Next Life Might Be Kinder: A Novel

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This haunting story of love and the aftermath of a murder is “a complex literary novel and a page-turner that’s impossible to put down” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune).
 
Sam Lattimore met Elizabeth Church in an art gallery in 1970s Halifax. But their brief, erotically charged marriage was extinguished with Elizabeth’s murder.
 
Since that traumatic loss, Sam’s life has grown complicated. In a moment of desperate confusion, he sells his life story to a Norwegian filmmaker named Istvakson, known for the stylized violence of his films. Soon he comes to regret his decision, leading to an increasingly intense game of cat and mouse between the two men. Furthermore, Sam has begun “seeing” Elizabeth—not only seeing but holding conversations with her, almost every evening, and what at first seems simply hallucination born of terrible grief reveals itself, evening by evening, as something else entirely.
 
Next Life Might Be Kinder is a “riveting” novel (The Washington Post) by a two-time National Book Award nominee, the acclaimed author of The Bird Artist and What Is Left the Daughter—and features “an opening sentence worthy of the Noir Hall of Fame” (The New York Times).
 
 
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About the author

Howard Norman is a three-time winner of National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and a winner of the Lannan Award for fiction. His novels The Northern Lights and The Bird Artist were both nominated for National Book Awards. He is also author of the novels The Museum Guard, The Haunting of L, What Is Left the Daughter, and Next Life Might Be Kinder. He divides his time between East Calais, Vermont, and Washington, DC.
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Additional Information

Publisher
HMH
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Published on
May 13, 2014
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9780547712147
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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“Some books celebrate the human condition; others commiserate with us. This memoir does both.” —Helen Oyeyemi, NPR

This spellbinding memoir by the National Book Award–nominated author of The Bird Artist begins with a portrait, both harrowing and hilarious, of a midwestern boy’s summer working in a bookmobile, under the shadow of his grifter father and the erotic tutelage of his brother’s girlfriend. Howard Norman’s life story continues in places as far-flung as the Arctic, where he spends part of a decade as a translator of Inuit tales—including the story of a soapstone carver turned into a goose whose migration-time lament is “I hate to leave this beautiful place”—and in his beloved Point Reyes, California, as a student of birds.
 
Years later, Norman and his wife lend their Washington, DC, home to a poet and her young son, and a subsequent murder-suicide in the house has a profound effect on them. In this “unexpectedly arresting” memoir, life’s unpredictable strangeness is fashioned into a creative and redemptive story (The New York Times Book Review).
 
“Norman uses the tight focus of geography to describe five unsettling periods of his life, each separated by time and subtle shifts in his narrative voice. . . . The originality of his telling here is as surprising as ever.” —The Washington Post
 
“These stories almost seem like tall tales themselves, but Norman renders them with a journalistic attention to detail. Amidst these bizarre experiences, he finds solace through the places he’s lived and their quirky inhabitants, human and avian.” —The New Yorker
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Family secrets come back to haunt Jack Reacher in this electrifying thriller from “a superb craftsman of suspense” (Entertainment Weekly).

Jack Reacher hits the pavement and sticks out his thumb. He plans to follow the sun on an epic trip across America, from Maine to California. He doesn’t get far. On a country road deep in the New England woods, he sees a sign to a place he has never been: the town where his father was born. He thinks, What’s one extra day? He takes the detour.

At the same moment, in the same isolated area, a car breaks down. Two young Canadians had been on their way to New York City to sell a treasure. Now they’re stranded at a lonely motel in the middle of nowhere. The owners seem almost too friendly. It’s a strange place, but it’s all there is.

The next morning, in the city clerk’s office, Reacher asks about the old family home. He’s told no one named Reacher ever lived in town. He’s always known his father left and never returned, but now Reacher wonders, Was he ever there in the first place?

As Reacher explores his father’s life, and as the Canadians face lethal dangers, strands of different stories begin to merge. Then Reacher makes a shocking discovery: The present can be tough, but the past can be tense . . . and deadly.

Praise for Past Tense

“Child is one writer who should never be taken for granted.”—The New York Times Book Review

“[Lee Child] shows no signs of slowing down. . . . Reacher is a man for whom the phrase moral compass was invented: His code determines his direction. . . . You need Jack Reacher.”—The Atlantic

“Superb . . . Child neatly interweaves multiple narratives, ratchets up the suspense (the reveal of the motel plot is delicious), and delivers a powerful, satisfying denouement. Fans will enjoy learning more of this enduring character’s roots, and Child’s spare prose continues to set a very high bar.”—Publishers Weekly (boxed and starred review)

“Another first-class entry in a series that continues to set the gold standard for aspiring thriller authors.”—Booklist (starred review)

“With his usual flair for succinctness and eye for detail, Child creates another rollicking Reacher road trip that will please fans and newcomers alike.”—Library Journal (starred review)
THE WORLD'S #1 BESTSELLING WRITER - 3 pulse-pounding thrillers in 1 book!

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The Killer's Wife (with Max DiLallo): Four girls have gone missing. Detective McGrath knows the only way to find them is to get close to the suspect's wife...maybe too close

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The House Next Door (with Susan DiLallo): Married mother of three Laura Sherman was thrilled when her new neighbor invited her on some errands. But a few quick tasks became a long lunch-and now things could go too far with a man who isn't what he seems....

The Killer's Wife (with Max DiLallo): Four girls have gone missing. Detective McGrath knows the only way to find them is to get close to the suspect's wife...maybe too close

We. Are. Not. Alone (with Tim Arnold): The first message from space. It will change the world. It's first contact. Undeniable proof of alien life. Disgraced Air Force scientist Robert Barnett found it. Now he's the target of a desperate nationwide manhunt-and Earth's future hangs in the balance.

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