New Arrivals · Biographical Fiction

June 24, 2017
These titles were recently added to the collection of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

Slow days, fast company : the world, the flesh, and L.A.

June 23, 2017
Babitz, Eve, author.
New York : New York Review Books, [2016]
xi, 162 pages ; 21 cm.
"There was a time when no one burned hotter than Eve Babitz. Possessing skin that radiated "its own kind of moral laws," spectacular teeth, and a figure that was the stuff of legend, she seduced seemingly everyone who was anyone in Los Angeles for a long stretch of the 1960s and '70s. But there was one man who proved elusive, and so Babitz did what she did best, she wrote him a book. She also pulled off a remarkable sleight of hand: Slow Days, Fast Company far exceeds its mash-note premise. It is a full-fledged and full-bodied evocation of a bygone Southern California. In ten sun-baked, Santa Ana wind-swept sketches, Babitz re-creates a Los Angeles of movie stars distraught over their success; socialites on three-day drug binges, evading their East Coast banking husbands; soap-opera actors worried that tomorrow's script will kill them off; Italian femme fatales even more fatal than she is. And she even leaves L.A. sometimes, spending an afternoon at the house of flawless Orange County suburbanites, a day among the grape pickers of the Central Valley, a weekend in Palm Springs where her dreams of romance fizzle and her only solace is Virginia Woolf. In the end it doesn't matter if Babitz ever gets the guy--she seduces us"-- Provided by publisher.

The crime writer : a novel

June 12, 2017
Dawson, Jill.
New York : HarperCollins, 2017.
246 pages ; 21 cm
In 1964, the eccentric American novelist Patricia Highsmith is hiding out in a cottage in Suffolk, to concentrate on her writing and escape her fans. She has another motive too - a secret romance with a married lover based in London. Unfortunately it soon becomes clear that all her demons have come with her. Prowlers, sexual obsessives, frauds, imposters, suicides and murderers: the tropes of her fictions clamour for her attention, rudely intruding on her peaceful Suffolk retreat. After the arrival of Ginny, an enigmatic young journalist bent on interviewing her, events take a catastrophic turn. Except, as always in Highsmith's troubled life, matters are not quite as they first appear ... Masterfully recreating Highsmith's much exercised fantasies of murder and madness, Jill Dawson probes the darkest reaches of the imagination in this novel - at once a brilliant portrait of a writer and an atmospheric, emotionally charged, riveting tale.

The Pearl Street flood : one man's experience of Cincinnati's greatest natural disaster

June 2, 2017
Zeiser, Noel, author.
[Place of publication not identified] : [Publisher not identified], [2017]
1 volume (unpaged) : map, black and white photographs ; 23 cm
Subtitle from cover.
"Faced with a diminished market for jewelry during the Great Depression, Charlie leaves a lucrative sales career to pursue safer prospects. He decides to take ownership of the family shoe store in downtown Cincinnati near the Ohio River. When the river rises to unimaginable heights in 1937, he worries not only for himself but for his wife and six children."--Amazon website.

Isadora

May 31, 2017
Gray, Amelia, 1982- author.
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017.
viii, 386 pages ; 24 cm
"A novel"--Book jacket.
"In 1913, Isadora Duncan was known as much for her stunning dance performances as for her eccentric and salacious personal life ― her lovers included poets, directors, and the heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune. But when her two children drowned in Paris, she found herself taking on a role she had never dreamed of. The tragedy brought the gossips out in full force, and the grieving mother wanted nothing more than to escape it all. Fleeing the very life she had worked so hard to build, she left her sister, Elizabeth, holding the reins of the artistic empire along with Elizabeth’s lover, Max, who had his own ideas for greatness. For two years Isadora cast about prewar Europe, living on credit on islands in Greece and in shuttered beachfront dwellings in Italy. She lashed out at her dearest lovers and friends, the very people who held her up. But life had cracked her spirit in two: on one side, the brilliant young talent who captivated audiences the world over; on the other, a heartbroken mother spinning dangerously on the edge of sanity" --Inside jacket.

Beneath a scarlet sky : a novel

May 22, 2017
Sullivan, Mark T., author.
Seattle : Lake Union Publishing, [2017]
513 pages ; 21 cm
In 1940s Italy, teenager Pino Lella joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps and falls for a beautiful widow, he also becomes the personal driver of one of the Third Reich's most powerful commanders.

