New Arrivals · Biographical Fiction

July 11, 2018
These titles were recently added to the collection of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

The Romanov empress : a novel of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna

July 10, 2018
Gortner, C. W., author.
New York : Ballantine Books, [2018]
427 pages : maps ; 24 cm
Marrying the Romanov heir, nineteen-year-old Danish princess Minnie becomes empress of Russia and treads a perilous path of compromise in a beloved but resistance-torn country where her son becomes the last tsar.

The frontman : a novel

July 10, 2018
Bahar, Ron, author.
Tempe, Arizona : SparkPress, 2018.
245 pages ; 22 cm
"Ron Bahar is an insecure, self-deprecating, seventeen-year-old Nebraskan striving to please his Israeli immigrant parents, Ophira and Ezekiel, while remaining true to his own dreams. During his senior year of high school, he begins to date longtime crush and non-Jewish girl Amy Andrews--a forbidden relationship he hides from his parents. But that's not the only complicated part of Ron's life: he's also struggling to choose between his two passions, medicine and music. As time goes on, he becomes entangled in a compelling world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Will he do the right thing?"--Back cover.

History of violence

June 27, 2018
Louis, Édouard, author.
©2018
212 pages ; 20 cm
"...On Christmas Eve 2012, in Paris, the novelist Édouard Louis was raped and almost murdered by a man he had just met. This act of violence left Louis shattered; its aftermath made him a stranger to himself and sent him back to the village, the family, and the past he had sworn to leave behind. A bestseller in France; challenged and vindicated in the courts; History of Violence is a short nonfiction novel in the tradition of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, but with the victim as its subject. Moving seamlessly and hypnotically between past and present, between Louis's voice and the voice of an imagined narrator, History of Violence has the exactness of a police report and the searching, unflinching curiosity of memoir at its best. It records not only the casual racism and homophobia of French society but also their subtle effects on lovers, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives. It represents a great step forward for a young writer whose acuity, skill, and depth are unmatched by any novelist of his generation, in French or English."--Amazon.com.

My German brother

June 20, 2018
Buarque, Chico, 1944- author.
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018.
199 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
"Originally published in Portuguese in 2014 by Companhia das Letras, Brazil, as O Irmão Alemão."
"An uproarious novel about a Brazilian man's often sordid, lifelong search for a possibly imaginary half-brother, born in Germany just before the Second World War"--Provided by publisher.

The removes

June 18, 2018
Soli, Tatjana, author.
New York : Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018.
370 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Traces the intertwining stories of Civil War hero George Armstrong Custer, his frontierswoman wife Libbie, and fifteen-year-old Anne Cummins, a captive of the Cheyenne after surviving a homestead attack.

Never anyone but you

June 7, 2018
Thomson, Rupert, author.
New York : Other Press, [2018]
350 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
In the years preceding World War I, two young women meet, by chance, in a provincial town in France. Suzanne Malherbe, a shy seventeen-year-old with a talent for drawing, is completely entranced by the brilliant but troubled Lucie Schwob, who comes from a family of wealthy Jewish intellectuals. They embark on a clandestine love affair, terrified they will be discovered, but then, in an astonishing twist of fate, the mother of one marries the father of the other. As "sisters" they are finally free of suspicion, and, hungry for a more stimulating milieu, they move to Paris at a moment when art, literature, and politics blend in an explosive cocktail. Having reinvented themselves as Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, they move in the most glamorous social circles, meeting everyone from Hemingway and Dalí to André Breton, and produce provocative photographs that still seem avant-garde today. In the 1930s, with the rise of anti-Semitism and threat of fascism, they leave Paris for Jersey, and it is on this idyllic island that they confront their destiny, creating a campaign of propaganda against Hitler's occupying forces that will put their lives in jeopardy.

Side by side

June 7, 2018
Walsh, Jenni L., author.
New York : Forge, 2018.
320 pages ; 24 cm.
Sequel to: Becoming Bonnie.
Texas: 1931. It's the height of the Great Depression, and Bonnie is miles from Clyde. When Clyde returns from prison damaged and distant, unable to keep a job, and dogged by the cops, Bonnie knows the law will soon come for him. But there's only one road forward for her. If the world won't give them their American Dream, they'll just have to take it.

