PositiveKirkusThe worldbuilding is thin, but the tensions between the characters sweep readers past any questions that might result. A poignant and bittersweet family tragedy disguised as a mystery but with a magic all its own.
PositivePublishers Weekly...[a] clever and fast-paced magical mystery ... Petty, petulant Ivy is hard to like, but her story is a wonderfully quirky mystery filled with inviting characters and gripping surprise twists.
MixedKirkusThis is an academic book, and the author commits some labored prose to the page ... Still, this is also a book likely to displease local chambers of commerce, memorial designers, and others who would weave together stories that were once considered separate and even today are not fully answered ... A book with broad application to the study of the civil rights movement but particularly useful for students and practitioners of local history and civic tourism.
Chen Qiufan, Trans. by Ken Liu
RaveKirkus...Chen\'s (aka Stanley Chan) first and so far only novel, originally published in 2013, comes to vibrant life in Liu\'s deft and informative translation ... The author patiently engineers...ingredients and personalities into a nightmarish conflict while showing a particular talent for writing viscerally gripping action. The moral dilemmas he presents are all too familiar, with seemingly little to differentiate villains, victims, and victors. China itself, of course, takes center stage, as the past—with its rich cultural backdrop, paramount loyalty to family and clan, and reverence for tradition—confronts social upheaval and the accelerating importance of artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Chinese science fiction, once an unknown quantity in the U.S., is making its way to the forefront through sheer excellence.
Chen Qiufan, Trans. by Ken Liu
RavePublishers WeeklyAnglophone readers will cherish the opportunity to experience Chen’s sweeping, complex, and deeply emotional near-future dystopian vision via this thoughtful rendition by Hugo-winning translator and author Liu that maintains the story’s essential Chinese character ... Chen’s story is extremely relevant to the current moment of throwaway culture, increasing income disparity, and technological advances progressing at such a rate that morality and ethics have trouble keeping up. Readers who crave gorgeous imagery and a thrilling narrative that also explicitly wrestles with big questions will be overjoyed.
PositiveKirkusDeeply weird and unsettlingly hilarious, Wilk’s dystopian debut pushes the grim absurdities of the present just a little bit further, into a near future that’s too plausible for comfort ... If the novel sounds dangerously on-the-nose, it isn’t thanks to Wilk’s off-kilter humor. But the book’s true surprise is its startling emotional kick: If the circumstances are heightened to extremes, the relationships—with their delicate dynamics—are all too real. Witty and alarming, a satire with (unexpected) heart.
MixedPW...[a] provocative if flawed debut ... While the parts do not gel into a satisfying novel, Wilk’s wry satire poses pressing questions.
PositiveKirkusA viciously funny bloodbath eviscerating the rarefied world of elite creative writing programs, Awad’s latest may be the first (and only?) entry into the canon of MFA horror ... Awad...gleefully pumps up the novel’s nightmarish quality until the boundary between perception and reality has all but dissolved completely. It’s clear that Awad is having fun here—the proof is in the gore—and her delight is contagious. Wickedly sharp, if not altogether pleasant, it’s a near-perfect realization of a singular vision—and definitely not for everyone.
RavePW...[an] outstanding novel ... Awad...will have readers racing to find out how it all ends—and they won’t be disappointed once the story reaches its wild finale. This is an enchanting and stunningly bizarre novel.
PositiveKirkus...[Epstein] offers abundant lively anecdotes from music, the arts, business, science, technology, and sports ... A fresh, brisk look at creativity, learning, and the meaning of achievement.
MixedPublishers WeeklyJournalist and self-identified generalist Epstein...delivers an enjoyable if not wholly convincing work of Gladwellian pop-psychology aimed at showing that specialization is not the only path to success ... Epstein’s narrative case studies are fascinating, but the rapid-fire movement from one sketch to the next can create the impression of evidence in search of a thesis. While this well-crafted book does not entirely disprove the argument for expertise, Epstein does show that, for anyone without 10,000 hours to devote to mastering a single skill, there is hope yet.
RaveKirkusThe author moves from one subject to another with sometimes-neck-snapping speed, populating his pages with names and events that in many instances will be ephemeral in a few years (Britney Spears, Cosmo Kramer) but with others that are eternal (W.H. Auden, Aeschylus, Doris Lessing). Scott ably deconstructs how shared realities are forged, all of which involve the skillful, meaningful storytelling of which he himself is an ascended master. As he moves from the nature of story, love, memory, and other such things that enfold us while embracing and being embraced by \'the weird scale of the private life of the mind,\' the author makes it clear that reality is not always a pleasant place to be, for framing this eminently literary story and running through it are memories of his mother as she dies, too young, of cancer. A lucid, if refractory and quite brilliant, critique of a fragmented culture in a peculiar time.
RavePublishers WeeklyA chapter on symbolism and metaphor in tech is particularly clever ... Scott’s acutely perceptive book delivers a thoughtful message about finding an authentic way to live at a time when reality itself can seem built on shifting sands.
PositiveKirkusCleveland excels at twisting her plots so tightly that the \'big reveal\' in the end truly is a surprise. The writing, sadly, isn’t as sharply honed as the action, but in a novel like this, few fans will complain as they’re swept along by the multilayered plot. While at times it feels overdramatic, Cleveland\'s...second political thriller rings plausible enough to keep the most faithful—or eager—conspiracy theorists reading along.
PositivePublishers WeeklyEqual parts conspiracy thriller and paranoia tale, Cleveland’s latest exploits the distance between parents and teenagers while exploring the lines a patriot will cross to protect kin. Elements of the twisty plot strain credulity, but clearly established, ever-increasing stakes create an adrenaline-fueled narrative that will leave readers wanting more.
PositivePublishers Weekly... smart, engaging ... Readers expecting a typical love triangle won’t find one. Instead, Berman delivers a thorough and incredibly timely investigation into relationship power imbalances that’s sure to start a lot of conversations.
MixedKirkusCertain themes, it becomes obvious, are the tent pegs holding up this long novel, which partly presents itself as a saga of female campus friendship but also wants to address weighty contemporary topics. The result is a restless, relatively eventless tale ... A readable but reductive and rather off-putting look at relationships, whether new or old.
Gabriela Ybarra, trans. by Natasha Wimmer
PositivePublishers WeeklyYbarra favors deep emotion over clear explanations and provides only passing references to her family’s wealth and the political components of the kidnapping. This novel’s honest rawness of coming to terms with premature death will resonate with readers.
PositiveKirkusRuta delicately sketches the large cast of characters—as well as their dreams, fears, and failures—with care. She’s able to pinpoint certain universal feelings with precision ... The novel falters in its final stretch when the plot becomes cluttered with too many secondary characters. Despite this, Ruta’s talent shines when she writes about the natural world ... A beautiful portrait of humanity in the shadow of a dying Earth.
PanPublishers Weekly... meandering, purposeless ... The slow and overly contemplative exploration of the sparse events of each character’s Last Day, an international holiday celebrating the end of the world, is frequently interrupted by the detailed and sentimental backstory of irrelevant characters. There’s no conflict, the characters make few decisions, and nothing really happens. Though small connections among the protagonists are rewarding and Ruta offers convincing vignettes, readers will be underwhelmed by this bleak examination of humanity.
Mary Beth Keane
RaveKirkusDisplaying impressive reach in this third—and possibly breakout—novel, Keane delivers an epic of domestic emotional turmoil ... Narrated from multiple perspectives, in compassionate but cool tones, Keane’s story embraces family lives in all their muted, ordinary, yet seismic shades ... Tender and patient, the novel avoids excessive sweetness while planting itself deep in the soil of commitment and attachment ... Graceful and mature. A solidly satisfying, immersive read.
Mary Beth Keane
PositivePublishers Weekly... thoughtful, compassionate ... The two families’ stories offer a visceral portrait of evolving attitudes toward mental health and addiction over the past 40 years. More generally, Keane’s novel, which unfolds through overlapping narratives, illustrates the mutability of memory and the softening effects of time ... Kate and Peter’s story poignantly demonstrates how grace can emerge from forgiveness, no matter how hard-won.
Delphine Minoui, Trans. by Emma Ramadan
PositiveKirkus...poignant ... [with] many moments of pointed insight ... A uniquely rendered chronicle of one woman\'s personal and professional journey from faith to activism.
MixedPublishers Weekly...uneven ... The overly long description...slows the action without deepening characterizations ... Suarez does his usual fine job of integrating hard science into the plot, but this effort lacks the impact of his prior books. Readers will hope for a return to form next time.
PositiveKirkusSuarez\'s...ability to keep things humming through low-key stretches as well as dramatic sequences reflects his skills as a writer. He makes a curious choice in quickly dropping the sexual tension arising from group showers, among other nude encounters. But Suarez is otherwise in admirable control. A cut above most tech novels, Suarez\'s latest benefits from his attention to detail, which boosts the believability of his futuristic vision
RaveKirkusEleven achingly realistic stories set in Denver and southern Colorado bear witness to the lives of Latina women of Indigenous descent trying to survive generations of poverty, racism, addiction, and violence ... Fajardo-Anstine takes aim at our country\'s social injustices and ills without succumbing to pessimism. The result is a nearly perfect collection of stories that is emotionally wrenching but never without glimmers of resistance and hope.
RaveThe Real Book SpyDeaver should take a bow, as his risk paid off in spades. Not only is Colter Shaw one of the year’s best new characters, but his background and personality make him more intriguing and entertaining than Lincoln Rhyme, Deaver’s longtime, fan-favorite hero ... Deaver knows just how much background to provide, offering enough about Colter’s past to flesh him out and explain how he became such an experienced tracker—while leaving enough on the table to keep you wanting more, which he’ll no doubt touch on in future books. As for the gaming stuff, some of the descriptions get a little tech-heavy, but Deaver proves good at re-explaining things in layman’s terms, making it easy to understand. So whether you’re a hardcore gamer or total newb to the tech scene, readers will be just fine following along ... Well-plotted and built on an intriguing premise and an exciting new character, The Never Game delivers in a big way and is one of Jeffery Deaver’s best thrillers in years.
RavePublishers Weekly... superb ... Fans of twisty suspense that pushes the envelope of plausibility without inviting disbelief will be enthralled.
MixedKirkusFor once Deaver takes more effort to establish his hero’s bona fides than to give him a compelling and logical plot. The results are subpar for this initial installment but more encouraging for the promised series.
PositivePublishers WeeklyMarshall sticks closely to the primary documents of Fuller’s life. Though the biography reads as a narrative, the text is peppered with quotations from Fuller’s letters, essays, fiction, and personal diaries. This abundance of detail sometimes descends into tedium. Though organized around places Fuller lived, the book’s real driving force is her relationships ... Marshall seeks to render the plight of a female intellectual struggling to balance societal expectations with her lofty ambitions and ideals. The book’s success comes from the way that Marshall allows the reader to understand and empathize with Fuller in her plight.
PositiveKirkusMarshall is perfectly suited to her material, so much so that she frequently takes on the highhanded, emotive tone of her subject ... Lively, intuitive study of a remarkable American character.
Erling Kagge, Trans. by Becky L. Crook
PositiveKirkusThroughout this brief but eloquent meditation, the author makes a convincing case for the importance of walking. For him, walking is not simply taking a series of steps; it is something thrilling and amazing ... Kagge also offers a too-short but fascinating section on Nan Madol, \'a forgotten city in the Western Pacific Ocean that is reminiscent of Venice.\' A thoughtful book-length essay on a taken-for-granted human activity.
RavePublishers WeeklySolid prose and well-developed characters lift bestseller Golden’s sequel to 2017’s Ararat ... Golden makes the oppressive atmosphere inside Derveyî palpable. Preston and Child fans will clamor for more of Walker.
MixedPublishers Weekly...intriguing if somewhat unsatisfying ... Elliott’s mix of ghost story, mystery, and psychological thriller will strike some readers as less than sure-handed, with one genre blending awkwardly into another in confusing ways. Hopefully, Elliott will return to form next time.
Luke Fernandez and Susan J. Matt
RavePublishers WeeklyWeber State University educators Fernandez, an assistant computing professor, and Matt, a history professor, productively combine their expertise in this informative book about the cultural link between emotions and technology. Examining various platforms and devices, from the 19th-century telegraph to modern innovations, including Facebook and smartphones, they tell a powerful story of how new forms of technology are continually integrated into the human experience ... Rather than condemn modern technology out of hand, Fernandez and Matt simply connect emotional constants of the human experience to new platforms that alter how they are expressed and perceived. Anyone interested in seeing the digital age through a new perspective should be pleased with this rich account.
RavePublishers WeeklyWhile keeping the focus on family dynamics and the characters’ internal struggles, Casares frequently, and often heartbreakingly, sets this domestic story in a wider context by stepping back to investigate the stories of people with whom the main characters interact only tangentially ... With understated grace and without sermonizing, Casares brilliantly depicts the psychological complexity of living halfway in one place and halfway in another.
RaveKirkus...a potent novel about the complexities of immigration and the lies we tell ourselves and our families ... the reader is treated to a novel that addresses the complexity of immigration, identity, and assimilation while telling close, intimate stories ... Helping us learn the truth about who we are individually and as a society is the ultimate goal of this novel. In some ways timely, this quiet, delicate book delivers a truly timeless emotional punch.
Jacquelyn Dowd Hall
RaveKirkus... a sweeping, richly detailed intellectual and political history of America from the 1920s to the 1980s, an absorbing narrative based on impressive scholarship ... Sharply etched biographical portraits focus a compelling history.
Jacquelyn Dowd Hall
RavePublishers Weekly... excellent ... These admirably crafted biographies of the Lumpkins, their cohorts, and their causes opens a fascinating window on America’s social and intellectual history.
RaveKirkusA gripping tour through the most elemental component of baseball ... In this top-notch sports book, Kepner ... traces the development of each pitch, often as far back as the 19th century, and describes how pitchers take different approaches to the same fundamental pitch, creating myriad variations of each. Discussions of grips and arm angles become compelling aspects of a larger drama, and his interviewees provide useful insight into the psyche of players and the mindset that it takes to traverse the 60 feet, 6 inches between the pitcher’s mound and home plate. Although less a \'history of baseball\' than \'a history of pitching,\' with this book, Kepner has worked magic. This engaging exploration of the art and craft of pitching belongs in the first ranks of books on America’s most written-about sport.
PositivePublishers WeeklyUsing interviews and extensive research, Kepner not only discovers the origins and evolutions of these and other pitches, like the curveball...knuckleball, and spitball, but he also shines a microscope on how pitches captured championships or ended lives ... Kepner puts a new spin on baseball’s history that will have even the most avid fans entertained as they learn something new in each chapter.
MixedPublishers Weekly...[a] rich but unfocused treatise in comparative history ... Diamond offers far-ranging, erudite, lucid accounts of historical cruxes, spiced by sharp-eyed personal observations—he seems to have been everywhere—of national characters and quirks. Unfortunately, his social-psychological framework lacks the concise explanatory power of his books on geographical and environmental influences on history; his factors often seem like squishy truisms that fit any happenstance without proving much beyond the importance of realism and adaptability. The result is a suite of notable historical retrospectives that point in no singular direction.
PositiveKirkusDiamond astutely examines seven turning points in the history of the world ... Vintage Diamond; of a piece with Collapse (2004) and likely to appeal to the same broad audience.
RaveKirkus[A] lucid, timely study of the sole impeachment trial convened until 1998 ... Johnson was hauled before a court of impeachment but was acquitted after a series of legal arguments that the author renders with verve and skill, no easy feat given the technical nature of some of them ... A superb contribution to presidential history.
RavePublishers Weekly[A] detailed and lucidly written history ... Wineapple argues convincingly ... Her arguments are novel and her prose lively ... This book has much to offer enthusiasts of both historical and contemporary American politics.
MixedPublishers Weekly...[a] laconic fifth Leaphorn, Chee, and Manuelito novel ... Series fans not looking for dramatic momentum or a gripping plot will enjoy catching up with familiar characters, but predictability and lackluster prose mar this installment.
PositiveKirkusMiller makes a convincing, chilling argument based on an effective synthesis of research, interviews, and personal observation, and the impact is only slightly undercut by an occasionally shrill or pedantic tone ... A galvanizing forecast of global warming’s endgame and a powerful indictment of America’s current stance.
Ragnar Jonasson trans. by Victoria Cribb
RaveCrime by the BookFans of [Agatha] Christie’s work will feel right at home in Jonasson’s latest release; fans of Nordic Noir will similarly find the atmosphere Jonasson develops in The Island right up their alley ... Perhaps the greatest joy is witnessing the masterful way author Jonasson ties the novel’s seemingly disparate plotlines together ... Jonasson has proven himself once more to be a master of the kind of clever, unfussy-yet-shocking plotting that defines the legacy of Agatha Christie ... onasson ups the ante in his latest release, infusing his newest crime novel with a dark atmosphere, breathless suspense, and a masterfully crafted plot. wasn’t sure he could top the stellar launch of this trilogy, The Darkness, but I’m very happy to be proven wrong, because top it he has.
Ragnar Jonasson trans. by Victoria Cribb
RavePublishers Weekly... masterly ... Jónasson delivers a mind-bending look into human darkness that earns its twists.
Ragnar Jonasson trans. by Victoria Cribb
PositiveKirkusJónasson, who could give lessons on how to sustain a chilly atmosphere, sprinkles just enough hints of ghostly agents to make you wonder if he’s going to fall back on a paranormal resolution to the mystery. Don’t worry: The solution is both uncanny and all-too-human.
PositiveKirkusThough the novel is rife with romantic entanglements and revelations that wouldn’t be amiss in a soap opera, its emotional core is the bond between the Lee sisters, one of mutual devotion and a tinge of envy ... the book is a meditation not just on racism, but on (not) belonging ...A frank look at the complexities of family, race and culture.
MixedPWThe story is at its best when it delineates the struggles of second-generation Chinese immigrants in the two countries, and at its weakest when it falls into swooning romance clichés. Because most readers will solve the mysteries before Amy does, this one will satisfy those interested in the immigrant experience more than those looking for a complex plot to puzzle over.
PositiveKirkusIt being Ellroy, there are tangled storylines aplenty ... Mix in Mary Jane–dealing starlets, sleazy informants, synarchist gangsters, \'cops in the Silver Shirts and German-American Bund\', Orson Welles and Walter Pidgeon in a decidedly non–Hays Code film sequence, and a thousand other threads, and you’ve got a raucous tale that will likely leave you in need of a shower and a Disney film. A gritty, absorbing novel that proves once again that Ellroy is the rightful heir of Chandler, Cain, and Hammett.
RavePW...[a] stunning sequel ... his obsessive, wholly satisfying probing of 20th-century American history deserves a wide readership.
RaveKirkusIf the pivotal event of the book—and its sinister aftermath—seems slightly far-fetched given the relative grounding of the first two-thirds of the novel, who cares? It’s a trivial quibble given the sheer pleasure of reading this book. Pitoniak is an astute social observer, and the novel—a literary thriller about class aspiration and young female ambition—is a twisting delight with a haunting punch ... Deceptively nuanced, and impossible to put down, this is escapism with substance.
RavePublishers Weekly... fantastic ... This stirring character study and treatise on the dark sides of ambition, friendship, family, and privilege will hook readers from the get-go.
RaveKirkusAlthough the story’s premise might be a fantasy—it takes place in a world in which a divorced-mom Texan Democrat won the 2016 election—the emotions are all real. The love affair between Alex and Henry is intense and romantic, made all the more so by the inclusion of their poetic emails that manage to be both funny and steamy. McQuiston’s strength is in dialogue ... Although Alex and Henry’s relationship is the heart of the story, their friends and family members are all rich, well-drawn characters, and their respective worlds feel both realistic and larger-than-life ... A clever, romantic, sexy love story.
RavePublishers Weekly... outstanding ... The impossible relationship between Alex and Henry is portrayed with quick wit and clever plotting. The drama, which involves political rivals, possible betrayals, and even a meeting with the queen, is both irresistible and delicious. Readers will be eager to see more from McQuiston after this extremely promising start.
PositiveKirkusBased on Islamic mythology and Arabic folklore, debut author Azad’s descriptive storytelling and complex characters give the novel a certain richness and texture missing from solely plot-based narratives; readers can vicariously taste foods from different cultures and partake of the sights, smells, and sounds of the city of Noor where Hindus and Muslims live side by side in peace and harmony. The novel also sensitively deals with the delicate issues of grief and trauma.
RaveKirkusThis collection, which blends memoir, essays, and fiction, is intended to introduce Howland’s work to a new generation of readers, and it is an introduction well worth making. Her words and observations shine like buried treasure, each story a glinty, multifaceted gem that, despite the passage of time, has lost none of its luster or clarity ... This achingly beautiful book throbs with life, compassion, warmth, and humor; hums with an undercurrent of existential despair; and creeps into your soul like the slushy-gray-yellow light of a wintry Chicago morning.
RavePWThis stellar posthumous collection of stories from Howland (1937–2017) brings together works that span her career. Largely autobiographical and incredibly self-aware, Howland’s stories conjure vivid portraits of her home city of Chicago ... Within these straightforward setups, Howland creates stark and strange works of genius, portraying the complexities of family relationships as beautifully as she portrays her narrators’ insecurities, judgments, and anxieties. Her descriptions are darkly funny and delightful ... This is a collection to savor, and Howland is an author to celebrate.
Thomas D. Seeley
PositiveKirkusIn densely written chapters, the author reviews his extensive research into nest architecture, annual cycles, reproduction, collection of food, control of temperature, and defense of the colony ... The author helpfully describes the 21 ways in which wild colonies differ from managed colonies and then offers 14 practical suggestions for ways in which the beekeeper can help their colonies live better lives ... a wealth of information ... The book will be valuable to beekeepers and of interest to fellow entomologists.
T. J. Stiles
PositiveKirkusAn exemplary biography and highly readable business history.
John Von Sothen
PositivePublishers Weekly... von Sothen delights in this wry narrative about the gritty, grumpy realities of being an American adjusting to the Gallic lifestyle ... Von Sothen does a nice job of not just listing culture-clash gags but showing the ways in which a person can adapt over time, such as how he vowed to become an \'engaged citizen\' when Emmanuel Macron was elected president. With self-deprecating humor, von Sothen wonderfully gives an insider’s take on living life as an outsider.
John Von Sothen
PositiveKirkus... a deft, shrewd, and entertaining take on [Von Sothen\'s] adoptive home ... A witty, incisive portrait of contemporary France.
MixedThe Real Book SpyRobert Knott is a talented writer, but there’s no doubt that these books won’t appeal to everyone. It’s not a stretch to suggest that only those with the strongest desires to explore the old Wild West will enjoy this book, but the same could be said for the rest of the franchise as well. The problem here is that the first act of the story is pretty slow, even by old west standards, and if you don’t find the squabble between Baptiste and McCormick interesting and engaging (which it’s not very, as both men whine and plead with Cole and Hitch to do something about the other), then there’s very little reason to continue onward into the book’s middle pages, which do heat up ... while longtime readers will likely enjoy another ride through Appaloosa with their two heroes, the slower plot and lack of suspense early on makes this one a bit of an acquired taste.
PanKirkusCole and Hitch, who’ve now appeared in more novels written by Knott than by their creator, have little to do but stand around, tote up the rising body count and occasionally augment it, and offer gruffly monosyllabic responses to questions that come their way as the perfect storm gathers to strike their hometown ... Earnest, heavier than usual on old-fashioned detective work, and ritualistic to a fault. If you’re surprised by anything that happens, you need to read more Westerns.
PositiveKirkusFajardo strains to make connections between the events of her life and Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude ... this story, marked by disillusion, yearning, sadness, and one happy coincidence, does not draw upon or evoke magical realism; nor does Fajardo need García Márquez to justify or bolster her memoir. A forthright and sensitive tale of a daughter’s quest.
Roberto Calasso, Trans. by Richard Dixon
PositiveKirkusSometimes the author’s argument can be a little scattershot and even obvious, as when he introduces tourism into the modern mix and then complains that no tourist would dream of wearing silly tourist garb at home. Mostly, though, the book is a deeply learned if allusive disquisition that brings in Walter Benjamin, Leibniz, the Bhagavad-Gita, and various TED talkers. The two-page ending, turning on a dream of Baudelaire’s, is a tour de force and among the most memorable things Calasso has written over the course of his series.
