Foreign_FlanneryI Am No One

Flanery, Patrick
U.K.: Feb. 9, 2016 | Atlantic Books

U.S.: July 4, 2016 | Tim Duggan Books

Divorced and lonely, Jeremy O’Keefe has returned to New York after a decade teaching at Oxford University. He becomes convinced he is being observed and followed yet cannot imagine why he would be of interest to any secret service. Perhaps it’s all in the mind? But how to explain the email he didn’t write, the sinister parcels that arrive, and an unfamiliar young man who crops up in his life with a frequency that can’t be coincidental? Is it possible O’Keefe is not as innocent as he imagines? In our era of state-sponsored Internet surveillance, Flanery examines the effect of the loss of privacy on the individual state of mind. O’Keefe’s voice can be irritating: he is pedantic, sometimes labored, and at sea with the emotions of others. But his predicament reminds us we should never dismiss universal surveillance by saying, “I have nothing to hide.” What if someone else thinks you do?

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Foreign_Stanisic Before the Feast
Stanišić, Saša

U.K.: Oct. 29, 2015 | Pushkin Press

U.S.: June 13, 2016 | Tin House          

In Fürstenfelde in rural East Germany, the residents are preparing for the annual Feast—the original reason for which no one remembers. Herr Schramm, a former soldier in the National People’s Army, is watching a stripper playing billiards on TV before heading out to buy cigarettes—or maybe to shoot himself. Ulli evicts the beer-drinking men congregated in his garage a little earlier than usual. Frau Kranz wades into the lake in her evening dress to paint a picture for the traditional Feast auction. And someone has broken into the village archives, allowing old stories, myths, and memories to escape. Stanišić, born in Yugoslavia and now training his outsider’s eye on his adopted nation of Germany, won the Leipzig Book Fair Prize for his second novel, a comic portrait of a village isolated from modern life and full of eccentrics and history, both ancient and recent. (Before the Feast received a starred review in the Apr. 1, 2015, issue.)

 

Foreign_chambers The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
Chambers, Becky

U.K.: Dec. 31, 2015 | Hodder & Stoughton

U.S.: July 5, 2016 | Harper Voyager

Longlisted for the 2016 Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, this fantasy science-fiction debut was funded by a Kickstarter campaign and self-published before being picked up by major publishers in the U.S. Chambers, whose parents both worked in space-related fields, tracks the journey of the Wayfarer with its mixed crew of humans and aliens forced to learn to live as a family en route to a distant planet in search of fame and fortune.

 

Foreign_Farr The Lives and Loves of Lena Gaunt

Farr, Tracy

Australia: 2013 | Fremantle Press

U.K.: Jan. 1, 2016 | Aardvark Bureau

U.S.: May 10, 2016 | Aardvark Bureau       

The fictional memoir of a “musician, octogenarian, junkie” who is the world’s best player of the theremin—an early electronic instrument that can sound “…like an alien spaceship imagined for a B-movie soundtrack, or like the low thrum and moan of a cello.” Lena’s life journey takes the reader from Malacca to Perth, from Sydney to Wellington, and from New York to London. The story begins after she is approached by a documentary filmmaker who has watched Lena play her first performance in 20 years and persuaded her to share her past. Farr, who grew up in Perth and formerly worked as a research scientist, was shortlisted for the Barbara Jefferis Award and the Western Australia Premier’s Book Awards for this, her debut novel.

Catherine Hickley is a Berlin-based arts journalist. Her first book, The Munich Art Hoard: Hitler’s Dealer and His Secret Legacy, was published by Thames & Hudson (except in North America) last September.