I was ecstatic when I received an e-mail last week, saying I had won two tickets to attend Fall Fete at Random House in Toronto. The e-mail promised an evening with industry insiders and authors, readings from their mystery special guest authors, copies of their new books, and a chance to win even more prizes, and I was not disappointed!
The special guest authors were Tom Perrotta, author of The Leftovers and Brian Francis author of Natural Order. I was excited when they both took turns reading from their latest novels, and to top that off–I received signed copies of each!
Perrotta read the epilogue from his novel The Leftovers, that he described as a story of a rapture-like event from a non-religious stand point. The first pages tells the story of Laurie Garvey, and how she had never been raised to believe in the Rapture. Her parents were agnostic. Then one day the Rapture (or something like it) came upon them, but not as the Christian’s had foreseen. They believed God would handpick the good and righteous to be risen up to heaven, while the heathens were left to rot on Earth. So it was peculiar when there were people of all nationalities and religions being chosen, and some of the most devout were left behind.
The first chapter begins three years after the Rapture-like event occurred, and how the town, and the Garvey family deal with the aftermath. I cannot wait to dive into this original tale. I was on the edge of my seat wishing that Tom would continue reading. So you can be sure there will be a follow-up to this blog post.
Stephen King reviewed this novel and was quoted saying that, “Perrotta has delivered a troubling disquisition on how ordinary people react to extraordinary and inexplicable events, the power of family to hurt and to heal, and the unobtrusive ease with which faith can slide into fanaticism. “The Leftovers” is, simply put, the best “Twilight Zone” episode you never saw — not “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” but “The Monsters Are Us in Mapleton.” That they are quiet monsters only makes them more eerie”.
Brian Francis read from a section of his novel Natural Order, that he described as a story of woman named Joyce Sparks. The book travels back and forth in time, from Joyce’s late teens through her child-rearing years, and her widowed 70s, and finally into her late 80s, marking time at the nursing home in the same small town where she grew up.
As Brian read, I knew that this would be a very sad tale, but there definitely was some comic relief throughout. The loss of Joyce’s husband and son, will probably warrant some tissues standing by.
Natural Order is “An extraordinary read. Francis is a master at creating vivid characters. Joyce Sparks in unforgettable. Her touching story will leave you both hopeful and wiser.” -Neil Smith author of Bang Crunch
“We need more books like this one” alive with a singular pulse, cheeky, honest, achingly tender….Brian Francis reminds us to live, and love, bravely. I am still catching my breath.” -Jessica Grant author of Come, Thou Tortoise
Both of the books sound so compelling and I cannot wait to begin both of them. I was also luck enough to win more great reads from Random House as well:
- The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes (Winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize)
- Memoirs of an Addicted Brain: A Neuroscientist Examines His Former Life on Drugs – Marc Lewis, PhD
- Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People – Douglas Coupland + Graham Roumieu
- The Virgin Suicides – Jeffrey Eugenides
- The Guardians – Andrew Pyper