The Rules of the Game - Leonard Jr Downie

Leonard Downie, Jr., the former executive editor of the Washington Post, read at P&P from his new Washington thriller, The Rules of the Game, his first venture into the world of fiction. I had many dog-eared pages to ask Len Downie about. The most obvious question was whether his female vice-president, who becomes president, was modeled after Sarah Palin. No, the character was conceived some five years ago, but Downie humorously brushed aside a suggestion that his predictions for the future were remarkably accurate. A customer asked whether the main character, a female investigative reporter who receives constant 4 a.m. phone calls from an anonymous source, was modeled on anyone, and Downie revealed that actually it was he who had been frequently awakened in the early hours of the morning, and warned about terrible consequences if the Post continued its coverage, when the Post was investigating Oliver North's role in Iran-Contra! Aside from these juicy tidbits about the rearrangement of the real world into fiction, Downie's The Rules of the Game is a great page-turner with an attendant higher purpose: the ethical conundrums of politics and journalism as they are both played out in Washington.

Lima Nights - Marie Arana

My one consolation from the folding of the Washington Post's "Book World" is that editor Marie Arana will have more time to write fiction now that she has taken off her green shade. Some two years ago, what I think is her first novel, Cellophane, appeared, a novel that I loved and have handsold to many customers. In rich, dense, sensuous writing about four generations a Peruvian family in the Amazon, Arana's imaginative story is memorable in its characters. Now I have finished Arana's second novel, the just-published Lima Nights. Just as I suspected, the characters are outsized and colorful; the story travels along with many unexpected twists and turns. Arana loves all her characters, and in writing about them she spreads her affections, even to meandering husbands. But what I loved most about Lima is the way in which Arana turned what could have been a moral tale into a bang-up ending featuring a lawyer, a psychiatrist, a fortune-teller, and a psychic all richly adding their interpretations to the failed relationship of our heroine, Maria.

Lima Nights By Marie Arana Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385342582
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: The Dial Press - December 30th, 2008

Home - Marilynne Robinson

The story Marilynne Robinson began in Gilead continues in Home (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25), but the focus shifts to the household of Rev. Robert Boughton, John Ames’s neighbor and closest friend in Gilead.  When Jack, the black sheep of the family who has been absent for twenty years, comes back, Glory, who has returned to care for her ailing father, opens her arms and tries to mediate a communion between father and son.  Boughton, though, has difficulty forgiving, and Jack continues to be plagued by his own demons, alcohol as well as self- and spiritual doubt.  Home is a moving story about familial love and attempts at reconciliation.

Home (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel By Marilynne Robinson Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312428549
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Picador - September 1st, 2009