Hot new releases and under-the-radar gems for adults and kids.
Our favorite books of the year.
The Best Books of 2019 (So Far)
A beguiling mix of midlife middle-class ennui, people-will-talk village intrigue, and full-on pagan folk horror. Experimental, but not difficult once you tune into the gaggle of quietly desperate voices, it brilliantly conveys the damp of the English countryside and the mustiness of an environment where everyone knows (or thinks they know) your business. Subliminal, hallucinogenic, and edged with terror. Recommended By Mark S., Powells.com
Lanny is a marvel — an extraordinary mythological examination of childhood and a gorgeous prose extravaganza of voices and narratives. Max Porter somehow captures the deep magic and blunt prosaic rhythms of life in the same sentences. Completely unique and absolutely worthwhile. Recommended By Jill O., Powells.com
The stage is set: Author Max Porter is the Pied Piper, and you are being called. Lanny will play your heart like a flute, luring you into its song of childhood landscapes, extending nature forward into its wild, animated state. And when the tune is complete, it will have fulfilled all its promises of consequence and heartbreak, in an astounding encore of reverie. Recommended By Aubrey W., Powells.com
A contemporary English folktale, a hybrid re-envisioning of ancient Green Man legends, and a multifaceted glimpse of a small, post-Brexit British village, Lanny interweaves ancient and contemporary British culture through its playful reinvention of fairy tale and myth. Dark, lyrical, and full of pathos, Porter is a master of writing about the challenges and joys of family, and particularly, of parental love. While many parts of the book are enigmatic and even puzzling, Lanny ultimately invites the reader to interpret the story how they wish. This is, the book seems to suggest, the power of myth. We can make it our own. Recommended By Ariel K., Powells.com
Porter writes the oddest, yet most compelling, some-sort-of fairy tale, complete with a chorus of villagers Who. Have. Opinions! on everything, a terrifying tree-man who might steal your soul, and a child who lives his life far closer to nature than anyone realizes, or perhaps, anyone else is able. Porter's Grief Is the Thing With Feathers was a book that came blazing in from nowhere, demanding attention, and Lanny is even more so. Whatever Porter has produced here (fable? parable? old wives' tale?), his stellar writing chops are up to the task. The tension that bubbles off the page will have you tearing through to the end. Gorgeous prose, a heart-stopping mystery, and the uncanny voice of the know-it-all villagers make this a must-read. Amazing! Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Longlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize
An entrancing new novel by the author of the prizewinning Grief Is the Thing with Feathers
There's a village an hour from London. It's no different from many others today: one pub, one church, redbrick cottages, some public housing, and a few larger houses dotted about. Voices rise up, as they might anywhere, speaking of loving and needing and working and dying and walking the dogs. This village belongs to the people who live in it, to the land and to the land's past.
It also belongs to Dead Papa Toothwort, a mythical figure local schoolchildren used to draw as green and leafy, choked by tendrils growing out of his mouth, who awakens after a glorious nap. He is listening to this twenty-first-century village, to its symphony of talk: drunken confessions, gossip traded on the street corner, fretful conversations in living rooms. He is listening, intently, for a mischievous, ethereal boy whose parents have recently made the village their home. Lanny.
With Lanny, Max Porter extends the potent and magical space he created in Grief Is the Thing with Feathers. This brilliant novel will ensorcell readers with its anarchic energy, with its bewitching tapestry of fabulism and domestic drama. Lanny is a ringing defense of creativity, spirit, and the generative forces that often seem under assault in the contemporary world, and it solidifies Porter's reputation as one of the most daring and sensitive writers of his generation.
"Reading Lanny is like going to the back of the garden to find the exact spot where magic and menace meet. It's delightful and dark, stark and stylish, and as strange as it is scary — I loved it." Claire Cameron
"[Lanny] delivers quite the punch with its combination of unlikely effervescence, authentic emotion, and literary exploration. . . . Porter has created both an entertaining tale and a novel of exceptionally creative experimentation and genre extension." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Porter's prose is undeniably gorgeous. . . . This novel about family, the power of the woods and the creative spirit, centered on a special young boy, will charm any reader." Shelf Awareness
"[Porter offers] the ultimate incantation of nature and its pitiless sovereignty. . . . Lanny is one of the most beautiful novels of the past decade." BookPage
About the Author
Max Porter is the author of Grief Is the Thing with Feathers, which won the International Dylan Thomas Prize and The Sunday Times/PFD Young Writer of the Year Award, and was short-listed for The Guardian First Book Award and the Goldsmiths Prize.
Powell's Staff on PowellsBooks.Blog
The world is in a weird place right now. This country is in a weird place right now. The book industry is pretty much always
in a weird place. With so much weirdness to contend with, thank goodness there are books...