I have never really felt like the target reader for Cormac McCarthy, but this one really spoke to me. Alternating perspectives between two siblings in the past and present, The Passenger is the story of Bobby Western, a deep sea diver overcome with grief by the death of his sister whom he carried romantic feelings for. Many chapters flesh out in a very dialogue-heavy interview style with an eccentric cast of characters, some more likable than others. Experts in quantum mechanics such as Dirac, Einstein, and Oppenheimer (who worked alongside Western’s father) take on roles as symbols, legacies, and even characters unto themselves. All the while, Western gets wrapped up in a conspiracy he doesn’t know the questions to let alone the answers. McCarthy writes beautifully of the alchemic fires of devotion and the beyond, and I suspect this is a novel I will be returning to throughout my life.
The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy (List Price: $30.00, Knopf, 9780307268990, October 2022)
“One of the biggest conundrums was to get the sense of time,” Strout said of the grocery-washing era of 2020, when calendars went blank and sinister. “It’s like time just imploded. The sense of a day was strange and the sense of a week was even stranger, because what was a week? I wanted to get that down on the page somehow.” ―Elizabeth Strout, Interview,New York Times
What booksellers are saying about Lucy By the Sea
This is a story of loss, and coming to terms with it, and realizing that we are all just trying to do the best we can and get through it all. Another fabulous Elizabeth Strout novel!―Beth Carpenter from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina | Buy from this store
I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of Lucy Barton! Set in the early days of the COVID pandemic, Elizabeth Strout puts Lucy and her ex-husband (and still close friend) William together in a cabin in Maine. William is “saving Lucy’s life” by getting her out of Manhattan. For her part, Lucy doesn’t know what the big deal is. The two of them navigate this new world, and we are drawn back to that uncertain time when so much was unknown. In Lucy’s singular voice, Strout continues Lucy’s story with a keen eye and sharp prose.
―Lynne Phillips from Wordsworth Books in Little Rock, Arkansas | Buy from this store
“I could not stop feeling that life as I had known it was gone. Because it was. I knew this was true.” Lucy Barton feels this as the global pandemic took over all our lives… and didn’t we all feel this? Reading Lucy by the Sea leads the reader through the horrors and hopes of this strangest and most horrifying time of our collective lives. The unknown was with us every minute of lockdown and, as all our lives changed, we changed forever. ―Nancy Pierce from Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia | Buy from this store
Strout explores grief in a new way in this pandemic-era novel. ‘Lucy By the Sea’ centers around the outbreak of COVID and everything that followed during the year after. I instantly fell deeply immersed in this story because I (and we all) lived through that year. I felt emotionally involved with Lucy and her world. I struggled with Lucy while she came to grips of the new reality that was COVID, my heart broke as her relationship with her daughters changed, and I rolled my eyes along with her at William. You are not invisible Lucy, we see you. ―Jenny Gilroy from E. Shaver, bookseller in Savannah, Georgia | Buy from this store
Elizabeth Strout brings her character, Lucy, back just as the world is shut down by the pandemic. Lucy finds herself quarantining with her ex-husband William in a small town in Maine and begins to see him from a different point of view. Lucy’s fresh outlook extends to her two daughters and their own life challenges. Told in Lucy’s clear, no-nonsense voice, the lockdown provides the backdrop for how to deal with a world in turmoil without losing hope. ―Mary Jane Michels from Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina | Buy from this store
About Elizabeth Strout
Elizabeth Strout is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Oh William!; Olive, Again; Anything Is Possible, winner of the Story Prize; My Name Is Lucy Barton; The Burgess Boys; Olive Kitteridge, winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Abide with Me; and Amy and Isabelle, winner of the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. She has also been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in London. She lives in Maine.
A thought-provoking and riveting look at the difference between keeping things secret and keeping things private. Mad Honey is told in alternating voices and timelines by Olivia, the mother of Asher, and Lily, Asher’s new to town girlfriend. Both Olivia and Lily are familiar with starting over. Olivia by leaving an abusive husband and Lily by moving for her last year of high school. When Lily is found dead, all eyes focus on Asher as a likely suspect. The layers of both Lily and Olivia’s lives are revealed as the investigation and trial bring long-held secrets to light. This is a page-turner that will leave you wondering how far you would go to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult, (List Price: $29.99, Ballantine Books, 9781984818386, October 2022)
“I love to read in the tub, but I easily fall asleep and end up with a soggy bloated creature rather than a legible book. This works out well for the authors, as I always go buy another copy.” –Alice Elliott Dark, interview, New York Times
What booksellers are saying about Fellowship Point
Oh how I loved Fellowship Point! Alice Elliott Dark has penned an immersive family saga spanning the lifelong friendship of Polly and Agnes, two fascinating women whose lives have taken them on very different paths. When a myriad of buried memories and secrets emerge, their loyalties are tested beyond measure. Filled with lyrical prose that just sinks into your pores, this is a captivating novel to savor and share! ―Anderson McKean from Page & Palette in Fairhope, AL Buy from Page and Palette
Fellowship Point reads like an Edith Wharton novel set in the 21st century. This beautifully-crafted saga of two old friends discovering new facets of each other, and themselves, is completely absorbing, good for the soul, and as bracing as a coastal breeze in Maine. ―Maggie Robe from Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC Buy from Flyleaf Books
Agnes and Polly share a decades long friendship even though they each lead very different lives. At the center of the friendship is a love for Fellowship Point, a family camp in Maine. Both women enjoy the escape that the enclave represents and feel a duty to protect both the environment and the secrets that are held there…This is a book that examines the strength of friendship and family and the secrets that are kept by both. ―Mary Jane Michels from Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC Buy from Fiction Addiction
“…your sentences…Many made my heart lurch, and I paused to stand under the waterfall of your words.” Alice Elliot Dark wrote these words as a character is describing an author, but I find them perfectly describing the writing of this gifted author of Fellowship Point. I am sad right now that I have finished these 592 pages as I don’t want to leave this complete world of Agnes, Polly, and Maud. ―Nancy Pierce from Bookmiser, Inc. in Marietta, GA Buy from Bookmiser
About Alice Elliott Dark
Alice Elliott Dark is the author Think of England and two collections of short stories, In the Gloaming and Naked to the Waist. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The New York Times, Best American Short Stories,and O. Henry: Prize Stories, among others. Her award-winning story “In the Gloaming” was made into two films. Dark is a past recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. She is an Associate Professor at Rutgers-Newark in the MFA program.
Adriana Trigiani’s The Good Left Undone transports you through both time and place, moving effortlessly through four generations of the Cabrelli family and from country to country during one of Europe’s most trying times. It not only impresses the importance of family and the love we share with those we choose, but the importance of the stories and heirlooms that are passed down from one generation to the next.
The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani, (List Price: $28, Dutton, 9780593183328, April 2022)
In this story that spans five generations of women in Cuba, Texas and Florida, you come away with a rather complex picture of immigration plights and political and social pressures. The recurring theme is a book—an aptly named book— that unites the women in a beautifully written, heart-wrenching story. It reminds us that every woman is created with multiple layers whether she knows it or not.
Of Women and Saltby Gabriela Garcia (List Price: $26.99, Flatiron Books, 9781250776686, March 2021)