Colum McCann

Colum McCann writes:

"There are so many good books coming out these days that I feel compelled not to fall back on the classics. The following are just three of the many great ones that have come along already this year."





The Flamethrowers
By Rachel Kushner

"This is one of the most thrilling and high-octane literary experiences I have had in a decade, especially in the first one hundred pages. Kushner has the ability to suggest in a single sentence the whole texture of an era. She dwells primarily in the art world of the 1970s, though the book has obvious ramifications for today: wherever we were then is wherever we are now. DeLillo echoes here, as does Doctorow, as does Carey. Kushner is an extraordinary talent, committed to landscape and life and language. I'd walk five hundred miles for her next book." 


Southern Cross the Dog
By Bill Cheng

"True enough, Bill Cheng was my student at Hunter College in New York. And true enough, Southern Cross the Dog was his thesis project. But, all personal links aside, it's really one of the best books of the year. It's beautifully written, tough, evocative, assured, full of rhythm and style. You can feel the blues leaking out the edges of the pages: they fill the room. The story concerns the journey of Robert Chatham, who takes off on an epic journey after the Mississippi flood of 1927. And what a cast of characters -- dam builders, swamp dwellers, hookers, hustlers, seers, visionaries...Southern Cross the Dog has it all. This book has been chosen by Barnes & Noble for their Discover Great New Writers program: it's easy to see why." 


The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells
By Andrew Sean Greer

"Any book by the author of The Confessions of Max Tivoli and The Story of a Marriage is going to be an occasion to celebrate and savor. Andy Sean Greer is one of the great stylists of our literary times: he has the intelligence to match the style. In this novel he works in an incredibly acrobatic manner to weave in three stories that move effortlessly in time. Greta Wells finds herself transported to the lives she might have had if she had been born in three different eras. It's a mediation on the clock of our souls and the meaning on transience." 


July 29: On this day in 1878 Don Marquis was born.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).