Christine Wunnike, Trans. by Philip Boehm
PositiveKirkusAn elusive little novel about medicine, memory, and fox possession ... What is real and what isn’t? What is superstition, what is medicine? Wunnicke’s sly novel offers a great deal of mystery and humor but no hard answers. With her delicate prose, arch tone, and mischievous storytelling, Wunnicke proves herself a master of the form.
Christine Wunnike, Trans. by Philip Boehm
PositivePWWunnicke...spoofs the misogynist history of psychology in this clever and rewarding novel of slippery memories tinged with Japanese myths ... This gracefully amusing blend of history and imagination will beguile readers keen on questionable narrators and magical realism.
Armando Lucas Correa
MixedKirkus\"Though grim, [the first] part of the narrative is gripping and stirring. The second part is also eventful, but it meanders and lacks focus. Plus, the young Lina...unlike her mother, is not a strong enough character to anchor the action. There is vivid writing, especially in the first part, and some memorable images ... Though it\'s sometimes involving and insightful, Correa\'s novel is ultimately too diffuse to have the intended impact.
Armando Lucas Correa
MixedPWImpossible choices faced by loving parents lie at the heart of this underwhelming tale by Correa ... While Correa convincingly evokes the perils of occupied France, his characters rarely move beyond being one-dimensional, and the hasty conclusion about how the war ended for Viera and Lina is unsatisfying. Readers interested in WWII fiction have plenty of better options elsewhere.
PositiveKirkusRelying on a combination of academic research and less formal anecdotes, Gans...shifts back and forth between admiration for the NSC and warnings that the mostly publicity-shy staff members have accumulated too much influence without being overseen by anybody outside the White House ... A chief value of the book...is the author’s focus on case studies about how less-visible staff have exerted influence ... A useful historical study that will especially interest those seeking a look at government from the inside.
Catherine Cusset, trans. by Teresa Fagan
PositiveKirkusCusset paints a picture that, for those familiar with Hockney’s work and life, feels hyper-realistic. In fact, it’s often hard to draw the line between biography and novel—perhaps this is what gives the book its strength ... Cusset’s style oozes with delicacy, pointedness, and gusto. She masters the short sentence, enlivening the narrative with the speed of Hockney’s rise to fame—a speed that comes to perfectly mirror his experience with the AIDS epidemic, friends dying too quickly all around him. A perfect short exposé of Hockney’s life as seen through the eyes of an admiring novelist.
Jessica Francis Kane
PositiveKirkusDespite the wire hanger of a plot surrounding these visits, the novel turns on narrator May’s ruminations ... May is generous in sharing her thoughts, but the reader must search between the lines to read her heart as May begins receiving postcards hinting at a desire for more than friendship from a nice man back home ... Engagingly cleareyed prose about a winningly eccentric heroine in love with trees and literature.
Jessica Francis Kane
PositivePublishers Weekly... impeccably written and surprisingly moving ... On May’s visits, she comes to realize the importance of empathy in cultivating relationships, not only with them but with the many people in her life, both past and present. May’s journey is lovely and deeply affecting.
PositivePublishers WeeklyBarenbaum deepens the narrative with strong secondary characters marked by competing desires, such as the passions of Russian soldier Sasha Petrov and the deviousness of Russian Kir, who is trying to steal intellectual property. Fans of Kristin Hannah will enjoy Barenbaum’s exhilarating tale.
MixedKirkus... while Miri and Vanya are annoyingly gifted as well as earnestly moral and Miri’s darling Sasha is typically dashing and heroic, Yuri evolves into Barenbaum’s one fully developed character, heartbreakingly full of human contradictions ...
Barenbaum has an eye for visual detail, but her story bogs down in sentiment, overplotting, and lecturing.
RaveKirkusWalton masterfully engenders sympathy for the fanatic Savonarola, conveying how devastating it is to remember God’s love but be forever cut off from it. This book may also impel her close readers to perform their own feats of intellectual gymnastics ... By itself, a fascinating meditation on the choices which alter lives and the course of history; in the context of Walton\'s other novels, positively mind-bending.
RavePublishers Weekly... powerful, thoughtful ... Girolamo’s mix of moral rigidity and reflexive kindness makes him a complex yet affecting guide to this intricate set of alternate histories, each rendered gently but with a devastating emotional weight. Fans of Connie Willis and The Good Place will be awed by this nuanced, loving grapple with better selves and better worlds.
Adam Ehrlich Sachs
RavePublishers Weekly... sublime ... Sachs demonstrates the difficulty of getting inside other people’s heads (literally and figuratively) and out of one’s own ... These transfixing, mordantly funny encounters with violent sons and hypochondriacal daughters stage the same dramas of revelation and concealment, reason and lunacy, doubt and faith, and influence and skepticism playing out between the astronomer and Leibniz. How it all comes together gives the book the feel of an intellectual thriller. Sachs’s talent is on full display in this brilliant work of visionary absurdism.
Adam Ehrlich Sachs
PositiveKirkusMix Umberto Eco and Thomas Pynchon, add dashes of Liu Cixin and Isaac Asimov, and you’ll approach this lively novel of early science ... quietly humorous ... There’s a gentle goofiness at work in Sachs’ pages ... Yet there’s an elegant meditation at play, too, on how science is done, how political power can subvert it, and how we know the world around us, all impeccably written ... A pleasure to read, especially for the scientifically inclined.
RaveKirkusWriting with insight and wit, Miller is both unsparing and sympathetic as she captures the perspective of a character who, initially at least, comes off as not terribly appealing. But at a slow, deliberate pace befitting the story’s Southern setting, she reveals Louis to be something more than the emotionally limited sad sack he may initially be taken for—an irascible old coot, sure, but a lovable one you can’t help but root for ... Miller’s deliciously engaging, gently quirky, surprisingly hopeful novel seals her spot in the pantheon of Southern fiction writers.
PositivePublishers Weekly... excellent ... A witty, insightful exploration of masculinity and self-worth ... In Louis, Miller captures the insecurities of an imperfect man beyond his prime as he tries to find his purpose in the world, and the result is a charming and terrific novel.
RaveKirkusLevin nimbly explores Taylor’s life in a story that becomes more complex the more it’s revealed ... As the author shows in this excellent piece of true-crime writing, Taylor’s case is entirely rare, but the potent political symbolism it inspired certainly did no favors to those who truly needed welfare assistance in the years since ... In the end, a politician’s reductive sloganeering finds some support here but is ultimately found wanting. A top-notch study of an exceedingly odd moment in history.
PositivePublishers Weekly... [an] impressive debut ... Levin makes the complex narrative accessible by using an indefatigable Chicago police detective, Jack Sherwin, as his initial protagonist ... Levin’s piecing together of interviews, court documents, and other records paint as complete a picture as possible of an unrepentant career criminal who was turned into a stereotype for political purposes. Those interested in U.S. urban culture of another era will also be intrigued.
PositiveKirkusTubman’s world is vividly brought to life as we see her go about her daily routines ... Re-creating the speech patterns and culture of black and white characters alike, Cobbs strives for verisimilitude while avoiding caricature. Although Cobbs allows her heroine a brief love affair, her treatment of her protagonist is so reverential as to render Moses almost superhuman ... A stirring fictional tribute to an American icon.
PositivePublishers Weekly... an immersive account ... Rich historical detail adds texture, but the highlight is Harriet, a woman who repeatedly risks her life for the freedom of others. Cobbs’s terrific portrait of Tubman will both move and inform readers.
MixedKirkusReeves...plays out this well-worn triangle in chapters that shift between Laura’s first-person narration and a third-person narration that\'s close to Ed\'s perspective, arriving at a twist that finally moves the novel beyond cliché to become a sensitive examination of love, responsibility, and compassion ... A predictable plot reveals emotional complexities.
PositivePWReeves...forms an intense love triangle between a doctor, his wife, and one of his patients across the 1970s and ’80s in her introspective latest ...Readers who enjoy complex depictions of the lingering commitments of relationships will be swept away by Reeves’s crisp, powerful novel.
PositivePWThe interspersed family letters and newspaper articles, while intriguing, seem spliced rather than woven into a narrative that leaps by years before settling ... But Robinson’s descriptive and imaginative prose sings; this book is a startling reminder of the immoral and lasting brutality visited on the South by the institution of slavery.
PanKirkusSuch plotlines could easily regress into a lurid, exploitative tale...but Robinson handles the material judiciously, using the Dawsons’ lives as points in a larger map of civic dysfunction. (She integrates contemporary news stories of murders between chapters to evoke a wider atmosphere of unease.) Robinson suggests that bigotry has trickle-down effects in terms of race, gender, and everyday conduct. All this converges in a climax that\'s surprising but, given Robinson’s careful integration of history and imagination, feels inevitable. A stylish and contemplative historical novel, considerate of facts but not burdened by them.
PositiveKirkusWaters\' book demonstrates that he is not only first among Filth Elders; he is also a keen observer of American culture. Wickedly smart and consistently laugh-out-loud funny.
PositivePW... [a] delightful hybrid memoir/advice book ... Though not quite as surreal, Waters’s musings are as funny and eccentric as his films; longtime fans will be delighted with the treasure trove of insights into his brilliant oeuvre.
PositiveThe Real Book SpyWhereas other writers take a formulaic approach this deep into their careers, Sandford has shown a willingness to take risks in the name of freshening up his series, and it’s paid off in spades. By now, fans know just what they’re getting when they head out to follow Lucas Davenport around, and John Sandford delivers another intriguing, page-turning plot that’ll hold readers over until next time.
RaveLibrary JournalA good thriller isn\'t so much written as built, and Pavone is one of the genre\'s most consistently dazzling architects ... Pavone gives us a fresh, pulsating, and introspective thriller that delivers on its tourist-heavy Parisian setting and expands and connects territory from his previous novels ... Absolutely not to be missed.
PositivePublishers Weekly[A] sturdy sequel ... Poorly established stakes and underdeveloped characters lessen the tale’s urgency and impact, but Pavone’s clever setup and nimble execution buoy the book to an action-packed finish. Fans of latter-day le Carré will be well satisfied.
PositiveKirkus[A] fast-paced thriller ... With all those players, mercenaries, and assorted bad guys thrown into the mix, you just know that the storyline is going to be knotty, and it resolves in a messy spatter of violence that’s trademark Pavone and decidedly not for the squeamish. A satisfying puzzler, one to shelve alongside le Carré, Forsyth, and other masters of foreign intrigue.
PositiveThe Real Book SpyPavone does a lot of things really well. A terrific writer, he paints a beautiful picture on the page, bringing Paris right to life for readers ... Likewise, in addition to his clean prose, he knows how to spin a solid mystery, and his latest will no doubt keep readers guessing along the way until he’s ready to reveal the truth. On the other hand, the secondary cast of characters is rather large, resulting in too many of them feeling just slightly underdeveloped ... Those are very minor complaints, however, and shouldn’t be an issue for anyone willing to suspend their disbelief—and those who do will have a seriously fun time.
RaveThe Real Book Spy...[a] heart-thumping, Harlan Coben-esque domestic thriller that packs a serious punch ... It’s hard nowadays, in the post-Gone Girl era, to truly catch readers off-guard. From unreliable narrators to unforeseen twists out of left field that offer more shock than substance, today’s reader has pretty much seen it all, which is why Scottoline’s latest offering is so special—she lands that coveted haymaker, one that’ll leave her fans reeling and have people talking about her book for a long, long time ... a relentless, gut-punch of a thriller that’s sure to stand among the year’s best.
PositiveKirkus[Scottoline] brings her troubled teens and the equally screwed-up adults they become to melodramatically vivid life, slowly ratcheting up the tempo right up to the last muffled twist. The author’s acknowledgments call her latest stand-alone a \'deep domestic,\' a description it would be hard to improve on—as long as you understand that what’s deep are the emotions, not the ideas.
PositivePWOnly an awkward closing twist undercuts a heartfelt tale that touches on family, marriage, justice, and how emotional wounds drive the choices people make. Scottoline’s fans will be well satisfied.
PositiveThe EconomistEndeavour was much less elegant than is Mr Moore’s immersive account of her life ... This enjoyable book breathes life into characters better remembered for their namesakes than themselves: Tasman (Tasmania), Louis Antoine de Bougainville (bougainvillea) and Carl Linnaeus (Linnaean classification).
RaveKirkus... dense but enlightening ... goes well beyond simple history or a mere tracking of the Endeavour’s exploits. Though the minutiae may seem daunting at first, readers should stick with it, as the narrative transforms into a page-turning, breathtaking adventure story for the ages ... History at its most exciting and revealing.
RavePublishers Weekly... even better than the series’ impressive debut, 2018’s The Widows of Malabar Hill ... The winning, self-sufficient Perveen should be able to sustain a long series.
RaveWorld Literature TodayThe ghastliness of war and its consequent unsavory realities are subtly captured ... Hanif demonstrates his finesse by dovetailing the tenebrous story of war with comic yet insightful scenes that bring tragicomic effects to the novel. Often satirical in tone, the book derides the absurdity of war in a highly provocative and intriguing fashion ... Hanif is a skilled master of drawing vivid characters that may appear funny but represent disquieting realities of their own ... The most essential and noticeable feature of Hanif’s writing is the description of the brutal aftermath of war ... The novel is a scathing yet wry critique of American war policies and coercive US involvement in the Middle East.
RaveKirkusA satire of American military power that skirts didacticism while skewering our nation\'s misadventures in the Middle East ... Hanif\'s novel maneuvers between compelling, hilarious voices with the fast pace of a slapstick comedy, albeit a comedy with teeth ... Funny, fresh, and not afraid to draw blood, this is an unusual gem of a book.
RavePublishers WeeklyHanif’s portrait of the surrealism and commonplaceness of America’s wars in Muslim countries is nearly impossible to put down. The camp in particular crackles with humanity ... The novel manages to remain delightful and unpredictable even in its darkest moments, highlighting the hypocrisies and constant confusions of American intervention abroad.
RavePublishers WeeklyMaraniss weaves in insightful studies of other figures in the post-war Red Scare ... Clear-eyed and empathetic, Maraniss’s engrossing portrait of a patriotic, baseball-loving red reveals the complex human motivations underneath the era’s clashing dogmas.
PositiveKirkusMaraniss creates a sensitive portrait of a man who was \'young and brilliant and searching for meaning\'; whose leftist political perspective was never at odds with his patriotism; and whose optimism never failed him as he confronted considerable professional obstacles ... A cleareyed, highly personal view of a dark chapter in American history.
RavePublishers Weekly\"Inspired by horrific events that transpired at the real-life Dozier School for Boys, Whitehead’s brilliant examination of America’s history of violence is a stunning novel of impeccable language and startling insight.\
RaveKirkus\"...a leaner, meaner saga of Deep South captivity set in the mid-20th century and fraught with horrors more chilling for being based on true-life atrocities ... Whitehead’s novel displays its author’s facility with violent imagery and his skill at weaving narrative strands into an ingenious, if disquieting whole. There\'s something a tad more melodramatic in this book\'s conception (and resolution) than one expects from Whitehead, giving it a drugstore-paperback glossiness that enhances its blunt-edged impact.\
Fernando A Flores
PositiveKirkus... certainly deserves its place alongside Warren Ellis and Jeff Vandermeer, with a rustic patina that nods to the likes of Jonathan Lethem’s well-worn detectives ... Plotwise, the novel is seriously circuitous, but Flores’ rich characterizations, sparing prose, and vivid portrayal of the myths of Mexican culture and life along the border give what could have been a tinder-dry crime novel a strange whimsy and charm that don’t sound like anything else in genre fiction ... A dryly philosophical, colorful, and disorienting thriller about grief, survival, and undead animals.
Fernando A Flores
MixedPublishers WeeklyFlores’s delirious debut never quite delivers on its imaginative premise ... Flores’s novel is jam-packed with excitement, but his inability to prioritize his ideas prevents them from cohering into a credible vision of dystopia. Despite this, Flores’s novel shows he has talent and creativity to spare.
Gordon H Chang
PositiveKirkusA valuable contribution to the history of the Chinese in North America, allowing the formerly nameless to emerge \'as real historical actors.\'
Gordon H Chang
MixedPublishers Weekly[Chang\'s] writing is vibrant and passionate ... his account clarifies that the Chinese railroad workers had far more agency than popularly believed. But the sparseness of the historical record means that he has to spend far too long on extrapolation. Readers hoping for a well-sourced account of what it was like to work on the railroads won’t find one here, though Chang’s history does shed more light on this facet of American history.
MixedPublishers Weekly\"Atkinson has been better at balancing personal and professional story lines, and the presence of a figure from Jackson’s past, now a cop involved in an inquiry looking at establishment figures, won’t resonate for first-timers. Series fans will best appreciate this outing.\
RaveKirkus\"A small cast of characters collides and careens in a manner that straddles Greek tragedy and screwball comedy. The humor is sly rather than slapstick, and Atkinson is keenly interested in inner lives and motivations. There are villains, certainly—human trafficking and the sexual abuse of children figure prominently here—but even the sympathetic characters are complicated and compromised. Jackson has a strong moral code, but his behavior is often less than ethical. The same is true of Vince, Crystal, and Reggie. The deaths and disappearances that Jackson investigates change with every book, but the human heart remains the central mystery. The welcome return of an existential detective.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"While novels about Manhattan marriages and divorces are hardly a scarce commodity, the characters in this one are complex and well-drawn, and the author’s incisive sense of humor and keen observations of Upper West Side life sustain the momentum. This is a sardonically cheerful novel that readers will adore.\
RaveKirkus\"Toby is a wonderful character; Libby\'s narrative voice is funny, smart, and a little bitter as she tells his story, and some of hers as well. You get the feeling she wants to write a novel like (the fictional) Decoupling, an outrageous, bestselling, canonical account of divorce written by one of the stars at her old magazine. Perhaps she has. Firing on all circuits, from psychological insight to cultural acuity to narrative strategy to very smart humor. Quite a debut!\
PositiveKirkusWithin what are often very short pieces or sections, with lots of white space on the page, Rankine more effectively sustains a feeling and establishes a state of being than advances an argument. At times, she can be both provocative and puzzling ... Frequently powerful, occasionally opaque.
RavePublishers WeeklyAccounts of racially charged interactions, insidious and flagrant, transpiring in private and in the public eye, distill the immediate emotional intensity of individual experience with tremendous precision while allowing ambiguity, ambivalence, contradiction, and exhaustion to remain in all their fraught complexity. Combining poetry, essay, and images from media and contemporary art, Rankine’s poetics capture the urgency of her subject matter ... Once again Rankine inspires sympathy and outrage, but most of all a will to take a deep look at ourselves and our society.
PositiveKirkusThe romance is sexy, and it\'s entertaining to watch Amalie save her livelihood through the power of publicity with help from an aging movie star and a celebrity gossip columnist ... Quick delivers another Hollywood golden age romantic suspense that’s a little over-the-top, but in a clever, fun way.
PositivePublishers Weekly... a dense work of romantic suspense ... Quick excels at developing complex plots that keep the reader guessing, all while building chemistry between Amalie and Mattias as they work together to catch a criminal who may also be linked to Amalie’s past. This tangled novel will satisfy series fans and others looking for a bit of a challenge.
MixedPublishers WeeklyThough increasingly ingenious twists only spotlight the flimsiness of the players, Constantine expertly ratchets up the tension as the nursery-rhyme-referencing threats mount, leading to a security breach that strikes perilously close to home. Those who value plot over character development in their psychological thrillers will be satisfied.
PanKirkusKate is a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon, or at least she\'s supposed to be—there\'s not a single detail that makes this feel believable ... Maybe complaints about the money-porn aspect of the book seem picky, but the whodunit aspect, which is where it lives or dies, is not much more substantial. Suspicious details pile up so quickly against the various suspects that one never actually suspects them, and then so much backstory has to be shoehorned in at the last minute to support the solution to the puzzle that it\'s not very satisfying ... The two sisters who write as Constantine can do better than this.
RaveThe Real Book SpyBrian Panowich finally delivers a sequel that was worth waiting for ... Panowich skillfully mixes in a number of touching scenes and moments...creating incredible balance throughout...the heart of the story isn’t in the tone or message, but rather the characters, as Panowich continues to create a memorable, relatable cast and shows that he knows how to get the most out of his characters ... creating the type of hypnotic, page-turning experience that doesn’t come around too often. Dark, raw, and honest, Brian Panowich’s Like Lions is a beautifully written, powerful crime thriller that’ll have readers begging for more.
PositivePW...[a dark and original debut] ... Set in a richly rendered Florida and filled with delightfully wry prose and bracing honesty, Arnett’s novel introduces a keenly skillful author with imagination and insight to spare.
MixedKirkusArnett writes in clear, perceptive prose...yet the pacing and climax of this deeply psychological novel remain off-kilter. Jessa is stuck playing the eternal, repressed \'straight\' man to her creator\'s wry sense of humor—with mixed results. For all of Arnett\'s insights, the outsize mother-daughter conflict at the heart of the book feels as if a bear skin were draped over the skeleton of a much smaller mammal. Still, there\'s much to admire in Arnett\'s vision of Florida as a creative swamp of well-meaning misfits and in the sweet hopefulness of finding your way back to yourself through family.
MixedPW[Shalini\'s] generational depictions tend toward broad archetypes (hedonistic, helicopter-parent baby boomers; Generation X parents skeptical of the \'American dream\') and she does not provide rigorous, explicit support for her claims that the culture of intense preparation surrounding the bee is merely one example of an endemic \'professionalization of childhood.\' This account is more successful as a deep dive into bee culture and immigrant experience than as an argument about what constitutes a typical Gen Z experience or child, but it makes for engaging reading nonetheless.
PositiveKirkus[Shalini\'s] research is fascinating ... The author is excellent at capturing the drama of these events on both the national and local levels as well as explaining how \'Spellebrities\' are created ... Parents who hope to see their children compete in these word clashes—and those who enjoy word games—will find this a most enlightening read.
PositivePW...[a] solid debut ... Readers will relish these melancholy stories of everyday and exceptional tragedies.
PositivePWThe evolution of Khai’s feelings toward Esme, and the way she comes to understand and care for him, are beautifully developed, and the relationship they form feels delicate yet bursting with hope. With serious moments offset by spot-on humor, this romance has broad appeal, and it will find a special place in the hearts of autistic people and those who love them.
RavePWMcGuire...puts a genuinely innovative spin on the magical child horror novel in this mesmerizing story of two gifted, telepathic children and the unsettling source of their powers ... Shifts and alterations in timelines demand close attention from readers, but McGuire’s rigorous plotting pulls everything together by the end. This is a fascinating novel by an author of consummate skill.
PositiveKirkusThis book falls intriguingly far on the logic end; with its experiments and protocols, it redefines what is typically meant by science fantasy ... Satisfying on all levels of the reading experience: thrilling, emotionally resonant, and cerebral. Escape to Witch Mountain for grown-ups.
PositiveKirkus...[a] long but economically written study ... Nuanced and deeply intelligent—a view of Egyptian politics that sometimes seems to look at everything but and that opens onto an endlessly complex place and people.
PositivePW...at once engrossing and illuminating ... Adroitly combining the color and pacing of travel writing and investigative journalism with the tools and insight of anthropological fieldwork and political theory, this stakes a strong claim to being the definitive book to emerge from the Egyptian revolution.
RavePWIn this brilliant sequel to his history of earlier-20th-century Europe (To Hell and Back), historian Kershaw profiles a Europe that has emerged into the 21st century calmer and more prosperous than in the century before, though with an uncertain future ... Writing a 67-year history of a continent with more than 40 countries is a monumental task, and Kershaw has done so with unflagging narrative drive and fine prose.
PositivePWTreglown’s focus is squarely on Hersey’s work, not his personal life, but the portrait that emerges of a deeply principled artist is all the clearer for it ... This scrupulously researched study not only reveals much about the man behind the work, it reminds media-wary readers of what constitutes good journalism and why it is essential.
PositiveKirkusA lucid, thoughtfully told look at the life of the American journalist and novelist John Hersey ... Sympathetic and circumstantial—a readable literary biography that is likely to be the last word on the subject.
