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." 


April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.