The National Book Award Foundation announced their Fiction Longlist last night. It’s an exciting list! We were happy to see many staff favorites recognized.
Elizabeth McCracken is one of our own! An Austinite, she holds the James A. Michener Chair in Fiction at the University of Texas and the Associate Director for UT’s New Writers Project. We hosted a big ol’ event to help her launch Thunderstruck. This is the second time she’s been up for a National Book Award; her previous novel, The Giant’s House, was also a finalist for the award.
Julie thoroughly enjoyed this collection: “McCracken explores the unexpected avenues of loss in this absorbing new collection. What I love about McCracken is knowing that the characters I meet on her pages will never be typical. I come again and again to the little girl dressed as Patrick Henry; a room full of budgies to replace a prodigal son; the emotional terrain of traumatized librarians. The ways we deal with absence are at the heart of each story and its haunting characters. McCracken’s humor brings levity to this unique, memorable collection.”
Station Eleven has barely been on our shelves half a month and already it’s earned big reader buzz. We were so impressed by Mandel’s Shakespeare-infused tale of post-apocalyptic life that we made it the inaugural pick of our Trust Fall Book Club. Trust Fall packages are still available and include a signed first edition of the book, along with a variety of other goodies.
Elizabeth fell head over heels for this novel: “I didn’t want this book to end! Emily St. John Mandel has created an entirely plausible apocalypse and placed her fully realized characters right at the center of it. She effortlessly winds their seemingly unrelated stories together – I wasn’t ready to say good-bye to her characters. It’s a post-apocalyptic novel with heart.”
Months ago Farrar, Straus & Giroux revealed the cover of Wolf In White Van and our booksellers went NUTS. We have many, many fans of the Mountain Goats, it turned out, all of whom were absolutely stoked to get their hands on lead singer and founder John Darnielle’s debut novel. Then a true miracle happened: we landed a spot on Darnielle’s book tour in October, which means we can off you, good readers, the opportunity to pre-order signed first edition copies of Wolf in White Van
Steve(n) was the first among us to tear through Wolf In White Van: “Darnielle explores the savage possibility of every moment by constructing a world, whose residents are primal, irresponsible, kind, and forgiving in equal measure. Their choices unfold universes of wonder and sorrow, and the consequences of consequences of consequences of their actions ricochet off each other endlessly toward a mysterious inevitability…” (Read his full review right over here.)
We rounded up all of the finalists, along with more of our staff picks, over on our website. Congrats to all of the wonderful authors on this list!