RaveKirkusCollins’ debut novel administers a bold and vibrant jolt to both the gothic and historical fiction genres, embracing racial and sexual subtexts that couldn’t or wouldn’t have been imagined by its long-ago practitioners. Her evocations of early-19th-century London and antebellum Jamaica are vivid and, at times, sensuously graphic. Most of all, she has created in her title character a complex, melancholy, and trenchantly observant protagonist; too conflicted in motivation, perhaps, to be considered a heroine but as dynamic and compelling as any character conceived by a Brontë sister ... Collins invokes both Voltaire and Defoe here, and she forges an unlikely but sadly harmonic connection with both these enlightenment heroes in her gripping, groundbreaking debut.
RavePublishers Weekly... a powerful portrayal of the horrors of slavery and the injustices of British society’s treatment of former slaves in the early 1800s ... This is both a highly suspenseful murder mystery and a vivid historical novel, but best of all is the depiction of Frannie, a complex and unforgettable protagonist. This is a great book sure to find a wide—and deserved—audience.
RavePublishers Weekly... [a] funny and excellent debut ... The narrative gets its most solid comic charge from the ironic disparity between the rough circumstances of prison life and the incongruous need of humans to intellectualize ... dazzling virtuosity. Supremely mischievous and sublimely written, this is a stellar work.
PositiveKirkus... a debut novel that is as eccentric as it comes but also fitfully funny and murderously wry in its humor ... The book is purposefully messy—the prose is breathless, meandering, and riddled with pop-culture references and responses to real-time events on platforms like Instagram and Reddit--but Chapman demonstrates an arch humor that mimics French existentialism as much as it does traditional American satire. It’s even easy to gain an odd affection for our superarrogant narrator despite his supercilious tone and his sentence, which is, as we learn late in the game, for doing something genuinely terrible. This is certainly not a book for casual readers, but those who appreciate a genuinely original stylist and acidly dark humor will find it an odd treat ... A frenzied yet wistful monologue from a lover of literature under siege.
PositivePW[an] engrossing account of the L.A. hotel’s 90-year history of decadence ... This eye-popping and entertainingly lurid tale of Hollywood scandal and intrigue will delight readers.
PositiveKirkusLevy’s history is both staid and juicy ... A familiar but fun Hollywood tale.
PositiveKirkusHorwitz seldom reaches deep; his book is casually observed and travelogue-ish...more Paul Theroux than de Tocqueville ... Not as sprightly as some of the author’s past reports from the fringes but provocative and well worth reading.
PositivePW...[an] expansive and generously conceived travelogue ... throughout, Horwitz brings humor, curiosity, and care to capturing the voices of the larger-than-life characters he encounters. A huge canvas of intricate details, this thoughtful and observant work delicately navigates the long shadow of America’s history.
RavePW...an eye-opening, lyrical, and even moving exploration ... Macfarlane makes counterintuitive concepts fully accessible while capturing the poetry beneath the science ... Macfarlane’s rich, evocative survey enables readers to view themselves \'as part of a web... stretching over millions of years past and millions to come,\' and deepen their understanding of the planet.
RaveKirkus...an accomplished Virgil ... a gifted storyteller and poetic writer ... Wherever [Macfarlane] travels, he enhances our sense of wonder‚ which, after all, is the whole point of storytelling. A treasure all its own. Anyone who cares to ponder the world beneath our feet will find this to be an essential text.
PositiveKirkusWhat Boyle’s writing lacks in comparison to Henry David Thoreau’s transcendentalism or Aldo Leopold’s lyricism is made up for by his consistently earnest self-reflection ... There’s not enough space on Earth for everyone to move off the grid and back to the land, but Boyle’s pleasant book allows us to at least imagine the dream.
RavePublishers Weekly... [a] militantly nonfanatical treatise ... Gopnik hangs his discussion on vivid profiles of liberal dreamers and doers ... He writes with a pithy, aphoristic charm that overlies deep erudition and nuanced analysis. The result is a smart, exhilarating defense of the liberal tradition.
PositiveKirkus[Gopnik] shows his astute awareness of the public’s political consciousness ... Essentially, the author’s \'adventure\' is not a defense of liberalism as much as a clarification and pieces of fatherly advice for a new generation on liberal reforms and institutions. ... Gopnik’s learned, lofty, occasionally dense study ultimately reasserts the belief in the \'infinity of small effects.\'
RaveKirkusIt\'s a measure of how good this book is that the chilling, masterfully sustained suspense is only one of its standout achievements. Koryta never brushes off anyone\'s death; he makes you feel for the victims. The relationship between Tara and her sibling is beautifully nuanced, full of revealing details going back to their childhood. And Koryta’s fans will surely appreciate the suggestion of a sequel ... Koryta has never been better than with this knuckle-biting thriller.
PositivePublishers WeeklyAdept at creating Hitchcockian moments, Koryta keeps the suspense high throughout.
RavePublishers Weekly... heart-wrenching yet life-affirming ... an amazing and inspirational exploration on the meaning of grief and the interconnectedness of love and loss.
PositiveKirkusCompassionate and sensitively told, Greene’s story accomplishes an exceptionally difficult feat: transforming tragedy into both a spiritual journey and a celebration of wonder ... A poignantly uplifting memoir of moving forward after terrible loss.
RavePublishers WeeklyPulitzer Prize winner Atkinson replicates his previous books’ success in this captivatingly granular look at the American Revolution ... By providing vivid portraits of even minor characters, Atkinson enables readers to feel the loss of individual lives on both sides of the conflict, and by providing memorable details he brings new life even to chapters of oft-told American history. Atkinson doesn’t shy away from noting the hypocrisy of the slave-owning founding fathers, and his mordant prose is another plus. This is a superlative treatment of the period.
RaveKirkus... doesn’t disappoint ... There’s plenty of motion and carnage to keep the reader’s attention. Yet Atkinson also has a good command of the big-picture issues that sparked the revolt and fed its fire, from King George’s disdain of disorder to the hated effects of the Coercive Acts ... A sturdy, swift-moving contribution to the popular literature of the American Revolution.
PositiveKirkusA thoughtful history of our species ... Readers will encounter plenty of intriguing surprises ... Despite the inevitable gloomy conclusion, Dartnell is an engaging guide through millions of years of history ... An expert chronicle of the Earth that culminates in human civilization.
PositivePublishers WeeklyHis writing in places seems aimed at younger readers ... Science mavens may also be taken aback that he provides primers on some fairly basic concepts, such as ice ages and human genetics. However, the central project of this book—providing a geological take on human history—is well illustrated and at moments, surprising.
PositiveKirkusIves\' second novel...is half gonzo grad school satire...half theoretical inquiry into the nature of writing and reality ... Also included are several of the works Harry writes as T.A. Loudermilk—poems that set the entire student body and faculty back on their heels in awe. We\'re 99 percent sure the admiration these inspire is supposed to be a joke, but since there were a number of other things that went over our heads, we could be wrong. Wonder Boys meets Cyrano de Bergerac meets Jacques Lacan meets Animal House. Something for everyone.
PositivePW...[a] clever novel ... The nuanced subversion of tropes and full-throttle self-indulgence of Ives’s writing lend a manic glee to this slyly funny and deeply intelligent novel.
PositiveKirkus... a chilling portrait ... Fully amplifying her father’s warped perceptions, the author provides an exacting, revealing glimpse into the psychology of gaslighting from the view of a perpetrator. Ensler effectively unearths tragic betrayals of trust and the multiple terrors survived by her younger self ... a fevered account that traces periods of resistance, rebellion, self-destruction, creativity, and sobriety ... Ensler’s father is certain to frustrate readers looking for a more concrete sense of justice, and the graphic catalogue of sexual abuses and physical violence will challenge most readers and trigger some. Still, this is a potent, necessary narrative of healing, and the author succeeds in her \'attempt to endow my father with the will and the words to cross the border, and speak the language, of apology so that I can finally be free.\' This imagined voice is as intimate as it is alarming, and Ensler also taps into a broader struggle, seeking to hold all perpetrators of abuse accountable for their actions ... Readers searching for full and consistent contrition may be uncomfortable, but those seeking a greater understanding of psychological manipulation will appreciate this powerful examination.
PositivePublishers Weekly... bold, brutal, and ultimately healing ... a powerful and disturbing story that Ensler writes with grace an aplomb.
MixedPublishers WeeklyIn this sun-dazed debut memoir about loss, identity, and partying with the preppy set, book editor Glynn turns the magnifying glass on his inner turmoil but never manages to inspire much sympathy for his plight ... As a microcosmic rendition of a lost summer’s drunken rhythms and Glynn’s slowly unfolding realization about his own sexuality, the writing resonates with a shimmery tingle ... Glynn’s point of view, however, remains so swaddled in privilege that his emotional distress registers as mere entitlement ... Ultimately this is a neatly observed but light story about coming out.
RaveKirkus...[an] immersive, impressive, and strikingly original debut ... An unusual, cleverly constructed thriller that is also a deep dive into the culture of a place many Americans have probably never heard of, illuminating issues of race, culture, sexual attraction, and the transition from the U.S.S.R. to post-Soviet Russia.
RavePublishers Weekly...[an] exceptional and suspenseful debut ... Phillips’s exquisite descriptions of the desolate landscape and the \'empty, rolling earth\' are masterful throughout, as is her skill at crafting a complex and genuinely addictive whodunit. This novel signals the arrival of a mighty talent.
Gabriel García Márquez
RaveKirkusAn eye-opening collection of articles that reveal Gabo the journalist ... Editor Pera confesses that he purposefully chose pieces that \'contain a latent narrative tension between journalism and literature\' to showcase the author’s \'unstoppable narrative impulse\' .... The text is elegantly translated by McLean, and García Márquez fans will welcome these fresh and lively examples of his beautiful, lyrical writing.
Gabriel García Márquez
PositivePWEven in short-form pieces, the Colombian Nobel laureate’s skill at creating character, mood, and setting shines through ... As with any collection, some selections are more successful than others, but all reflect García Márquez’s humor, graceful style, and ability to find the human interest in every topic.
PositiveKirkus...DiFranco’s tale celebrates both independent music and an unconventional life daringly lived. A refreshingly frank and free-spirited memoir from a feminist icon.
PositivePWDiFranco, a Grammy Award–winning musician and political activist, makes her literary debut in this powerful reflection on her life and career ... Honest and passionate, DiFranco’s memoir will resonate with her many fans.
RaveKirkus\"The story is jammed with terrific characters, gorgeous clothing, great one-liners, convincing wartime atmosphere, and excellent descriptions of sex, one of which can only be described (in Vivian\'s signature italics) as transcendent. There are still many readers who know Gilbert only as a memoirist. Whatever Eat Pray Love did or did not do for you, please don\'t miss out on her wonderful novels any longer. A big old banana split of a book, surely the cure for what ails you.\
RavePublishers Weekly\"Gilbert begins her beguiling tale of an innocent young woman discovering the excitements and pleasures of 1940 New York City with a light touch, as her heroine, Vivian Morris, romps through the city. Gradually the story deepens into a psychologically keen narrative about Vivian’s search for independence as she indulges her free spirit and sexuality ... Vivian—originally reckless and selfish, eventually thoughtful and humane—is the perfect protagonist for this novel, a page-turner with heart complete with a potent message of fulfillment and happiness.\
RaveKirkus\"Although she\'s lovingly drawn by Dennis-Benn, Patsy has done the single most-damning thing a mother can do in our society: She has abandoned her child. It\'s a marker of Dennis-Benn’s masterful prowess at characterization and her elegant, nuanced writing that the people here—even when they\'re flawed or unlikable—inspire sympathy and respect. Dennis-Benn has written a profound book about sexuality, gender, race, and immigration that speaks to the contemporary moment through the figure of a woman alive with passion and regret.\
RavePublishes Weekly\"Patsy’s ambivalence about motherhood transforms this otherwise familiar immigrant narrative into an immersive study in unintended consequences, where even the push Patsy’s new girlfriend gives her to try and make amends, by sending a gift to Tru, leads to disaster. Out of that debacle, though, a chance for rapprochement appears, one that sets the stage for Tru to turn her athletic talent into the kind of life her mother is still grasping at. This is a marvelous novel.\
RaveKirkus\"Vuong has written one of the most lauded poetry debuts in recent memory, and his first foray into fiction is poetic in the deepest sense—not merely on the level of language, but in its structure and its intelligence, moving associationally from memory to memory, quoting Barthes, then rapper 50 Cent. The result is an uncategorizable hybrid of what reads like memoir, bildungsroman, and book-length poem. More important than labels, though, is the novel’s earnest and open-hearted belief in the necessity of stories and language for our survival. A raw and incandescently written foray into fiction by one of our most gifted poets.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"Vuong’s prose shines in the intimate scenes between the young men, but sometimes the lyricism has a straining, vague quality. Nevertheless, this is a haunting meditation on loss, love, and the limits of human connection.\
PositiveKirkusA thorough look at the rich \'imaginative development\' of the author of The Canterbury Tales ... Turner also diligently explores the inspirations behind Chaucer’s recurrent metaphors ... Though perhaps too dense for general readers, the book is well-suited to scholars and students of medieval literature. A meticulously researched, well-styled academic study showing Chaucer as the \'consummate networker.\'
PositiveKirkusThough readers may be appalled by how often Taz exposes Midge to the dangers of his workplaces or the mountain lakes where he takes her swimming before she can even crawl, Fromm eschews suspense in favor of a close study of the messy process of rebuilding a life. He pays loving attention to the details of Taz\'s work and to the place that is as vital to him as any human being ... A compassionate and unsentimental look at one confused young man\'s path through loss.
PositivePublishers WeeklyFull of gorgeous descriptions of the wild landscape of Montana, Fromm’s novel draws the reader in with a colorful cast of characters who bring hope and light to Taz’s life again. Fans of emotional family dramas will find much to love.
RaveKirkusPerhaps the most powerful element of this debut novel by Ramos...is its portrait of the world of Filipinas in New York. The three-page soliloquy of instructions for nannying delivered to Jane by her more experienced cousin is a work of art in itself. Excellent, both as a reproductive dystopian narrative and as a social novel about women and class.
PositivePublishers WeeklyRamos’s transfixing debut scrutinizes the world of high-end surrogacy with stinging critiques and sets up heartrending dilemmas ... Ramos particularly shines at her nuanced, emotional depictions of these women’s interior struggles ... this striking novel will also appeal strongly to readers who like dystopian touches and ethically complicated narratives.
PositivePublishers WeeklyMcCullough (1776) uses his well-crafted writing style and thorough research to highlight the evolution of the \'Ohio territory\' ... The swiftly moving narrative also shines light on the territory’s consistent antislavery position ... While some readers may be put off by the near-omission of the native people’s perspective, those seeking a pro-colonial history will find this is a fascinating and well-written look at the Cutler families.
Rachel Louise Snyder
RaveKirkusA powerful exploration of the sinister, insidious nature of domestic violence in America ... Intriguingly, Snyder probes the chilling territory of the perpetrators, sketching them from the inside out ... the author contributes her own profound introspection on the nature of empathy and relatability ... Bracing and gut-wrenching, with slivers of hope throughout, this is exemplary, moving reportage on an important subject that often remains in the dark due to shame and/or fear.
Rachel Louise Snyder
RavePublishers Weekly[A] powerful investigation ... She humanizes the price tag...with closely observed, compassionate portraits of victims, advocates, abusers, and police ... Balancing the gut-wrenching stories are hopeful explorations of resources that could prevent domestic homicides ... Penetrating and wise, and written in sometimes novelistic prose, Synder’s sobering analysis will reward readers’ attention.
Ma Jian, trans. by Flora Drew
RaveKirkusHow do you make sure everyone’s on board with the program in a totalitarian state? In Ma’s (The Dark Road, 2013, etc.) imaginative telling, you make sure they share the same dream ... A masterwork of political satire, meaningful without heavy-handedness.
Ma Jian, trans. by Flora Drew
RavePublishers Weekly...a bold, searing indictment of present-day China and a lyrical exposé of the false utopia created by the Communist Party ... Written \'out of rage\' according to Ma’s foreword, the fable subverts the propaganda of Xi’s Chinese Dream and chronicles the descent into madness of the louche, corrupt government functionary Ma Daode ... This is an inventive yet powerful confrontation of China’s past and present.
Ma Jian, trans. by Flora Drew
PositiveThe Economist[A] compact, savage satire ... Mr Ma’s hand-grenade (or stink-bomb) of a book is bitter and farcical ... The satirical buffoonery is garnished with both horror and tenderness. Flora Drew translates with a keen ear for switches of voice and tone ... If China Dream is a slighter work than Mr Ma’s major novels...it shares their courage and outrage.
RaveKirkusThomas expertly mines her own extensive experience as a psychologist to paint an intricate portrait of a mother in crisis who blames herself for her son’s pain. Ruth’s interactions with Dan and other patients are realistic and insightful, and Thomas’ focus on society’s expectations of mothers as well as the pressure they put on themselves will resonate. Ruth’s fierce love for Tom gives the narrative its beating heart, and the conclusion strikes a hopeful note and avoids an overly neat resolution. A suspenseful and emotionally stirring debut.
RavePublishers WeeklyThomas, herself a former clinical psychologist with Britain’s National Health Service, hooks the reader with Ruth’s unblinking dual narratives ... Thomas melds astute psychological insight with powerful storytelling in this moving thriller.
RavePublishers WeeklyRoanhorse’s second Sixth World apocalyptic fantasy novel is less emotionally charged than its predecessor, Trail of Lightning, but dives deeply into the characters, introduces a great new one, and continues weaving Navajo beliefs overtly and subtly into the story ... The depiction of North America in ruins is a dark treat, including vivid scenes of women saving enslaved women and supernatural locust swarms descending. Readers who enjoyed Roanhorse’s first book will eagerly blaze through her second.
RaveKirkusRoanhorse is ... a groundbreaking writer, weaving Diné language and culture throughout her work in innovative and deeply important ways while at the same time providing a purely joyous reading experience.Roanhorse’s latest is a killer.
Heath Hardage Lee
PositiveKirkusLee’s cast of determined women is extensive and occasionally difficult to track as they enter and depart the narrative ... In addition to the wrenching personal stories, the author handles context gracefully, especially regarding the wives and their ability to find their voices amid the continuing saga of an unjust war ... A book both educational and emotional.
Heath Hardage Lee
RavePublishers Weekly... [an] inspirational work ... In this beautifully told history, Lee unearths the contributions of everyday women who not only saved their husbands but influenced military culture.
Dean A. Haycock
PositivePublishers Weekly...[an] intriguing, if occasionally strained, study ... Haycock offers a particularly fine chapter [on Joseph Stalin] ... Unfortunately, Haycock spends too much time on President Trump ... Stylistically, Haycock’s writing is clear and permeated with insight, though he occasionally delivers bland, self-evident observations ... Still, this is otherwise a thoughtful and significant contribution to the art of psychologically profiling political leaders from afar.
Dean A. Haycock
MixedKirkusHaycock is no historian; his biographies skim the surface, but he has done his psychology homework, so readers will receive a painless education in the elements of human personality, especially when it becomes pathological. Those curious about how this applies to today’s leaders will receive a jolt when the author turns his attention to Donald Trump, devoting a large portion of the book to the current president. Haycock and his experts are not the first to detect in the president more than the average degrees of narcissism, a love of autocrats, a hatred of critics, and a distressing lack of empathy, but they have little to add. A compelling analysis of the mental processes of notable tyrants that eventually gets bogged down under the weight of Trump.
MixedThe Real Book SpyLaird Barron, who made headlines for switching genre’s last year, is a fine writer. While there’s no question that some parts are over-written, heavy on literary buzz words and over-the-top descriptions, readers will likely accept his style and prose for what it is. Likewise, the story is meticulously plotted, with plenty of intrigue and suspense. However, now two books in, it can be hard to take Isaiah seriously as a protagionist in this genre. Like Jack Reacher, the character is almost too perfect. While Coleridge is frequently engaging in bar-like brawls and back alley street fights, rarely does the reader ever really, truly believe the hero is in any danger ... Instead of the hard-boiled, gruff character reader are used to seeing lead crime stories, Isaiah comes off like a caricature of Reacher, without the true badassery that defines Child’s beloved nomad. That is perhaps Baron’s biggest flaw, in what is otherwise a solid, albeit very dark, crime thriller ... Laird Barron is still finding his footing in his new genre, but his latest is an enjoyable read for those who crave a gritty crime story with a few twists along the way.
PositivePublishers Weekly... as nasty as a cornered pit viper—and its plot is about as sinuous ... Barron peppers the text with literary references and philosophical reflections that provide rich counterpoint to the violent bashing and bloodletting. Fans of hardboiled crime fiction and wiseguy vernacular will be well satisfied.
PanKirkusSeems, more than the debut, an obvious attempt to establish Coleridge as a strongman smartass in the Jack Reacher mold. The fight scenes are the written equivalent of action-movie choreography but without suspense, because the setup—Isaiah being constantly outnumbered—is so clearly a prelude for the no-sweat beat downs he doles out to the various thugs who get in his way. There\'s nary a memorable wisecrack in the entire book. What does stick in the mind are the sections that go out of their way to be writerly ... This is secondhand tough-guy stuff, memorable only in that it feels like you\'ve read it all before.
PositiveKirkus... frighteningly timely ... One of the narrative’s great strengths is the author’s inclusion of dozens of minibiographies illuminating the backgrounds of the racist politicians and the promoters of phony eugenics \'research.\' Okrent keeps his personal commentary about these individuals to a minimum while presenting their biographies and the findings of their eugenics studies. Through the skilled, subtle use of language, however, Okrent makes clear that most of these immigration restrictionists were privileged bigots deserving of little respect. Sadly, there are few heroes in the book, though it’s certainly no fault of the author ... A relentlessly depressing but revelatory and necessary historical account.
PositivePublishers Weekly... engrossing ... Although Okrent ends on a positive note, with Lyndon Johnson signing into law a nationality-blind immigration measure, this fascinating study vividly illuminates the many injustices that the pseudoscience of eugenics inflicted on so many would-be Americans.
PositiveKirkusA sprawling, packed-to-the-brim study of the art and science of music ... Gasser’s overarching aim is not just descriptive. In his forays into all imaginable corners of the musical world, he seeks to soften prejudices and broaden horizons ... Gasser’s enterprise has a pleasingly mad-scientist feel to it, one that will attract music theory geeks as much as neuroscientists, anthropologists, psychologists, and Skynyrd fans.
PositivePWGasser’s writing is passionate and generally accessible, though he sometimes stumbles over the inherent difficulty of conveying music through musicology ... The book is a sprawl, but serious music lovers will find much fascinating science and lore to browse.
PositiveKirkusThe novel is full of harsh beauty, both in its prose and its attentive depictions of an ever shifting Alaskan environment, all frigid air and Sitka spruces and vast, treacherous mudflats ... The book\'s main mood is one of intense suffocation ... Unremittingly bleak.
PositivePublishers Weekly[A] challenging debut ... The unrelenting bleakness of the novel might be too much for some readers, but Lin’s talent for vivid, laser-sharp prose—especially when describing Alaska’s stark beauty or the family’s eccentric temperament—is undeniable.
John Burnham Schwartz
PositivePW....This lovely novel’s strength is the aching portrait of Svetlana ... Filled with historical details that enliven and ground the fictionalized elements, Schwartz’s elegant novel captures the emotion and strain of Alliluyeva’s second life in the U.S
John Burnham Schwartz
PositiveKirkusFact and fiction mingle seamlessly ... An insightful and compelling saga of a woman desperately trying to escape her infamous past.
RavePublishers Weekly[A] vivid and moving debut ... Grames keeps the spotlight on stubborn, independent, and frequently unhappy Stella, while developing a large cast of believably complicated supporting characters ... Grames explores not just the immigrant experience but the stages of a woman’s life. This is a sharp and richly satisfying novel.
MixedKirkus[Grames] launches it in a stale magic-realist tone that soon gives way to a harder-edged and much more compelling look at women’s lives in a patriarchal society ... The rush of events muddies the narrative focus, and the purpose of the epilogue is equally fuzzy ... Messily executed, but the author’s emotional commitment to her material makes it compelling.
