Thursday, September 09, 2010

Jonathan Franzen: 4 must-read new novels

At The Daily Beast, Jonathan Franzen tagged four new novels you shouldn’t miss.

One of Franzen's picks:
Kapitoil by Teddy Wayne

A young man from the boonies comes to New York City to make his fortune. It’s an old story, but here the boonies are the Middle East, and the young man is an earnestly self-improving Muslim math whiz who goes to work for a private-equity firm shortly before the 9/11 attacks. He’s a type—the nerdy and needy young immigrant—that we’re all familiar with but that no other writer, as far as I know, has invented such a funny and compelling voice and story for. The novel unfolds as a series of diary entries, each ending with a list of American vocabulary words, and it does what novels can do better than any other art form: Show us a familiar world through unfamiliar eyes.
Read about another novel on Franzen's short list.

Read an excerpt from Kapitoil, and learn more about the book and author at Teddy Wayne's website.

The Page 69 Test: Kapitoil.

--Marshal Zeringue