Staff Pick

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton keeps getting better and better. On the heels of her National Book Award-nominated A Kind of Freedom, she gifts us The Revisioners (Counterpoint, $25)—a stunner. This time-bending, intergenerational story of strength, love, and legacy, alternates between 2017, 1924, and 1855, telling the story—or stories—of two Louisiana women, Ava and her grandmother’s great-grandmother, Josephine. Ava, a single mother, moves into her white grandmother’s home in order to care for the aging woman. Tensions arise as her grandmother’s health and mind deteriorate. Ava’s story is mirrored by the 1924 narrative of Josephine’s uneasy friendship with a new white neighbor in a nearby property. Josephine, born a slave, escaped and eventually built a family farm with her husband. Sexton connects these two women through motherhood, their unique—some even say magical—ability to nurture life, and uncountable obstacles of racism and violence. An unputdownable read, The Revisioners will leave you gasping in the end.

The Revisioners Cover Image
ISBN: 9781640092587
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Counterpoint LLC - November 5th, 2019

Staff Pick

The eponymous linguists of Cathleen Schine’s delightful, tender novel The Grammarians (Sarah Crichton, $27) are Laurel and Daphne, identical twins who fall in love with language early, speak to each other in their own native tongue of Blingo, and, until complications arise, play with words like toys. Almost dauntingly inseparable, the pair also struggle (or is it struggles?) with the boundaries of their individual identities. Named for the same mythic figure, as “identical twins…are they half or double?” They have a double wedding, each bears one daughter, then, even as language remains the focal point for each, their opposing views of it eventually divide them. While one becomes The People’s Pundit and writes a column on usage, the other appropriates examples of non-standard English for poems and stories. Schine uses the twins’ dispute to question the wider purposes of writing and speech, touching on attendant issues of class and gender. The real question, though, is how grammar, spelling, and punctuation combine into a story that brings out life’s deeper emotional resonances. In what at heart is a captivating novel of family, Schine writes with warmth and affection for her characters, brilliantly conveying the complicated dynamics of a group of people who don’t always understand or like each other, but who share unbreakable bonds.

The Grammarians: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374280116
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Sarah Crichton Books - September 3rd, 2019

Staff Pick

Danny Conroy grew up in The Dutch House (Harper, $27.99), the unusual, majestic mansion in the Philly suburbs that is the true main character of Ann Patchett’s elegant and moving novel. Part of the baby boom generation, Danny and his sister Maeve were abandoned by their mother when they were young and endured a difficult childhood with their father’s second wife who, interested only in the house, bore more than a passing resemblance to the storied evil stepmother. Richly evoking the different relationships—of the siblings, of their parents, of mothers and sons—and showing how they were both formed and warped by the house, Patchett’s deeply compelling narrative follows Danny as he matures, leaves the house and his father, but remains close to Maeve and their shared memories. Beautifully written with complex and fascinating characters, this novel is as intimate as it is panoramic.

The Dutch House: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062963673
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Harper - September 24th, 2019