RavePublishers Weekly...a tour de force ... a remarkable achievement that expertly blends pathos and humor ... Kirshenbaum sprinkles in Bunny’s brilliantly written and revelatory responses to the writing prompts given in the psych ward’s creative writing class ... Comparisons to One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest are obvious and warranted, but Kirshenbaum’s dazzling novel stands on its own as a crushing work of immense heart.
RaveKirkusA writer experiences a breakdown and ends up hospitalized; against all odds, hilarity ensues ... Kirshenbaum’s prose is lean and her timing is impeccable ... Kirshenbaum is a remarkable writer of fiercely observed fiction and a bleak, stark wit; her latest novel is as moving as it is funny, and that—truly—is saying something.
Brian Jay Jones
RaveKirkusA rich, anecdotal biography of one of the bestselling authors in publishing history ... Jones is particularly masterful in this vein, showing how Geisel, his wife, publisher Bennett Cerf, and other key collaborators collectively revolutionized reading education ... Though the narrative is strictly chronological, it never bogs down because the character sketches and publishing anecdotes are so well-rendered, and Jones is especially skillful with foreshadowing ... Whether readers are familiar with Dr. Seuss books or not, they will find this biography absorbing and fascinating.
Brian Jay Jones
PositivePublishers Weekly...comprehensive and thoughtful ... Jones does not ignore problems in Geisel’s early work, including some racial stereotypes ... While acknowledging Geisel’s flaws and debts to others, Jones convincingly shows him as a transformative figure in children’s publishing ... Fans of Dr. Seuss will find much to love in this candid but admiring portrait.
RaveKirkus[A] stellar collection ... Chiang\'s (Stories of Your Life and Others, 2002) second collection begins with an instant classic, \'The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate,\' which won Hugo and Nebula awards for Best Novelette in 2008 ... Visionary speculative stories that will change the way readers see themselves and the world around them: This book delivers in a big way.
RavePublishers Weekly[A] standout second collection ... In each, Chiang produces deeply moving drama from fascinating first premises ... Chiang’s rigorous worldbuilding makes hard science fiction out of stories that would otherwise be fable ... these stories are brilliant experiments, and his commitment to exploring deep human questions elevates them to among the very best science fiction.
RaveBookreporter...groundbreaking ... nine stunningly original, provocative and poignant stories. These are tales that tackle some of humanity’s oldest questions along with new quandaries only Ted Chiang could imagine ... Ted Chiang at his best: profound, sympathetic—revelatory.
RaveKirkusAn engaging history of the Arab world by a Yemen-based Westerner thoroughly versed in Arabic ... [an] extensive, illuminating narrative of the Arab people from ancient to modern times ... A marvelous journey brimming with adventure and poetry and narrated by a keen, compassionate observer.
RaveKirkusHwang uses Bari’s isolation and quiet agony to depict the psychic trauma that settles into the lives of those who are displaced. ... A mesmerizing odyssey through the beauty, suffering, and rage that flow from the irrepressible desire to live.
MixedKirkusJarawan has just the right touch on some of the finer details, as when he writes in Samir’s voice that he remembers the date Nov. 22, 2000, not because it was when he lost his virginity but \'because that’s the day Mother died.\' His depiction of a Lebanon once torn apart by civil war is also well-nuanced, though, once stripped of these elements, the novel is overall a more or less standard procedural: Someone disappears, someone goes on the hunt, assembles clues, hears from many voices, and solves the mystery. In all that Jarawan is a competent but not yet distinguished storyteller, and the plotline predictable. A middling story, then.
RavePWShaughnessy’s conceptual work is clever as always, but even more extraordinary is her talent for crafting musical, expressive lines that triumph in their complexity and grace ... With an unparalleled ear for language, Shaughnessy excels at making the tragic transcendent.
PositivePWFull of reflection and blow-by-blow accounts of wartime air combat action, the book is a paean to the \'brotherhood\' of \'committed, driven,... crisp, smart, quick, deadly and confident\' Topgun Navy fighter jet pilots ... This remembrance of aerial derring-do is sure to appeal to military aviators and fans of the world of fighter pilots, past and present.
RaveKirkusThroughout the book, Pedersen ably conveys the immense camaraderie among the courageous brotherhood of American fighter pilots and conjures the excitement of daring aerial combat and weaponry maneuvers ... With the hot-seat velocity and cockpit realism of a military combat thriller, the author delivers exacting details and emotional acuity ... A noble, thrillingly realized combat aviation memoir from one of America’s finest.
Marq De Villiers
RavePWNovelist de Villiers...eloquently discusses a number of questions about hell in this fun book ... the book delights with its affecting discussion of issues that prefigure questions of punishment in the afterlife ... de Villiers details the long, strange history of how hell has been imagined in this delightful book.
MixedKirkusNora is a beautifully crafted character. Late in the book, she comments on her own \'prickliness,\' and the word is perfect. Nora is sharp and hard to get close to, and now, in her 50s, she’s trying to understand how much of that is a reaction to Mr. Rasmussen—his behavior toward Nora but also what she knows about him and Beth and a handful of other girls. Her story is interwoven with emails written by Rasmussen himself as well as beyond-the-grave narration from Rasmussen’s wife, Naomi. These portions of the book are less successful. Bob Rasmussen is a creep, and not a terribly repentant one. His self-justifications aren’t especially revelatory; they’re just gross. Naomi is slightly more interesting, but Cline has granted her an omniscience—because she’s dead?—that feels a bit like cheating. An uneven exploration of a timely topic.
RaveHarlequin JunkieI loved [Poppy\'s] character, her feisty nature and her internal monologue is laugh out loud funny ... Whether you are a football fan or not, there’s much to enjoy about this story. There’s a depth of understanding of the sport and what goes on behind the scenes for the partners of the players that make it a realistic read (no surprise, since the author has personal experience in this regard). There’s a delightful and sexy second chance romance for a couple who are clearly compatible equals and parents learning to become a real family unit. And their son is a joyful boisterous nine year old thrilled to connect with his Dad, a boy who steals all his on page scenes. The combination of serious and laugh out loud funny makes for a wholly entertaining read. I’m looking forward to the next in the series!
RavePublishers WeeklyIn the second installment of the Playbook series, Martin...tells the witty, sexy, fun side of what happens when high school sweethearts try to rekindle a romance after living very different lives for 10 years ... Readers will laugh, swoon, and grow to love every character in this entertaining contemporary romance.
MixedKirkusMartin...expertly parlays her experience as the spouse of a former NFL player into compelling scenes not just of big games, but of lesser-explored preseason matchups, training camp, and the social dynamics Poppy must face as the new girlfriend of the star player. Poppy leaps off the page as a contemporary biracial woman navigating dating, motherhood, and career with seriousness and a fantastic sense of humor. TK’s character is less distinct, partly due to the novel’s deep first-person point of view. Martin sets up some big-stakes tropes—reunited lovers, secret baby—but they lack the emotional payoff readers expect because she rushes through them to set up even more. By the time Poppy throws up yet another barrier in Chapter 37, readers might be tempted to give up as well. A strong female lead, laugh-out-loud scenes, and an authentic pro-football setting are offset by an overstuffed romance plot that makes this more of a field goal than a touchdown.
MixedPublishers WeeklyLand toggles smoothly between plotlines in his solid 10th thriller featuring third-generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong ... The less than plausible resolution of the various story threads detracts from the suspense and tension of what’s come before. Still, Land fans should be satisfied.
Gregor Von Rezzori translated by David Dollenmayer, Joachim Neugroschel and Marshall Yarbrough
PositiveKirkusVon Rezzori’s book is episodic, with stories sometimes breaking off in the middle, always with an odd poetry...that finds beauty even in the most terrible destruction. A challenging consideration of a murderous history by a knowing witness.
Gregor Von Rezzori translated by David Dollenmayer, Joachim Neugroschel and Marshall Yarbrough
PositivePWThis omnibus volume...is a masterpiece of excess ... While not entirely devoid of the sort of casual sexism and racism best left in the past, the narrator’s wit and wickedness—as well as his audacity in attempting to write a \'book that bears witness to man in the second half of the twentieth century\'—elevates this work. These new translations breathe life into von Rezzori’s ambitious and exhausting epic.
RaveKirkusBenedetti explores the pain of separation from loved ones, the mix of loneliness, hope and despair in a man who has no idea when he\'ll be released ... The language is often beautifully expressive, as when Don Rafael reflects that one day his son \'will have to see Graciela through the bars of another man’s love.\' This powerful novel evokes the works of Gabriel García Márquez. Vivid characters caught in a repressive regime fuel this powerful novel.
RavePW...rich, heartbreaking ... Benedetti’s tender yet unflinching portrait of a family in the crushing straits of history is a welcome addition to the small (and hopefully growing) catalogue of his work that has been translated into English.
RaveKirkus...the author brings the material rivetingly alive with the sheer elasticity of his imagination and prose ... Throughout, Winder infuses his account with such energy and wit that readers may be pleasantly unaware of the many history lessons he imparts. A meandering and highly entertaining amble through fascinating bits of history that culminates in the horrors of the invading armies of the world wars.
PositivePW[Winder] leads an informative, often funny, but overly long tour of part of Charlemagne’s ninth-century empire ... Readers may wish Winder’s editors had insisted on excising some minutiae, but they will both learn from and be entertained by this enthusiastic, outside-the-box European history.
RaveKirkusSome entries are slyly funny, gossipy and irreverent; others, quietly intimate, reveal recurring depression and anxiety ... An inventive, beautifully crafted memoir, wise and insightful.
PositivePublishers WeeklyDisplay[s] both charm and stark honesty ... The entries aren’t ordered, and many depict Julavits as a not-always-likable woman of privilege. The diary angle makes for a clever hook, but masks what this really is—a compelling collection of intimate, untitled personal essays that reveal one woman’s ever-evolving soul.
RavePublishers Weekly... a brilliant account ... Meticulously researched, this is essential reading for anyone interested in Lee and American literary history.
PositiveKirkusIn this effortlessly immersive narrative, Cep engagingly traces how Lee found the case and began—and ultimately abandoned—a project she called The Reverend. Cep writes with the accessible erudition of podcast-style journalism; she breathes not only life, but style into her exhaustive, impressively researched narrative. She relies heavily on the backstories of each of her narrative threads, which transforms her book into a collection of connected preambles ... This kind of storytelling may feel disjointed, but there’s a reason for it: By fully detailing the crimes before Lee even appears, Cep allows readers to see the case through Lee’s eyes and recognize its nascent literary potential. Above all, this is a book about inspiration and how a passion for the mysteries of humanity can cause an undeniable creative spark ... A well-tempered blend of true crime and literary lore.
PositiveKirkusIn this feisty and exhilarating debut memoir, Prior-Palmer smoothly recounts what happened over her momentous week in August ... Although the narrative occasionally veers off course, horse lovers will adore this inspiring and spirited memoir.
RavePWFirst-time author Prior-Palmer transforms from hopeless 19-year-old underdog into surprising champion...in this exhilarating, visceral account of her attempt to win a 1,000-kilometer horse race across the Mongolian countryside ... Filled with soulful self-reflection and race detail, this fast-paced page-turner is a thrill ride from start to finish.
RavePublishers WeeklyAs in 2010’s superb The Invisible Bridge Orringer seamlessly combines compelling inventions with complex fact: figures including Marc Chagall and Andre Breton make vivid appearances, while Skiff and his relationship with Fry are unforgettable fictional creations. Brilliantly conceived, impeccably crafted, and showcasing Orringer’s extraordinary gifts, this is destined to become a classic.
PositiveKirkusAn elegant, meditative novelistic reconstruction of critical years in the life of Varian Fry ... The cloak-and-dagger element of Orringer’s story is effective, though it runs somewhat long ... Orringer nicely captures two worlds...The central point of intrigue, providing a fine plot twist, is also expertly handled, evidence of an accomplished storyteller at work. Altogether satisfying. Mix Alan Furst and André Aciman, and you’ll have a feel for the territory in which this well-plotted book falls.
RaveKirkusKeenly wrought characters and evocative prose complement a multifaceted plot that explores topics ranging from relativity and thermodynamics to parent-child relationships and the afterlife. Though Theo’s grief and ambition serve as a catalyst, it’s Nedda’s and Betheen’s passion, determination, and fortitude that drive the book to its heart-wrenching, awe-inspiring conclusion ... Grand in scope and graceful in execution, Swyler’s latest is at once a wistfully nostalgic coming-of-age tale and a profound work of horror-tinged science fiction.
RavePublishers WeeklySwyler’s beautiful story, told in eloquent prose, induces shivers of wonder. This meditation on time, loss, and the depth of human connection is both melancholy and astonishing.
RavePublishers Weekly... scintillating ... Drawing on Holbrooke’s fascinating diaries and his own memories of the man, Packer makes him a Shakespearean character—egomaniacal, devious, sloppy enough to make presidents deny him the prize of becoming secretary of state, yet charismatic and inspiring—in a larger-than-life portrait brimming with vivid novelistic impressions ... In Holbrooke’s thwarted ambitions, Packer finds both a riveting tale of diplomatic adventure—part high drama, part low pettiness—and a captivating metaphor for America’s waning power.
RaveKirkusStudents of recent world history and of American power, hard and soft, will find this an endlessly fascinating study of character and events.
MixedPublishers WeeklyMendes-Flohr...showcases his expertise in this definitive but dense and jargon-filled biography ... While Mendes-Flohr’s telling of Buber’s life is comprehensive, his prose is often difficult to follow...and will be a barrier for any lay reader, even those with some familiarity with Buber’s thinking. While the detail will be intimidating to the nonacademic, Mendes-Flohr’s biography nicely maps out Buber’s legacy for researchers to ponder.
RaveThe New YorkerOffill’s novel offers a kind of resistance report from within occupied territory ... But that description at once melodramatizes and banalizes Dept. of Speculation. It’s a novel that’s wonderfully hard to encapsulate, because it faces in many directions at the same time, and glitters with different emotional colors ... It is often extremely funny, and often painful; earnestly direct but glancingly ironic, even whimsical ... The form allows, as sensitive fictional or dramatic monologue usually does, for a managed ratio of randomized coherence. The waywardness and unreliability of the mind’s contents compose a narrative of that mind before our eyes ... The tone can be oblique and a little mysterious ... all the more powerful because, with its scattered insights and apparently piecemeal form, it at first appears slight. Its depth and intensity make a stealthy purchase on the reader ... Offill’s brief book eschews obvious grandeur. It does not broadcast its accomplishments for the cosmos but tracks the personal and domestic and local, a harrowed inner space. It concentrates its mass acutely, pressing down with exquisite and painful precision, like a pencil tip on the white of the nail.
MixedKirkus... sometimes lyrical, sometimes philosophically rich, sometimes just puzzling ... If Rainer Maria Rilke had written a novel about marriage, it might look something like this ... The fragmented story, true though it may be to our splintered, too busy lives, is sometimes hard to follow, and at times, the writing is precious, even if we’re always pulled back into gritty reality ... There are moments of literary experimentation worthy of Virginia Woolf here, but in the end, this reads more like notes for a novel than a novel itself.
RavePublishers WeeklyPopping prose and touching vignettes of marriage and motherhood fill Offill’s slim second book of fiction. Clever, subtle, and rife with strokes of beauty, this book is both readable in a single sitting and far ranging in the emotions it raises ... Offill has equal parts cleverness and erudition, but it’s her language and eye for detail that make this a must-read.
RavePublishers Weekly\"...[a] breezy but poignant graphic memoir that takes on racism, love, and the election of President Trump ... The collage effect creates an odd, immediate intimacy. She employs pages of narrative prose sparingly but hauntingly ... The \'talks\' Jacob relates are painful, often hilarious, and sometimes absurd, but her memoir makes a fierce case for continuing to have them.\
RaveKirkus\"...[a] showstopping memoir about race in America ... by turns funny, philosophical, cautious, and heartbreaking ... Particularly moving are the chapters in which Jacob explores how even those close to her retain closed-minded and culturally defined prejudices ... The memoir works well visually, with striking pen-and-ink drawings of Jacob and her family that are collaged onto vibrant found photographs and illustrated backgrounds ... Told with immense bravery and candor, this book will make readers hunger for more of Jacob\'s wisdom and light. The visual echoes between past and present make this extraordinary memoir about difficult conversations all the more powerful.\
Clarice Lispector, Trans. by Johnny Lorenz
RaveKirkusThe dense, vivid prose, frequent use of passive voice, close interiority, and dazzling observation already familiar to fans of Lispector\'s distinctive style are coupled here with a dreamlike surreality ... There are insights into relationships familial and matrimonial and unexpected flashes of humor ... Underpinning the novel are questions about gendered power, about time and the permanent and ephemeral ... Dreamlike, dense, original, this challenging novel has a cumulative power. Highly recommended.
Clarice Lispector, Trans. by Johnny Lorenz
RavePublishers WeeklyLispector’s singular 1949 novel, newly translated by Lorenz, unfolds as a series of narrative snapshots taken over the life of a woman ... Lispector’s novel offers a pristine view of an ordinary life, told in her forceful, one-of-a-kind voice that captures isolated moments with poetic intensity.
Dustin Lance Black
RaveKirkus...thought-provoking ... a heartfelt tribute to Anne, his courageously inspiring yet deeply religious and politically conservative mother ... Black provides a wholly engrossing account of how a mother and son evolved beyond their potentially divisive religious and political beliefs to uncover a source of strength and unity through their enduring bond. A terrifically moving memoir of the myriad complexities of family dynamics.
Dustin Lance Black
PositivePublishers Weekly[A] sometimes overwrought, sometimes luminous memoir ... Black devotes much space to tremulous fretting over his blue-on-red coming-out saga, but the results are not very dramatic ... But the book shines in its portrait of the vibrant, indomitable Anne trudging determinedly over every obstacle, and in intimate scenes of everyday family heartaches and triumphs against the odds.
PositivePublishers Weekly...charming ... Gharib’s enthusiastic, if naive, scribbly art style is reminiscent of Lynda Barry in the way it captures moments of chaotic Filipino family life ... Gharib’s storytelling remains upbeat through life’s ups and downs. This lighthearted narrative, self-reflective but never angst-ridden, has wide appeal.
RaveKirkusGharib thoughtfully explores the gradations of diversity and what they meant to different people ... Charmingly unsophisticated illustrations, predominantly—and appropriately—colored in red, white, and blue, and Gharib’s authentic voice make her story personable and accessible ... A heartwarming tribute to immigrant families and their descendants trying to live the American dream.
PositivePublishers Weekly[A] strong debut ... Cheek does a good job with his cast; Henry and Effie are finely drawn and their slide from innocence starkly depicted. The novel’s ending is particularly startling—a memorable final note in this cogent examination of marital infidelity and betrayal.
RaveKirkusDeceptively relaxed and simple at first, the novel seems to be an easygoing trip down Memory Lane. It soon reveals itself as a swirling vortex of psychological suspense with insights about marriage that recall writers like Margot Livesey and Alice Munro. The 1950s setting, the pellucid prose, and the propulsive plot make this very steamy debut novel about morality and desire feel like a classic.
Min Jin Lee
MixedKirkus... an epic-scale hybrid of the 19th-century novel (Middlemarch is oft-cited here) and Bonfire of the Vanities, but it lacks Eliot’s literary polish and Wolfe’s exuberance ... Casey’s an appealing heroine, but the book strays from her story: Lee adopts an omniscient voice that swoops into the consciousnesses of dozens of characters, often unpersuasively. Few minor characters rise above stereotype or expectation. Still, some elements—Casey’s struggles with faith, her tempestuous relationship with her mentor/benefactress, a department-store mogul—are handled with a subtlety that bodes well for future books ... Fitfully entertaining but not extraordinary.
Min Jin Lee
PositivePublishers WeeklyLee filters through a lively postfeminist perspective a tale of first-generation immigrants stuck between stodgy parents and the hip new world ... Though a first-novel timidity sometimes weakens the narrative, Lee\'s take on contemporary intergenerational cultural friction is wide-ranging, sympathetic and well worth reading.
New York Public Library
PositiveKirkus...a street-level view of the Stonewall uprising, which helped launch the LGBTQ rights movement in the United States. Through his skillful curation, he offers a corrective for what is too often a sanitized, homogenous, and whitewashed portrayal ... By gathering vibrant and varied experiences of diverse contributors, the collection reflects the economic, gender, racial, and ethnic complexity of the LGBTQ community at a time when behaviors such as same-sex dancing were criminalized ... Baumann’s archival project accurately and meticulously captures an era of social unrest ... A bold rallying cry that should help in the continuing fight for LGBTQ rights.
New York Public Library
RavePublishers Weekly...expansive ... [A] vital and dynamic narrative of the early days of gay liberation through the words of activists, writers, and other eyewitnesses ... This collection is significant for its inclusion of essays and selections from memoir that provide a more intimate understanding of the movement’s history ... This window into the daily lives of activists and ordinary people fighting passionately against injustice is illuminating and inspiring.
RavePublishers Weekly... delightful .... At the decade’s end, England was a very different place than it had been at its beginning, and Morrison’s lively and engaging study not only illuminates these many and rapid changes, but convincingly argues that \'its many legacies are still all around us.\'
PositiveKirkusA lively new chronicle brings crisp focus to a significant decade in British history and culture ... Morrison expertly encapsulates the brief, radical trends and movements of this era of \'intense sociability.\'
Philippe Besson, trans. by Molly Ringwald
PositiveKirkusBesson’s initial reluctance to put names to their sex acts feels musty, though the author does get more descriptively honest as the story progresses. The love between the two feels real and memorable, and Besson is a thoughtful writer who can strike home with vivid imagery, particularly as he and Thomas age and grow apart and Thomas’ son, Lucas, develops a friendship of sorts with the narrator. The only quibble is that this book, which is deftly translated, doesn’t exactly feel like a novel; it reads like a memoir. In fact, the only thing that keeps it from being garden-variety autofiction is Besson’s willingness to wink at his decision to make fictional an experience that seems to be based in reality ... An insightful reminder that in the years before gay dating apps zapped the mystery out of erotic pursuit, love between even mismatched men could be lifesaving.
Philippe Besson, trans. by Molly Ringwald
MixedPublishers WeeklyBesson rehashes familiar tropes about secret teenage gay romance in this moving but unoriginal novel ... Despite the predictable plot, Besson’s writing and Ringwald’s smooth translation provide emotional impact.
Ed. by Michele Filgate
PositiveObserverThe biggest problem that seems to face many of the writers in this collection is how this cultural narrative renders them incapable of really seeing their mothers as people ... Of course, while it is possible to draw patterns, ultimately What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About shows us fifteen ways that fifteen people understand their mothers ... The book cracks open our expectations, asking us why we let ourselves be blinded by the myth of the mother so much that we can’t see our mothers as people—as complicated and varied as the rest of us.
Ed. by Michele Filgate
RaveKirkusFrom the first page of the introduction ... this collection is honest and riveting. Most of the essays are pointedly literary and lyrical; many include meta-reflections on the nature of truth-telling, and the narrators show themselves thinking and rethinking the claims they hazard and then revise about their mothers. For the most part, the collection avoids cliché and sentimentality; equally remarkable, each one of these intimate and gut-wrenching essays reaches beyond itself to forge connections with readers.
Ed. by Michele Filgate
PositivePublishers WeeklyOne of this anthology’s strengths lies in its diversity, both in the racial and socioeconomic backgrounds represented, and in the experiences depicted—some loving, others abusive. The strongest pieces are the most revealing: in Kiese Laymon’s essay about \'the harm and abuse I’ve inflicted on people who loved me,\' he asks \'Why do I... want to lie?\'—a question that resounds throughout this book ... the range of stories and styles represented in this collection makes for rich and rewarding reading.
PositiveKirkusSavas does not plot her novel so much as weave it, with very short chapters taking up threads of Nunu’s childhood ... That the novel moves in circles, acknowledging that some places can be glimpsed but never really explored, makes it all the more like a long walk through a city one can never quite call one’s own ... A refined and wistful exploration of the nature of memory.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThe dislocations of place, identity, time, and truth eddy through Savas’s elegant debut ... Interweaving past and present, Paris and Istanbul, evasion and epiphany in spare yet evocative prose, Savas’s moving coming-of-age novel offers a rich exploration of intimacy, loneliness, and the endless fluidity of historical, cultural, and personal narrative.