The knowledge

May 22, 2017
Pressfield, Steven, author.
New York : Black Irish Entertainment, LLC., 2016.
274 pages ; 23 cm
"A too close to true novel."
Where did The War of Art come from? How did creativity sensei Steven Pressfield come up with the notion that there is an insidious force in the universe called Resistance that keeps us from pursuing our life's work and fulfilling our artistic destiny? And that until we recognize and engage in an end-of-days battle with the big "R," our inner genius will remain blocked and unborn inside an internal protoplasmic goo? Was he touched by angels as he contemplated the universe in an ashram? Did he meet a mysterious stranger in a truck stop in Twin Falls, Idaho who imparted deep truths over a cup of muddy Joe? Perhaps blunt force trauma in a Reno bar had something to do with it? If only... The truth of of Pressfield's Weltanschauung origin story lies somewhere between fact and fiction...

Anne Boleyn, a king's obsession : a novel

May 17, 2017
Weir, Alison, 1951- author.
©2017
541 pages : genealogical table ; 25 cm
Anne is barely a teenager when she is sent from her family's Hever Castle to serve at the royal court of the Netherlands. There, and later in France, Anne thrives. But her powerful family has ambitious plans for her future that override any wishes of her own. When the King of England himself, Henry VIII, asks Anne to be his mistress, she spurns his advances-- he is a married man who has already conducted an affair with her sister, Mary. This rejection only intensifies Henry's pursuit, tempting Anne even as it proves to be her undoing.

Becoming Bonnie

May 17, 2017
Walsh, Jenni L., author.
New York : Forge, 2017.
303 pages ; 24 cm
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
Summer, 1927. Bonnelyn Parker is more likely to belt out a church hymn than sling drinks at an illicit juice joint. She plans to overcome her family's poverty, provide for herself, and maybe someday marry her boyfriend, Roy Thornton. When financial woes jeopardize her ambitions, Bonnelyn finds salvation in an unlikely place: Dallas's newest speakeasy, Doc's. When Roy discovers her secret life as a moll, he embraces it-- perhaps too much. But her life is headed for a crash. Bonnie Parker is about to meet Clyde Barrow.

The little exile

May 9, 2017
Arakawa, Jeanette, author.
Berkeley, California : Stone Bridge Press, [2017]
247 pages ; 21 cm
"After Pearl Harbor, little Marie Mitsui's typical life of school and playing with friends in San Francisco is upended. Her family and thousands of others of Japanese heritage are under suspicion and forcibly relocated to internment camps far from home. Living conditions in the camps are harsh, but in the end Marie finds freedom and hope for the future. Told from a child's perspective, The Little Exile deftly conveys Marie's innocence, wonder, fear, and outrage. This work of autobiographical fiction is based on the author's own experience as a wartime internee. Jeanette S. Arakawa was born in San Francisco in 1932 and was interned in the 1940s at the Rohwer War Relocation Center in Arkansas"-- Provided by publisher.

The end of Eddy

May 5, 2017
Louis, Édouard, author.
©2017
192 pages ; 20 cm
Translated from the French.
"An autobiographical novel about growing up gay in a working-class town in Picardy. "Every morning in the bathroom I would repeat the same phrase to myself over and over again. Today I'm really gonna be a tough guy." Growing up in a poor village in northern France, all Eddy Bellegueule wanted was to be a man in the eyes of his family and neighbors. But from childhood, he was different -- "girlish," intellectually precocious, and attracted to other men. Already translated into twenty languages, The End of Eddy captures the violence and desperation of life in a French factory town. It is also a sensitive, universal portrait of boyhood and sexual awakening. Like Karl Ove Knausgaard or Edmund White, Édouard Louis writes from his own undisguised experience, but he writes with an openness and a compassionate intelligence that are all his own. The result -- a critical and popular triumph -- has made him the most celebrated French writer of his generation."-- Provided by publisher.

