Book Report: 3 Titles to Know This Week

A 'Gone Girl'-like thriller, a remake of 'Pride and Prejudice' and the reissue of a classic Stephen King novel are the hot new releases.
Courtesy of Penguin Random House

A much-hyped debut novel that has been compared to Gone Girl and the Talented Mr. Ripley, a 20th anniversary edition of The Green Mile and a new take on Pride and Prejudice top the list of books worth knowing about this week. 

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld (Random House)
This reimagining of Pride and Prejudice from the author of Prep and American Wife is the fourth in Random House’s Austen Project, which involves a contemporary writer updating one of Jane Austen's classics (First three: Emma by Alexander McCall Smith; Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid; and Sense & Sensibility by Joanna Trollope.) Early buzz has been strong, except for a particularly harsh review from Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times (“reads [like] … heavy-handed and deeply unfunny parody”).

Maestra by L.S Hilton (G.P. Putnam)
This heavily hyped novel has already secured a seven-figure movie deal with Amy Pascal (her first buy after leaving Sony). This story about an up-from-her-bootstraps assistant at prestigious London art house who loses her job and turns to violence pitches the lead character as having “the cunning of Gone Girl’s Amy Dunne, and as dangerous as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’s Lisbeth Salander, the femme fatale of this Talented Mr. Ripley–esque psychological thriller is sexy, smart, and very, very bad in all the best ways” (though one could add American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman). One dissenter against the hype: Janet Maislin in The New York Times (“a pornographic shopathon travelogue thriller”).

The Green Mile by Stephen King (Scribner)
Wait, wasn’t this published 20 years ago? Yes, indeed, and to celebrate that 20th anniversary, publisher Scribner is reissuing the classic in its original 1996 form: a once-every-few-weeks serial for six months. Chapter 1 — Two Dead Girls — dropped April 12, The Mouse on the Mile hits April 26, followed by Coffey’s Hands on May 10, The Bad Death of Eduard Delacroix on May 24, Night Journey on June 7 and Coffey on the Mile on June 21. Sure the mass-market paperback is still available for $7.99 (less than the $12 that the $1.99 a pop serial version costs) but that’s way less fun than getting to experience the story in the way it was intended (and a very old-fashioned way — Dickens novels were serialized).