Nights getting cooler ... time to snuggle up with a book (or e-reader). Some recent and upcoming options:
Skippy Dies, by Paul Murray (Faber & Faber, Aug. 31)
Irish schoolboys — bullying one another, raging with lust, lighting their farts. The usual, in other words. The title of Murray's novel is like a dare: Yes, I'm going to kill off my main character early — and then, for the next 600 pages, make you care about him and all his horny friends anyway.
Room, by Emma Donoghue (Little, Brown; Sept. 13)
Jack is 5. Jack's mom was abducted seven years ago — and, ever since, imprisoned and systematically raped by a psychopath. Jack's imprisoned, too: Born into an 11-by-11-foot room, he has never known any other world. What would it be like to think that Bed and Sink and Wardrobe are the unique, Platonic ideals in their categories? Donoghue delves into the brave new world of a boy who's known no other. (Look for our review in the Sept. 23 issue.)
Fame: A Novel in Nine Episodes, by Daniel Kehlmann (Pantheon, Sept. 14)
If you're a famous novelist, but your girlfriend doesn't share secrets with you out of fear that you'll turn them into fiction, are you still famous? If you're a movie star but you start losing your identity because of a cell-phone swap, are you still famous? (Translated from the German.)
A Curable Romantic, by Joseph Skibell (Algonquin Books, Sept. 7)
Vienna, 1895: A young doctor meets Sigmund Freud. The young fellow, idealistic and romantic by nature, starts to wonder about the dangers of over-analysis. Then he feels drawn toward one of Freud's curvaceous, cruel patients. Sigmund himself, meanwhile, spends his time spinning out new theories and snorting cocaine.
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