for the Fall. Out of I don’t know how many fiction titles (a lot), this book is it. When I started writing Math Shiva in the Los Altos and Mountain View libraries, I wasn’t thinking about anything more than a university press picking it up. I had a flow chart for the novel, no agent, and no track record. But now this. Amazing. Truly.
What’s it about? A group of Holocaust survivors moves to a midwestern city and with verve, strength, and savvy, adapts to America. Through it all, the most unsaintly member of the community, Yankl Blum, works behind the scenes to keep everything humming. Better Than New York provides an intimate view of a unique way of life and culture that followed World War II and quietly thrived in dozens of American cities for decades.
An homage to the neighborhood where I was born (Gene Wilder was born there as well, albeit many years before me), Better Than New York is the most personal book of fiction I will ever write. I’m hoping for a pub date of fall 2016. Even my eyes and toes are crossed.
And it’s available for pre-order on some web sites as well (support your local bookstore and wait awhile is my advice). Penguin doesn’t mess around. It works fast. The Goodreads listing is here.
It’ll look, more or less, like this. Right now, I’m going through the copy edits. Out at the end of August.
The Mathematician’s Shiva
A comic, bittersweet tale of family evocative of The Yiddish Policemen’s Union and Everything Is Illuminated
Alexander “Sasha” Karnokovitch and his family would like to mourn the passing of his mother, Rachela, with modesty and dignity. But Rachela, a famous Polish émigré mathematician and professor at the University of Wisconsin, is rumored to have solved the million-dollar, Navier-Stokes Millennium Prize problem. Rumor also has it that she spitefully took the solution to her grave. To Sasha’s chagrin, a ragtag group of socially challenged mathematicians arrives in Madison and crashes the shiva, vowing to do whatever it takes to find the solution—even if it means prying up the floorboards for Rachela’s notes.
Written by a Ph.D. geophysicist, this hilarious and multi-layered debut novel brims with colorful characters and brilliantly captures humanity’s drive not just to survive, but to solve the impossible.
• A Penguin Original
• Stuart Rojstaczer has written about education for the New York Times and the Washington Post, and his scientific articles have been published in numerous journals, including Science and Nature
• Rojstaczer drew on the experiences of his parents, Jewish immigrants who survived the Holocaust, to give depth to his characters’ backgrounds
• For fans of Michael Chabon, Jonathan Safran Foer, Gary Shteyngart, and Aleksandar Hemon
Author’s website: stuartr.com
Stuart Rojstaczer was raised in Milwaukee and has degrees from the University of Wisconsin, the University of Illinois, and Stanford. For many years, he was a professor of geophysics at Duke University. He lives in northern California.
Very clean and easy on the eyes. I’ve got a beautiful cover, a clean layout, a paid for book tour, and a boat load of ARCs. From here on in whenever something good happens to this book, I’m going to follow the time tested practice of my mother and spit on the ground three times to keep evil away. Pooh. Pooh. Pooh.