A Hologram for the King
By Dave Eggers
Lake Forest’s very own Dave Eggers presents a rich midlife crisis character study in a Middle Eastern setting. Alan Clay, an IT consultant, travels to a Middle Eastern city to demonstrate a holographic teleconferencing system to King Abdullah. After numerous attempts to meet with the king, he accidentally sleeps in and hires a local student, Yousef, to rush him to the appointment. This burgeoning friendship is the heart of the novel. As the struggling businessman pursues the sale as a last-ditch attempt to stave off foreclosure, pay his daughter’s college tuition, and finally do something great, he reflects on his life and his insecurities. A brilliant book by an accomplished writer!
By Tana French
Edgar winner Tana French’s fourth novel begins in a half-built luxury development near Dublin, where a family of four is attacked and left for dead. The Dublin murder squad is called in, and this is a big case for Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy. At first, Scorcher and his rookie partner, Richie, think it’s going to be easy to solve. But too many small things can’t be explained: the half dozen baby monitors, their cameras pointing at holes smashed in the family’s walls, and the files erased from their computer. With her signature blend of police procedural and psychological thriller, French’s new novel goes full throttle with a horrific crime, creating her most complicated detective character and her best book yet.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
By Rachel Joyce
Random House, $25
Harold Fry has recently retired and lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does and harangues him over trivialities. One morning, he receives a letter addressed in a shaky scrawl from a woman he hasn’t seen or heard from in 20 years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say good-bye. Harold writes a quick reply and on the way to the mailbox makes the decision to deliver the letter to Queenie personally. So begins his journey in which he walks 600 miles carrying the letter to his old friend because he believes, as long as he walks, Queenie Hennessy will live. A charming novel, at times both funny and profound, you are sure to be entranced by this story.
In the Shadow of the Banyan Tree
By Vaddey Ratner
Simon & Schuster, $25
In the Shadow of the Banyan Tree is based upon Vaddey Ratner’s own experience as a survivor of the Cambodian genocide under the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s. Told through the eyes of 7-year-old Raami, the oldest daughter of Cambodian royalty, the story recounts the life of the family as they go from happily celebrating the New Year to a life of revolution and chaos where they become refugees. Over the next four years, as the Khmer Rouge attempts to strip the population of every shred of individual identity, Raami clings to the only remaining vestige of her childhood—the mythical legends and poems told to her by her father. This story is a heartrending tale of human resilience.
City of Women
By David Gillham
Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, $25.95
This stunning debut novel takes place in Berlin, which in 1943 has essentially become a city of women. We follow Sigrid Schroder who appears to be the model German soldier’s wife: She goes to work every day, does as much with her rations as she can, and dutifully cares for her meddling mother-in-law, all the while ignoring the horrific immoralities of the regime. But Sigrid has a secret Jewish lover, and as the war progresses and her husband is sent to Russia, she becomes involved with a young woman who is helping to shelter Jews. Soon Sigrid is embroiled in a world she knew nothing about, and she must choose to act on what is right and what is wrong—and what falls somewhere in the shadows between the two. In this compelling novel, David Gillham explores what happens to ordinary people thrust into extraordinary times, and how the choices they make can be the difference between life and death.
Lake Forest Book Store is located at 680 N. Western Avenue in Lake Forest.
Text by Sue Boucher