Summer 2010 reading guide
Which new summer releases should you pick up first?
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When a Dutch trader falls in love with a Japanese midwife who is also the disfigured daughter of a samurai doctor in 19th-century Japan, you can be sure that the emotional and cultural clashes will be significant. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (Random House, 496 pp., $26) is a historical romance novel by David Mitchell, gifted author of “Cloud Atlas” and “Black Swan Green.” Here, Mitchell melds history and literature into a satisfying blend.Skip to next paragraph
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If you want to feel somewhat literary and very hip, try jumping on the speedy ride that is The Thieves of Manhattan (Random House, 272 pp., $15). Novelist Adam Langer delivers plenty of cool in this satire of the New York literary scene in which aspiring writer Ian Minot is tempted – after observing the unearned success of others – into taking part in a literary scam. The question, however, becomes: Who is really scamming whom?
NEW THRILLERS: SUMMER OF 2010
When 19-year-old Frank Mackey is stood up by his lover, Rosie Daly, he leaves home and never looks back. That is, not until 22 years later when, as a senior Dublin investigator, he learns that Rosie’s remains have been discovered. She didn’t leave without him for England, as he had imagined. Instead she may have been murdered. Tana French (author of “The Likeness”) shines again in her latest puzzler, Faithful Place.
At the age of 19, Zoë Ferraris married a Saudi-Palestinian Bedouin who was studying English in California. Eventually, the couple moved to Saudi Arabia where Ferraris discovered what it was like to live the cloistered life of a conservative Saudi female. Now divorced, Ferraris has made excellent use of her unusual background as a writer. Her first novel, “Finding Nouf,” offers an unusual glimpse of Saudi society through the eyes of Katya, a female Saudi lab technician working to solve a murder despite the barriers posed by her sex. City of Veils (Little Brown, 400 pp., $24.99), the sequel, again follows Katya through the streets of Jeddah and the rigors of her next case.
If spy fiction is your thing, it will be hard to find a more stellar grouping than Agents of Treachery, a selection of 14 British and American spy stories edited by Otto Penzler (Knopf Doubleday, 448 pp., $15.95). Locales and eras vary, but the writers are all aces of their genre, and the quality of the stories gathered here is consistently top-notch.
Whether or not you’ve followed the adventures of Isaac Bell, head operative of the Van Dorn Detective Agency throughout the first two books (“The Chase” and “The Wrecker”), you would be well advised to try The Spy (Penguin Group, 448 pp, $27.95) by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott. This third book in the Bell trilogy is set in 1908, when Isaac is called to investigate the murders of several Americans expert in the area of naval technology – an essential field as the world inches ever closer to World War I.
Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor's book editor.