PositiveKirkus...[an] accessible narrative ... His lengthy opening explication of this idyllic view—a day in the life of a socialist citizen—will appeal strongly to readers ... He suggests more than a dozen complex, nuanced actions ... A sharp, hopeful, and useful primer short on evidence that a socialist future is at hand.
PositivePublishers Weekly...[an] erudite call to action ... The whimsy fades away, however, in the second section ... Sunkara does not attempt to seem unbiased; he draws more positives out of the socialist-turned-authoritarian movements in Russia and China than most history textbooks do. Still, his recommendations for today’s socialists are logical and well-informed.
PositiveKirkus...what raises this book far above being a roman à clef are the vivid scenes of Fred trying to have a normal childhood in gray, grimy Nixon-era New York City and of him and his mother finding solace with each other as they watch Lenny drift away from them, literally and figuratively. A haunting vision of post-\'60s malaise whose narrator somehow retains his humor, compassion, and even optimism in the wake of the most crushing disillusionment.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThis roman à clef from Furst...is a heartfelt meditation on how quickly history outruns political and social ideals ... Furst modulates movingly between Freddy’s childhood memories of the father whom he admired and his adult perspective on how cruel and selfishly opportunistic Lenny could be. Furst’s novel and its themes will resonate with readers regardless of whether they lived through its times.
RaveCrime by the BookIn the mood for a book that’s dark and binge-worthy? You’ve come to the right place. In her stellar sophomore suspense novel, queen of the plot twist Alice Feeney delivers a genuine nail-biter .... I Know Who You Are is a psychological thriller that pushes boundaries and delivers a truly twisted reading experience; it’s not for the faint of heart, but if you’re up for a suspense novel with an edge, it will be right up your alley ... Feeney has a dark imagination, and she pulls no punches in her sophomore thriller. What begins innocently enough twists and turns into something altogether shocking and utterly addictive.
MixedPublishers WeeklyFeeney displays her linguistic flair in the chapters devoted to her heroine’s harrowing early years, but this affecting backstory seems part of a different, better novel than the present-day story with its cardboard characters on a plot-powered roller coaster. The action speeds toward a finale that’s about as subtle as an ax. Fans of over-the-top psychological thrillers will be satisfied.
PositiveKirkus... a spirited celebration ... does a fine job taking us behind the scenes to reveal how the films were made, actors chosen, and film scores written ... Though he doesn’t make a fully convincing case for the importance of 1999 in film history, Raftery offers plenty of interesting trivia ... Fun, light entertainment for devoted moviegoers.
RavePublishers WeeklyHere a preeminent master of narrative history takes on the most fascinating of our founders to create a benchmark for all Adams biographers. With a keen eye for telling detail and a master storyteller\'s instinct for human interest, McCullough resurrects the great Federalist, revealing in particular his restrained, sometimes off-putting disposition, as well as his political guile. The events McCullough recounts are well-known, but with his astute marshaling of facts, the author surpasses previous biographers ... The author is likewise brilliant in portraying Adams\'s complex relationship with Jefferson.
RaveKirkusWhile McCullough never misses an episode in Adams\'s long and often troubled life, he includes enough biographical material on Jefferson that this can be considered two biographies for the price of one—which explains some of its portliness ... Despite the whopping length, there\'s not a wasted word in this superb, swiftly moving narrative, which brings new and overdue honor to a Founding Father.
RaveKirkusRussell\'s third collection beckons like a will-o\'-the-wisp across the bog, with eight crisp stories that will leave longtime fans hungry for more ... [Russell] has exhibited a commitment to turning recognizable worlds on their heads in prose so rich that sentences almost burst at the seams. Her third collection is no exception ... a momentous feat of storytelling.
PositivePublishers Weekly...a story collection that delights in the uncanny, parlaying the deeply fantastical to reflect the basest and most human of our desires ... Each story is impeccably constructed and stunningly imagined, though not all of them land emotionally. Regardless, this is a wonderfully off-kilter collection.
Daša Drndić, translated by Celia Hawkesworth
PositivePWThe 20th century is revealed as a parade of horrors in this harrowing novel from Drndić ... Drndić’s defiance of narrative continuity allows the novel to flow freely from [Ban\'s] personal remembrances to historical catastrophe. This is an intense, sometimes riveting novel.
Daša Drndić, translated by Celia Hawkesworth
RaveKirkusThis is a novel of ideas but also of exquisite poetry ... An elegant search for lost time and a fitting valediction by a superb writer.
MixedKirkusWindhorst dutifully chronicles all of [LeBron\'s] deals, often comparing them to other business ventures by megastar athletes including Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Kobe Bryant ... For LeBron devotees and readers interested in the mechanics of off-the-court business dealings, this is a good choice, but the prose is merely serviceable and the narrative flow, workmanlike ... A mildly intriguing look at a global icon that would have been more effective as a long-form magazine article or continuing series.
Bennett R. Coles
PositivePublishers Weekly...[a] fizzy, unstable mix of retro and future naval adventures ... Coles’s setting is a mishmash of sails on towering masts that are manipulated by hand, pistols in braces, and artificial gravity; in mixed-gender crews, lacy-sleeved officers receive forehead-knuckle salutes from the common swabbies. Science fiction fans of the Hornblower or Aubrey/Maturin sailing sagas will likely thrill as the cannons are run out for battles in space.
Bennett R. Coles
RaveKirkusWhile former Royal Canadian Naval officer Coles...brings nautical authenticity to this Napoleonic sailing era/space race mashup, he focuses more on the sailing and leaves the sci-fi to buzz away, sometimes forgotten, in the background. Nevertheless, the jaunty pace is unwavering and enjoyable. Coles\' female characters could have used greater authenticity, but overall the colorful ensemble adds to the fun. Traditional science fiction lovers may get distracted looking for more space tech, but lovers of classic high-seas adventures and those who enjoy genre-bending SF will find this swashbuckling space adventure a worthy read.
PositivePublishers Weekly...exciting ... Visceral details—of intense privation (\'I went as long as three days without food,\' Hepburn recalled), constant bombings, and also acts of resistance—evoke the period. Matzen has created a vivid portrait of a civilian population under siege–one of who just happened to become a Hollywood star.
Jennifer L. Eberhardt
PositivePublishers Weekly...eye-opening ...Though there’s a section titled \'The Way Out,\' Eberhardt doesn’t offer many concrete suggestions for solutions, making the book feel like it overpromises on that element. But Eberhardt’s combination of smartly chosen stories and impressively accessible research makes this essential reading for psychology aficionados and people invested in social justice.
Jennifer L. Eberhardt
RaveKirkusRelying on her neuroscientific research, consulting work, and personal anecdotes, the author astutely examines how stereotypes influence our perceptions, thoughts, and actions ... simultaneously scholarly illuminating, and heartbreaking ... Compelling and provocative, this is a game-changing book about how unconscious racial bias impacts our society and what each of us can do about it.
RavePublishers WeeklyIn this revealing exploration of programming, programmers, and their far-reaching influence, Wired columnist Thompson...opens up an insular world and explores its design philosophy’s consequences, some of them unintended. Through interviews and anecdotes, Thompson expertly plumbs the temperament and motivations of programmers ... This book contains possibly the best argument yet for how social media maneuvers users into more extreme political positions ... Impressive in its clarity and thoroughness, Thompson’s survey shines a much-needed light on a group of people who have exerted a powerful effect on almost every aspect of the modern world.
PositiveKirkusThompson is an enthusiast and a learned scholar alike ... Fans of Markoff, Levy, Lanier et al. will want to have a look at this intriguing portrait of coding and coders.
Kristin L. Hoganson
RavePublishers WeeklyIn this sophisticated, complex work, history professor Hoganson ... dismantles the myth of the isolationist heartland with an analysis of Champaign’s involvement with organizations such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the International Institute of Agriculture. And she flips the \'flyover country\' cliché, looking at how Champaign citizens are connected to the rest of the world by telegraph wires, the weather, migratory birds, and military planes. The final chapter follows the Kickapoo people’s experiences into the 20th century, demonstrating that, contrary to myth, nothing about the heartland’s geography makes it a safe place. Deeply researched with a well-proven argument, Hoganson’s book will attract many scholars as well as general readers who like innovative, challenging history.
Kristin L. Hoganson
RaveKirkusA revelatory examination of America’s \'symbolic center in national mythologies\' ... The result is this brilliantly reasoned, meticulously researched book, which refreshingly pushes against stereotypes at every turn ... With lively prose, Hoganson delivers an eye-opening, outside-the-box book that is mind-bending in all the right ways.
Jennifer Cody Epstein
RaveKirkusThree women carry the narrative weight of this searing novel ... Renate’s gradual ostracism by her school—formerly a top student, she is subjected to racism-dictated grade deflation—and even by those she counted as friends, is excruciating to read. The characterization of Ilse is more challenging, but her enthusiastic embrace of the lifestyle of a Hitler devotee is authentically depicted, as is her dogged refusal to be disillusioned despite various rude awakenings to the role envisioned for women in the Reich. Representing the German postwar generation, Ava holds her own here and is not merely an afterthought; her relationship with Ulrich, son of an Auschwitz victim, is particularly poignant and echoes the friendship of Ilse and Renate, which neither ever truly renounces, at least psychically. A vividly written and stark chronicle of Nazism and its legacies.
Jennifer Cody Epstein
RavePublishers WeeklyEpstein’s heartbreaking historical tour de force...juxtaposes Nazi-era Germany and 1980s New York City to devastating effect ... Man’s inhumanity to man—and the redemptive power of forgiveness—is on stark and effective display in Epstein’s gripping novel, a devastating tale bound for bestseller lists.
PositiveKirkusMoving and eloquent, Talusan’s book is a testament not only to one woman’s fierce will to live, but also to the healing power of speaking the unspeakable ... A candidly courageous memoir.
J. A. Jance
MixedKirkusProficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.
J. A. Jance
PanPublishers Weekly... disjointed ... Jance misses no opportunity to pad the scattered narrative with exposition, and never takes a moment to develop any emotional depth. Readers who don’t mind cartoonish characters and melodramatic action will be satisfied.
Asja Bakic Trans. by Jennifer Zoble
RavePublishers Weekly... teems with the oddball narratives of George Saunders, the eerie atmosphere of Edgar Allan Poe, and the feminist intellect of Marge Piercy ... Told in a straightforward manner that transports speculative fiction into almost realist territory, Bakic’s collection imaginatively and strikingly examines sci-fi tropes from not only the point of view of women, but also from the voice of an effortlessly gifted writer whose future is much brighter than that of those depicted in her stories.
Asja Bakic Trans. by Jennifer Zoble
PositiveKirkusBakic’s stories are perfectly of the American short-fiction zeitgeist—dark, sometimes indeterminate, sidestepping realism—but as the afterword points out, there are few writers from the Balkans that make use of the speculative or the dystopian in their work, which makes this collection all the more darkly alluring ... The bizarre and often inscrutable worlds here should find fans among lovers of cutting-edge short fiction.
RavePublishers Weekly... lively, entertaining ... works hard to discuss and correct common misperceptions about aging. [Applewhite\'s] humor, high-energy writing, and emphasis on positive ways to view and experience age contribute to making this a valuable resource, an agent for social change, and an enjoyable read.
PositiveKirkusA satisfying exploration of how growing older offers significant, rich new experiences ... An upbeat, empathetic, and practical guide to becoming \'an old person in training.\'
Barbara Jane Reyes
RavePublishers Weekly... powerful ... Reyes fuses elegy, psalm, prayer, and the language of protest as a challenge to hegemonic, patriarchal, and colonialist narrative-making ... boldly exposes and documents violence against Pinay women while also embracing a liminal, transitory, trilingual identity ... a call to arms against oppressive languages, systems, and traditions.
Barbara Jane Reyes
RaveLibrary JournalReyes uses incantatory language to speak to Filipina girls and women, and her words will resonate with many, many readers ... Individual poems apostrophize Filipinas like the murdered transgender Jennifer Laude. Infused with Spanish and Tagalog, Reyes\'s beautiful, angry verse shines throughout. For a wide range of readers.
Barbara Jane Reyes
RaveThe RumpusThe directness of many of the poems that follow feel to me very much in tune with the moment we’re living in, where women in particular, led by women of color, are responding to those people who looked at the election of Donald Trump as evidence that their time had returned, that the fact that the country elected a man who had bragged about sexually assaulting a woman meant it was open season on women everywhere, with middle fingers and public truth-telling and lawsuits ... I’ve also been long a fan of the way Reyes moves between languages without explanation or translation or even setting the non-English apart from the English via italics ... This book makes me work for it, which is what I want poetry to do.
Carmen Gimenez Smith
PositivePublishers Weekly... brief yet powerful poems ... Cultural phenomena such as marriage and television come under scrutiny, and she handles mental illness issues with great care, particularly bipolar disorder and dementia. Giménez Smith’s crisp lyrics and imagery highlight ever-present threats to female personhood and autonomy.
Carmen Gimenez Smith
RaveThe Adroit Journal... an astonishingly present imagistic exploration of aging, familial bonds, and mothering in the context of late capitalism. Giménez Smith’s poems, sparkling with pop culture and gleaming with intelligence, unpretentiously welcome the reader into mortality, grief, and nurturing, while deftly highlighting how these human conditions are shaped by the race, gender, and class of those who experience them ... Some of the collection’s most affecting poems grapple with the tectonic plates of middle age ... Giménez Smith’s language is almost painfully intimate, giving the reader the feeling of hard-won, exhausted truth ... There’s synthesis in this collection, a clarity of vision that manages to coexist within the overwhelm of consumerism, television, and pop culture. This slim book is astonishing in scope and ambition, managing to depict society’s constant babbling chatter, while continually asserting the individual dignity of her speaker and those she loves, and leaving room for breathtaking moments of revelation.
Carmen Gimenez Smith
RavePoets.orgAlthough her poems achieve a certain velocity, she still manages to delve into volcanic meaning and bask in the mirror of self-reflection ... To truly relish her talent is to understand her intellect as one of those plasma balls that lights up with bolts of electricity when one’s hand touches it ... Because Giménez Smith experiments with a thicker set of references and inferential imagery than most, poems such as \'Of Property,\' \'As Body,\' and \'Ravers Having Babies\' seem to outpace whatever triggered their origin, and she almost always arrives at pure lyric possession.
PositiveKirkus... maximizes suspense by forcing readers to guess at Wade’s thoughts and actions, allowing Gaylin to insightfully explore the crime’s ripple effects ... This anxiety-fueled stand-alone from Edgar nominee Gaylin takes the gulf that naturally develops between teenagers and their families and stocks it with sharks.
PositivePublishers Weekly... moving, character driven ... Though the fast-paced plot takes a few implausible final twists, the novel’s lasting impact comes from its indelible portrait of people in crisis.
PositiveCriminal Element... an absorbing, addictive tale of psychological suspense ... a powerful portrayal of a broken family in crisis ... a triumph of sophisticated, stylized storytelling. Though the fractured family is an age-old write of passage, Gaylin—whose finger always seems to be on the pulse of societal stressors—infuses the topic with absolute immediacy. Absorbing characters, myriad plot twists, and pertinent themes elevate this work beyond genre confines, which is altogether fitting of an author who continues to reach new heights.
PositiveCrime Fiction LoverThis is a multi-layered tale that will keep you guessing, and guessing again. Every single character has something to hide and some of the revelations, when they come, are pretty shocking ... Former celebrity tabloid journalist Gaylin is garnering a growing reputation for kickass psychological thrillers ... slick, smart and surprising, with sinuous twists and turns.
PositiveKirkusIf some drawing-prose combinations are too on-the-nose...others offer witty contrasts...Some of the combinations are chilling...A complex portrait of the nature and power of narrative.
PositivePWThis finely researched, sumptuous novel...follows the journey of American heiress Jennie Jerome, mother of Winston Churchill ... Barron’s commitment to detail and scope allows for illuminating flashbacks and references to actual family letters, which serve to flesh out Jennie’s story with realism and empathy ... Presenting a fiercely intelligent, independent version of Jennie, this satisfying book actively pushes back against her historical reputation as a scandalous woman to great, consuming effect.
MixedKirkusThrough the narrative, readers will see Jennie, watch her every move, and yet, maybe, not care very much. There is a subtle something lacking that leaves readers as spectators of, rather than vicarious participants in, Jennie’s life. The story lacks forward momentum other than the passage of time, but the characters are captivating.
RaveThe Economist... .if Gary Shteyngart is any indication, fiction will continue to be the place where authors ponder the survival of most everything else that matters ... As we\'d expect from Mr Shteyngart, the novel is self-aware, winkingly florid and hilarious ... The author is a genius of descriptive strokes ... smart, loony and darkly prophetic.
RaveKirkus... a bleak comedy that is even more frightening than funny ... Both Lenny and Eunice are fully fleshed–out characters rather than satiric caricatures, but their matter-of-fact acceptance of Bi-Partisanship masking a police state, and of the illiterate, ebullient and Orwellian American Restoration Authority as a bulwark against the country’s collapse, makes this cautionary tale all the more chilling. The narrative proceeds in a surprising yet inevitable manner to the outcome the title promises.
RavePublisher\'s Weeklyanother profane and dizzying satire, a dystopic vision of the future as convincing—and, in its way, as frightening—as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. It’s also a pointedly old-fashioned May-December love story, complete with references to Chekhov and Tolstoy ... Shteyngart’s earnestly struggling characters—along with a flurry of running gags—keep the nightmare tour of tomorrow grounded. A rich commentary on the obsessions and catastrophes of the information age and a heartbreaker worthy of its title, this is Shteyngart’s best yet.
Jason Y. Ng and Susan Blumberg-Kason
PositiveKirkusNg and Blumberg-Kason defy the fates by presenting a collection of 14 stories—by Chinese tradition, an ominous number—illustrating their city’s dark side. Very few of these stories document actual crimes ... Sadness and desperation, on the other hand, are in ready supply ... Ng and Blumberg-Kason’s Hong Kong is a city on the brink, haunted by its past but facing an uncertain future. Readers can feel lucky to have such a collection.
Jason Y. Ng and Susan Blumberg-Kason
MixedPWAs Ng and Blumberg-Kason note in their introduction to this so-so addition to Akashic’s noir series, the number 14 is \'about as bad as it gets in Hong Kong.\' ... Readers will get a fair picture of Hong Kong’s culture and history, though many will wish the volume focused more on crime and less on the otherworldly.
PositivePublishers WeeklyOneill keeps her tongue firmly in cheek for this dark-humored, enlightening look at Victorian-era prescriptions for upper-class childbirth and child rearing ... The narrator’s obvious enjoyment in sharing vintage expert opinions increases as particularly horrifying facts regarding baby farms, beatings, and heroin for expectant mothers pile up, rendering the imaginary listener nearly speechless. Oneill probes each topic with a Lemony Snicket–like tone and candor, revealing how some of these beliefs eventually evolved into improved girls’ education and a kinder approach to discipline. One part sauciness, one part frankness, and one part sweet relief that readers live in the present, Oneill’s book provides readers with a liberal dose of medical and women’s history that’s well worth taking.
PositiveKirkusAcker\'s debut is a carefully drawn portrait of a family constrained by choices that reach back generations ... In many ways, this is a novel of ideas, and Acker draws heavily on philosophy and histories of British colonialism as her characters parse out the meaning of their decisions—or their inability to make them with clarity and freedom. This sensibility makes for a book grounded in the head, rather than the heart, but it also gives Acker\'s characters more room to behave in very human ways, whether stubborn, small, or cruel. It\'s a rare but honest look at the way parents, children, and spouses talk to one another but don\'t always hear what\'s being said ... A thoughtful, deeply researched debut.
PositivePublishers WeeklyAcker unwinds a complex intergenerational story of immigration, culture, family, partnership, and ethics in her skillful debut ... Sunil’s travels through Kenya move effortlessly through dreamy sequences and feature plenty of difficult ethical questions and tense family drama. Fans of Jhumpa Lahiri or Yaa Gyasi will want to check out Acker’s elegant saga.
RavePublishers Weekly... scintillating ... Each girl’s personality, shaped by her home life and the events that led to this violent episode, skillfully unfolds through text messages, journal entries, therapist’s notes, and police interrogations. The stunning plot builds to a chillingly realistic ending. Only one girl may be harmed physically, but each is forever scarred. Gudenkauf is at the top of her game.
MixedKirkusThere are interesting layers of psychology at work here, but it can be exhausting inhabiting the world of these teenage girls, so concerned about appearances, so protective of their own secrets. There is truth there, certainly, but little entertainment ... Draws a rather grim portrait of the trials and battles of adolescence—taken to the extreme.
PositiveKirkusAcutely attuned to the subtle sexism, ageism, racism, and every other -ism constricting women’s live, Ahern (Perfect, 2017, etc.) returns with a collection of curiously delightful fables imagining what would happen if the emotional trials of women’s lives manifested in reality ... With echoes of Kafka’s Metamorphosis and Sexton’s Transformations, Ahern lets each of her protagonists physically manifest the tribulation that social, cultural, and familial expectations have pushed her to internalize ... A sharp, breathtaking collection of fables.
RavePublishers Weekly...[a] fantastic collection ... Ahern’s women are by turns insecure and ambitious, quiet and challenging ... Ahern (P.S., I Love You) blends magical realism with keen observations about contemporary gender dynamics, offering readers a sharp selection of nuanced parables encouraging bravery, compassion, and self-reliance.
RaveKirkusThere are no villains in this acute and compassionate portrait ... The author commendably refrains from imposing 21st-century sexual mores on the Lincoln-Speed relationship, profoundly loving but not physical in Bayard’s depiction ... Not a lot of action, but in Bayard’s skilled hands, three complicated people groping toward a new phase in their lives is all the plot you need.
PositivePublishers Weekly...[a] delightful embellishment of American history ... Readers will delight in Joshua and Mary, who provide unique reflections on a man who is deeply troubled about the path his country is on ... This charming love story delicately reveals the emotional roller coaster of two inexperienced adults traversing the unknown realm of love while trying to meet the demands and expectations of society.
Guillermo Saccomanno, Trans. by Andrea G. Labinger
PositiveLibrary JournalIn prickly, energized language, Saccomanno...captures the fearfulness of those living under dictatorship. For most readers.
Guillermo Saccomanno, Trans. by Andrea G. Labinger
PositivePublishers WeeklyThis suspenseful and claustrophobic novel ... picks up when Diana, a pregnant dissident and lover of one of Gómez’s old friends, goes into hiding in Gómez’s apartment ... This dense novel is rife with intersecting sequences and unrelated subplots, but its rewards are substantial and the prose is excellent.
RavePublishers WeeklyAs always, his work is imbued with a mounting sense of menace as the unthinkable intrudes into the everyday ... McEwan wrings wry meaning from the contrast of poetry and science, the limitations of rational logic and the delusive emotional temptations of faith ... Whatever its limitations, however, the tightly controlled narrative, equally graced with intelligent speculation and dramatic momentum, will keep readers hooked.
RaveKirkusA sad, chilling, precise exploration of deranged love ... In lesser hands, the story might be overwrought and unbelievable, but McEwan\'s terse, lucid prose and sure grasp of character give resonance to this superb anatomy of obsession and exploration of the mind under extreme circumstance. Painful and powerful work by one of England\'s best novelists.
PositiveKirkusThe author imparts sensible advice with self-deprecating humor and sincere gratitude for the bounty of her life. A warmhearted memoir sure to appeal to other new grandmothers—and Quindlen’s many fans.
PositivePublishers Weekly...wise and endearing ... The book is filled with Quindlen’s playful sense of humor...along with thoughtful reflections on how parenting and grandparenting have changed ... This heartfelt and delightful work will especially appeal to readers already living within their own versions of Nanaville.
