Winner of the 2012 Wilhelm Raabe Literature Prize, Imperium: a fiction of the South Seas * * by Swiss novelist/screenwriter Christian Kracht is "an outrageous, fantastical, uncategorizable novel of obsession, adventure, and coconuts."
In this fictionalized tale about August Engelhardt (1870-1919), a German citizen who founded a sun-worshipping, coconut-eating cult, who purchased a small island in Dutch New Guinea, where he lived as a nudist. Madness eventually took hold and further isolated him from the few people on the island who cared about him. "Comparable to the adventure stories of Robert Louis Stevenson, Jack London, and Daniel Defoe, albeit with a definite philosophical inclination."
Come Away With Me by Karma Brown. A patch of black ice on Christmas Eve will change Tegan Lawson's life in ways she never could have imagined. Almost consumed by grief (of losing her baby) and anger (at her husband Gabe who was driving) until she is reminded of their Jar of Spontaneity, a collection of their dream destinations and experiences, and thus, begins an adventure of a lifetime and a search for forgiveness.
"A warmly compelling love story, with flashbacks that start with the couple's meeting as freshmen at Northwestern eight years earlier, this becomes a wrenching account of dealing with unbearable loss. Have tissues at hand for Brown's deeply moving debut."
Wishful Thinking by Kamy Wicoff is the answer to every single parent's dream. Jennifer Sharpe is barely able to keep her head above water as she juggles a demanding boss and even more demanding children and their schedules... that is until a brilliant physicist secretly installs a miraculous time-travel app on her phone that allows her to be in more than one place at the same time. Jennifer is almost literally, beside herself with glee, and is hopefully hooked... until the inventor threatens to remove the app from her phone for breaking the rules.
"(A) modern-day fairy tale in which one woman learns to overcome the challenges and appreciate the joys of living life in real time."
In The Canterbury Sisters by Kim Wright, Philadelphia wine critic Che Milan is dumped by her longtime lover on the same day that her mother's ashes arrive on her doorstep, with a note reminding Che of a half-forgotten promise to take her mother to Canterbury. So she joins a group of eight women to walk the sixty miles from London to Canterbury Cathedral. In the best Chaucer tradition, the women swap stories as they walk, each vying to see who can best describe true love.
Through her adventures along the trail, Che finds herself opening up to new possibilities in life and discovers that the miracles of Canterbury can take surprising forms.
* * = 2 starred reviews