Family lexicon

May 1, 2017
Ginzburg, Natalia, author.
New York : New York Review Books, [2017]
221 pages ; 21 cm.
"Natalia Ginzburg, one of Italy's great writers, introduced A Family Lexicon, her most celebrated work, with an unusual disclaimer: "The places, events and people are all real. I have invented nothing. Every time that I have found myself inventing something in accordance with my old habits as a novelist, I have felt impelled at once to destroy everything thus invented." A Family Lexicon re-creates with extraordinary objectivity the small world of a family enduring some of the most difficult years of the twentieth century, the period from the rise of Mussolini through World War II (Ginzburg's first husband, who was a member of the resistance, was killed by the Nazis) and its immediate aftermath. Every family has its store of phrases and sayings by which it maintains its sense of what it means to be a family. Such sayings and stories lie at the heart of a great novel about family and history"-- Provided by publisher.

The witchfinder's sister : a novel

May 1, 2017
Underdown, Beth, author.
New York : Ballantine Books, [2017]
312 pages : map ; 25 cm
Originally published in the United Kingdom by Viking.
"A debut literary historical thriller based on the witch hunts in 1640's England--the most intense in English history--in which Matthew Hopkins, the Witchfinder General, convicted more than a hundred women of witchcraft. In 1645, Alice Hopkins returns to her brother's house in disgrace, husbandless and pregnant. The brother she remembers is now a grown man and he's hunting witches: women who live on the margins of society--often childless widows, or women with deformities or feeble minds who are rejected by their communities. Viewed through the eyes of Alice, this is a woman's story of fear, friendship, love, betrayal, and redemption. What--or who--is Matthew really hunting? And to what dark place will his obsession lead them all?"--Provided by publisher.

The most beautiful woman in Florence : a story of Botticelli

April 26, 2017
Palombo, Alyssa, author.
New York : St. Martin's Griffin, 2017.
309 pages ; 21 cm
Includes discussion guides.
"A girl as beautiful as Simonetta Cattaneo never wants for marriage proposals in 15th Century Italy, but she jumps at the chance to marry Marco Vespucci. Marco is young, handsome and well-educated. Not to mention he is one of the powerful Medici family's favored circle. Even before her marriage with Marco is set, Simonetta is swept up into Lorenzo and Giuliano de' Medici's glittering circle of politicians, poets, artists, and philosophers. The men of Florence--most notably the rakish Giuliano de' Medici--become enthralled with her beauty. That she is educated and an ardent reader of poetry makes her more desirable and fashionable still. But it is her acquaintance with a young painter, Sandro Botticelli, which strikes her heart most. Botticelli immediately invites Simonetta, newly proclaimed the most beautiful woman in Florence, to pose for him. As Simonetta learns to navigate her marriage, her place in Florentine society, and the politics of beauty and desire, she and Botticelli develop a passionate intimacy, one that leads to her immortalization in his masterpiece, The Birth of Venus."--Provided by publisher.

Music of the ghosts

April 18, 2017
Ratner, Vaddey, author.
©2017
324 pages ; 24 cm
"A novel"--Book jacket.
Leaving the safety of America, Teera returns to Cambodia for the first time since her harrowing escape as a child refugee. She carries a letter from a man who mysteriously signs himself as "the Old Musician" and claims to have known her father in the Khmer Rouge prison where he disappeared twenty-five years ago. Arriving in Phnom Penh, Teera finds a society still in turmoil, where perpetrators and survivors of atrocity live side by side. Soon she meets a young doctor who carries his own memories of that time but also shows her a beautiful country on a fragile path of reconciliation. Meanwhile, the Old Musician anticipates the confession he must make. Together Teera and the Old Musician confront the truth of their intertwined past, weaving a melody that will leave both transformed, and freeing Teera to find a new home and a new love in the places she least expects.--Adapted from book jacket.

The girl between

April 6, 2017
Strømme, Lisa, author.
Naperville, IL : Sourcebooks Landmark, [2017]
313 pages ; 21 cm
"Originally published as The Strawberry Girl in 2016 in Great Britain by Chatto & Windus..."
"Johanne Lien has grown up living a simple life with her family in Asgardstrand, Norway, posing for visiting artists who come to the town for the beautiful summer weather. Her unassuming lifestyle takes a dramatic turn when Tullik, the beautiful younger daughter of a wealthy local family, befriends Johanne in order to get close to the controversial artist Edvard Munch. As Johanne is drawn ever deeper into the raw emotion of Munch's paintings, so too is she drawn into his highly charged relationship with the siren-like Tullik..." -- Provided by publisher