PositiveKirkusThere is an unusually intriguing discussion of the many sides of Tourette\'s syndrome as well as a detailed analysis of the misleadingly named \'bi-polar\' disorder ... In a lighter vein, Sacks discusses his early fascination with fossil botany and chemistry. He also offers odes to libraries, swimming, museums, the necessity of gardens, and the majesty of the ginkgo ... his essay on pioneering British chemist and poet Humphry Davy is particularly edifying ... Balanced and insightful, this valedictory collection offers a fine coda to a remarkable life and career.
PositivePublishers Weekly...[a] lovely collection ... Readers will learn of influences that molded Sacks’s brilliant mind ... Of the many remarkable essays on medical conditions, \'Travels with Lowell\' stands out for its sensitivity and nuance ... Sacks’s gentle, ruminative voice is a salve when investigating difficult subject matter ... Piercingly insightful and delightfully strange, Sacks’s final collection is a treat for the chronically curious.
RaveKirkusThis is a complicated and unusual story—though when you are reading it, it will all seem smooth as silk ... With so many complications and loose ends, one of the miracles of the novel is that the author ties it all together and arrives at a deeply satisfying—though not easy or sentimental—ending ... Intricate plotting and courtroom theatrics, combined with moving insight into parenting special needs children and the psychology of immigrants, make this book both a learning experience and a page-turner. Should be huge.
PositivePublishers Weekly...[a] stand-out, twisty debut ... Kim, a former lawyer, clearly knows her stuff, and though the level of procedural detail is sometimes unwieldy, nonetheless what emerges is a masterfully plotted novel about the joys and pains of motherhood, the trick mirror nature of truth, and the unforgiving nature of justice.
Pola Oloixarac, Trans. by Roy Kesey
RaveKirkus... luminous ... Oloixarac is a massive, mysterious talent; her latest novel is an oblique puzzle whose pieces never quite fit into place ... This genre-defying novel blends science fiction with cyberpunk with naturalism to end up with something utterly original.
Pola Oloixarac, Trans. by Roy Kesey
MixedPublishers WeeklyThough the collected text offers lengthy (and often mocking) commentary on the concerning direction of global politics, each story comes across as wildly disconnected despite an attempt at interconnectivity. With each character’s circumstances throughout history given an evocative and flowery description, the bigger message is often bogged down and left to the reader to parse through with long-forgotten context. Even for readers with fluency in anthropology and shadow politics, this book will bewilder and leave plenty open to question.
Ashok K Banker
PositivePublishers Weekly... an ambitious and highly readable, if slightly overlong, opening chapter in a new epic inspired by one of the oldest: the ancient Sanskrit Mahabharata ... Banker impressively depicts the loyalties and rivalries of a huge cast while moving his enormous story at cinematic pace through scales personal, political, and cosmic ... There’s more setup for future conflicts than resolution, but readers familiar with Hindu mythology will find the foreshadowing enhances their anticipation of future installments. Fans of doorstopper epic fantasy will devour this tale of gods and princes.
RavePublishers WeeklyAs swift as a lethal bullet and as timely as current headlines, McEwan\'s Booker Prize-winning novel is a mordantly clever--but ultimately too clever for its own good--exploration of ethical issues ... McEwan spins these plot developments with smooth alacrity and with acidulous wit, especially focused on the way shallow and mediocre people can occupy positions of power and esteem ... His ability to sculpt a scene with such arresting visual detail that it assumes a physical dimension for the reader ... But when, in the last third of the book, McEwan manipulates the plot to achieve a less than credible symmetry, it is obvious that, despite the Booker recognition, this is far from McEwan\'s best novel. That said, however, it will undoubtedly hit the bestseller charts, for McEwan, even when not quite at the top of his form, is a writer of compelling gifts.
MixedKirkus... a smartly written tale that devolves slowly into tricks and soapy vapors ... The daily lives of these three high-profilers are nothing if not interesting in the capable hands of McEwan, who shows himself more than plentifully knowledgeable in the details of journalism and music ... o things progress via trick, counter-trick, and backfire, in a novelistic try for a big ending that just gets littler instead. Middle-brow fiction British style, strong on the surface, vapid at the center.
MixedThe Complete ReviewIan McEwan wields a pen deftly. He writes simply, yet expresses himself well. His books are true page turners, as the reader is drawn in by McEwan\'s style. Regrettably ambition too often gets the better of him as he foists unlikely or even absurd plots on this fine framework of well-wrought writing ... yet again McEwan has found a story that is too much for him ... It is an ending that is astonishingly bad, and not even McEwan seems fully convinced of what he is doing ... It is a slight book, and most of it is fun to read. For those who are satisfied with endings that see justice done and round off a book, regardless of how ridiculous the means employed to do so are, it is a decent enough book. (Readers who have previously enjoyed McEwan\'s books and did not mind similar absurd plotlines, as in Enduring Love, should also enjoy this.) We wish McEwan would not try so hard, sticking to his talents and not losing them in absurd and oversimplified plotlines.
PositiveKirkusAlcott (Infinite Home, 2015, etc.) portrays in evocative snapshots an inner core of solitude and fiercely individual rectitude in each that binds the lovers yet precludes a lasting relationship ... The book’s final third, centered on Wright’s adult life in 1980s San Francisco, suggests that Alcott aims to synthesize three personal odysseys into a larger statement—but what that might be is obscured by her elliptical narrative development. Nonetheless, her empathy for troubled souls, rendered in haunting, impressionistic prose, makes a powerful emotional impact, giving the novel a staying power beyond that of more neatly finished fiction ... Uneven and at times frustratingly enigmatic but impressively ambitious and extremely well-written.
PositivePublishers Weekly...[a] richly ruminative novel ... Alcott (Infinite Home) humanizes her characters by focusing intensively on their thoughts and feelings as they grapple with the grand significance of their times and personal experiences ... Alcott’s novel is a sharp and moving reminder of the human dimension of even the most outsize historical events.
RaveKirkus\"... powerful ... Bobrow-Strain met Aida through a social worker whose own complicated border saga mingles with many others portrayed by the author in vivid and often agonizing detail ... This potent, important work, which \'occupies a space between journalism and ethnography, with a dash of oral history and biography,\' adds much to the continuing immigration debate.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"Bobrow-Strain draws from dozens of interviews with the principal actors in the story, including four years of collaboration with Hernandez, providing him an insider’s perspective that elevates the narrative above simple reportage. This is a riveting and distressing account of one woman’s immigration nightmare, and a well-researched argument against the status quo in border security.\
PositiveKirkus\"[Jarrett\'s] account of her years in the administration shifts smoothly between her own work life, including the mentoring of young female staff members, and a broader consideration of the administration\'s goals. She gives special consideration to the challenges of passing the Affordable Care Act, and while she clearly chooses her words carefully, her frustration with what she sees as the recalcitrant Republicans in Congress sometimes breaks through ... A modest and insightful addition to a growing shelf of books by insiders from the Obama administration.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"... Guisewite finds an outlet for her frustrations in this amusing debut essay collection ... Some will find Guisewite’s discussions of shoes and makeup shallow, but women who can relate to her experiences and concerns will enjoy her girlfriendish voice and appreciate the more substantive material.\
PositiveKirkus\"Although some of the essays are repetitive and clunky in their attempts at comedy, Guisewite hits the mark more often than not. It’s a collection that isn’t likely to appeal to readers who were never \'Cathy\' fans (Ack!), but the author offers a new way to savor the humor of her classic comic-strip character. Absurd and often witty takes on life as a caregiver, mother, and woman.\
PositivePublishers WeeklyScott pulls no punches when revealing the vulnerabilities of her family, particularly her father ... She also provides a tantalizing glimpse into Main Line opulence via remembrances of life on her family’s estate, Ardrossan ... Told without false modesty or overweening privilege, Scott’s story is a well-paced narrative punctuated with lyrical prose. This is a fascinating glimpse into a rarefied world.
PositiveKirkusThe family story the author tells is fascinating for the painful personal legacies it uncovers. At the same time, it is also compelling for the parallels it draws between an earlier age of inequality and our own ... A heartfelt and rich narrative tapestry.
RaveKirkus...a sharp-edged look at the treatment of immigrants ... self-contained and increasingly urgent in their hope that art might bring change ... Smith\'s work is always challenging and always rewarding.
PositivePublishers WeeklyFirst-time author Bhagwati pulls no punches with this uncompromising memoir ... Bhagwati’s candor and razor-sharp writing are in full evidence throughout her gritty and well-paced memoir.
PositiveKirkusRunning throughout the narrative is the author’s palpable sense of confusion, dismay, and anger at the way women are treated in the military, particularly in the predominantly male domain of the Marines, and how these feelings affected her life as a civilian. Her candid story pulls back the curtain on a hidden world in which highly capable women who thrive on the challenge of being a soldier are hindered by the men who surround them. An intense, fierce woman generously shares her instructive experiences as a Marine and how her service time turned her into an activist for women’s rights in the military.
Young-Ha Kim Trans. by Krys Lee
PositiveKirkusThese tales of obsession reverberate with the hard, cool, and dryly comic voice of one of South Korea’s most versatile writers ... The other three stories retain the first one’s chilliness (sustained nicely with help from Lee’s translation), which comes across somewhat diffused in different, but no less jolting, contexts ... Kim’s gifts may need a bigger canvas than the short form allows to spread his wings. Still, this is a lively, enthralling introduction to his eclectic artistry.
Young-Ha Kim Trans. by Krys Lee
PositivePublishers WeeklyThis dark, innovative story collection is rife with grim plots and unreliable narrators ... The collection, with its universally bleak stories, suffers from diminishing returns, but the title story is exceptional. The best stories are engrossing and disturbing, and are excellent showcases of Kim’s talent.
PositiveKirkus... [a] heartfelt, earnest pilgrimage toward self-awakening and commitment ... Essentially, he sets out to create a blueprint for moral transformation by eschewing the hyperindividualism we are taught to champion as children and which, he concludes via social data, leads only to loneliness, distrust of institutions, loss of purpose, and tribalism ... Brooks is a heart-on-his-sleeve writer, and his language is not terribly profound, but his message is accessible and inclusive ... A thoughtful work that offers an uplifting message to those struggling in the wilderness of career and existential challenge.
MixedPublishers WeeklyAs he teases apart his metaphor, Brooks relates his own experiences: a newfound love after divorce and a religious awakening that has brought him to the cusp of Christianity from Judaism. While some readers will find his revelations obvious, Brooks’s melding of personal responsibility with respect for community will have broad appeal.
RavePublishers WeeklyBazelon skillfully illustrates [her thesis] by following the developments in two gripping cases with novelistic intensity ... Bazelon adeptly explains the culture that drives traditional district attorneys and the philosophies of reform-minded district attorneys, then briefly delves into the difficulty of preventing prosecutorial misconduct, the inequities of a bail system that effectively criminalizes poverty, systemic racial disparities, the sociological arguments for diversion, and how severe mandatory sentences distort the criminal justice system. Then, with modest optimism, she presents a road map for the emerging reform movement. This is a powerful indictment of the traditional prosecution model.
RaveKirkusThe author makes a convincing argument that if there were a larger number of justice-seeking prosecutors, we could reduce incarceration by a substantial percentage in a nation overwhelmed by prison costs ... impressively researched ... A vitally important new entry in the continued heated debates about criminal justice.
Abbigail N Rosewood
MixedKirkus... an exploration of the way people co-opt others for their own ends, and it’s satisfying when the narrator finally gains clarity on the way her life has been warped to reinforce fantasies, both her own and other people\'s. But the story is filled with clumsy melodrama, with the prose trending a deep, bewildering purple ... An intriguing premise marred by awkward pacing and an overwrought style.
PositiveKirkusVeteran Perry dials back the period detail and the updates on the lives of the continuing characters to focus on one of her most teasing mysteries, this time with a courtroom finale that may be her strongest ever.
MixedPublishers Weekly... offers some intriguing plot twists but little more ... The action builds to an overly melodramatic denouement. Perry will need to inject Daniel with more depth for this series to succeed.
PositiveKirkusAt times the narration becomes clunky. Despite not being told fully in flashback, there are multiple allusions to Harmony’s future knowledge. These interjections undercut the tension Dektar has been building throughout the novel. Regardless, Dektar is clearly a talented writer; it’s most apparent in her descriptions of nature and farm minutiae ... The novel also shines in its thoughtful portrayal of cult members’ (likely) complicated feelings: devotion, love, fear, desperation, and purpose ... An affecting, cleareyed debut.
PositivePublishers WeeklyDektar probes life in a cult with a masterful hand ... Dektar’s eloquent, often poetic prose draws readers into this disturbing, powerful novel.
RaveKirkus... [a] lively, gruesome, and masterful book ... Avoiding the hyperbole that contemporary media relished, Honigsbaum mixes superb medical history with vivid portraits of the worldwide reactions to each event.
PositivePublishers Weekly... a mixture of gripping storytelling and insightful science ... Despite all the problems he exposes, Honigsbaum also demonstrates that scientists have responded with increasing rapidity to each outbreak. Alternately chilling and optimistic, Honigsbaum’s reporting on a recurrent public health issue deserves wide attention.
PositiveKirkusThe book is light on theory and long on anecdote, but it makes for pleasant reading for politics junkies, especially those keen on reading the political winds. Though his book is timely, the author insists that it is incorrect \'to look at the timing of this book and assume it was inspired by all the impeachment talk surrounding Donald Trump\' ... Easily digestible political history and, Cohen’s protestations aside, interesting reading for those contemplating the prospect of a President Mike Pence—or President Nancy Pelosi.
MixedPublishers Weekly... entertaining but clunky ... Cohen presents brief, confidently told narratives of each transition ... Anecdotes and overdoses of contextual details too often take precedence over the ostensible analytical focus. That said, the pacing is brisk, the writing is clear and engaging, and Cohen’s characterizations of the presidents are mostly vivid. But the conclusions he draws feel slight. This colorful, occasionally amusing, but somewhat shaggy book may strike readers of history as lacking in urgency.
E. L. James
MixedKirkusJames offers her first book outside the staggeringly successful Fifty Shades of Grey (2012) world, and the story can be compelling, in a \'Cinderella\' meets Perils of Pauline kind of way ... we also ask ourselves why a woman who escaped sex traffickers at a gas station can’t be smarter when she’s hiding from them in a mansion ... A modern fairy tale that moves apace but is burdened by uneven writing and characters who continually do things that seem out of character.
PositiveKirkusThe author painstakingly sifts through the evidence about their relationship and examines the convoluted attitudes that influenced Jefferson’s behavior ... There is no clue in the life of this intertwined family that Gordon-Reed does not minutely examine for its most subtle significance ... Ponderous but sagacious and ultimately rewarding.
RavePublishers WeeklyThis is a scholar\'s book: serious, thick, complex. It\'s also fascinating, wise and of the utmost importance ... Gordon-Reed never slips into cynicism about the author of the Declaration of Independence. Instead, she shows how his life was deeply affected by his slave kinspeople ... Everyone comes vividly to life, as do the places, like Paris and Philadelphia, in which Jefferson, his daughters and some of his black family lived. So, too, do the complexities and varieties of slaves\' lives and the nature of the choices they had to make—when they had the luxury of making a choice. Gordon-Reed\'s genius for reading nearly silent records makes this an extraordinary work.
MixedKirkusThe novel is a study in the frustrations of the foster-care system and the shaky foundations beneath new families. Howard challenges current ideas about caring for kids with trauma and the conflicting advice about adoption for parents who are just doing the best they can ... Though the novel can read at times like a catalog of indignities and frustrations rather than a story, its underlying restlessness eventually begins to coalesce into a driving question: Will Maresa be able to remain with her foster parents forever? ... Realistic but often prioritizes the realism over the story.
MixedPublishers WeeklyCollins’s solid first adult novel (following several YA novels) is a haunted, Dickensian fantasia ... but the novel suffers from portentous conversations and a few plot points that the characters don’t realistically react to. Emmett is a YA protagonist, too—sullen, reluctant, wrapped in victimhood. This is an enjoyable novel for readers of any age, but the story remains YA at its heart.
RavePublishers WeeklyHistorian Kells...delivers a fascinating examination of a persistent literary mystery: William Shakespeare’s library ... Shakespeare fans will surely be riveted by the new information brought to light in Kells’s rich literary survey.
PositiveKirkusOn the whole, Kells delivers reams of arcane bibliographical information with humor and wit. Even though the narrative bogs down in the middle under the figurative weight of bibliomania, overall, this is an enchanting work that bibliophiles will savor and Shakespeare fans adore.
Nicholas A. Christakis
PositivePublishers WeeklyNot every reader will come away persuaded of Christakis’s thesis that the \'arc of our evolutionary history is long\' but \'bends towards goodness.\' Nonetheless, his thoughtful and comprehensive analysis...provides much food for thought and a refreshingly optimistic perspective.
Nicholas A. Christakis
PositiveKirkusAs he explores human nature and its possibilities, the author touches on all sorts of fascinating anthropological matters, such as the evolution of monogamy and the relative friendliness of affluent vs. working-class people. A refreshingly optimistic view of our kind.
PositiveKirkus... the author’s historical research provides strong support for her argument that gun love is as American as apple pie ... This compact manifesto won’t convince everyone, but it presents a formidable argument ... A radical revision of American history, specifically as it relates to its persistent gun culture.
PositivePublishers WeeklyDunbar-Ortiz’s argument will be disturbing and unfamiliar to most readers, but her evidence is significant and should not be ignored.
RavePublishers Weekly...a charming and informative biography ... Abe offers intriguing facts throughout ... Impeccably researched and lovingly crafted, Abe’s enlightening history will be a boon to horticultural enthusiasts.
PositiveKirkusLovers of the outdoors, especially gardeners, will find much to enjoy in Japanese journalist Abe’s first English-language book ... The author engagingly chronicles the travels and plant-collecting adventures of Collingwood Ingram ... Interspersed throughout the book are pieces of Japan’s history over the last 2,000 years, and Abe provides sufficient detail to edify but never to bore. The author clearly shows the national importance of the cherry tree and how its perception changed with Westernization ... This charming book shows how indebted the world is to Ingram for his work in creating \'a shared treasure—the cherry blossom—for all to enjoy.\'
RavePublishers WeeklyActivist Moraga...tells the story of her mother, Elvira, in this compassionate memoir that explores family and cultural legacies ... Moraga’s captivating and perceptive memoir successfully conveys her belief that \'we are as much of a place as we are of a people.\'
PositiveKirkusBorn in 1952, Moraga offers mesmerizing details of growing up [in Los Angeles] and in San Gabriel, a mixed-race community ... A sympathetic portrait of Mexican-American feminism (both in mother and daughter) delivered in a poignant, beautifully written way.
Linda Legarde Grover
RavePublishers Weekly...beautiful ... With gorgeous imagery and verdant prose, LeGarde Grover’s novel lays bare the pain and loss of indigenous women and children while simultaneously offering a ray of hope.
MixedKirkusButler’s debut is character-driven, with little action and lots of dialogue in which her people maneuver and manipulate to get what they want (or think they want). The characters are exaggerated, often unlikable, and unperceptive at times ... There’s no closure to the question \'Now what?\' But if she’s willing, Butler has a great opportunity to write a sequel and develop more nuanced and introspective characters ... In this study of how childhood experiences shape perception, and how deception keeps people caged, Butler shows that nothing need be set in stone.
PositiveKirkus\"... illuminating ... A fresh, lively narrative of personal and historical memory.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"... intricate and complex ... This painstakingly researched work will be of most interest to social historians.\
PositiveKirkusThough Stroud’s lengthy discussions about the financial hurdles faced by stun gun manufacturers become tiresome, on the whole, the author writes clearly and compellingly, and he shows how some companies oversold their technologies to police based on a desperation for profits ... A useful book. Wisely, Stroud never loses sight of an overriding reality: that technology is never a substitute for compassionate policing based on trust between cops and the citizens they are paid to serve.
PositivePublishers WeeklyInvestigative reporter Stroud delivers a rousing condemnation of \'technological solutionism\' in police departments ... Stroud opines that technological solutions in policing, while perhaps useful, will not address the underlying cultural deficit in empathy and compassion among police. This is a meticulous and fascinating study.
RavePublishers Weekly...elegant ... [Lessard\'s] musings are richly poetic, even when describing prosaic features of the urban landscape ... Throughout, Lessard offers an extraordinary way of examining and understanding the aesthetics of different environments, whether urban, suburban, or bucolic, which will inspire readers to look with new curiosity at the places around them.
PositiveKirkusThe overall feel of the book, which blends poetic reverie with deeply learned geography and history, is friendly if just on the edge of being too much, of becoming encyclopedic. Still, you’ve got to like a narrative that includes a search for an elusive Staten Island landfill that ends in unlikely self-discovery ... A pleasant hodgepodge of observations on many places, all of them made more interesting than they perhaps really are—and that’s quite a gift.
RavePublishers Weekly...highly entertaining and deeply felt ... [Frisch] ably captures the transcendent allure of...magic, not just describing the tricks he learns (such as the Diagonal Palm Shift, a simple sleight-of-hand), but imparting the awe such deceptions can deliver ... Frisch’s enthusiastic deep dive into the world of magic is infectious enough that it just might send readers to the stores for their own magic sets.
PositiveKirkus... the narrative moves at a gentle pace, often mimicking the repetitiveness that is borne of repeated visits to a sick room. The author uses Henri’s evolving mental state to explore possible states of existence and a shifting continuum of consciousness that occupies the spectrum between life and death. Although the story seems to stall at points, it raises interesting existential questions about the purpose and definition of life. Through the challenges and losses that each character endures, the author conducts an effective exploration of connections that transcend physical boundaries ... A slow-moving but poignant story about longing, nostalgia, and the pain of missed opportunities.
PositiveKirkus... captivating ... This exploration of unfinished relationships has a haunting, evocative quality, and is a perfect, conversation-starting selection for book groups.
PositivePublishers Weekly...[a] mesmerizing domestic thriller ... Burke paints a poignant portrait of sisterhood and sacrifice with this twist-riddled, character-driven whodunit.
PositiveKirkusThe fans who put Burke\'s (The Wife, 2018, etc.) last domestic thriller on the bestseller list are going to be happy with this one, a gimmick-free murder mystery with a two-stage surprise ending and uncommonly few credibility-straining plot elements ... You\'ll think you have this thing all figured out, but a series of reveals at the eleventh hour upend those theories ... You\'ll kill this one fast and be glad you did.
RaveThe Real Book SpyAlafair Burke delivers one hell of a whodunit, wrapped around a brilliant drama about family, relationships, and sister rivalry. Careful not to hit readers over the head with all their backstory at once, Burke’s latest thriller starts fast, pulling readers in from the get-go, before she skillfully and slowly pulls the curtain back a little more with each passing page ... And just when you think you have this one figured out, she lands her best twist yet. Burke brings her A-game here ... the real magic lies in the mystery at the heart of this powerful family drama that packs a major twist and an ending that’ll leave readers stunned.
PositiveKirkus...humorous ... Whether she’s out shopping for a special party outfit, swiping a trench coat, or sharing some of her own mother’s witticisms, the author’s brand of humor is subtle and mostly unforced ... Feisty, funny, lightweight observations on life Southern-style.
RavePublishers WeeklyA vibrant storyteller with a penchant for the perverse, Ellis pivots from short stories (American Housewife) to nonfiction in this ribald collection of essays ... Ellis’s sharp eye for pop-culture preoccupations inspires smart-mouthed provocations ... Ellis is a strong, vivid writer—and this book is gut-busting funny.
PositiveBookreporter...fiercely funny ... Helen Ellis is clinging to her Southern accent like mayonnaise to white bread, and offering readers a hilarious, completely singular view on womanhood for both sides of the Mason-Dixon.
Nancy Isenberg and Andrew Burstein
RaveKirkusAn unsettling yet well-presented argument that the failures of John and John Quincy Adams illustrate a disturbing feature of American politics ... Besides lively, warts-and-all portraits of the men and the surprisingly nasty politics of the young nation, the authors delve deeply into their philosophies and those of Enlightenment thinkers who influenced them ... A top-notch dual biography of two presidents who deserved better.
Nancy Isenberg and Andrew Burstein
MixedPublishers Weekly...a densely packed double-decker reassessment of the lives and political foresight of father-and-son presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams ... Isenberg and Burstein provide an acute evaluation of the Adamses’ intellectual development, and they have a knack for making prescient observations ... Analysis occasionally supersedes narrative, which can make this weighty analysis heavy lifting even for an interested reader.
