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Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who's dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life—he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family's ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden—and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed. A spellbinding standalone from one of the best suspense writers working today, The Witch Elm asks what we become, and what we're capable of, when we no longer know who we are.
In the summer of 1953, two eleven-year-old boys—best friends—are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy’s mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn’t believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God’s instrument. What happens to Owen, after that 1953 foul ball, is extraordinary and terrifying.
With more than five million copies sold, Flowers for Algernon is the beloved, classic story of a mentally disabled man whose experimental quest for intelligence mirrors that of Algernon, an extraordinary lab mouse. In poignant diary entries, Charlie tells how a brain operation increases his IQ and changes his life. As the experimental procedure takes effect, Charlie's intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment seems to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance—until Algernon begins his sudden, unexpected deterioration. Will the same happen to Charlie?
In the opening pages of The Third Hotel, van den Berg’s second novel, a traveling elevator inspector named Clare sees her husband on the street in Havana. The problem with this is that her husband is dead. That’s actually why she’s in Havana; he was a horror movie scholar who was meant to be there for a film festival, and she decided to attend in his stead after his sudden death. Instead of finding salve, or closure, she realizes she’s “experiencing a dislocation of reality.” As she and her late husband’s specter haunt the city, she tries to come to grips with their marriage, her childhood and her increasingly fuzzy sense of self. In evocative, lucid prose, van den Berg conjures the psyche of a woman unmoored, and examines how marriage and solitude, travel and domesticity, and other forces create and stabilize our identities. The Third Hotel is dense with everything that makes a novel memorable: psychological complexity, sensory vividness, narrative tension and ideas about humanity and art.