Another side of paradise : a novel

June 4, 2018
Koslow, Sally.
©2018
340 pages ; 24 cm
In 1937 Hollywood, gossip columnist Sheilah Graham's star is on the rise, while literary wonder boy F. Scott Fitzgerald's career is slowly drowning in booze. But the once-famous author, desperate to make money penning scripts for the silver screen, is charismatic enough to attract the gorgeous Miss Graham, a woman who exposes the secrets of others while carefully guarding her own. Like Fitzgerald's hero Jay Gatsby, Graham has meticulously constructed a life far removed from the poverty of her childhood in London's slums. And like Gatsby, the onetime guttersnipe learned early how to use her charms to become a hardworking success; she is feted and feared by both the movie studios and their luminaries. A notorious drunk famously married to the doomed Zelda, Fitzgerald fell hard for his "Shielah" (he never learned to spell her name), a shrewd yet softhearted woman--both a fool for love and nobody's fool--who would stay with him and help revive his career until his tragic death three years later. Working from Sheilah's memoirs, interviews, and letters, Sally Koslow revisits their scandalous love affair and Graham's dramatic transformation in London, bringing Graham and Fitzgerald gloriously to life with the color, glitter, magic, and passion of 1930s Hollywood.

The wreckage of Eden

June 4, 2018
Lock, Norman, 1950- author.
New York : Bellevue Literary Press, 2018.
285 pages ; 19 cm
When U.S. Army chaplain Robert Winter first meets Emily Dickinson, he is fascinated by the brilliance of the strange girl immersed in her botany lessons. She will become his confidante, obsession, and muse over the years as he writes to her of his friendship with the aspiring politician Abraham Lincoln, his encounter with the young newspaperman Samuel Clemens, and his crisis of conscience concerning the radical abolitionist John Brown.

A view of the empire at sunset

May 25, 2018
Phillips, Caryl, author.
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018.
324 pages ; 22 cm
Caryl Phillips's A View of the Empire at Sunset is the sweeping story of the life of the woman who became known to the world as Jean Rhys. Born Ella Gwendolyn Rees Williams in Dominica at the height of the British Empire, Rhys lived in the Caribbean for only sixteen years before going to England. A View of the Empire at Sunset is a look into her tempestuous and unsatisfactory life in Edwardian England, 1920s Paris, and then again in London. Her dream had always been to one day return home to Dominica. In 1936, a forty-five-year-old Rhys was finally able to make the journey back to the Caribbean. Six weeks later, she boarded a ship for England, filled with hostility for her home, never to return. Phillips's gripping new novel is equally a story about the beginning of the end of a system that had sustained Britain for two centuries but that wreaked havoc on the lives of all who lived in the shadow of the empire: both men and women, colonizer and colonized. A true literary feat, A View of the Empire at Sunset uncovers the mysteries of the past to illuminate the predicaments of the present, getting at the heart of alienation, exile, and family by offering a look into the life of one of the greatest storytellers of the twentieth century and retelling a profound story that is singularly its own.

Ike and Kay

May 25, 2018
MacManus, James, author.
New York : The Overlook Press, 2018.
307 pages ; 24 cm
Reimagines the affair between General Eisenhower and Kay Summersby as they traveled through Europe together on the eve of the final assault on Nazi Germany.

The optickal illusion : a novel

May 25, 2018
Halliburton, Rachel, author.
New York : Overlook Duckworth, 2018.
382 pages ; 24 cm
"It is 1797 and in Georgian London, nothing is certain anymore: the future of the monarchy is in question, the city is aflame with conspiracies, and the French could invade any day. Amidst this feverish atmosphere, the American painter Benjamin West is visited by a dubious duo comprised of a blundering father and vibrant daughter, the Provises, who claim they have a secret that has obsessed painters for centuries: the Venetian techniques of master painter Titian. West was once the most celebrated painter in London, but he hasn’t produced anything of note in years, so against his better judgment he agrees to let the intriguing Ann Jemima Provis visit his studio and demonstrate the techniques from the document. What unravels reveals more than West has ever understood―about himself, the treachery of the art world, and the seductive promise of greatness."--Inside dust jacket.

My mother's son : a novel

May 18, 2018
Hirshberg, David, author.
Bedford, New York : Fig Tree Books, 2018.
ix, 357 pages ; 24 cm
"Hirshberg's debut novel packs both emotional punch and a vivid portrait of Jewish American life in post-WWII Boston...It is a story told by a radio raconteur revisiting his past in post-World War II Boston, the playground and battleground for two brothers whose lives are transformed by discoveries they never could have imagined. From the opening line of the book, "When you're a kid, they don't always tell you the truth," the stage is set for this riveting coming-of-age story that plays out against the backdrop of the Korean War, the aftermath of the Holocaust, the polio epidemic, the relocation of a baseball team, and the shenanigans of politicians and businessmen. Hirshberg deftly weaves together events, characters, and clues and creates a rich tapestry of betrayal, persecution, death, loyalty, and unconditional love that resonates with today's America.

