Best Book by a Local Author

Erik Larson's In the Garden of Beasts

As of this writing, Erik Larson's In the Garden of Beasts has been at or near the top of The New York Times' best-seller list for more than four months—an imaginative portrait of Berlin and the Nazi Party's rise and their effects on William E. Dodd, the U.S. ambassador to Germany in 1933, and his daughter, Martha. The Times called this "novelistic history" book "powerful, poignant," its narrative an effectively "transportingly true story." It's about to go big overseas as well—with 12 foreign publishers buying the rights to the novel—following in the wake of the Seattle author's previous hit, The Devil in the White City, whose movie rights have been acquired by Leonardo DiCaprio. Larson reports that he just wound up his speaking tour to promote Beasts, where in California he was surprised by an audience member: "The daughter of the Dodds' landlord in Berlin came to my talk along with her husband, son, and assorted family members. Ruth showed me a couple of photographs of herself and her brother, Hans, when they were children in Berlin in the 1930s, one of those lovely little moments where present touches past and books come alive in unexpected ways." RICK ANDERSON

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