New in Paperback: ‘The Overstory,’ ‘Country Dark’
Six new paperbacks to check out this week.
I AM, I AM, I AM: Seventeen Brushes With Death, by Maggie O’Farrell. (Vintage, $16.) A mugging, a near drowning, a nightmarish childbirth: The Northern Irish novelist shares her near-death experiences, what it means to know her life could have turned out very differently. The memoir is particularly strong on how her relationship to risk-taking evolved after becoming a mother, and her fears about not doing enough to protect her children.
THE OVERSTORY, by Richard Powers. (Norton, $18.95.) In this series of interconnected stories, the human characters are just the underbrush; the true protagonists are the trees that they encounter. Powers combines botany and storytelling in this majestic novel. Our reviewer, Barbara Kingsolver, praised the book, calling it “delightfully choreographed, ultimately breathtaking.”
ATOM LAND: A Guided Tour Through the Strange (and Impossibly Small) World of Particle Physics, by Jon Butterworth. (The Experiment, $14.95.) The author, a leading physicist at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, is an entertaining guide, and his book helps answer the question that has intrigued scientists for generations: “What is the universe made of, really, when you get right down to it?”
SPEAK NO EVIL, by Uzodinma Iweala. (Harper Perennial, $15.99.) The second book by Iweala, the author of “Beasts of No Nation,” follows a teenager in Washington, D.C., as he reconciles his coming-of-age with the expectations of his Nigerian parents and their church. Niru, the Harvard-bound protagonist, was raised in a loving home, but after his father discovers he is gay, their relationship becomes strained. The book skillfully deals with generational conflict and what it means to be a young black man in America.
PATRIOT NUMBER ONE: A Chinese Rebel Comes to America, by Lauren Hilgers. (Broadway, $16.) Hilgers profiles the Chinese dissident Zhuang Liehong and his wife, Little Yan, who came to the United States in 2014 to avoid a government crackdown. Hilgers, a journalist who spent years living in China, follows the couple as they forge a new life, learning to understand life in Flushing, Queens, and navigating the American immigration system.
COUNTRY DARK, by Chris Offutt. (Grove, $16.) In Offutt’s long-awaited novel, a Korean War veteran comes back to Kentucky, tangles with bootleggers and grapples with difficulties at home. But there is an undercurrent of fierce love: As our reviewer, Smith Henderson, put it, “winsome twinkles shine through the blackness throughout, thanks in no small part to Offutt’s keen ear and eye.”
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