So lucky

May 18, 2018
Griffith, Nicola, author.
New York : MCD/FSG Originals, [2018]
180 pages ; 19 cm
Mara Tagarelli is, professionally, the head of a multimillion-dollar AIDS foundation; personally, she is a committed martial artist. But her life has turned inside out like a sock. She can't rely on family, her body is letting her down, and friends and colleagues are turning away--they treat her like a victim. She needs to break that narrative: build her own community, learn new strengths, and fight. But what do you do when you find out that the story you've been told, the story you'vetold yourself, is not true? How can you fight if you can't trust your body? Who can you rely on if those around you don't have your best interests at heart, and the systems designed to help do more harm than good? Mara makes a decision and acts, but her actions unleash monsters aimed squarely at the heart of her new community. This is fiction from the front lines, incandescent and urgent, a narrative juggernaut that rips through sentiment to expose the savagery of America's treatment of the disabled and chronically ill. But So Lucky also blazes with hope and a ferocious love of self, of the life that becomes possible when we stop believing lies.

Love and ruin : a novel

May 3, 2018
McLain, Paula, author.
New York : Ballantine Books, [2018]
388 pages ; 25 cm
"In 1937, twenty-eight-year-old Martha Gellhorn travels alone to Madrid to report on the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War and becomes drawn to the stories of ordinary people caught in the devastating conflict. It's the adventure she's been looking for and her chance to prove herself a worthy journalist in a field dominated by men. But she also finds herself unexpectedly--and uncontrollably--falling in love with Hemingway, a man on his way to becoming a legend. In the shadow of the impending Second World War, and set against the turbulent backdrops of Madrid and Cuba, Martha and Ernest's relationship and their professional careers ignite. But when Ernest publishes the biggest literary success of his career, For Whom the Bell Tolls, they are no longer equals, and Martha must make a choice: surrender to the confining demands of being a famous man's wife or risk losing Ernest by forging a path as her own woman and writer."-- Provided by publisher.

The linden tree

May 1, 2018
Aira, César, 1949-
New York, N.Y. : New Directions Publishing Corporation, 2018.
92 pages ; 18 cm.
"Originally published in Argentina as El tilo by Beatriz Viterbo Editora"--Title page verso.
"The narrator, who could be Aira himself (born the same year, in the same place, a writer who is now also living in Buenos Aires) writes down his childhood memories"--Provided by publisher.

He : a novel

April 26, 2018
Connolly, John, 1968- author.
©2017
456 pages ; 24 cm
Awed like everyone else by Chaplin's genius (and ambition and cruelty), Stan Laurel despaired of ever finding his own path to success or happiness. When impresario Hal Roach put him and Oliver Hardy, affectionately known as Babe, together on screen, the partnership bloomed into a professional and personal relationship of lifelong depth. Laurel became one of the greatest screen comedians the world has ever known. He knew both adoration and humiliation; loved, and was loved. He never sought to cause pain to anyone else, yet left a trail of affairs and broken marriages in his wake. But his life was ultimately defined by one relationship of tenderness and devotion that only death could sever: his love for Babe.-- Adapted from jacket.

Ecstasy : a novel

April 12, 2018
Sharratt, Mary, 1964- author.
©2018
xi, 387 pages ; 24 cm
"A novel of Klimt's muse and Mahler's greatest love: Alma Mahler, the woman whose life would define and defy an era"--Provided by publisher.

My dear Hamilton : a novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton

April 5, 2018
Dray, Stephanie, author.
©2018
xii, 641, 16 pages ; 21 cm
Includes "P.S. insights, interviews & more" (16 pages)
Tells the story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton, a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. Tells not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal - but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right.-- Provided by publisher.

Whisper of the Moon Moth

April 2, 2018
Ashford, Lindsay Jayne.
Seattle : Lake Union Press, [2017]
338 pages ; 21 cm
"[I]nspired by the real-life story of movie actress Merle Oberon. What follows is my interpretation of the facts, interwoven with some sequences that are purely imaginary ..."--"Author's note", 4 pages before page 1.
1931, Calcutta. Anglo-Indian girls like Estelle Thompson are considered half-breeds, shunned by both English and Indian society. Her only escape is through the silver screen, where she can forget the world around her. When Estelle catches the eye of a dashing American heir with connections to a major motion-picture studio, she soon has a one-way ticket to London and a recommendation for a screen test. To get to the top she must keep her Indian heritage concealed, and assumes a new identity as Merle Oberon. As her dreams are poised to come true, she discovers that her own family is keeping a shocking secret that changes everything she's believed about her past.