The enemies of Versailles : a novel

April 6, 2017
Christie, Sally, 1971- author.
New York : Atria Paperback, 2017.
399 pages : 21 cm.
Sequel to: The rivals of Versailles.
Jeanne Becu, a woman of astounding beauty but humble birth, works her way from the grimy back streets of Paris to the palace of Versailles, where the aging King Louis XV has become a jaded and bitter old philanderer.As the Comtesse du Barry, Jeanne quickly becomes his official mistress. After decades of suffering the King's endless stream of Royal Favorites, the princesses of the Court have reached a breaking point. Horrified that he would bring the lowborn Comtesse du Barry into the hallowed halls of Versailles, Louis XV's daughters, led by the indomitable Madame Adelaide, vow eternal enmity and enlist the young dauphiness Marie Antoinette in their fight against the new mistress. But as tensions rise and the French Revolution draws closer, a prostitute in the palace soon becomes the least of the nobility's concerns.

The drowning king : a fall of Egypt novel

April 5, 2017
Holleman, Emily, author.
©2017
421 pages : illustration ; 25 cm.
Sharing the throne of Egypt with her eleven-year-old brother Ptolemy, Cleopatra is caught in a power struggle and forced to flee during a rebel uprising, while her sister Arsinoe, who follows Cleopatra into exile, is forced to choose between betraying her family or her country.

The adventures of John Carson in several quarters of the world : a novel of Robert Louis Stevenson

April 4, 2017
Doyle, Brian, 1956 November 6- author.
©2017
viii, 229 pages ; 22 cm
"The young Robert Louis Stevenson, living in a boarding house in San Francisco while waiting for his beloved's divorce from her feckless husband, dreamed of writing a soaring novel about his landlady's adventurous and globe-trotting husband--but he never got around to it. And very soon thereafter he was married, headed home to Scotland, and on his way to becoming the most famous novelist in the world, after writing such classics as Treasure Island, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Kidnapped. But now Brian Doyle brings Stevenson's untold tale to life, braiding the adventures of seaman John Carson with those of a young Stevenson, wandering the streets of San Francisco, gathering material for his fiction, and yearning for his beloved across the bay" --Inside jacket.

Mikhail and Margarita

March 22, 2017
Himes, Julie Lekstrom, author.
New York, N.Y. : Europa Editions, 2017.
375 pages ; 21 cm
It is 1933 and Mikhail Bulgakov's enviable career is on the brink of being dismantled. His friend and mentor, the poet Osip Mandelstam, has been arrested, tortured, and sent into exile. Meanwhile, a mysterious agent of the secret police has developed a growing obsession with exposing Bulgakov as an enemy of the state. To make matters worse, Bulgakov has fallen in love with the dangerously candid Margarita. Facing imminent arrest, and infatuated with Margarita, he is inspired to write his masterpiece, The Master and Margarita, a scathing novel critical of both power and the powerful. Ranging between lively readings in the homes of Moscow's literary elite to the Siberian Gulag, Mikhail and Margarita recounts a passionate love triangle while painting a portrait of a country whose towering literary tradition is at odds with a dictatorship that does not tolerate dissent. Margarita is a strong, idealistic, seductive woman who is fiercely loved by two very different men, both of whom will fail in their attempts to shield her from the machinations of a regime hungry for human sacrifice. Debut novelist Julie Lekstrom Himes launches a rousing defense of art and the artist during a time of systematic deception, and she movingly portrays the ineluctable consequences of love for one of history's most enigmatic literary figures.

The Hollywood daughter : a novel

March 14, 2017
Alcott, Kate, author.
©2017
305 pages ; 25 cm
In 1950, Ingrid Bergman-- already a major star-- has a baby out of wedlock with her Italian lover, film director Roberto Rossellini. Previously held up as an icon of purity, Bergman's fall shocked her legions of American fans. Growing up in Hollywood, Jessica Malloy watches as her PR executive father helps make Ingrid a star at Selznick International Pictures. Over years of fleeting interactions with the actress, Jesse comes to idolize Ingrid, who she considered not only the epitome of elegance and integrity, but also the picture-perfect mother, an area where her own difficult mom falls short. When the stress placed on Jesse's father begins to reveal hidden truths about the Malloy family, Jesse's eyes are opened to the complex realities of life--and love.

