New in Paperback: The Illusion of Separateness, Lighthouse Island, The Skull and the Nightingale

A few reads that deserve a second shot at some display space…

This was an Indie Next Pick and Van Booy remains a bookseller favorite with good reason. His prose is lush yet economical, the story profound and imbued with a simple, poignant humanity. Inspired by true events, this is the story of six seeming strangers whose lives prove inextricably linked. A gorgeous story.

“The uncanny beauty of Van Booy’s prose, and his ability to knife straight to the depths of a character’s heart, fill a reader with wonder….There are so many wonderful sentences in this book, a reviewer groans for want of room to list them.”
   — San Francisco Chronicle

“Masterful prose….From minimalistic sentences he wrings out maximum impact, stripping away artifice and elaboration in favor of stark, emotional clarity and honesty.”
   — Boston Globe

“His writing is consciously poetic and at times aphoristic, and he deftly portrays his characters’ raw emotions.”
— Wall Street Journal

The Illusion of Separateness (9780062248459) by Simon Van Booy. $14.99 trade paper original 7/29/14 on sale.


This is a novel for those who like their dystopic fiction to lean literary. A paean to reading, narrative tradition and the power of stories to fuel imagination, it is also a story about the power of imagination to save lives. Nadia is a young orphan who travels through a new American Dust Bowl searching for a brighter future. If that recalls Steinbeck… well there you go. You’ll get a bracing dose of other literary echoes, too, in this story about stories and how they save our lives.

“Although the novel’s “Drought Age” sounds a serious Ancient Mariner warning, Lighthouse Island initially engages readers as a literary lark, with Nadia taking turns playing Alice exploring dry land, Huck lying his way out of tight spots and Isabel Archer searching for the fiction-based ideal. When life becomes too oppressive, Nadia listens to readings from classic authors on an anachronistic ‘Big Radio.’”

Lighthouse Island (9780062232519) by Paulette Jiles. $15.99 trade paper. 7/29/14 on sale.


Super reviews for this delicious historical thriller. Both literary and sexy, with nods to Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Clarissa, 18th century literary specialist Irwin offers up vivid, visceral, page turning suspense.

“Evokes Tom Jones, The Crimson Petal and the White, and Les Liaisons Dangereuses. . . . Irwin has crafted a terrific historical novel, and an even better psychological thriller. A-”
— Entertainment Weekly

“Amid Irwin’s spot-on descriptions of 18-century England’s squalor and splendor, the masquerades and dinner parties, this passion play mostly rests between the sheets where Lust lies. . . . Irwin’s secondary characters also fascinate . . . A tale of morals, intriguingly told.”
   — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

The Skull and the Nightingale (9780062202369) by Michael Irwin.  $14.99 trade paper. 8/12/14 on sale.


“[A] provocative novel . . . This surprisingly dark story of twisted head-games and base instincts is, by turns, troubling and engrossing.”
— Booklist


“[V]ividly renders the darker side of the Age of Enlightenment. Readers who like their history served up with conquest and betrayal will enjoy this page-turner.”
   — Library Journal.”

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