Varina : a novel

March 30, 2018
Frazier, Charles, 1950- author.
New York, NY : Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2018.
356 pages ; 24 cm
"Her marriage prospects limited, teenage Varina Howell agrees to wed the much-older widower Jefferson Davis, with whom she expects the secure life of a Mississippi landowner. Davis instead pursues a career in politics and is eventually appointed president of the Confederacy, placing Varina at the white-hot center of one of the darkest moments in American history"--Provided by publisher.

I was Anastasia : a novel

March 29, 2018
Lawhon, Ariel, author.
©2018
333 pages ; 25 cm
In this "historical suspense, Ariel Lawhon unravels the extraordinary twists and turns in Anna Anderson's 50-year battle to be recognized as Anastasia Romanov. Is she the Russian Grand Duchess, a beloved daughter and revered icon, or is she an imposter, the thief of another woman's legacy?"-- Provided by publisher.

Undiscovered country : a novel inspired by the lives of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok

March 14, 2018
McNees, Kelly O'Connor, author.
New York : Pegasus Books, 2018.
284 pages ; 24 cm
In 1932, New York City, top reporter Lorena "Hick" Hickok starts each day with a front page byline--and finishes it swigging bourbon and planning her next big scoop. But an assignment to cover FDR's campaign--and write a feature on his wife, Eleanor--turns Hick's hard-won independent life on its ear. Soon her work, and the secret entanglement with the new first lady, will take her from New York and Washington to Scotts Run, West Virginia, where impoverished coal miners' families wait in fear that the New Deal's promised hope will pass them by. Together, Eleanor and Hick imagine how the new town of Arthurdale could change the fate of hundreds of lives. But doing what is right does not come cheap, and Hick will pay in ways she never could have imagined. Undiscovered Country artfully mixes fact and fiction to portray the intense relationship between this unlikely pair. Inspired by the historical record, including the more than three thousand letters Hick and Eleanor exchanged over a span of thirty years, McNees tells this story through Hick's tough, tender, and unforgettable voice. A remarkable portrait of Depression-era America, this novel tells the poignant story of how a love that was forced to remain hidden nevertheless changed history.

The cloister : a novel

March 12, 2018
Carroll, James, 1943- author.
©2017
364 pages ; 24 cm
After Father Michael Kavanagh sees a friend from his seminary days at the altar of his humble Inwood community parish, he wanders into the medieval haven of The Cloisters. In conversation with museum guide Rachel Vedette, he finds she retreated to the quiet of The Cloisters after her harrowing experience as a Jewish woman in France during the Holocaust. She shares with Kavanagh her late father's greatest intellectual work: a study demonstrating the relationship between the famously discredited monk Peter Abelard and Jewish scholars-- and the romance between Abelard and his intellectual equal Héloïse.

In black and white : a novel

March 7, 2018
Tanizaki, Jun'ichirō, 1886-1965, author.
New York : Columbia University Press, [2017]
xii, 238 pages ; 23 cm.
Originally published in Japanese as Kokubyaku.
Translator's preface -- Author's words in place of a preface -- In black and white -- Author's apology on the conclusion -- Translator's afterword -- Translator's acknowledgments.
"Black and White is a full translation of Tanizaki Jun'ichirō's 1928 novel, Kokubyaku, with an introduction that identifies the special conditions that might have made it a "lost" novel. This novel offers a window into Tanizaki's life and work at a critical transition point in his career. The introduction focuses on the moment Tanizaki astounded the literary world in 1928 by writing three novels in the same year, after several years of relative silence following the 1923 Great Kantō Earthquake. Two of the three (Some Prefer Nettles and Quicksand) immediately became famous; this third disappeared from view. The novel tells the story of a writer who in essence kills another writer with his writing. In it, an obsessive paranoid fantasy turns out to invade "real life," and it ends with a man confessing to a murder he did not commit. Over the course of the story, he (the character? the author?) invents a character he calls the "Shadow Man," who is out to entrap the writer (the protagonist? the author?) and destroy him. The tone of the story is comic rather than tragic, sardonic rather than dramatic. There is a peculiar ambiguity between author and character that distinguishes the story from the usual "I-novel" genre of the day; the novel is autobiographical in an unusual way, although Tanizaki was never considered an autobiographical writer. The central questions the introduction addresses are: What is autobiographical in the novel; who was killed and why; and how did that elimination help make Tanizaki a great writer?"-- Provided by publisher.

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