February books

Entertainment

February 11, 2021



Notable new releases

Compiled by sally brewster

The Survivors, by Jane Harper

It’s been 12 years since Kieran Elliott left his hometown under a dark cloud. Kieran has returned to the secluded beach town of Evelyn Bay, Tasmania, with his partner, Mia, and their infant daughter to help his parents after his father was diagnosed with dementia. Old friends welcome him, but tensions linger since Kieran is blamed for a boating accident that killed his older brother and his best friend during a vicious storm. The day after they arrive, a body is found on the beach, and it seems like everyone has something to hide. As rumors spread and alarm mounts about the possibility of a killer in their midst, the town’s secrets are steadily unfurled, coalescing into a few unexpected revelations. Jane Harper is a master at creating atmospheric settings, and it’s easy to fall under her spell.   

Animal, Vegetable, Junk, by Mark Bittman

The history of Homo sapiens is usually told as a story of technology or economics. But there is a more fundamental driver: food. How we hunted and gathered explains our emergence as a new species and our earliest technology; our first food systems, from fire to agriculture, tell where we settled and how civilizations expanded. The quest for food for growing populations drove exploration, colonialism, slavery — even capitalism. A century ago, food was industrialized. Since then, new styles of agriculture and food production have written a new chapter of human history, one that’s driving both climate change and global health crises. Bittman offers a panoramic view of the story and explains how we can rescue ourselves from a modern wrong turn.

My Year Abroad, by Chang-Rae Lee

Tiller is an average American college student with a good heart but minimal aspirations. Pong Lou is a larger-than-life, wildly creative Chinese American entrepreneur who sees something intriguing in Tiller beyond his bored exterior and takes him under his wing. When Pong brings him along on a boisterous trip across Asia, Tiller is catapulted from ordinary young man to talented protégé and pulled into a series of extreme and eye-opening experiences that transform his view of the world, of Pong and of himself. Rich with commentary on Western attitudes, Eastern stereotypes, capitalism, global trade, mental health, parenthood, mentorship and more, My Year Abroad is also an exploration of the surprising effects of cultural immersion — on a young American in Asia, on a Chinese man in America, and on an unlikely couple hiding out in the suburbs. 

This Close to Okay, by Leesa Cross-Smith

Leesa Cross-Smith explores fragility, grief and the effects of mental illness in this wonderfully strange novel about new love between broken people. Tallie Clark is a divorced, childless therapist who sees a man about to jump from a bridge on her way home one night. She pulls over and talks him into joining her for a cup of coffee, then invites the man, who goes only by Emmett, to stay at her house. In the days that follow, they learn about each other’s divorces and the deaths, infidelities and heartaches that have shaped their lives. All the while, Cross-Smith builds suspense by gradually alluding to each character’s ulterior motives, as Tallie neglects to tell Emmett she’s a therapist, and Emmett emails Tallie’s ex-husband to get her the answers he thinks she needs. As dark and tense as it is flirty and humorous, this moving novel offers consistent surprises. SP

Sally Brewster is the proprietor of Park Road Books, located at 4139 Park Road. parkroadbooks.com.

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