Friday, May 3, 2013

STRANGE STONES by Peter Hessler Selected as One of Amazon's Best Nonfiction Titles of the Month

Amazon has joined the cohort of those championing Peter Hessler's collection of expanded pieces, STRANGE STONES: Dispatches from East and West (Harper), most of which originally appeared in The New Yorker, selecting it as one of their Best Nonfiction titles of the month.

Publishers' Weekly, characterizing the book as "elegant and thoughtful," also featured it as one of the "Most Eagerly Books of Spring 2013." Kirkus gave it a stellar review, saying: "Riveting... A rich, vibrant collection that pries wide open the door to the East, welcoming Western readers inside."

Steve Weinberg, Professor Emeritus at the Missouri School of Journalism, wrote the first review not oriented toward the trade for the Kansas City Star, "In ‘Strange Stones,’ a former Missourian travels the world, eats a rat and writes elegant essays:"

Hessler’s three books set in China are hybrid masterpieces — part travel writing, part deep sociology, part journalism. Those books (“River Town,” “Oracle Bones” and “Country Driving”) constitute the most interesting, informative English-language accounting I have read about that nation. A bonus is Hessler’s skill at composition — he is a master of clear, compelling language. ...Peter Hessler’s fascination with the characters shines through every one of his magazine features. And the mostly foreign settings add to the fascination for less mobile readers.

Kelly Chung Dawson, writing for China Daily but based in New York, points up Peter's humor in her story "Storyteller Embraces Humor to Depict Life in China."  Earlier this month, Publishers Weekly's Louisa Ermelino asked: "Where is Peter Hessler?" The answer being: "Now, seven years later, Hessler has his own family. He’s married to journalist Leslie Chang with whom he has twin daughters, and he’s living in a very lovely part of Cairo." Ermelino previously wrote about Peter when his National Book Award Finalist ORACLE BONES was published in 2006, in her piece "Lost in Beijing: Peter Hessler."

ChinaFile is presenting "Peter Hessler: Strange Stones -- A Conversation and Book Signing" with Peter in discussion with Michael Meyer and Susan Jakes, editor of ChinaFile, at Asia Society New York on May 21st at 7pm.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Daniel Radcliffe will play Jake Adelstein in TOKYO VICE

Mike Fleming broke the news on Deadline this afternoon that Daniel Radcliffe will play Jake Adelstein in the film adaptation of TOKYO VICE:  An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan.

The text of the release is as follows:
Daniel Radcliffe is set to star in TOKYO VICE. Veteran music video and commercial director Anthony Mandler will direct, based on a script by acclaimed playwright JT Rogers. Le Grisbi Productions’ John Lesher and Adam Kassan are producing. The film is eyeing a start date of first quarter 2014. 

Radcliffe will play American reporter Jake Adelstein who, while working at the Yomiuri Shinbun newspaper in Tokyo, covered a beat that included murder, vice, and the yakuza. The film will be based on Adelstein’s memoir of the same name and focus on his encounters with yakuza boss Tadamasa Goto, also known as the “John Gotti of Japan". Adelstein investigated the notorious gangster at great personal cost and sacrifice, braving death threats, before finally exposing Goto.

Adelstein, who will be working with Rogers on the script, is still an investigative reporter. He currently writes for The Daily Beast and The Japan Times. His second book, THE LAST YAKUZA(editor Tim O’Connell), will be published in 2014. 

Radcliffe has had a busy schedule since starring in last year’s thriller THE WOMAN IN BLACK. He starred as Allen Ginsberg in this year’s Sundance hit KILL YOUR DARLINGS, which was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics. He also recently wrapped the horror film HORNS and the romantic comedy THE F WORD and he has just signed on to star in FRANKENSTEIN for 20th Century Fox and Davis Entertainment. This June, Radcliffe will return to the West End stage, starring in Martin McDonagh's acclaimed comedy THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN. 

