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How We Assembled Indiespensable #36

After J. Robert Lennon's last two books, Castle and Pieces for the Left Hand, the New York Times Book Review wrote, "Over the last decade, J. Robert Lennon's literary imagination has grown increasingly morbid, convoluted and peculiar — just as his books have grown commensurately more surprising, rigorous and fun." We agree (especially about that second part). Lennon's new novel, Familiar, is his most remarkable, unusual, and moving to date.

Familiar is an eerie, riveting exploration of identity and meaning. Elisa Brown is driving back from visiting her son's grave when, in an instant, everything changes. She finds herself in a different car, wearing different clothes — in a different life! In this strange parallel world, both her sons are alive and her relationship with her husband has dramatically changed. In lucid, intelligent prose, Lennon chronicles with page-turning urgency Elisa's struggle to understand what has happened, who she is, and what she can do — or wants to do — about this possible second chance. Lennon is at the top of his form, and we are thrilled to have chosen Familiar as Volume 36 of Indiespensable.

We're also glad to be working with Graywolf Press again, one of our favorite independent publishers (long-time subscribers might remember previous Graywolf selections: The Wilding by Benjamin Percy and I Curse the River of Time by Per Petterson). Exclusively for Indiespensable subscribers, we've created a beautiful hardcover edition of Familiar — which was originally published only in paperback.

We've also included an advance reader's edition of Dark Lies the Island by Kevin Barry,
the bestselling author of City of Bohane. Though it won't be published for another year (Indiespensable subscribers are getting an exclusive advance peek), Barry's forthcoming book is already garnering awards and rave reviews in the U.K.

To top it all off, we tossed in some handcrafted white-chocolate-almond toffee from local confectioner Broken Top Toffee. We will not admit how much toffee was consumed in the sampling process!

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A collective of high muckamucks, the Panjandrums largely spend their time in competitive Bananagram duels and negotiations regarding Pie Friday — not to mention painstakingly designing each installment of Powell's subscription club, Indiespensable, with the help of independent publishers and local merchants. From time to time, they find it entertaining to give you a look at the hows and whys behind the what. But, if you're yearning for more, send questions, suggestions, and random anecdotes to (They especially like stories about pets, babies, and pie fillings.)

Books mentioned in this post

  1. Castle Used Trade Paper $6.95
  2. Pieces for the Left Hand: Stories
    New Trade Paper $14.00
  3. City of Bohane
    Used Hardcover $9.95
  4. Familiar
    Sale Trade Paper $7.98
  5. Dark Lies the Island Used Hardcover $16.50

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