Welcome to Imprint Friday and today's featured imprint: Algonquin Books. Stop by each week to be introduced to a must-read title from one of my favorite imprints. I know you'll be adding many of these books to your wish list.
Thanks to its mix of Ireland, family secrets, twisted timelines, and mysterious journal, I knew I couldn't resist Kevin Fox's Until the Next Time, a multilayered tale of self-discovery and enduring love.
Take a look at the summary:
For Sean Corrigan the past is simply what happened yesterday, until his twenty-first birthday, when he is given a journal left him by his father’s brother Michael—a man he had not known existed. The journal, kept after his uncle fled from New York City to Ireland to escape prosecution for a murder he did not commit, draws Sean into a hunt for the truth about Michael’s fate.What if everything you thought you knew about your family was only a half truth? That's what happened to Sean Corrigan. And to make matters worse, no one will tell him about the other half, the secret half. After his father gives him the beat-up journal and a plane ticket, Sean is on his own, an ocean away from home. In Ireland, he must figure out whom to trust and how to interpret the bits and pieces of information left to him by his dead uncle.
Sean too leaves New York for Ireland, where he is caught up in the lives of people who not only know all about Michael Corrigan but have a score to settle. As his connection to his uncle grows stronger, he realizes that within the tattered journal he carries lies the story of his own life—his past as well as his future—and the key to finding the one woman he is fated to love forever.
Whip-smart and full of suspense, Until the Next Time is a remarkable story about time and memory and the way ancient myths shape our modern lives—from what we believe to whom we love.
The story alternates between the 1970s (Michael's point of view) and the 1990s (Sean), and although their circumstances are vastly different, their lives and thoughts become unexpectedly interwoven. We know only what Michael and Sean know; thus we too are on the quest, theorizing and coming up with our own explanations. Fox is a master at pulling us in and leading us down crooked paths into the Corrigan family history, and we following willingly.
Here's a section from Michael's story, when he first got to Ireland and met a woman named Kate:
I stood there for a minute, waiting for her to say something else. I wanted to leave and I wanted to stay, but she just hid behind her book, invisible. Finally, to save myself from looking more like an idiot, I stepped out into the soft cold rain, wondering if I could find my way back here if I did get lost again.And here is Sean, only hours after getting off the plane:
As the cold started to seep back in, it reminded me that I already was lost, in the middle of a foreign country, pretending to be my brother, running from a murder charge. If she was right, and the only way to find my way was to get back where I started from, I was going to be lost for a long time. Maybe even long enough for my soul to catch up. (p. 68)
I stood in the middle of the kitchen for a minute, and from there I could see the cranberry-colored stain at the bottom of the front stairs—it really did look like dried blood. I'm not much for ghosts or spirits, but I was overtired, and between the noises the house was making, the stories in my uncle's journal, and the darkened wood at the base of the stairs, I was little freaked out. . . .Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, immerse yourself in a family tale in which the border between myth and reality, past and present dissolves in the Irish mists.
In the midst of my exhuastion and confusion, I remembered something Uncle Mike had written in his journal. Something Kate had said to him. Flyin's done too fast nowadays. You go so fast you leave part of your soul behind and now you have to wait for it to catch up. I understood what she meant. The world had shifted around me, and everything was a bit off. I was a stranger in my own head. (p. 100)
For more on Kevin Fox, visit his website, where you'll find an insightful Q&A. Check out his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter. The Readers Round Table edition of Until the Next Time, includes an author's note, the author Q&A, and discussion questions. The Algonquin Books Blog and Algonquin Book Club offer more ways to connect with Fox and the novel.
Algonquin Books is a featured imprint on Beth Fish Reads. For more information about the imprint, please read Executive Editor Chuck Adams's introductory letter, posted here on January 7, 2011.