Undermajordomo Minor

Undermajordomominor

Patrick DeWitt

First Sentence:     Lucien Minor’s mother had not wept, had not come close to weeping at their parting.

Back of the book:

Lucien (Lucy) Minor is the resident odd duck in the bucolic hamlet of Bury. Friendless and loveless, young and aimless, he is a compulsive liar and a melancholy weakling. When Lucy accepts employment assisting the majordomo of the remote, forbidding castle of the Baron Von Aux he meets thieves, madmen, aristocrats, and a puppy. He also meets Klara, a delicate beauty who is, unfortunately, already involved with an exceptionally handsome partisan soldier. Thus begins a tale of polite theft, bitter heartbreak, domestic mystery and cold-blooded murder in which every aspect of human behaviour is laid bare for our hero to observe. Lucy must stay safe, and protect his puppy, because someone or something is roaming the corridors of the castle late at night.

Undermajordomo Minor is a triumphant ink-black comedy of manners by the Man Booker shortlisted author of The Sisters Brothers. It is an adventure story, and a mystery, and a searing portrayal of rural Alpine bad behaviour with a brandy tart, but above all it is a love story. And Lucy must be careful, for love is a violent thing.

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Young God

Morris

 

Katherine Faw Morris

First Sentence:     Nikki is all to hell.

Back of the book:

Nikki has been thirteen forever. Nikki drives a stolen truck up the hill to her father’s trailer with a backpack full of pills, determined to make her way into his life: drug deals, pimp wars, chicken shit, ecstasy. But soon Nikki begins to learn what is required of her to survive — to prevail — in this world.

Quotes from the book:

“In her mouth is name is shiny and bitter like a licked coin.”

Heroin is the most secret of them all and needles are the mot secret part and she has always loved secrets ever since she was a little girl.

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The Luminaries

luminariesEleanor Catton

First Sentence:     The twelve men congregated in the smoking room of the Crown Hotel gave the impression of a party accidentally met.

Back of the book:

It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.

Quotes from the book:

One could know a thousand women, Gascoigne thought; one could take a different girl every night for years and years – but sooner or later, the new lovers would do little more than call to mind the old, and one would be forced to wander, lost, in that reflective maze of endless comparison, forever disappointed, forever turning back.

“How strange, Ah Sook thought later, that one’s gestures remain the same, even as the body changes weathers and gives itself over to age – as though the gestures were the real vessel, the vase to the body’s flower.”

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Dept. Of Speculation

DeptJenny Offill

First Sentence:     Antelopes have 10x vision, you said.

Back of the book:

They used to send each other letters. The return address was always the same: Dept. of Speculation. They used to be young, brave, and giddy with hopes for their future. They got married, had a child, and skated through all the small calamities of family life. But then, slowly, quietly something changes. As the years rush by, fears creep in and doubts accumulate until finally their life as they know it cracks apart and they find themselves forced to reassess what they have lost, what is left, and what they want now. Written with the dazzling lucidity of poetry, Dept. of Speculation navigates the jagged edges of a modern marriage to tell a story that is darkly funny, surprising and wise.

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Secrecy

secrecy

Rupert Thomson

First Sentence:     He came on a November day, a cold wind blowing, the fields soaked with rain.

Back of the book:

It is Florence, 1691. The Renaissance is long gone, and the city is a dark, repressive place, where everything is forbidden and anything is possible. The Enlightenment may be just around the corner, but knowledge is still the property of the few, and they guard it fiercely. Art, sex and power – these, as always, are the obsessions. Facing serious criminal charges, Gaetano Zummo is forced to flee his native Siracusa at the age of twenty, first to Palermo, then Naples, but always has the feeling that he is being pursued by his past, and that he will never be free of it. Zummo works an artist in wax. He is fascinated by the plague, and makes small wooden cabinets in which he places graphic, tortured models of the dead and dying. But Cosimo III, Tuscany’s penultimate Medici ruler, gives Zummo his most challenging commission yet, and as he tackles it his path entwines with that of the apothecary’s daughter Faustina, whose secret is even more explosive than his. Poignant but paranoid, sensual yet chilling, Secrecy is a novel that buzzes with intrigue and ideas. It is a love story, a murder mystery, a portrait of a famous city in an age of austerity, an exercise in concealment and revelation, but above all it is a trapdoor narrative, one story dropping unexpectedly into another, the ground always slippery, uncertain…

Quote from the book:

But perhaps that’s what happiness is: a suspension of disbelief or a willed ignorance, which, like held breath, cannot be sustained beyond a certain point.

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