Mandler has helmed videos for such artists as Rihanna, Jay-Z, The Killers, and Muse.
Rogers’ plays include BLOOD AND GIFTS (National Theatre, London; Lincoln Center Theater, New York City) and THE OVERWHELMING (National Theatre, London; Roundabout Theatre, New York City). He was nominated for the 2009 Olivier Award as one of the writers of GREAT GAME: AFGHANISTAN. 

Lesher produced last year’s END OF WATCH, starring Jake Gyllenhaal. He also produced BLOOD TIES, Guillaume Canet’s English language debut, starring Clive Owen, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup, Mila Kunis, and James Caan, which will premiere at Cannes. Lesher is currently in production on Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s BIRDMAN, starring Michael Keaton, Ed Norton, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, and Naomi Watts. He is in pre-production on BLACK MASS, to be directed by Barry Levinson and star Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger, as well as David Ayer’s war film FURY, which will shoot in the fall and star Brad Pitt. 

Radcliffe is represented by UTA, UK agent Sue Latimer at ARG, and attorney Fred Toczek. Mandler is represented by UTA, Management 360, and attorney Michael Schenkman. Rogers is represented by WME and attorneys Marc Glick and Stephen Breimer. Jake Adelstein is repped by UTA and William Clark Associates.

You can learn more about Jake Adelstein in Peter Hessler's excellent profile, "All Due Respect: An American Reporter Takes on the Yakuza" in the January 9, 2012 issue of The New Yorker.

Jake's next book, THE LAST YAKUZA:  A Life in the Japanese Underground, a singular, in-depth, occasionally humorous, often dark, but inspiring tale about the life of former gang boss Tatsuya Mochizuki, aka "The Tsunami," his unlikely friendship with the author, and the history of Japan's ubiquitous mafia is being edited by the incomparable Tim O'Connell at Pantheon as this is being written, and will be released in Fall 2014.  Other English language publishers are James Gurbutt at Constable & Robinson in the UK, and Henry Rosenbloom at Scribe in Australia/New Zealand.

Friday, April 26, 2013

PARIS REBORN by Stephane Kirkland Hits First Bestseller List

We are very pleased that Stephane Kirkland's PARIS REBORN: Napoleon III, Baron Haussmann and the Quest to Build a Modern City (St. Martin's Press, just published, now in its second printing) is getting such terrific attention, and is debuting on the bestseller lists in The Denver Post. After an inaugural reading at BookCourt in Brooklyn on April 2nd, Stephane spoke with Yvette van Boven in a program entitled "Eat, Drink & Think Like Napoleon III" at the 92Y Tribeca on the 7th, read at the Tattered Cover in Denver on the 11th, and spoke with David Downie, author of PARIS TO THE PYRENEES:  A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of St. James (Pegasus Books) at McNally-Jackson Books in Soho on Tuesday.

Just prior to the London Book Fair, Jonathan Yardley reviewed the book in the Washington Post, saying:

[Kirkland] clearly knows Paris intimately, writes lucid and engaging prose, and is both spirited in his advocacy of Napoleon III and clear-eyed about how he was able to do what he did. … While it is an immense pleasure to accompany him as he leads us through the planning and building of the great boulevards, the construction of the Opera House and the reconstruction of the Louvre, it is also sobering to realize that in the process of gaining much, Paris lost much as well, in particular medieval neighborhoods that had profoundly influenced the city’s character.

Pre-publication reviews were equally good:

Kirkland is an able navigator of architectural history—vivid descriptions abound, and the evolution of the city’s infrastructure, public spaces, and other amenities is a testament to the oft overlooked reign of Napoleon III. Lovers of the City of Light and urban planners alike will find Kirkland’s survey illuminating.
—Publishers Weekly

Fascinating and highly readable, this is strongly recommended for Francophiles, travelers, and students of urban history and planning.
—Library Journal (starred review)

A solid retelling of an always-interesting tale of the first great urban-planning achievement.
—Kirkus Review

My French Life spoke with Stephane about his career, passions, and the book.