Our 25th book club is coming up and that means we’ve read 25 great and not so great books. However it also means there are 25 possibly great books that we’ve left unread. We wanted to do something special for our 25th book club anniversary, so we’re introducing the Zombie Round! All the books that just didn’t make it the first time around get another chance in this zombie round. We’ve made brackets of all 22 books that didn’t make it and over the next few weeks you get to vote which one will get another chance to be read.
Our fourth randomly selected bracket is We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson vs. The Extra Man by Jonathan Ames vs. The Familiar by Mark Z. Danielewski.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle lost in our 19th book club against Who Will Run The Frog Hospital by Lorrie Moore. It was a very close call then, but was it close enough to kick Jackson forward to another round?
Living in the Blackwood family home with only her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian for company, Merricat just wants to preserve their delicate way of life. But ever since Constance was acquitted of murdering the rest of the family, the world isn’t leaving the Blackwoods alone. And when Cousin Charles arrives, armed with overtures of friendship and a desperate need to get into the safe, Merricat must do everything in her power to protect the remaining family.
Meet Louis Ives: well-groomed, romantic, and as captivating as an F. Scott Fitzgerald hero. Only this hero has a penchant for ladies clothes, and he’s lost his teaching post at Princeton’s Pretty Brook Day School after an unfortunate incident involving a colleague’s brassiere.
Meet Henry Harrison: former actor, failed but brilliant playwright, and a well-seasoned escort for New York City’s women of means. He dances alone to Ethel Merman records, second-acts operas, and performs his scrappy life with the dignity befitting a self-styled man of the world. What can this ageless Don Quixote of the Upper East Side have to offer a young gentleman such as Louis? What, indeed.
Well, the answer lies somewhere between the needs of an irascible mentor and the education of his eager apprentice…between cocktails on the Upper East Side and an even more intoxicating treat along the secret fringes of Times Square…and between friendship and longing.
The Familiar is one of the big books we had picked to read over the summer. As most of us are still struggling through Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson, it’s pretty clear that The Familiar didn’t win. Are we going to be daring and pick a HUGE book for our 25th book club?
From the author of the international best seller House of Leaves and National Book Award–nominated Only Revolutions comes a monumental new novel as dazzling as it is riveting. The Familiar (Volume 1) ranges from Mexico to Southeast Asia, from Venice, Italy, to Venice, California, with nine lives hanging in the balance, each called upon to make a terrifying choice. They include a therapist-in-training grappling with daughters as demanding as her patients; an ambitious East L.A. gang member contracted for violence; two scientists in Marfa, Texas, on the run from an organization powerful beyond imagining; plus a recovering addict in Singapore summoned at midnight by a desperate billionaire; and a programmer near Silicon Beach whose game engine might unleash consequences far exceeding the entertainment he intends. At the very heart, though, is a twelve-year-old girl named Xanther who one rainy day in May sets out with her father to get a dog, only to end up trying to save a creature as fragile as it is dangerous . . . which will change not only her life and the lives of those she has yet to encounter, but this world, too—or at least the world we think we know and the future we take for granted.
Who will win round 1.4? Jackson, Ames or even Danielewski? Make your choice.