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From Christopher comes a tale that is at once a fantastical historical mystery, a haunting love story, and a glimpse into the uncanny--the quest for a long-lost book detailing the animals left off Noah's Ark. Xeno Atlas grows up in the Bronx, his Sicilian grandmother's strange stories of animal spirits his only escape from the legacy of his mother's early death and his stern father's long absences as a common seaman. Shunted off to an isolated boarding school, with his father's activities abroad and the source of his newfound wealth grown increasingly mysterious, Xeno turns his early fascination with animals into a personal obsession: his search for the Caravan Bestiary. This medieval text, lost for eight hundred years, supposedly details the animals not granted passage on the Ark--griffins, hippogriffs, manticores, and basilisks--the vanished remnants of a lost world sometimes glimpsed in the shadowy recesses of our own. Xeno's quest takes him from the tenements of New York to the jungles of Vietnam to the ancient libraries of Europe--but it is only by riddling out his own family secrets that he can hope to find what he is looking for. A story of panoramic scope and intellectual suspense, The Bestiary is ultimately a tale of heartbreak and redemption.
In this shimmering work of fiction, Nicholas Christopher follows the remarkable life ofFranklin Flyer-a restless young inventor named after the train on which he was born-through the tumultuous years of the Great Depression, into the Second World War. Raised by his suffragette aunt, at various times a vagabond and tycoon, Franklin travels across the U. S. A and around the globe, seeking adventure and enlightenment, charting his fate by pursuing the unexpected. He encounters a glittering cast of characters: among them Rita Hayworth, Josephine Baker, OSS founder "Wild Bill" Donovan, and a host of political zealots, opportunists, and dreamers thrown together in a world on the brink of collapse. With each new invention-devices that help to revolutionize everything from early television to the technology with which the Allies respond to the Axis powers-Franklin makes his mark. Gaining fame and fortune, he also suffers terrible heartbreak, and through numerous transformations discovers that a man's own life is truly his most difficult, and rewarding, invention. A brisk, vivid blend of history and imagination,Franklin Flyerbrings to life an American hero as unforgettable as his times. From the Hardcover edition.
Film noir is more than a cinematic genre. It is an essential aspect of American culture. Along with the cowboy of the Wild West, the denizen of the film noir city is at the very center of our mythological iconography. Described as the style of an anxious victor, film noir began during the post-war period, a strange time of hope and optimism mixed with fear and even paranoia. The shadow of this rich and powerful cinematic style can now be seen in virtually every artistic medium. The spectacular success of recent neo-film noirs is only the tip of an iceberg. In the dead-on, nocturnal jazz of Charlie Parker and Miles Davis, the chilled urban landscapes of Edward Hopper, and postwar literary fiction from Nelson Algren and William S. Burroughs to pulp masters like Horace McCoy, we find an unsettling recognition of the dark hollowness beneath the surface of the American Dream. Acclaimed novelist and poet Nicholas Christopher explores the cultural identity of film noir in a seamless, elegant, and enchanting work of literary prose. Examining virtually the entire catalogue of film noir, Christopher identifies the central motif as the urban labyrinth, a place infested with psychosis, anxiety, and existential dread in which the noir hero embarks on a dangerously illuminating quest. With acute sensitivity, he shows how technical devices such as lighting, voice over, and editing tempo are deployed to create the film noir world. Somewhere in the Night guides us through the architecture of this imaginary world, be it shot in New York or Los Angeles, relating its elements to the ancient cultural archetypes that prefigure it. Finally, Christopher builds an explanation of why film noir not only lives on but is currently enjoying a renaissance. Somewhere in the Night can be appreciated as a lucid introduction to a fundamental style of American culture, and also as a guide to film noir's heyday. Ultimately, though, as the work of a bold talent adeptly manipulating poetic cadence and metaphor, it is itself a superb aesthetic artifact.
