This month’s books are full of surprises, for their characters and their readers. Whether it’s a world of whimsy, fantasy, or magic(al realism), or else a microcosm of grief either private (a family home) or public (a busy airport), we’re along for the ride as imagined worlds both playful and harrowing rise and fall on these pages.
Play for Me by Céline Keating, The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog by Alicia Ostriker, Munich Airportby Greg Baxter, Where the Bird Sings Best by Alejandro Jodorowsky,The Cold Song by Linn Ullmann
Sometimes I have to leave the house, get out in the world and write among other people. Not that I want anything to do with any of them. I just want to set up among them, the better to hunker down. I’m looking to be anonymous. I’m looking for a place where I can concentrate on my characters while ignoring people. A place where the rest of humanity provides a soothing backdrop, a therapeutic white noise.
Kirsten entered this particular Starbucks right after her interview at The Wilderness Foundation across the street. It had not gone well. She’d exited into the midmorning glare and crossed the street in the direction the traffic light permitted—she had to go one way or another—and continued through the glass revolving door to the counter, where she ordered a grande hot chocolate, yes on the whipped cream. Set down her bag, claimed a table. Two mothers worked their strollers around the table to her left like lawnmowers around a mailbox. A man dialing his cell phone took the table to her right.