The confessions of young Nero

March 13, 2017
George, Margaret, 1943- author.
©2017
514 pages ; 24 cm
"New York Times bestselling author Margaret George has brought history to vivid life with her chronicles of queens and kings. Now, she turns her gaze to an Emperor ... Built on the backs of those who fell before it, Julius Caesar's imperial dynasty is only as strong as the next person who seeks to control it. In the Roman Empire no one is safe from the sting of betrayal: man, woman--or child. As a boy, Nero's royal heritage becomes a threat to his very life, first when the mad emperor Caligula tries to drown him, then when his great aunt attempts to secure her own son's inheritance. Faced with shocking acts of treachery, young Nero is dealt a harsh lesson: it is better to be cruel than dead. While Nero idealizes the artistic and athletic principles of Greece, his very survival rests on his ability to navigate the sea of vipers that is Rome. The most lethal of all is his own mother, a cold-blooded woman whose singular goal is to control the empire. With cunning and poison, the obstacles fall one by one. But as Agrippina's machinations earn her son a title he is both tempted and terrified to assume, Nero's determination to escape her thrall will shape him into the man he was fated to become--an Emperor who became legendary. With impeccable research and captivating prose, The Confessions of Young Nero is the story of a boy's ruthless ascension to the throne. Detailing his journey from innocent youth to infamous ruler, it is an epic tale of the lengths to which man will go in the ultimate quest for power and survival"-- Provided by publisher.

In the name of the family : a novel

March 13, 2017
Dunant, Sarah, author.
New York : Random House, 2017.
429 pages ; 25 cm
In the Name of the Family explores the House of Borgia's final years, in the company of a young diplomat named Niccolò Machiavelli--adapted from book jacket.

Mata Khari : Shpionka

March 7, 2017
Coelho, Paulo, author.
©2016
255 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
First published in Portuguese in Brazil in 2016.
"When Mata Hari arrived in Paris she was penniless. Within months she was the most celebrated woman in the city. As a dancer, she shocked and delighted audiences; as a courtesan, she bewitched the era's richest and most powerful men. But as paranoia consumed a country at war, Mata Hari's lifestyle brought her under suspicion. In 1917, she was arrested in her hotel room on the Champs Elysees, and accused of espionage. Told in Mata Hari's voice through her final letter, The Spy is the unforgettable story of a woman who dared to defy convention and who paid the ultimate price." -- goodreads.com

Shum vremeni

March 7, 2017
Barnes, Julian, author.
Moskva : Izdatelʹstvo "Inostranka", [2016]
285 pages ; 21 cm
"A compact masterpiece dedicated to the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich--Julian Barnes's first novel since his best-selling, Booker Prize-winning The Sense of an Ending. 1936: Shostakovich, just thirty, fears for his livelihood and his life. Stalin, hitherto a distant figure, has taken a sudden interest in his work and denounced his latest opera. Now, certain he will be exiled to Siberia (or, more likely, shot dead on the spot), he reflects on his predicament, his personal history, his parents, various women and wives, his children all of those hanging in the balance of his fate. And though a stroke of luck prevents him from becoming yet another casualty of the Great Terror, for years to come he will be held fast under the thumb of despotism: made to represent Soviet values at a cultural conference in New York City, forced into joining the Party, and compelled, constantly, to weigh appeasing those in power against the integrity of his music. Barnes elegantly guides us through the trajectory of Shostakovich's career, at the same time illuminating the tumultuous evolution of the Soviet Union. The result is both a stunning portrait of a relentlessly fascinating man and a brilliant meditation on the meaning of art and its place in society"-- Provided by publisher.

Girl in disguise

February 28, 2017
Macallister, Greer, author.
©2017
308 pages ; 24 cm
Widowed and in need of a job, Kate Warne convinces Allan Pinkerton that a female detective can go places and do things a male detective cannot. Once hired, Kate becomes skilled at lock picking and surveillance, but she is best in disguise--as a prostitute, rich matron, spinster, clerk, Southern belle--an expert liar, playing a role. She investigates burglaries, bank robberies, embezzlement, counterfeiting, blackmail, and murder. Eventually earning the respect of her fellow detectives, Kate comes up with an ingenious plan to protect President Lincoln from a Southern assassination plot. During the Civil War, she must fight against a formidable adversary--notorious Southern spy Mrs. Rose Greenhow. Well-told and loaded with suspense and action, this historical novel about Kate Warne, the first female detective in 1850s Chicago, is superb.-- adapted from book review.

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