PositiveKirkusGibler only presents one side, but he offers compelling testimony that there is no other side—that police attacked without provocation and the government did its best to cover up what it had perhaps authorized in the first place. The results seem beyond dispute ... Repetitive in detail but cumulatively very moving.
RavePublishers WeeklyGibler delivers a meticulous and affecting recreation of the events ... It’s a heartbreaking reconstruction of a horrific event, made all the more profound by the persistent demand from the parents of the disappeared, their classmates, and citizens across country for the safe return of the students.
PositiveKirkus... this is a work of advocacy journalism, one that dispenses with any pretense of objectivity in pursuit of a deeper truth. Even more provocatively, the author recognizes that in matters involving torture, the whole story may never be known. The experience transcends language and short-circuits memory, and it can’t be captured in the words of a cohesive narrative ... Gibler clearly believes his subject, but his inclusion of so many other perspectives suggests the difficulty of reporting on a subject so fraught with secrecy, where even crucial information from the man who is the subject of the book must be shielded to protect him ... The reasons why this book can’t tell the whole story—and how the stories it tells conflict—are fascinating tales in their own right.
PositivePublishers Weekly... a raw and stirring portrait ... Gibler’s fervent glimpse into Mexico’s underground succeeds in his goal to bring to light the struggles of the oppressed and traumatized people there.
S. A. Lelchuk
RavePublishers Weekly... terrific ... Lelchuk does a fine job weaving the intense foreground story with Nikki’s painful personal life ... This intelligent, action-packed thriller will resonate with readers as it touches on such themes as domestic violence, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the intrusive potential of advanced technologies like artificial intelligence. A credible plot and solid prose are pluses, but the book’s real appeal stems from its powerful, distinctive protagonist.
S. A. Lelchuk
RaveKirkusNikki’s fight scenes are satisfying, clever, and exciting (because Nikki is clever and exciting), and though it’s a crackling thriller, the book also tackles the aftermath of grief, and the scenes between Nikki and the sweet-natured, utterly lost Brandon are heartbreaking. On a lighter note, bookworms will love the references to classic novels, and Lelchuk winks at Nikki’s similarities to a certain well-known literary vigilante; a bookshop regular even calls her Lisbeth ... A timely and totally badass debut.
Ngugi Wa Thiong'o
RavePublishers Weekly... outstanding ... Thiong’o weaves together disparate stories of people attempting to deal with change in their lives, either chosen or forced upon them, showing his understanding of human nature, its frequent resistance to change, and its ability to surprise. This is a masterful collection.
Ngugi Wa Thiong'o
PositiveKirkusAgainst a backdrop of late British colonialism and the earliest years of independence for Kenya, Ngugi writes of characters whose dreams are too often crushed ... Though these stories lack the psychological depth of Ngugi’s later work, they point toward it as well as giving a valuable literary view of African lives in a pivotal, turbulent era ... Of great interest to Ngugi’s many readers as well as students of contemporary African literature and the literature of colonialism and post-colonialism.
MixedKirkus\"This gathering offers some of the Australian author’s familiar themes and writing that is eccentric, thought-provoking, and maddening ... There are undoubtedly serious intentions here, and certainly some metafictional fun, but the style is too often dreary, the point elusive, the effect irksome and disappointing.\
PositiveKirkus\"A moving memoir ... May also weaves into the narrative intriguing facts about the social lives and roles of honeybees, and she describes with affection the details of the process of producing honey and the role the beekeeper plays in the lives of bees. While her subject may be honeybees, they serve as a launching point for a tale of self-discovery and the natural world at large. A fascinating and hopeful book of family, bees, and how \'even when [children] are overwhelmed with despair, nature has special ways to keep them safe.\'\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"... a powerful account ... May’s chronicle of overcoming obstacles and forging ahead is moving and thoughtful.\
RaveKirkus\"Though [Tanen\'s] delightful sense of humor infuses the plot and dialogue with sparkle, the characters and their predicaments are not played for laughs, or not only for laughs—along with the farcical situations come moments of real emotion and insight ... As the characters weather tough times and deal with hurts old and new, love and humor light the way. Full of intelligence and charm.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"Tanen’s memorable wry humor... and sharp dialogue will leave readers fully invested the rebuilding of relationships despite years of distance, trauma, and pain. Tanen’s refreshing tale of a nontraditional family legacy will appeal to fans of tightly plotted dramas in the vein of Maggie Shipstead’s work.\
David Foster Wallace
PositivePublishers WeeklyWith its baroque subplots, zany political satire, morbid, cerebral humor and astonishing range of cultural references, Wallace\'s brilliant but somewhat bloated dirigible of a second novel will appeal to steadfast readers of Pynchon and Gaddis. But few others will have the stamina for it ... With its hilarious riffs on themes like addiction, 12-step programs, technology and waste management (in all its scatological implications), this tome is highly engrossing--in small doses. Yet the nebulous, resolutionless ending serves to underscore Wallace\'s underlying failure to find a suitable novelistic shape for his ingenious and often outrageously funny material.
David Foster Wallace
RaveKirkus... ambitious and frequently brilliant fictional exploration of the pursuit of pleasure and its ramifying consequences ... It\'s a raucous, Falstaffian, deadly serious vision of a cartwheeling culture in the self-pleasuring throes of self-destruction, marred only by its author\'s unaccountable fondness for farcical acronyms (also from Pynchon) and dumb jokes (not that there aren\'t dozens of good ones as well). Almost certainly the biggest and boldest novel we\'ll see this year and, flaws and all, probably one of the best.
RavePublishers WeeklyAttempting to put depression and its treatments in a cross-cultural context, [Solomon] draws effectively and skillfully on medical studies, historical and sociological literature, and anecdotal evidence ... Smart, empathetic and exhibiting a wide and resonant knowledge of the topic, Solomon has provided an enlightening and sobering window onto both the medical and imaginative worlds of depression.
PositiveKirkus... address with spectacular clarity the ways in which depression steals lives away, leaving its prey bereft of their very selves. Despite the occasional cliché and heavy metaphor, Solomon’s prose illuminates a dark topic through the unfolding tales of his sources and his own life story; by allowing the voices of those who battle depression to speak, rich and varied pictures of daily struggle, defeat, and triumph ultimately emerge. The author deserves kudos as well both for the geographical span of his account and for its historical sweep. Paradoxically, the completeness of Solomon’s vision undermines his readability: so much suffering fills these pages that, at times, it’s all a bit too much darkness. Nevertheless, the importance of the work becomes virtually self-evident when Solomon addresses such topics as the cultural denial of depression, masculine fears of seeking treatment, strengths and weaknesses of various treatments, the salutary effect of diet and exercise on depression, the high cost of treatment, and chronic depression among the elderly ... So good, so vitally important, but so . . . depressing.
PositiveKirkusIn a densely argued critique of religion and capitalism, philosopher Hägglund...tackles thorny questions of value, freedom, and responsibility ... An impassioned and erudite proposal for vast systemic changes.
Matt Farwell and Michael Ames
RaveKirkusThe authors present compelling, convincing evidence that addresses each specific controversial element ... Throughout this twisting saga, readers will also receive detailed portraits of Bergdahl’s parents, rural Idaho, pointless foreign incursions by the American government, and much more. An unsettling and riveting book filled with the mysteries of human nature.
Matt Farwell and Michael Ames
PositivePublishers WeeklyThe authors...humanize their subject ... The engrossing narrative intertwines Bergdahl’s odyssey with an effective critique of U.S. policy in Afghanistan under both Republican and Democratic administrations. Readers looking for a nontechnical history of America’s longest war and a nuanced look at Bergdahl’s story will find that here.
RaveKirkusAn entertaining, crisply written tale of a young man uncovering dangerous secrets takes place not on Los Angeles’ mean streets but among the luxurious estates of its old-money families ... a detective story of sorts; its big revelation isn’t that hard to predict, but getting there is enjoyable. Revoyr’s sleek prose and fast pacing move the reader through the sharply observed world of old money and the bad behavior it protects.
MixedPublishers Weekly...uneven ... Though the story never fully comes together and the reader may wish for more character development, Revoyr’s quick plot keeps the pages turning, making for a solid, if forgettable, novel.
Lena Andersson Trans. by Saskia Vogel
PositivePublishers Weekly... [an] exhaustive and engrossing anatomy of a romance ... The novel is as much about love as about two competing philosophies of language about love ... The affair, like the novel, has its numbing repetitions, and making readers inhabit this relationship purgatory is part of the point of Andersson’s involving analysis of love’s absurd syntax. This is a cogent, astute novel that will be appreciated by patient readers.
Lena Andersson Trans. by Saskia Vogel
MixedKirkusAndersson’s writing, crisply translated from the Swedish by Vogel, is wry and refreshingly unsentimental, but the drawback of a 300-plus page novel charting the minutiae of an underwhelming relationship in excruciating detail is that it is excruciating; the relationship has little going for it, and while this is all too realistic, Andersson’s sharp eye and quick wit cannot quite redeem the experience ... Sharp, if relentless.
RavePublishers WeeklyThree decades after bringing news of climate change to a broad audience with the book The End of Nature, environmental scholar McKibben once again examines the impact of global warming in unsettling look at the prospects for human survival ... Readers open to inconvenient and sobering truths will find much to digest in McKibben’s eloquently unsparing treatise.
MixedKirkusOffering ample evidence of the damage caused by climate change, the author feels certain that people around the world \'are not just highly concerned about global warming, but also willing to pay a price to solve it\' by seeing their energy bills rise, with the money spent on clean energy programs ... McKibben is less persuasive in his analyses of the threats of artificial intelligence and gene editing, mainly because he gleans his information from newspaper and popular magazine articles rather than peer-reviewed scientific studies that would give his assertions more weight ... A compelling call for change that would benefit from stronger sources.
RavePublishers Weekly... a thorough, admiring, and, most likely, definitive biography ... With vigorous, poetic detail, Asher reconstructs Algren’s formative experiences of poverty during the Depression and Army service during WWII, his burst of fame during the Cold War and subsequent struggles, and his twilight years as a mentor to writers such as Don DeLillo ... Along with examining important relationships in Algren’s life, Asher reads Algren’s work carefully and well ... relies on the primary material assembled by previous biographers, filling in the blanks with a nearly unredacted version of Algren’s FBI file. The result is a generous, stylish portrait of an impulsive, directionless outsider who nonetheless established a place among the lions of mid-20th century American literature.
PositiveKirkus... a thoroughly researched, empathetic look at the life of the irascible, controversial writer ... Although Asher tries mightily to counter that image, his findings often confirm them. Algren was certainly a hard drinker, thin-skinned, and sometimes paranoid ... [Asher] offers evenhanded readings of Algren’s works ... A brisk, well-documented homage.
PositiveKirkusSome sections about the intricacies of local and international politics—and long block quotations from others’ accounts of the slaughter—will require patience from readers, but the stories of the preludes to the violence, and of the horrors themselves, are simultaneously gripping and depressing. Murder, post-mortem brutality, the blood of children running in the streets, and xenophobia out of control: These and other aspects of the narrative will simultaneously propel readers through the pages and frequently disgust them ... The strengths of Herbert’s writing are patent throughout: his vast, comprehensive research; his often elegant phrases and sentences his empathy; and his determination to be accurate and fair.
RaveKirkusFrom veteran Knight...a deft, charming Southern coming-of-age novel—one that pays both attention and tribute to the legacy of the million-pound behemoth in that genre, To Kill a Mockingbird ... A quick-paced, sharp, cleverly designed book by a talented writer.
RavePublishers WeeklyKnight’s characters are memorable and nuanced—a credit to his sharp, skillful writing. This is a stunning novel with a hint of the supernatural that’s sure to delight readers.
PositiveKirkusHow golf explains life and reveals charater ... If Reilly was once a Trump favorite, he no longer will be, and it will be interesting to see if Trump responds to—or even acknowledges—this book ... This is a book about how Trump lies and cheats constantly, qualities that may come with the territory in his newfound field of politics but which the author believes have no place in the gentlemanly sport of golf ... Since Reilly takes golf more seriously than politics, making \'golf terrible again\' is the worst sin of all, but it’s one that explains so many others.
Alexander McCall Smith
PositiveThe Kirkus ReviewFans of the bestselling author’s long-running franchises won’t be surprised by the two most distinctive features of the gravely waggish department’s caseload: The mysteries seem both utterly inconsequential and quietly provocative, and they have long tails that continue to flop around even after they’re nominally solved.
Alexander McCall Smith
PositivePublishers WeeklyAs usual, the interpersonal relationships Smith so sensitively portrays and the ethical issues he raises matter far more than the sleuthing. Fans of gentle mysteries will look forward to the sequel.
Lina Wolff Trans. by Saskia Vogel
RavePublishers Weekly... galvanizing ... Wolff orchestrates her divergent plots into riveting harmony, but more striking is the audacity with which she reveals Max and Ruben’s reckless egoism ... Wolff’s novel proves the necessity of cultivating such a specialty. Firing on all cylinders from beginning to end, this story pulses with intellect and vitality unmatched by the literary barons it deposes.
Lina Wolff Trans. by Saskia Vogel
MixedThe Kirkus Review... a strange, disjointed book ... Whether any of this comes together in the end is anyone’s guess. Wolff’s prose is whip-smart and deliciously cynical about Max, Michel Houellebecq, and men like them—but you still have to spend a lot of time in their company ... Wolff’s book is smart, funny, and sad in turns, but the point it’s making—and it seems to be trying very hard to make a point—isn’t always in view.
RavePublishers Weekly...thought-provoking ... Doctorow...captures the mix of hope, fear, and uncertainty felt by those in precarious situations, set against the backdrop of intriguing futuristic landscapes. The characters are well wrought and complex, and the worldbuilding is careful. This is a fine introduction to Doctorow’s work, and his many fans will enjoy its exploration of favorite themes.
RaveKirkusAn astute study of how the political cauldron of the Middle East has generated fierce responses from the left ... In a series of linked, deftly delineated portraits, the author reveals fraught debate ... Besides presenting an unusually clear and informed history of the Arab-Israeli struggle, the author throws a glaring light on the perils of fanaticism and insularity. A significant contribution to contemporary political discourse.
RaveThe Kirkus Review... a superb analysis of the US government’s evident unwillingness to intervene in ethnic slaughter ... A well-reasoned argument for the moral necessity of halting genocide wherever it occurs, and an unpleasant reminder of our role in enabling it, however unwittingly.
RavePublishers Weekly... an uncompromising and disturbing examination of 20th-century acts of genocide and U.S responses to them ... clean, unadorned prose ... The emotional force of Power\'s argument is carried by moving, sometimes almost unbearable stories of the victims and survivors of such brutality ... a well-researched and powerful study that is both a history and a call to action.
PositiveThe New YorkerThough clearly imbued with a sense of outrage, Power is judicious in her portraits of those who opposed intervention, and keenly aware of the perils and costs of military action. Her indictment of U.S. policy is therefore all the more damning.
John W Dower
RavePublishers WeeklyThe writing of history doesn\'t get much better than this ... Dower manages to convey the full extent of both American self-righteousness and visionary idealism ... Dower demonstrates an impressive mastery of voluminous sources, both American and Japanese, and he deftly situates the political story within a rich cultural context. His digressions into Japanese culture--high and low, elite and popular--are revealing and extremely well written. The book is most remarkable, however, for the way Dower judiciously explores the complex moral and political issues raised by America\'s effort to rebuild and refashion a defeated adversary--and Japan\'s ambivalent response to that embrace.
John W Dower
PositiveKirkusDower has drawn effectively on Japanese academic, archival, and popular sources to capture the atmosphere of flux and uncertainty that followed surrender, including suicidal despair, gratitude toward generous GIs, black-market entrepreneurship, prostitution, and the unleashing of creative energy ... A turning point in Japanese history, illuminated through diligent research and piercing insight.
RavePublishers Weekly...taut ... Downing’s tale unfolds slowly and sinuously, building tension about the couples’ fate while revealing the origins of their homicidal hobby. The first-person, present-tense narration makes readers feel uncomfortably complicit in all that transpires, underscoring the plot’s grim and twisted nature. Readers will eagerly await Downing’s next thriller.
Herbert P. Bix
PositiveThe Kirkus Review... draws on an impressive array of fresh sources ... The author has intentionally made his subject complex to debunk “the myth of Japan as tightly unified and monolithic state.” Though the writing is glib, the result is a trying puzzle of multitudinous pieces that requires some fortitude on behalf of the reader. Bix’s research is thorough, but, as he points out, Hirohito left little documentation behind and his peers have been loath to write badly of him. The author, therefore, had to rely a great deal on reading between the lines. For example, Bix immediately comes to surmise that Hirohito’s abilities had been doubted when his teachers went out of their way to priase the emperor’s speaking abilities. He nestles his speculations firmly between facts, however, and in the end is very convincing ...
A deeply satisfying immersion into modern Japanese history that also serves to warn against facile approaches to the machinery of states.
Herbert P. Bix
RavePublishers WeeklyBix penetrates decades of \'public opacity\' to offer a stunning portrait of the controversial Japanese emperor ... Bix\'s command of primary sources is apparent throughout the book, especially in the voluminous endnotes. From these sources, the author draws a nuanced and balanced portrayal of an emperor who did not seek out war, but who demanded victories once war began and never took action to stop Japan\'s reckless descent into defeat. Bix makes Hirohito\'s later career intelligible by a careful exposition of the conflicting influences imposed on the emperor as a child ... Bix gives a meticulous account of his subject, delivers measured judgements about his accomplishments and failures, and reveals the subtlety of the emperor\'s character as a man who, while seemingly detached and remote, is in fact controlling events from behind the imperial screen. This is political biography at its most compelling.
Herbert P. Bix
PositiveThe New York Times... important and provocative ... In evaluating Bix\'s fascinating book it is well to keep three things in mind. First, studies of Hirohito\'s reign are still in their early stages. Second, as Bix himself points out, many key documents pertaining to the emperor -- his diaries, his personal correspondence and records of his conversations -- are still tightly held by the imperial household. Finally there are, and probably always will be, differing views of this era ... it is safe to say that while Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan\' is sure to stimulate discussion in the United States, its reception in Japan, once the book has been translated into Japanese, is bound to be far more explosive.
RaveKirkusA colorful, empowering guide to intelligent risk-taking ... Throughout, the author uses highly dense financial concepts and simplifies them into easy-to-grasp capsule analogies. The result is a tightly organized yet punchy volume that’s both engaging and educational. Like Freakonomics and similar works, this book breaks the mold of traditional starched-collar, data-dense economics journalism.
Sophie Hénaff, Trans. by Sam Gordon
MixedKirkusBest enjoyed by readers who’ll happily accept a low surprise quotient in return for needle-sharp portraits of professional infighting among France’s finest.
Sophie Hénaff, Trans. by Sam Gordon
PositivePublishers WeeklyThe twists and turns in the plot feel more like an actual police case than contrived story lines. Vignettes of each of the officers’ private lives highlight their oddities and make them more endearing ... Full of heart, wit, and lovable characters, Hénaff’s quirky procedural is a winner.
PositivePublishers Weekly...well-paced ... Kiernan skillfully handles the intersection of the cases. Frankie’s insights at crime scenes, her close relationships with squad members, and the vivid picture of Dublin lift this police procedural.
RaveKirkusThis chronicle of an Englishwoman’s life across the middle of the 20th century radiates love and suffering through a caring but incomplete marriage, war, and aching affection for other people’s children. In scenes lit by small yet plangent detail, Liardet’s U.S. debut offers a slow reveal of a story ... Liardet does a fine job of seeding the past into the present ... Lovely, unshowy prose...gives lyrical life to the countryside, the seasons, and to Ellen’s sensitivities during a long span of endurance and profound emotion. Intense passion is concealed behind a facade of British modesty in this understated yet blazing story of hearts wounded and restored.
PositivePublishers WeeklyReaders will be captivated by Ellen’s story, which is bolstered by a swift plot and characters who realistically and memorably grow.
MixedPublishers Weekly\"... thought-provoking ... The novel loses steam when Adam’s not the focus: much page space is devoted to a thread about an orphan boy, as well as Charlie’s thoughts and feelings about Miranda. Though the reader may wish for a tighter story, this is nonetheless an intriguing novel about humans, machines, and what constitutes a self.\
MixedKirkus\"McEwan... brings humor and considerable ethical rumination to a cautionary tale about artificial intelligence. But his human characters seem unfinished, his plot a bit ragged. And why the alternate 1982 England, other than to fire a few political shots about the Falklands, Thatcher, and Tony Benn? Does the title make sense as either clause or complete sentence? Are we meant to imagine the \'real\' author as a present-day Adam? McEwan is a gifted storyteller, but this one is as frustrating as it is intriguing.\
RaveKirkus... an impressive work ... O’Callaghan opens with some of the book’s most impressive writing, fistfuls of muscular prose that channels Seamus Heaney ... The prose settles down while remaining exceptional, elegiac and eloquent, in conveying insight and sympathy for the small cast’s two main players as they face an uncertain future ... O’Callaghan anatomizes these emotional and psychological odysseys, making a narrative light on incident compellingly readable.
MixedPublishers Weekly... stiff ... While the boardwalk setting \'at the end of the world\' before a large storm hits New York is vividly rendered, heightening the tension of what may be a final meeting, the thinness of the plot is frustrating, with Michael and Caitlin’s conversations coming across as rather maudlin. And while the story hinges on the assumed passion of their relationship, the two lovers are awkward and taciturn, and much of the dialogue is delivered in one-sided, long-winded monologues. O’Callaghan excels at painting a bleak portrait of physical and emotional isolation; unfortunately, the unsatisfying character development and weak plot fail to live up to the intriguing setup.
David R Dow
RaveThe Real Book Spy... a powerful, thought-provoking debut thriller that’s not to be missed ... Dow’s work with incarcerated individuals, and the experiences he must have gained from meeting those who’ve done real, hard time while actually innocent, is evident as he masterfully captures the tortured voice of a man whose freedom was ripped away by a failed system that hung him out to dry. Taking readers inside Rafael mindset, Dow projects his anguish and pain, prompting an emotional response from readers who, with every page, will find themselves holding their breath as he sets out to right wrongs in his own way, cheering him on as he goes ... The characters are well-developed, the pacing is fast, and the story is absolutely stunning. Confessions of an Innocent Man is a red-hot debut that falls somewhere between a work of psychological suspense and a legal thriller, and should attract fans of both.
David R Dow
RavePublishers Weekly... an impressive fiction debut ... The plot is a page-turner, and the addition of Dow’s knowledge of the legal machinery of death and his nuanced characterization of his lead elevate this above similarly themed legal thrillers.
David R Dow
MixedKirkusThe claustrophobic nature of prisons, the routine cruelty, the anonymous suffering, the decrepit conditions—they all come through in straightforward, well-written prose ... Dow knows his stuff. Authenticity is this novel’s strongest element, but the message can sometimes drown out the drama. Narrated by Zhettah in a quick, direct style, the novel feels like two books in one ... In this novel, justice is not just blind, it’s hamstrung, but the reader knows from the start that the scales will be balanced by the end ... A solidly suspenseful novel by an anti–death penalty activist that—despite some surprising detours—reads like a novel by an anti–death penalty activist.
RaveThe Real Book SpyDugoni has outdone himself here, serving up a double-barrelled blast of action mixed with espionage in what’s perhaps his most unputdownable thriller yet. While readers may initially feel bummed out that this isn’t the next book in his Tracy Crosswhite series, most will warm to Charles Jenkins within the first few pages. Nicely developed, Jenkins comes across as an everyday Joe, displaying plenty of relatable qualities readers can identify with. Without giving anything away, the Eighth Sister is also a fantastic character, as are the rest of the supporting cast, including those who end up playing the villainous role ... Treason, moles, and plenty of misdirection . . . Robert Dugoni’s The Eighth Sister is a high-stakes game between spies, and he doesn’t take his foot off the gas pedal for a second.
RavePublishers WeeklyDugoni delivers an exceptionally gripping spy thriller that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.
