- In this re-rendering of the Watson trilogy, Matthiessen combines Killing Mister Watson, Lost Man's River, and Bone by Bone, re-writing substantial parts of each, to create a seamless story that mirrors the history of the south from the Civil War to World War II. Based on an actual pioneer of southwest Florida, Edgar J. Watson, Matthiessen creates a fictive context for the coming of age of the state of Florida and the dying of the south's old order through the life story of Mr. Watson who became a law unto himself in the sparsely populated Thousand Islands area of south Florida's Gulf coast. It's a bracing and tone-perfect account of life in pre-civil rights America.
- Packer's first novel was a surprise best seller in 2002. It relates the story of Carrie Bell, who flees her ex-fiance, Mike, and her native Wisconsin after Mike suffers a broken neck in a freak accident - the dive. But Carrie is tortured by self-doubts and pressure from her family back home as she struggles to make a life in New York with the mysterious Kilroy. Closely observed, beautifully written, and deeply affecting, Packer's book is not so much like reading a story as it is like living vicariously another's life.
- Occasionally a novel speaks to fundamental issues that transcend insight and enjoyment. This is one. Neither Sci-Fi nor fantasy, Carroll's story tears the fabric of reality and goes to one's unexpressible fear and longing to address primal concerns, not unlike the effect fairy tales have on children. Yet he does it in a world where the natural laws apply. Death is a character here and becomes frighteningly real, but, miraculously, we're offered a way to triumph over him, if only for a time. And the way is as simple as child's play... literally.