We bring you two new books — one that deserves a permanent place in your library and another that you can check out from a friend’s.Buy
West of Here
By Jonathan Evison
This dual tale concerns a fictional Pacific Northwest town in two eras — the late 1800s, when it is a frontier outpost, and 2006, when it is home to a Walmart. Evison switches easily between 19th-century vernacular and contemporary lingo, and the tenderly funny result is both pioneer story and social commentary. You’ll want to reread it to catch cross-references between the parallel stories.
We, the Drowned
By Carsten Jensen
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28
As the title of this Danish novel hints, this rollicking history of the port town of Marstal, Denmark, and its residents — most of them sailors bound for elsewhere — is related in a collective first person. A best-seller in Europe that’s been translated into English, the novel packs lots of adventure into the century-plus from the mid-1800s to World War II. But at 688 dense pages, one read will be enough.