The acclaimed author of Veronica and A Trip to the Stars returns with a dazzling new novel based on one of the great legends of musical history. New Orleans, 1900. The virtuoso cornet player Charles "Buddy" Bolden invents jazz, but after a life consumed by tragedy, the groundbreaking sound of his horn vanishes with him. Rumors persist, though, that Bolden recorded a phonograph cylinder, and over the course of a century it evolves into the elusive holy grail of jazz. Florida, the present day. Dr. Ruby Cardillo's life is falling apart. Her husband, a prominent cardiologist, has left her for a twenty-six-year-old. Her daughter, Devon, a once promising jazz pianist, has recently finished an enforced stint picking up trash along the interstate after a drug conviction. Ruby's estranged mother has just died, but not before conjuring up ghosts that Ruby thought she had put behind her long ago. After a long career as a well-respected anesthesiologist, Ruby suddenly jumps the tracks, forgetting to eat and sleep, indulging her every whim, wearing only purple, consuming only bottles of 1988 Château Latour. Then Ruby enlists Devon to accompany her on an impulsive road trip to New York, and both mother and daughter get more than they bargained for, discovering that their own shrouded family history is connected to the tantalizing search for Buddy Bolden's long-lost cylinder. Ranging from turn-of-the-century Louisiana to Roaring Twenties Chicago to contemporary Manhattan, Tiger Rag is at once a moving story of loss and redemption and an intricate historical mystery from one of our most brilliant storytellers. "A literary omnivore, Nicholas Christopher is versed in classical lore and pulp fiction, and his novels [provide] a thrilling amalgam of the two: erudite, lyrical and breathlessly paced."--The New York Times Book Review
At a Manhattan planetarium in 1965, ten-year-old Enzo and his young aunt, Mala, are separated, an event that profoundly alters the rest of their lives. In an epic tale of love and destiny, A Trip to the Stars charts their paths over the next fifteen years as they search for each other and, in the process, discover themselves.As Enzo and Mala cross continents and seas on their separate journeys, they encounter a dizzying array of people: an arachnologist in New Orleans, an asteroid specialist, a wounded B-52 navigator in Vietnam, a professional mind reader, a maverick NASA astronomer, and countless others. All of them are searching for things they have lost -- loved ones, opportunities, enlightenment. Through them Mala and Enzo discover a world steeped in mystery, romance, and intellectual adventure.A Trip to the Stars is both a love story and a coming-of-age story that shows us what happens when we lose what matters most. Fusing imagination and suspense with remarkable narrative skill, Nicholas Christopher builds a story of tremendous scope that lingers in detail and sensation long after the last page has been turned.
This richly-detailed historical novel from master storyteller Nicholas Christopher features an unforgettable hero: Nicolo Zen is all alone in 1700s Venice, save for his clarinet, which a mysterious magician had magicked, allowing its first player to perform expertly. Soon Nicolo is a famous virtuoso, wealthy beyond his dreams. But he can't stop wondering if he earned the success or if it's due to the magician's spell. So he has the spell removed to test his own talents and capabilities. And throughout it all, he continues to think about the girl he met in Venice, what she might be doing and if she's safe from harm. With a guest appearance by composer Vivaldi, and brimming with fascinating period details, this is a compelling coming-of-age story full of universal themes teens will instantly recognize. The love story will conjure memories of Romeo and Juliet, perfect for teens who love stories set in other times, but without a paranormal storyline (as long as you don't count a magician who dresses all in white and can be in two places on once . . . ).
On a snowy night in February, at the improbable point in Lower Manhattan where Waverly Place intersects Waverly Place, a photographer named Leo meets Veronica for the first time. Starkly beautiful, mysterious, aloof, she leads him into a world where illusion blends seamlessly with reality--a luminously transformed city where powerful underground streams crisscross beneath the streets, a city of dragonpoints and Tibetan mysticism where real time is magically altered. Ten years have passed since Veronica's father, the famous magician Albin White, disappeared while performing a dangerous feat of time travel before a packed theater audience. White's disappearance was no accident: he was sabotaged by his apprentice Starwood, who interfered at a critical moment and sent him hurtling into the past, free to explore other eras but with no means of returning to the present. Until Veronica finds Leo... From the Trade Paperback edition.
"Walk on the Wild Side," the first anthology to plumb the maze of American urban life, gives us the city in all its forms: ethnic, economic, religious, political, sexual, intellectual. Poet and novelist Nicholas Christopher has chosen 115 poems from sixty poets, representing more than twenty cities. These are not just poems "about" cities, or with the city as subject; they filter and radiate the diversity and vitality of today's cities, from the electric night of New York to the sun-blanked sprawl of Los Angeles, from the factories of Pittsburgh to the waterfront of New Orleans. A kinetic mix of new voices and established writers, "Walk on the Wild Side" presents the timeless themes of poetry through the prism of our unique urban experience.
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