Thursday, August 30, 2012

August's Apple-a-Month Club Selection: Gone to the Forest by Katie Kitamura

Wait, where did August go? I swear I left it around here somewhere.

Well, now that another month has snuck by without my noticing, it's high time we updated you dear readers on the exploits of the Apple-a-Month Club by introducing our August selection, Gone to the Forest by Katie Kitamura.

We first heard tell of Gone to the Forest months ago -- first from a sales rep whose enthusiasm for the book seemed particularly noteworthy, then over drinks with a fellow bookseller and longtime book buyer who works for a certain other legendary San Francisco bookstore. His raving about Kitamura's novel really sealed the deal, and we got on hands on it as soon as we could (this persuasiveness having nothing to do with the aforementioned drinks involved, I promise).

And then there was Julie Orringer:
“Gone to the Forest is a mesmerizing novel, one whose force builds inexorably as its story unfolds in daring, unexpected strokes.  Kitamura’s prose brings to mind Cormac McCarthy or Jean Rhys, but the music of these lines is all her own—lyrical, sharp-edged, spare, and unafraid. Be warned: you’ll find yourself reading long past midnight, out of breath and wide awake.  This is a bold and powerful book.”
And then there was Salman Rushdie:
One thinks at times of both Coetzee and Gordimer, but Kitamura is very much her own writer, and makes you feel keenly the tragedy of her three lost souls.” 
And THEN we found out that Katie Kitamura loves Green Apple (I hear the phrase "bookstore crush" was used), and while we had already made the decision by that point to send it to our subscribers so clearly we're not just being biased here, flattery never hurts.

Long story of accumulating book-buzz made short, in August, our subscribers were among the first to have a copy of Gone to the Forest put in their hands. Here's our pitch, to add to the chorus of deserved praise this novel has received:
Gone to the Forest is the story of a family in an unnamed colonial country  in an unspecified time, drawing the reader's attention directly to the riveting events taking place in a family in turmoil, with only hints of awareness that the larger world they inhabit is on the brink of civil war. The novel begins with a slow burn; Kitamura's pose, mesmerizing in its sparse, curt description, is a perfect vehicle for this tension as she conveys the complexities of fear, love, and home in the briefest of momentsGone to the Forest offers what few novels can: a story that feels at once eerily familiar and completely singular. In Kitamura's expert hand, it's a story that's sure to spellbind you.
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