Potpourri Sunday

1. The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld, paperback, published by Headline, pp 543, Rs 500

2. The Secret Supper by Javier Sierra, paperback, published by Pocket Books, pp 336, Rs 500

3. Man Walks into a Room by Nicole Krauss, paperback, published by Penguin Books, pp 256, Rs 550

4. The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton, paperback, published by Penguin Books, pp 280, Rs 695

5. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, paperback, published by Headline, pp 544, Rs 500

What the books are about

The Interpretation ...

A dazzling literary thriller — the story of Sigmund Freud assisting a Manhattan murder investigation. Think Shadow of the Wind meets The Historian. The Interpretation of Murder is an inventive “tour de force” inspired by Freud’s 1909 visit to America, accompanied by protege and rival Carl Jung. When a wealthy young debutante is discovered bound, whipped and strangled in a luxurious apartment, and another society beauty narrowly escapes the same fate, the mayor of New York calls upon Freud to use his revolutionary new ideas to help the surviving victim recover her memory of the attack, and solve the crime. But nothing about the attacks — or about the surviving victim, Nora — is quite as it seems.

The Secret Supper

I cannot recall a more dangerous and tangled puzzle than the one I was called upon to solve in the New Year of 1497.” An anonymous Soothsayer has written to Rome suggesting that Leonardo da Vinci has encrypted a secret, blasphemous code in his painting The Last Supper. Father Agostino Leyre, an inquisitor and expert in cryptography, is dispatched by the Pope to the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie to decode the painting. Should he succeed, da Vinci will face trial for heresy and certain execution. Full of dark surprises, The Secret Supper depicts a deadly game of wits between da Vinci and the man intent on uncovering the shattering secrets behind one of the most famous Christian masterpieces.

Man Walks into a Room

Samson Greene, a young and popular professor at Columbia University, is found wandering in the Nevada desert. When his wife, Anna, comes to take him home, she finds a man who remembers nothing, not even his own name. The removal of a small brain tumour saves his life, but his memories beyond the age of 12 are permanently lost. Samson believes he has nothing left to lose. So, when a charismatic scientist asks him to participate in a bold experiment, Samson agrees. What he gains is nothing short of the beautifully painful revelation of what it is to be a human being.

The Architecture...

Bestselling author, Alain de Botton has written about love, travel, status and how philosophy can console us. Now, he turns his attention to one of our most intense but often hidden love affairs: with our houses and their furnishings. He asks: What makes a house truly beautiful? Why are many new houses so ugly? Why do we argue so bitterly about sofas and pictures — and can differences of taste ever be satisfactorily resolved? Will minimalism make us happier than ornaments? To answer these questions and many more, de Botton looks at buildings across the world, from medieval wooden huts to modern skyscrapers; he examines sofas and cathedrals, tea sets and office complexes, and teases out a host of often surprising philosophical insights. The Architecture of Happiness will take you on a beguiling tour through the history and psychology of architecture and interior design, and will forever alter your relationship with buildings.

Cloud Atlas

Six interlocking lives, one amazing adventure. In a narrative that circles the globe and reaches from the 19th century to a post-apocalyptic future, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of time, genre and language to offer an enthralling vision of humanity’s will to power, and where it will lead us. A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan’s California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified ‘dinery server’ on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation — the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other’s echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small. Mitchell erases the boundaries of language, genre and time to offer a meditation on humanity’s dangerous will to power, and where it may lead us. It will change the way you look at your current home — and help you make the right decisions about your next one.

Information courtesy: UNITED BOOKS, Ganesh Man Singh building, Northfield Cafe ph: 4229 512; Bluebird stores in Lazimpat & Tripureshwore, ph: 4245 726; Momo’s and More, Old Baneshwor; Himalayan Java; Saturday Cafe, Bouddha; Namaste Supermarket in Pulchowk, ph: 5525 017