Meet Marcus Messner, a hard-working, focused, extremely intelligent young man from New Jersey. A straight-A student and prized only child, he works on the weekends at his father’s kosher butcher shop. At the outset of Philip Roth’s Indignation (Houghton Mifflin, $26), Messner’s appears to be the life of a perfectly successful and charming young man—but then we glimpse Messner’s shortcomings. His perfection and dedication alienate him from his family and his fellow students, and his incredible intelligence pits him against his school’s administration. With some of the most ingenious narrative twists and turns I have encountered, Roth hands us a tale in which this boy falls prey to the only dishonest thing he’s ever done. I loved the humanity I saw in Marcus, his intensely inquisitive nature, and I would challenge anyone to find an equally compelling tragic-comic character in the season’s fiction lists.

Indignation (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307388919
Availability: Backordered
Published: Vintage - October 6th, 2009

In The Eleventh Man (Harcourt, $26) master storyteller Ivan Doig weaves a tale of heroism, honor, love, and sacrifice.  After the whole starting eleven on Treasure State’s undefeated 1941 football team enlist and are scattered to the various theaters of World War II, Ben Reinking is plucked out of flight school and assigned to a propaganda mission: covering the exploits of his former teammates for small-town American newspapers. Meanwhile, back in Montana, a courageous group of women pilots fly bombers up to Alaska for eventual transfer to Russia as part of lend-lease.  Doig captures the romance and adventure as well as the moral questions of love and war.

The Eleventh Man Cover Image
ISBN: 9780547247632
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - September 3rd, 2009

The immigrant story is at the center of Salvatore Scibona’s debut novel The End (Graywolf, $24), set in an Italian neighborhood in 1950s Cleveland. There’s Rocco, a baker, who has lost his family to prosperity elsewhere; Enzo, whose wife leaves him and his son Ciccio for no reason he can discern; Lina, that fleeing wife, the girl whose future the widow, Mrs. Marini, tried to assure; and Mrs. Marini, who left her village for America in 1915, an act she believes God has not forgiven her for. But Scibona’s novel—a National Book Award finalist—is less about leaving home than about what happens afterward. Each character harbors secrets and is forced to confront a changing America that, while willing to include them, is also reinforcing barriers as the civil rights movement looms. In The End, Scibona portrays the confluence of chance and circumstance and how those forces pull at the seams of communities.

The End Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555974985
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Graywolf Press - May 13th, 2008

The End: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594484056
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Penguin Books - October 6th, 2009