27 August 2010

Featuring . . . In a Perfect World by Laura Kasischke

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 . . .

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.
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.

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!

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.
I hope these lines caught your attention as much as they did mine.

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.

In a Perfect World at Powell's
In a Perfect World at Book Depository
These links lead to affiliate programs.

Published by HarperCollins / Harper Perennial, June 2010
ISBN-13: 9780061766114


Julie P. 8/27/10, 6:30 AM  

This was a good one! The Blog Talk Radio show was good too!

Tea 8/27/10, 7:35 AM  

The Phoenix flu in the mix catches my interest. Serious illness and/or death can change a whole family's dynamics. I would like to read the book.

Meghan 8/27/10, 8:46 AM  

This sounds awesome! I love the idea of an adult dystopia and that opening paragraph is great. I'm definitely putting it on my wishlist.

Jennifer 8/27/10, 1:26 PM  

Thanks. Now I want to read the book now.

Anonymous,  8/27/10, 1:31 PM  

This sounds like a great book! Amongst my fellow bloggers, I'm know as a bit of a dystopia buff. So I will read it, for sure!

caite 8/27/10, 1:47 PM  

well, if you are reading this, you are going to die!
hopefully not right this minute, but you never know.

Cathy 8/27/10, 1:56 PM  

I've got this book on my TBR shelves. Oh for the super power of being able to read two dozen books at the same time!

Book Club Girl 8/27/10, 2:38 PM  

I'm so glad you liked this one - as a stepmother I've always felt oddly connected to it! and great timing to feature it this week. I'm expecting to stay up all night tonight to finish Mockingjay.

Michelle 8/27/10, 7:57 PM  

I read this one some time ago. It was one of those dystopian reads that scares the pants off of you. Not because it's scary in the grand sense but because it has the potential to actually happen in real life. Definitely an interesting read.

The Tome Traveller 8/28/10, 1:40 PM  

Another one for my wishlist!!

christina 8/29/10, 12:11 PM  

I ordered this book. It looks so good.

The Reading Momster 8/30/10, 1:48 AM  

Wow.. Phoenix flu.. it sounds so real.. and it could happen now. Sounds like a good one.

Louise 9/1/10, 11:41 AM  

Sounds like something I need to order right away!!!

I had to scroll down on your site because of all the Mockingjay-posts. I just received the book myself yesterday (finally!) and haven't really had the nerve to be around the bookblogging world since so many are talking about it. I just have to finish my current read, and then it is on to Mockingjay. Can't wait!!!

Alice 9/1/10, 7:59 PM  

It sure did catch my attention! This is an interesting book. I will keep this in mind.

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