Today’s Monday contest highlights three standout May releases: Jennifer Haigh‘s Faith, Arthur Phillips‘ The Tragedy of Arthur and Mitchell Zuckoff‘s Lost in Shangri-La. All authors were inspired by true stories or people, but two of them spun fact into fiction (or at least a fiction/memoir hybrid—more on that later).
“When I moved to Boston from Iowa in 2002, the city was reeling from revelations that Catholic priests had molested children, and that the Archdiocese had covered up the abuse. . . . Faith was my attempt to explain the inexplicable, to understand what I couldn’t make sense of in any other way,” Haigh told us in a Q&A.
In The Tragedy of Arthur—which has a main character named Arthur Phillips and includes the full text of Shakespeare’s lost play (which may or may not have actually been written by author Arthur Phillips . . .)—we are forced to ask: “What do I really know about any author that puts text in front of me, now or from four centuries ago?” At least, that’s what Phillips wants us to ask, per a recent Q&A with novelist Tasha Alexander.
Meanwhile, a truth that was stranger than fiction is the foundation of Zuckoff’s Lost in Shangri-La, one of the few remaining untold stories of World War II. “My eyes were bulging, my jaw dropped to the floor and my tongue rolled out,” he says of his reaction when he discovered the tale. “By the time I pulled myself together, I knew I couldn’t pursue the other story.” Nonfiction editor Kate Pritchard agreed—the book was our nonfiction top pick for May.
TO ENTER: Tell us if you prefer fiction or nonfiction—and why—in the comments.
CONTEST DETAILS: The prize is one copy of Faith by Jennifer Haigh, one copy of The Tragedy of Arthur by Arthur Phillips and one copy of Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff. Contest open to North American residents only. One winner will be chosen using random.org from among the comments received by 6 p.m. CST on May 20.
ETA: Congrats to Dorothy, this week’s winner! Dorothy is a fiction fan for the thrill of the escape, but she enjoys “all well written books.”
Contest is now closed.