October is to publishing what October is to baseball: that time of year when we witness outstanding talent and take great joy in the extraordinary efforts of our heroes. Stop into your local bookstore and check out the “New Fiction” table — it’s teeming with talent. Happy fall, and happy reading! 

The Local Buzz Book: “A Sudden Light,” by Garth Stein (release date: Sept. 30, 2014)

Seattleite Garth Stein, New York Times bestselling author of “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” has just released his highly anticipated new novel, “A Sudden Light.” It’s the multi-generational story of the Riddell family, an old-money Seattle timber family whose most recent issue, 14-year-old Trevor Riddell, visits his ancestral home for the first time with his father, Jones. While Jones is trying to commandeer and reconcile the family inheritance, Trevor discovers his family story, one he knew nothing about: a quirky aunt, a shamed and ailing grandfather, hidden journals, family secrets and ghosts. 

Stein’s beautiful writing packs a velvety punch and is pure pleasure to read. “A Sudden Light” entertains with suspenseful story lines and satisfies with its message of family, story and redemption. 

And with patriarchal family names like Elijah, Abraham, Benjamin and Samuel, the layers of meaning reveal a bit more to those who have ears to hear it. 

The Literary Fiction/International Buzz Book: “A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing,” by Eimear McBride (release date: Sept. 9, 2014)

It will be as challenging to write about this book as it was to read it, but a work of literary art usually is. Irish author Eimear McBride is being compared to James Joyce and Samuel Beckett for this groundbreaking, form-obliterating novel. (It is the winner of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, formerly the Orange Prize for Fiction.) 

The back of the book describes a story — one of insight into the thoughts, feelings and chaotic sexuality of the vulnerable and isolated protagonist, touching on family violence, struggle and intense trauma. 

But this novel is not so much a story to read as an experience to have. McBride’s syntax — which defies simple classification — is difficult to decipher at first but quickly earns your trust (and respect). 

This novel is, without a doubt, the literary event of the year and nothing short of brilliant. It’s original, intense, avant-garde — it’s like nothing else. For the reader of literary fiction, this book cannot be missed. 

(Eimear McBride’s current U.S. tour has a scheduled stop in Seattle: Elliott Bay Book Co., 1521 10th Ave., on Oct. 23 at 7 p.m.)

The Poetry Buzz Book: “Splitting an Order,” by Ted Kooser (release date: Oct. 14, 2014)

Ted Kooser, a former Poet Laureate of the United States, has, after 10 years, finally released the follow-up to his Pulitzer Prize-winning “Delights and Shadows.”

In “Splitting an Order,” Kooser’s very accessible poetry uses the ordinary and routine to highlight in low light the quiet intimacies of life. This work is evocative and honest and champions the everyday world with the kind of insight that transcends place or region and lands squarely in the human experience. 

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