Salton Sea and The God of War

April 15, 2009

Some of you may remember me raving about meeting Marisa Silver at Winter Institute 2008 — if not, Silver is the author of the excellent novel The God of War, recently released in paperback.

The novel takes place on the shores of the Salton Sea, an inland saline lake in California, and the landscape is not only a character in its own right, but really shapes the development of the plot. For the paperback release, S&S put together a slideshow of photos by photographer Joan Myers, along with some of the praise for the book. I couldn’t get the darn thing to embed (WordPress being hateful of flash objects), but here’s the link. Happy viewing!

Back from Winter Institute

January 29, 2008

We’re back, just in time for the storm of the season! Batten down your hatches, everyone…

ABA’s Winter Institute in Louisville, KY was an amazing two days. Imagine 500 booksellers from all across the country talking with each other, attending classes on everything from events to website maintenance, and meeting with authors and publishers to find out the next great books of this year. Even I have trouble believing it, and I was there (you can tell, in fact, because I accidentally managed to get myself on the ABA Blog)!

Before I left, I mentioned two books whose authors were going to be at the conference and promised to give a full review for each. I’m going to postpone my promise on Loose Girl, because we’re working on getting a guest blog post out of Kerry Cohen and I don’t want to spoil anything!

The God of War was the other title; I got to speak with Marisa Silver, the author, at the Author Reception. She’s a wonderful woman — well spoken, friendly, and clearly passionate about writing, books, and everything that goes along with them! Her novel The God of War is the starkly-told tale of twelve year old Ares, eldest son of free-spirited single mother Laurel, and his autistic younger brother Malcolm. Ares believes that he is the cause of Malcolm’s disability, and is being eaten away by uncertainty, self-loathing, and his difficult and twisted love for his unconventional family. Silver spins a dark web of emotion and longing, touching on each character with a clarity and honesty that is increasingly rare these days.

The God of War doesn’t come out until May, but I wanted to mention it now because I see this as being a fantastic book club pick. There are a lot of layers to be discussed here — single parent choices, dealing with disability, rural life vs. urban or suburban, teenage difficulties, guilt, personal responsibility… I could go on and on. So all you book clubs out there that are still searching for a good summer pick: this one’s for you!