This Friday and every Friday for the next several months I'll be featuring a book in the Harper Perennial Imprint. Some were recently published, some will be released later this year, all are worth a closer look.
This is the perfect week to introduce you to Laura Kasischke's In a Perfect World. Why? Because hers is an adult novel in the dystopian style. No, you won't find televised hunger games in this book; instead you'll find a fairly ordinary thirty-two-year-old newlywed with new stepchildren trying to stay alive after the pandemic outbreak of the Phoenix flu has brought the world to a halt.
Here's the publisher's summary:
This is the way the world ends . . .One of the interesting things about the novel is that Kasischke researched the effects of the plague (the Black Death) on society and allowed those studies to inform her modern story. It's a scary concept and one that doesn't seem too far out of the realm of possibilities.
It was a fairy tale come true when Mark Dorn—handsome pilot, widower, tragic father of three—chose Jiselle to be his wife. The other flight attendants were jealous: She could quit now, leaving behind the million daily irritations of the job. (Since the outbreak of the Phoenix flu, passengers had become even more difficult and nervous, and a life of constant travel had grown harder.) She could move into Mark Dorn's precious log cabin and help him raise his three beautiful children.
But fairy tales aren't like marriage. Or motherhood. With Mark almost always gone, Jiselle finds herself alone, and lonely. She suspects that Mark's daughters hate her. And the Phoenix flu, which Jiselle had thought of as a passing hysteria (when she had thought of it at all), well . . . it turns out that the Phoenix flu will change everything for Jiselle, for her new family, and for the life she thought she had chosen.
From critically acclaimed author Laura Kasischke comes a novel of married life, motherhood, and the choices we must make when we have no choices left.
I normally entice you into a featured novel by sharing reviews, the book trailer, or part of an author reading. Today, I'm going to share the opening paragraphs, to give you a sample of Kasischke's writing:
If you are READING this you are going to DIE!I hope these lines caught your attention as much as they did mine.
Jiselle put the diary back on the couch where she found it and went outside with the watering can. It was already eighty-five degrees, but a morning breeze was blowing out of the west, shifting fragrantly through the ravine. She breathed it in, knelt down, and peered beneath the stones that separated the garden from the lawn. . . .
A bit of shade there, a tangled circle of violets was hidden—pale blue and purple. Small, tender, silky, blinking. If they had voices, she thought, they would be giggling.
This book was featured as part of my Spotlight on the Harper Perennial imprint. For information about the imprint, please read Erica Barmash's welcome note posted here on June 18, 2010. I encourage you to add your reviews of Harper Perennial books to the review link-up page; it's a great way to discover Good Books for Cool People. See the alphabetized review index to see what others are saying. And don't miss the The Olive Reader, the Harper Perennial blog.