Saturday, February 05, 2011

The only thing we have to fear is...

We may have given the impression over the last few months that our independent bookselling experience has become one long round of schmoozing, travelling to exotic locations and generally hanging around with famous publishing people. This really isn't the case, and most mornings you can still find us sweeping the front of the shop in the morning, juggling the competing (and often contradictory) priorities of a small business - and doing what we love, placing great books in the hands of our customers.

Last night we held a wonderful book launch in the shop, and for me - this is what independent bookselling is all about. Bringing together an author, readers, a great book and making it all happen right in your own bookshop. This happens at any event, but a book launch is particularly special as you are there right at the start of the story.
We first did an event with Andrew Rosenheim almost four years ago, and - having read the proof of the book before Christmas - it was fantastic to be able to launch 'Fear Itself' at Mostly Books last night.
Andrew's latest novel is (IMHO) a significant step-up in terms of ambition and scale. Fear Itself is a powerful 'what if' thriller set mostly in the US in the years leading up to - and then during - the second world war. Focusing largely on aspects of loyalty and trust within the German-American community (and there were approximately 40 million Americans who could point to German heritage) the novel features a young FBI agent Jimmy Nessheim investigating the pro-Nazi Bund organisation. and a potential plot that could alter the direction of the US and World War II.

What really raises this book up as a superior thriller is the way Andrew brings his trademark style to bear on the plot: superb and vivid characterisation, and an ability to get right inside the American psyche in all its multicultural hues. Whether it's the transatlantic relationship, or the growing pains of a young country dragged reluctantly into a global conflict, this is compelling storytelling during an already fascinating period of world history. Real individuals are brought onto the stage to anchor the fiction, and remind you that this really might have happened. A notably figure is J Edgar Hoover and - incredibly - you do get an appreciation of his unique (if slighly creepy) abilities, and probably the only person who could have made the FBI as effective as it was, with the resources available.

It was a delight to host the launch, and we obviously congratulate Andrew and his publishers in what deserves to be a very successful book. And of course, we have signed first editions on the shelves when you next pop into the shop...

1 comment:

  1. This review is definitely worth reading - confirming the arrival of a major talent with more to look forward to...

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