24 years ago Rebecca Skloot was in her high school biology class when her teacher mentioned the case of a woman who was being treated for cancer in 1951. Her doctors had taken a sample of some cancerous cells from her. There was something unique about these cells; they kept on growing. They continue to be used today for medical research.
In 1979 a mysterious author called Trevanian published a spy novel called "Shibumi." Trevanian was the pen name for an author who wrote numerous best-sellers including "Shibumi' and "The Eiger Sanction." The author died in 2005.
Téa Obreht has written one of the most highly anticipated novels of the year. "The Tiger's Wife" is a mingling of 3 seemingly unrelated threads; a mythic legend about a tiger that escapes from a zoo during a war, a folk legend about a man who cannot die, the "deathless man," and the author's grief over the death of her grandfather.
Chang-rae Lee's ambitious novel "The Surrendered" is a sprawling, cinematic journey across time. Readers are transported to Manchuria in the early 1930's, Korea in the early 1950's, and modern day New Jersey and Italy.
Lee has imagined 3 main characters here , a missionary, a Korean War orphan, and a GI. Their lives become intertwined through tragedy and haunting circumstance. The author is a masterful storyteller. In this interview he describes how he crafted this work and how he chose to become a writer.
Lucrecia Guerrero grew up in Nogales, Arizona, right along the border with Mexico. That border land area has always exerted a powerful influence on her writing. Ten years ago she published a collection of short stories, "Chasing Shadows." These otherworldly, atmospheric tales served notice that Guerrero is a writer who possesses extraordinary talent.