THE ART OF ADAPTING by Cassandra Dunn is one of those novels that stays with you for a long time after you finish it. It seems pretty straightforward -- Lana's husband has left her, she caring for her two teen children, and for her brother Matt, who has Asperger's syndrome. His need for routine is in sharp contrast to the household's current tumult. The characters kept surprising me, and I rooted for them more with each page. It's a very experiential novel, which means that actually reading it is wonderful and satisfying and moving and exhilarating in a way that reading ABOUT it can't be. I hope many of you will read this novel and enjoy it as much as I have.
THE HUNDRED YEAR HOUSE by Rebecca Makkai is one of the most uniquely structured novels I've ever read. The plot unfolds as the story moves backwards. It's set in a family home turned artists' colony, one with a history on par with Yaddo. Doug, married to Zoe, whose legacy is the house/colony property, is trying to unravel the mystery surrounding one of its long-term resident poets. He needs to land a book deal/university position and this is his last hope -- (as he makes a few bucks writing-for-hire a teen series). Meanwhile Zoe goes to great lengths to make sure her husband gets a position, taking some surprising and shocking actions that redefine her life. The book deals with that tightrope between those in the arts and those who condescend to artists in a completely unique way.
OWEN'S DAUGHTER by Jo-Ann Mapson surprised me for all the right reasons, too. Skye is freshly out of rehab, and wants to re-establish a relationship with her daughter (who has disappeared with her husband). The husband doesn't show to pick her up -- but her estranged father does, on horseback. This odd reunion sets the stage for a series of discoveries as Skye and Owen look for Skye's daughter, and Owen reconnects with a former love.
These books will be on the shelves in a few days; I hope you'll either order them or come in and look through them in person. I sincerely hope you enjoy them.