Thank you to Marcia at The Printed Page for putting on the weekly Mailbox Monday, a place where I discover so many wonderful new books.
Check out her blog and post all the new books you acquired last week.
The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant (ARC from publishers via Shelf Awareness)
Not since The Elegance of the Hedgehog has a book arrived in America from Europe on such wings of critical praise and popularity. The Vanishing of Katharina Linden is an unforgettable debut—at once chilling and endearing, haunting and richly insightful—the story of one girl’s big heart and even bigger imagination, and of a world full of mystery, good, and evil.
It isn’t ten-year-old Pia’s fault that her grandmother dies in a freak accident. But tell that to the citizens of Pia’s little German hometown of Bad Münstereifel, or to the classmates who shun her. The only one who still wants to be her friend is StinkStefan, the most unpopular child in school.
But then something else captures the community’s attention: the vanishing of Katharina Linden. Katharina was last seen on a float in a parade, dressed as Snow White. Then, like a character in a Grimm’s fairy tale, she disappears. But, this being real life, she doesn’t return.
Pia and Stefan suspect that Katharina has been spirited away by the supernatural. Their investigation is inspired by the instructive—and cautionary—local legends told to them by their elderly friend Herr Schiller, tales such as that of Unshockable Hans, visited by witches in the form of cats, or of the knight whose son is doomed to hunt forever.
Then another girl disappears, and Pia is plunged into a new and unnerving place, one far away from fairy tales—and perilously close to adulthood.
Marvelously morbid, stunningly suspenseful, and exceptionally winning, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden is a new coming-of-age classic, and the most accomplished fiction debut in years.
The Tulip Virus by Danielle Hermans (From Marcia at The Printed Page as part of Read It Forward. Thanks so much Marcia!!)
A gripping debut mystery set in contemporary London with roots in 17th century Holland and the mysterious tulip trade
In 1636 Alkmaar, Holland, Wouter Winckel’s brutally slaughtered body is found in the barroom of his inn, an antireligious pamphlet stuffed in his mouth. Winckel was a respected tulip-trader and owned the most beautiful collection of tulips in the United Republic of the Low Countries, including the most coveted and expensive bulb of them all, the Semper Augustus. But why did he have to die and who wanted him dead?In 2007 London, history seems to be repeating itself. Dutchman Frank Schoeller is found in his home by his nephew, Alec. Severely wounded, he is holding a 17th-century book about tulips, seemingly a reference to the reason for his death moments later. With the help of his friend Damien Vanlint, an antique dealer from Amsterdam, Alec tries to solve the mystery, but soon comes to realize that he and his friend’s own lives are now in danger.The Tulip Virus is a fast-paced, fascinating mystery based on the real-life events surrounding the collapse of the tulip bubble in 17th century Holland—the first such occurrence in history—a story that plunges readers deeply into questions of free will, science, and religion, while showing the dark fruits of greed, pride, and arrogance.
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet: A Novel by David Mitchell (ARC from publishers via Shelf Awareness)
In 2007, Time magazine named him one of the most influential novelists in the world. He has twice been short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. The New York Times Book Review called him simply “a genius.” Now David Mitchell lends fresh credence to The Guardian’s claim that “each of his books seems entirely different from that which preceded it.” The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is a stunning departure for this brilliant, restless, and wildly ambitious author, a giant leap forward by even his own high standards. A bold and epic novel of a rarely visited point in history, it is a work as exquisitely rendered as it is irresistibly readable.
The year is 1799, the place Dejima in Nagasaki Harbor, the “high-walled, fan-shaped artificial island” that is the Japanese Empire’s single port and sole window onto the world, designed to keep the West at bay; the farthest outpost of the war-ravaged Dutch East Indies Company; and a de facto prison for the dozen foreigners permitted to live and work there. To this place of devious merchants, deceitful interpreters, costly courtesans, earthquakes, and typhoons comes Jacob de Zoet, a devout and resourceful young clerk who has five years in the East to earn a fortune of sufficient size to win the hand of his wealthy fiancée back in Holland.
But Jacob’s original intentions are eclipsed after a chance encounter with Orito Aibagawa, the disfigured daughter of a samurai doctor and midwife to the city’s powerful magistrate. The borders between propriety, profit, and pleasure blur until Jacob finds his vision clouded, one rash promise made and then fatefully broken. The consequences will extend beyond Jacob’s worst imaginings. As one cynical colleague asks, “Who ain’t a gambler in the glorious Orient, with his very life?”