthur (HarperCollins, $24.99 cl.), edited by the late author’s son Christopher Tolkien, is a retelling in verse of King Arthur’s final battle against Mordred.

Graphica

What began as a museum exhibition honouring Art Spiegelman has turned into a detailed retrospective spanning the Maus creator’s entire career. Co-Mix: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps (Drawn & Quarterly/Raincoast, $39.95 cl., May) includes full-page reproductions of the Pulitzer Prize winner’s work. • Also from D&Q comes Marble Season ($21.95 cl., April), a semi-autobiographical comic about growing up in 1960s California by Mexican-American graphic novelist and Palomar creator Gilbert Hernandez. The book follows a group of siblings and neighbourhood friends as they move from playing marbles and staging plays to dealing with the name-calling and judgments of older kids.

An unlikely love story unfolds in Raven Girl (Abrams ComicArts/Canadian Manda Group, $21.95 cl., May), Audrey Niffenegger’s fantastical new graphic novella, which includes paintings by the author. When a postman brings home a raven, the two fall in love and produce a raven girl who longs to be free of her human body.

Cookbooks

From Alice Waters, a leader in the local, sustainable food movement long before it became fashionable, comes The Art of Simple Food II: Recipes, Flavor, and Inspiration from the New Kitchen Garden (Crown/­Random House, $39.95 cl., April). As well as including 300 recipes, the cookbook offers gardening information and other tips for those who pay close attention to the source of their food.

Food Network star and best-selling cookbook author Nigella Lawson, who studied Italian at the University of Oxford, is set to release her latest collection of recipes in February. Nigellissima: Easy Italian-Inspired Recipes (Knopf Canada, $45 cl.) features 120 everyday recipes (and accompanying photographs) including Spaghetti with Tuna, Meatzza, and Mascarpone Mash.

Biography & memoir

On Dec. 26, 2004, a devastating earthquake in Southeast Asia triggered a massive tsunami. For Sonali Deraniyagala, who was vacationing with her family in Sri Lanka, the natural disaster became very personal: she lost her mother and father, her husband, her two sons, and a close friend when a giant wave engulfed their hotel. As the sole survivor, the author recounts how she has tried to piece her life back together in Wave ($27 cl.), which appears from McClelland & Stewart in March.

Bosnian-American author Aleksander Hemon is arguably best known for his novel The Lazarus Project (2008), which was nominated for a National Book Award and a National Book Critics Circle Award. In The Book of My Lives (FSG/Raincoast, $29 cl., March), the author writes about many of the themes addressed in his fiction, including his experience of being stranded in the U.S. after war broke out in Sarajevo and of establishing a new life in Chicago. • In The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari (M&S, $34.99 cl., May), acclaimed travel writer Paul Theroux recounts his 2,500-mile trip spanning Cape Town to the Congo.

John Elder Robison, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at the age of 40, invites readers into the world of parenting a son with the same disorder. In his memoir, Raising Cubby: A Father and Son’s Adventures with Asperger’s, Trains, Tractors, and High Explosives (Doubleday Canada, $32.95 cl., March), the pair run into trouble when Cubby’s chemistry skills produce highly explosive results.

From American journalist Alan Huffman comes Here I Am: The Story of Tim Hetherington, War Photographer (Atlantic Monthly/Manda, $29.50 cl., March), a biography about the photojournalist famous for his iconic photos of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, who was killed in 2011 by a mortar blast during the Libyan civil war. • Greenpeace co-founder and controversial animal-rights activist Paul Watson tells his story to shipmate Lamya Essemlali in Captain Paul Watson: Interview with a Pirate (Firefly Books, $24.95 pa., March).

Politics & current affairs

George Monbiot, the award-winning author of Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning, brings his environmentalism to the fore in Feral: Rewilding the Land, Sea, and Human Life (Allen Lane, $30 cl., May), in which he argues for the restoration of damaged ecosystems while pursuing his own adventures hiking through Britain and kayaking off the coast of Wales. • Jaron Lanier, the computer scientist who coined the term “virtual reality,” follows up his 2010 book, You Are Not a Gadget, with the more ambitiously titled The Fate of Power and the Future of Dignity (Free Press/S&S, $29.99 cl., March), in which he questions the negative effect network technologies are having on the middle class.

Undeclared battlefields of the U.S. War on Terror are exposed by investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill, author of the international bestseller Blackwater, in his new book, Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield (Nation Books/Manda, $32.50 cl., April). The book, which reveals the ways U.S. President Barack Obama has covertly escalated ongoing U.S. wars, has been made into a documentary that will appear at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

Science & psychology

Temple Grandin, who has inspired millions by writing about her own autism, teams up with Richard Panek to bring her unique perspective to the field of autism research. In The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Thomas Allen & Son, $32.95 cl., May), Grandin introduces new theories about diagnosing and treating the condition, and even shares her own brain scans from scientific studies.

Some of life’s big questions about love, loss, and change are tackled by psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz in The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves (Random House Canada, $32 cl., May). Each chapter is a self-contained story, offering dramatic tales about human behaviour based on Grosz’s 25 years in the field.

David Bainbridge is a veterinarian and zoologist at the University of Cambridge who has a particular interest in evolutionary zoology. So perhaps it’s not surprising that, as he approached the age of 40, Bainbridge began to ask questions about the evolutionary purpose of the mid-life crisis. Drawing on the fields of anthropology, neuroscience, psychology, and reproductive biology, Middle Age: A Natural History (House of Anansi Press, $18.95 pa., May) contains some of the answers he discovered.

Q&Q’s spring preview covers books published between Jan. 1 and June 31, 2013. • All information (titles, prices, publication dates, etc.) was supplied by publishers and may have been tentative at Q&Q’s press time. • Titles that have been listed in previous previews do not appear here.

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Book Pictures

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Steve Artelle

Chris Jennings

Kaie Kellough

Jenna

Hall of Honourers

Brandon Wint

Eva Stachniak's Empress of the Night

Eva Stachniak poses with a copy of her book, Empress of the Night

Tea and snacks inspired by Eva Stachniak's Empress of the Night

Rimma Burashko with author Eva Stachniak

Eva Stachniak talks to the audience about the best and worst of Catherine the Great's favourites

Eva Stachniak smiles as she signs a copy of Empress of the Night for a fan

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