Subtle Bodies - Norman Rush

In his assured third novel, Norman Rush turns from the African themes of his previous fiction (including the National Book Award-winning Mating) to a compact and witty narrative of American life today. Set on the eve of two defining catastrophes, the Iraq invasion and the bursting of the dot-com bubble, the story follows the reunion of four college friends twenty years after graduation. Gathered for the memorial of the lost fifth member of the group, the men mull over what their friendship has meant, wondering “whether their true selves,” the Subtle Bodies (Knopf, $26.95) inside, have survived “what age and accident and the force of circumstance” have inflicted. To put the male bonding in perspective, Rush counterpoises the intimacies of marriage. His portrait of a happy couple features Ned, one of the clique, and his wife, Nina. The weekend is crucial for them: Ned is collecting signatures for a global anti-war protest and both are trying for a child. These two engaging characters are the warm, beating heart of the book, their lively and vital union infusing the action with humor and good cheer.

Subtle Bodies (Vintage International) By Norman Rush Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400077137
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Vintage - June 3rd, 2014

The Woman Upstairs - Claire Messud

In this poignant, darkly funny, and sometimes outrageous novel that is reminiscent of Zoe Heller’s What Was She Thinking?: Notes on a Scandal, Claire Messud takes us inside the angry, messy head of a frustrated, middle-aged school teacher.“ I’m not crazy. Angry, yes; crazy, no,” protests The Woman Upstairs (Knopf, $25.95), forty-two-year-old Nora Marie Eldridge, a talented artist who has set aside her craft to teach third grade in Cambridge, M.A. When she meets a new student, Reza Shahid, the childless, single Nora becomes obsessed with both the boy and his exotic parents. She insinuates herself into the family, sharing a studio with Reza’s mother—a celebrated artist in Paris, where the Shahids are from—and befriending the Lebanese father, whose fellowship at Harvard is the reason for the family’s temporary relocation. Messud painfully, deliciously captures Nora’s alienation and her desire to belong to another world.

The Woman Upstairs By Claire Messud Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307596901
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Knopf - April 30th, 2013

The Woman Upstairs (Vintage Contemporaries) By Claire Messud Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307743763
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - February 4th, 2014