PW is enamored with "Middlesex" by Jeffrey Eugenides (Farrar, Straus; September 4), giving it a starred, boxed review, its highest accolade. "FORECAST: The allure of 'The Virgin Suicides,' in book and movie form, has created a ready-made audience for Eugenides' long-awaited second novel. 'Middlesex' more than delivers, and its publication will be a genuine publishing event, including a 10-city author tour. A novel starring a hermaphrodite on bestseller lists? Stranger things have happened."
Kirkus is stunned by "Blood Diamonds: Tracing the Path of the World's Most Precious Stones" by Greg Campbell (Westview; September), giving it a starred review. "The sorry role the diamond has played in the history of Sierra Leone, stunningly told by journalist Campbell ('The Road to Kosovo,' 1999)...Readers of Campbell's horrific tale from killing fields to corporate boardrooms and all the seedy, murderous, and pathetic characters that fall between who don't demand proof-of-source on any diamond purchase ought to have their ethics examined."
PW pulls out all the stops for "The Crimson Petal and the White" by Michael Faber (Harcourt; September), giving it a starred, boxed review. "Faber's bawdy, brilliant second novel tells an intricate tale of love and ambition and paints a new portrait of Victorian England and its citizens in prose crackling with insight and bravado. Using the wealthy Rackham clan as a focal point for his sprawling, gorgeous epic, Faber, like Dickens or Hardy, explores an era's secrets and social hypocrisy...A marvelous story of erotic love, sin, familial conflicts and class prejudice, this is a deeply entertaining masterwork that will hold readers captive until the final page. FORECAST: Harcourt executive editor Ann Patty calls this 'the first great 19th-century novel of the 21st century,' and she's right: it's just the sort of gorgeous Dickensian doorstopper that serious readers will cozy up with as the fall winds start blowing." Author tour.
On August 25, Oxford University will publish "Restoration of the Republic: The Jeffersonian Ideal in 21st-Century America" by former Senator Gary Hart. Says Kirkus, "Scholarly dissertation meets populist manifesto in politico Hart's case for increased citizen involvement in government...Despite some pie-in-the-sky elements, the argument merits discussion, and the prescriptions are delivered coherently and effectively."
In October, Perseus will publish "Nader: Crusader, Spoiler, Icon" by Justin Martin. According to the publisher, "For this probing biography, the first since 1975, Justin Martin spoke with Nader along with more than 300 people, including close associates, old friends, and family. The result is a sweeping portrait, covering Nader's small-town Connecticut boyhood, his days at Harvard law, the David-and-Goliath battle with GM that launched him into the spotlight, and colorful encounters with characters as varied as Albert Einstein, Gloria Steinem, Fidel Castro, Phil Donahue, Susan Sarandon, Upton Sinclair and Al Gore. The climax of this extraordinary story is an astonishingly revealing insider's account of the 2000 election."
In November, Basic will publish "Square Peg: Confessions of a Citizen Senator" by Utah Senator Orrin Hatch. According to the publisher, "He gives behind-the-scenes looks at what really went on during some of the most controversial and important debates of his career, including the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, the Clinton impeachment hearings, and the current struggle over anti-terrorism legislation."
On August 27, Doubleday will publish "September 11: An Oral History" by Dean E. Murphy. Kirkus is moved to tears, giving the book a starred review. "Soul-stirring firsthand accounts terrifying transports of living through the disasters of September 11, as told to NYT reporter Murphy. Murphy was one of the reporters who covered that grave day and its aftermath, and for this collection he took on the unenviable task of asking those who survived by the skin of their teeth to relive the catastrophe, plus a handful of people, who by the grace of fortune, who were slow at making their morning coffee or decided to change travel plans and so missed a doomed airplane...One of the real keepers of the flurry of 9/11 publications, destined to find a place on the shelf and be turned to time and again."
FROM THE MASTHEAD:
In September, Vintage will publish "The Vintage Book of War Fiction," a paperback original edited by Sebastian Faulks and Jörg Hensgen. The book contains an excerpt from "My Favorite War," a novel by TIME senior editor Chris Farley. Also included are some 40 short stories and novel excerpts from writers such as Ernest Hemingway, Norman Mailer and Joseph Heller.
TIME senior writer Jeffrey Kluger just sold a book proposal to Putnam. Says Kluger, "The proposal is about Jonas Salk and the polio vaccine. It won't be a sweeping, door-stop sized bio. Instead it will be more of a medical sleuthing story, focusing on the critical years between 1952 and 1955. The book is pegged to come out in the spring of 2004, which is the 50th anniversary of the great field trial that proved the vaccine successful. Jonas Salk's family is cooperating in the research, opening his private files, lab books, and letters, which should make the work immeasurably easier."
TIME senior writer Michael Lemonick is currently writing "Echo of the Big Bang" for Princeton University. "The essence of the book is that there is a satellite currently in orbit that's measuring left-over radiation from the Big Bang, and looking at it with much greater precision than anyone has ever done before," says Lemonick. "This satellite is going to report its findings in January, and it's either going to confirm existing ideas about how the Big Bang happened, or throw 20 years of assumptions and research out the window. We're hoping for the latter, because that will make it a lot more newsworthy." Princeton hopes to have the book out by March.