Rachel Howzell Hall
PositivePublishers Weekly... cleverly updated ... secrets emerge in tantalizing installments. When people start to die, Miriam turns sleuth. Hall slips from funny to darkly frightening with elegant ease.
Rachel Howzell Hall
MixedKirkusHall borrows Agatha Christie’s broad strokes but employs fresh twists to keep readers guessing. Sex, drugs, and racial tension heighten the drama and create an additional layer of conflict, but the characters feel more like collections of tics and tropes than flesh-and-blood beings, lessening the tale’s impact and robbing it of verisimilitude ... Hall offers a soapy, modern take on a Christie classic.
PositiveDear AuthorThe writing is wonderful ... [the flashbacks from Auschwitz] are told with spare economy and a lack of sentimentality or melodrama. The events are, themselves, enough to catch at your throat and mind. They need no additional embellishment to make them heartrending ... This is a book that I know won’t be for everyone. And I wouldn’t recommend it be tried if any of the trigger warnings apply. I also found that parts of the second half of the book felt a bit more choppy and not as easy and polished as the rest. But I am glad that I read it and feel that it will stick with me for a while.
PositivePublishers Weekly... an uplifting exploration of how people rise above tragedy to find joy ... Hillman’s novel is an impressive, riveting tale of how two disparate and well-drawn people recover from soul-wrenching grief and allow themselves to truly love again.
PositiveKirkusHillman crafts a compelling tale, toggling among Tom’s, Hannah’s, and Peter’s perspectives, as he delineates the stripping of each heart and draws together the ties that bind them together again ... A heart-wrenching tale of love enduring all things in the face of evil.
Maxim Osipov Trans. by Alex Fleming and Anne Marie Jackson
RaveKirkus... a marvelous collection of short stories in which not very much happens ... Osipov clearly carries the weight of Chekhov’s and Bulgakov’s influence not only in his mix of professions, but also in his sense of humor—which is, to say the least, deadpan. Like Chekhov, too, many of Osipov’s stories meander along without a clearly delineated plot or, in the end, a sense of resolution. He is clearly concerned with Russia’s place in the modern world. Several stories, including the one about the airport-hopping doctor, comment on the way that Americans, at least superficially, seem to be driven by rules and regulations, a need for order. Back home, all those things have a way of going to hell ... Remarkable stories, threaded through with a bleak humor, describe life in the provinces of a Russia attempting to contend with the modern world.
Maxim Osipov Trans. by Alex Fleming and Anne Marie Jackson
RavePublishers Weekly... [a] masterful and sublime collection ... showcases Osipov’s talent in creating subtle, sophisticated character portraits that carry a good dose of suspense.
PositiveKirkus...an impassioned debut memoir ... Recipes following each chapter show the range of Onwuachi’s talents. Grit and defiance infuse a revealing self-portrait.
RavePublishers WeeklyChef and former Top Chef contestant Onwuachi wonderfully chronicles the amazing arc of his life ... In the vein of Marcus Samuelsson’s Yes, Chef, this is a solid and inspiring memoir.
RavePublishers Weekly\"Lane... provides the definitive look at the federal government’s efforts to counter the threat posed by the KKK during Ulysses S. Grant’s presidency in this well-written and carefully researched account ... American history buffs won’t want to miss this one.\
PositiveKirkus\"Though the narrative is occasionally convoluted, Lane, in addition to providing a welcome biography of a somewhat forgotten figure, methodically pursues how \'the dilemmas of a permanent federal covert apparatus are with us still\' in the form of CIA and FBI \'excesses in the \"war on terror.\"\' ... A detail-laden, arduously researched chronicle that delineates an important early era of the Secret Service.\
RaveKirkusHandler\'s fierce, sensually vivid debut novel takes off from the life of a little-known but fascinating figure from 19th-century American history ... Lulu, who narrates most of the novel, is a compelling character, simultaneously intense and insecure ... Using this unique situation, Handler captures the ambivalence of female adolescence, where the newfound ability to captivate others exists in unsteady balance with the fear of loss of independence ... A thoroughly fresh historical novel that both captures the essence of its time and echoes challenges that still exist today.
PositivePublishers WeeklyCleeton will break hearts with this exquisitely wrought tale ... Cleeton’s twisting, intricate plot of love and revenge takes Beatriz to such locations as Harlem and London (where she faces off with a trained Cuban intelligence officer) and finally to a potentially deadly meeting with Castro in Cuba. Tiny glimpses of the present day are woven throughout the novel, giving readers hints of what became of two idealistic souls. This is a beautiful and utterly transporting novel.
RaveKirkusIt’s a complex narrative structure, but this allows Kiefer to constantly overlay past and present and to recognize, through John, the cycles in which his character, and in fact the country, remains trapped—cycles of racism, cycles of war, and cycles of young men who return home guilty of crimes, the full ramifications of which they couldn’t possibly understand. Yet for all this, the novel—certainly anti-war, certainly condemning our country’s dark past—is full of quavering beauty, unbreakable love, and fragile, relentless hope. \'Have you not been with me all the while?\' In the hands of a writer as skilled and gifted as Kiefer, the answer can only be yes, for sweet life spills from every perfect word ... It will break your heart, and in the breaking, fill you with bittersweet but luminous joy.
PositivePublishers WeeklyKiefer’s story sheds light on the prejudice violence ignites and on the Japanese-American experience during a fraught period of American history, and makes for engaging and memorable novel.
RaveKirkusThere is a Scheherazade-like structure to Isabelle’s tale, and the haunting beauty of the love story makes Ada and Hugh come alive as characters. As in many gothic stories, the moldering old house that represents family tragedy is a fitting, creepy backdrop to the mysteries of the past. Waldherr avoids cliché in her rich descriptions and hints of supernatural presence that never cross into melodrama. Additionally, while most gothic tales offer only darkness and tragedy, a surprising amount of light and joy imbues the ending here. Fitting, perhaps, for a novel that uses stained glass as a symbol for heavenly possibility, even in the face of death ... Waldherr writes that \'love stories are ghost stories in disguise.\' This one, happily, succeeds as both.
PanPublishers Weekly... lackluster ... All the back-and-forth in the story comes across as rather flat—Robert is fascinated by Hugh and Ada’s love story, as well as who Isabelle may or may not be, but Waldherr can’t quite land it. Fans of Victorian mysteries should look elsewhere for their fix.
PositiveThe EconomistThere have been other books about Hall, but with her thriller-writer’s style and copious new research, Ms Purnell has written a fitting and moving tribute to an amazing woman.
PositivePublishers WeeklyPurnell vividly resurrects an underappreciated hero and delivers an enthralling story of wartime intrigue ... Though the broader contours of Hall’s story will be familiar to those who’ve read about wartime France, Purnell does a fine job of bringing Hall’s story to life. Fans of WWII history and women’s history will be riveted.
PositiveKirkusA remarkable chronicle of a courageous woman ... Meticulous research results in a significant biography of a trailblazer who now has a CIA building named after her.
RavePublishers Weekly...wonderfully moving ... Fredericks has a sharp eye for the complexities of human nature and how even good people are capable of committing terrible deeds to protect the ones they love. This is a touching portrait of early-20th-century New York in all its glory and ugliness.
MixedKirkusFredericks...has obviously done her research about the period but sometimes seems to create scenes just to prove this. Otherwise, the plot moves along at a dull but leisurely pace to its unsurprising conclusion ... Fredericks\' heroine has an acerbic wit that occasionally flashes, but it’s hard to sustain interest in this effort stocked with mainly stock characters.
MixedKirkus\"An interesting conceit—occasionally bogged down by nonspecifically brooding characters—ramps up to an anticlimax that will test readers’ commitment to Fleishman’s... world.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"... convincing ... The motive for the killings won’t surprise many readers, but Fleishman’s ability to get into the minds of Dylan and Carver, who has some skeletons in his past, enhances this fresh take on a familiar genre trope.\
PositiveThe Real Book SpyIn a lot of ways, Frieswic’s novel can be broken down into two distinguishable parts. The first half, which sets up the story and introduces the characters and conflict, is engaging and mysterious enough to such readers in ... Frieswic shows off a number of incredibly well-researched plot threads ... the pacing is a bit slow here and there, and there will be those who don’t approve of the story’s direction. Without spoiling anything, there are major twists and turns that, while they do provide shock value, won’t make some readers happy ... an entertaining thriller.
PositivePublishers Weekly...meticulously researched ... The settings...are filled with well-placed details, while the character development, particularly of Carys, a damaged woman who prefers manuscripts to people, keeps the story moving, though a major coincidence late in the book that brings Carys back to Massachusetts strains plausibility. Still, fans of paranormal thrillers will be satisfied.
Jeffrey S Cramer
PositiveKirkus\"Editor of many works by Emerson and Thoreau and curator of collections at the Walden Woods Project’s Thoreau Institute, Cramer brings both authority and sensitivity to his biographical overview and to a judicious selection of excerpts from the men’s prolific writings ... A deeply sympathetic dual biography.\
Jeffrey S Cramer
PositivePublishers Weekly\"Cramer... intelligently examines the bond between two famous authors in an admirable volume that mixes biography with selections of their writing ... The 19th-century language is not always easy to parse, but the words offer inquisitive readers encouragement to refresh their acquaintance with Emerson and Thoreau through this \'new view of an old story.\'\
PositivePublishers Weekly...an emotionally luscious, freestanding novel about generations of mothers and daughters navigating grief and the satisfaction of self-discovery ... Moyes moves back and forth though the timeline to tell Suzanne and Vivi’s stories with profound sympathy. Though this is not a romance novel like Moyes’s previous works, it maintains their legacy of diving into the emotions of desire and connection.
PositiveKirkusMoyes excels at creating quirky characters and sweeping stories, but her latest lacks the sense of humor and epic love story that made her hit Me Before You (2012) such a success ... frequent point-of-view shifts are distracting and make it more difficult to focus on her journey. Still, there are quite a few tear-jerking scenes and lovable characters that should make Moyes fans happy.
Erin Lee Carr
PositiveKirkus\"Carr is relentless in describing the chemical failings that the world revealed to her, especially in reliance on alcohol, which she’s quit. She’s also very good in distilling the lessons her father taught her without being sentimental ... A moving and unflinching paean to a man who died at the top of his game...\
Erin Lee Carr
RavePublishers Weekly\"Erin writes honestly about her relationship with her father... as she delivers a clear-eyed view into multigenerational substance abuse and simultaneously celebrates the redemption of a father’s love. Readers can’t help but get caught up in Erin’s tragic and ultimately transformative story.\
RaveKirkus\"As usual, this profoundly unpretentious writer employs lucid, no-frills prose to cogently convey complicated emotions and fraught family interactions. The novel makes no claims for Henry or his kin as exceptional people but instead celebrates the fullness and uniqueness of each ordinary human being. Astute and tender, rich in lovely images and revealing details—another wonderful piece of work from the immensely gifted O’Nan.\
PositiveKirkus\"A maddening book full of what-ifs and the haunting suspicion that if treated as a political problem and not as a matter of life and death, climate change will cook everyone’s geese.\
PositiveBarnes & Noble Review\"... shimmering ... Rich draws [a picture of the greenhouse effect] with verve ... Rich delivers [the collective] failure of imagination [to find solutions to climate change] and political will with a sharp stick.\
PositiveNew York Journal of Books\"We take pedestrian objects for granted; but for Skaja, mundane landscapes mean so much more ... Skaja knows exactly how to engage nature, readers, and life. Her diverse poetics prove her broad range of skills. She takes risks. Her poems range from narrative to free verse, several of which use free association to encapsulate metaphors. All poems in Brute flow with precision and ease.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"Skaja’s ability to hold contrasting feelings in relation yields the tenderness and triumph of this book.\
Robert A. Caro
RaveKirkusIn sparkling prose, Caro...recounts his path from growing up sheltered in New York City to studying at Princeton, Harvard, and Columbia to unexpectedly becoming a newspaper reporter ... Throughout the book, the author shares fascinating insights into his research process in archives ... Caro also offers numerous memorable anecdotes ... Caro’s skill as a biographer, master of compelling prose, appealing self-deprecation, and overall generous spirit shine through on every page.
Robert A. Caro
RavePublishers WeeklyIn this superb collection of original and previously published pieces, Pulitzer winner Caro (The Passage of Power) offers a glimpse into the process behind his epic biographies of Robert Moses and Lyndon Johnson. Writing with customary humor, grace, and vigor, Caro wryly acknowledges the question of \'Why does it take so long\' to produce each book ... this lively combination of memoir and non-fiction writing will help sate their appetite for new writing from Caro until the arrival of his final, still-in-progress Johnson biography.
Robert A. Caro
PositiveThe Economist\"In the course of explaining his reporting and writing process—which involves many longhand drafts and a typewriter—he also charts his own extraordinary life ... The most delicious parts of Working are behind-the-scenes snippets from interviews he conducted with associates of the president ... Fellow journalists will delight in [Caro\'s] intrepid shoe-leather escapades.\
RavePublishers WeeklyIn her exceptional debut, Hammad taps into the satisfying slow-burn style of classic literature with a storyline that captures both the heart and the mind ... Richly textured prose drives the novel’s spellbinding themes of the ebb and flow of cultural connections and people who struggle with love, familial responsibilities, and personal identity. This is an immensely rewarding novel that readers will sink into and savor.
RaveKirkusAn assured debut novel ... Hammad sometimes drifts into the didactic in outlining an exceedingly complex history, but she does so with a poet’s eye for detail ... Closely observed and elegantly written: an overstuffed story that embraces decades and a large cast of characters without longueurs.
PositiveKirkusIn this potent, focused history, Dobbs tells the alternately heart-wrenching and uplifting story of the Kippenheim Jews who entered the tangle of bureaucracy involved in the efforts to obtain visas and flee Germany ... In his thorough research, the author discovered many instances of those who bent the rules to help—e.g., tireless organizations like the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Rescue Board as well as many brave individuals—and he generously shares those stories with readers in the hopes that we will never forget what happened to the thousands of \'unwanted\' refugees who fled the Nazi killing machine ... A welcome addition to Holocaust literature that remains relevant to our current isolationist times.
RaveKirkusGrim, riveting ... In the midst of disaster, Egan finds heroes ... Stark and powerful, a gripping if depressing read and a timely reminder that a Nature abused can exact a terrible retribution.
RavePublishers WeeklyEgan tells an extraordinary tale in this visceral account ... the plains weren\'t suited to farming, and plowing up the grass to plant wheat, along with a confluence of economic disaster resulted in an ecological and human catastrophe that Egan details with stunning specificity. He grounds his tale in portraits of the people who settled the plains ... Egan\'s interviews with survivors produce tales of courage and suffering ... With characters who seem to have sprung from a novel by Sinclair Lewis or Steinbeck, and Egan\'s powerful writing, this account will long remain in readers\' minds.
PositiveThe GuardianThroughout his book, Egan focuses on the land and the people, providing photographs and just enough statistics such that the reader can understand the devastation that they endured ... Egan provides plenty to think about in his passionate but reasoned account of the Dust Bowl days. I highly recommend this fascinating but sad tale about the greatest environmental disaster in the history of the United States, and hope that it will serve as a stern warning about the very real consequences of human ignorance, greed and hubris.
RavePublishers Weekly... fantastic ... Paul’s idealistic, often hyperbolized perspective pairs wonderfully with the observations of the more pragmatic but no less faithful Luke. Parini has produced a stellar novel that humanizes the Christian message and its messengers.
PositiveKirkusParini enlivens a narrative familiar to many with fine scenes and writerly touches ... He captures the larger politico-religious picture, with Paul as the constant stone in the sandal of Jewish, Christian, and Roman leaders alike ... Parini also offers a suggestion of Paul’s homosexuality that is plausible but of questionable relevance. The bigger question is whether all this adds up to a novel—perhaps a holy picaresque ... Parini also offers a suggestion of Paul’s homosexuality that is plausible but of questionable relevance. The bigger question is whether all this adds up to a novel—perhaps a holy picaresque.
RaveKirkus... it’s clear that [Brinkley] mastered a great deal of the facts and lore surrounding the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo projects that landed American astronauts on the moon 50 years ago.A highly engaging history not just for space-race enthusiasts, but also students of Cold War politics.
PositiveKirkusIn this fun, gossipy, and beguiling memoir, Reichl offers revealing glimpses of her parents, both introduced in earlier books, but the focus is on the heady process of \'magazine making,\' which meant turning an old-fashioned book into a modern, edgy monthly ... she provides vivid snapshots of Condé Nast honchos ... An absolutely delightful reading experience.
PositivePublishers Weekly...[an] endearing memoir ... Gourmet magazine readers will relish the behind-the-scenes peek at the workings of the magazine ... Reichl’s revealing memoir is a deeply personal look at a food world on the brink of change.
PositivePublishers WeeklyBoggs...brings characters to unexpected rapport in her droll yet genuine unpacking of contemporary for-profit education and culture wars ... Readers will find this witty, nuanced work both satisfying and resonant.
PositiveKirkusBoggs bombards her heroine with difficulties—artistic, ethical, romantic, meteorological—at an antic pace, and the book has slapstick charm. But the heart of this novel is its cast ... A smart, slightly kooky exploration of art and money, faith and politics.
Pajtim Statovci, Trans. by David Hackston
RaveKirkus... beguiling ... A centrifugal story told with great sensitivity and empathy, highlighting Statovci’s development as a leading voice in modern European literature.
Pajtim Statovci, Trans. by David Hackston
PositivePublishers Weekly...disorienting but affecting ... [a] shocking conclusion ... The matter-of-fact depiction of numerous traumas intensifies the impact. Statovci memorably portrays the struggles and dislocations of his complicated characters.
PositiveKirkusThe author’s epiphanies are somewhat esoteric, and there is no one moment where he declares victory over sadness ... Perhaps as a result of his musical background, his prose also delivers staccato, declarative lines ... While the prose is economical, it can feel terse until the rhythm settles in. Overall, observing Mallman fighting grief feels like watching a fishing bobber battling a strong current. Still, this book should offer solace to anyone grappling with a similar situation ... Readers struggling with depression will likely find comfort and solidarity in this account.
RaveKirkus... unlike many biographies that consider Hamilton only in Washington’s shadow, this one grants him a life of his own—and a stirring one at that, for Hamilton was both intensely cerebral and a man of action ... Literate and full of engaging historical asides. By far the best of the many lives of Hamilton now in print, and a model of the biographer’s art.
RavePublishers WeeklyChernow\'s achievement is to give us a biography commensurate with Hamilton\'s character, as well as the full, complex context of his unflaggingly active life ... Chernow makes fresh contributions to Hamiltoniana: no one has discovered so much about Hamilton\'s illegitimate origins and harrowed youth; few have been so taken by Hamilton\'s long-suffering, loving wife, Eliza. Yet it\'s hard not to cringe at some of Hamilton\'s hotheaded words and behavior, especially sacrificing the well-being of his family on the altar of misplaced honor. This is a fine work that captures Hamilton\'s life with judiciousness and verve.
RaveKirkus... a vivid, admirably nuanced, and wide-ranging history of the city that became ground zero in the Civil Rights struggle ... A dense, detailed, and insightful history.
PositivePublishers Weekly... a dexterous blend of love, loss, work, and fortitude ... This is a thoughtful, appealing novel about life’s endings and beginnings.
PositiveNPR... paints a portrait of, perhaps, one of the most underappreciated, least understood figures of the last century — one who vitally shaped two presidencies ... Page traces Bush\'s lineage back decades to before she was even born. While that may seem tedious at times, it makes sense to look at the forces that shaped Barbara Pierce before she even met a young George Herbert Walker.
PositivePublishers Weekly... warmhearted ... There’s little drama in Bush’s story apart from tension between her and Nancy Reagan, and the author’s assessment of her as indispensable to her husband’s political rise feels overstated. But Bush admirers will enjoy Page’s vivid depiction of her as an appealing, down-to-earth, sharp-tongued figure who held her own in a man’s world.
PositiveKirkus... deeply admiring ... A mostly sweet biography with occasional small drops of none-too-bitter acid.
PositiveKirkus\"A delightful celebration of a consuming passion.\
RavePublishers Weekly\"... an entertaining, erudite, and altogether delightful journey fueled by the love of language ... For those who have long followed the Comma Queen, her latest outing will not disappoint.\
RaveKirkus\"Packer’s repetitive structure—a chapter on Tammy followed by one on Tampa followed by other pieces—hammers home the point that all is not well in America and not likely to get better soon ... Exemplary journalism that defines a sobering, even depressing matter. A foundational document in the literature of the end of America—the end, that is, for the moment.\
RavePublishers Weekly\"Brief biographies of seminal figures that shaped the current state of affairs offer the book’s fiercest prose ... Packer has a keen eye for the big story in the small moment, writing about our fraying social fabric with talent that matches his dismay.\
MixedPublishers WeeklyChernow makes familiar scenes fresh (like the crossing of the Delaware) and expertly brings the provisional revolutionary and early Republican eras to life ... while he never hides Washington\'s less than saintly moments or shirks the vexed question of slavery, he often seems to ignore the data he\'s collected. Examples of shady dealing are quickly followed by tales of Washington\'s unimpeachable ethics or impeccable political savvy. At times it feels as if Chernow, for all his careful research and talent for synthesis, is in the grip of a full-scale crush. The result is a good book that would have been great if better edited, and if Chernow had trusted that Washington\'s many merits, even when accompanied by his faults, would speak for themselves.
PositiveKirkus[Brooks] draws from neuroscience and psychology to support his hypotheses and rarely indulges in the sort of finger-pointing that proceeds from who-started-it accusations ... it will be fascinating to see whether a book like this has any influence. Hardly groundbreaking but a straightforward and practical guide back toward human decency.
RavePublishers WeeklyApplebaum details camp life, including strategies for survival; the experiences of women and children in the camps; sexual relationships and marriages between prisoners; and rebellions, strikes and escapes. There is almost too much dark irony to bear in this tragic, gripping account. Applebaum\'s lucid prose and painstaking consideration of the competing theories about aspects of camp life and policy are always compelling. She includes an appendix in which she discusses the various ways of calculating how many died in the camps, and throughout the book she thoughtfully reflects on why the gulag does not loom as large in the Western imagination as, for instance, the Holocaust.
RaveKirkusA searing, engrossing history ... Extraordinary in its range and lucidity: a most welcome companion to Bernard-Henri Levi’s Barbarism With a Human Face, Robert Conquest’s The Great Terror, and, of course, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago.
Mariana Dimópulos, Trans. by Alice Whitmore
PositiveKirkusWhen...illusory wholeness is stripped away...the narrator begins to weave together the disparate threads of her many identities into a slim, contradictory, thorny assemblage of memories, impressions, and thoughts that do not define her life so much as observe it, scientifically, as if from a great distance. A marvelously interior novel, unique in its perceptions, that traffics both in the joy of invention and the sorrow of memory.
Mariana Dimópulos, Trans. by Alice Whitmore
PanPublishers WeeklyArgentina’s Dimópulos debuts in English with this impressionistic account of a young woman’s \'pilgrim years\' of itinerancy ... Dimópulos boldly abandons chronology in this novel, offering instead brief, interweaving glimpses of her narrator’s relationships to create a fascinating kaleidoscope of regret.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThough the book examines familiar figures such as 18th-century Shaker Ann Lee, many of these messiahs will be new to a general audience. Morris’s research is extensive, and his reconstruction of his subjects’ complex personal histories is impressive. Readers hoping for salacious tales will find a few of those too, though in the main these leaders were troubled by the physiology of the brain, the difficulties of running communities, and the aspirations of underlings who might contest their claims to divinity. Morris’s work is a fine examination of a series of Americans whose lives and missions shed light on the dominant institutions and values they sought to subvert.
MixedKirkusMorris is at his best when he discusses the man who arguably embodied these tenets more than anyone else: Father Divine ... Unfortunately, the rest of the chapters are somewhat dry, scholarly, and jargon-laden. Moreover, the brevity of many of the chapters impedes the narrative flow, and the brief epilogue would benefit from more information on post-Jonestown cults (David Koresh and the Branch Davidians receive only one paragraph). Ultimately, the book should serve as a useful reference for students of messianic movements and the history of American religion in general, but nonscholarly readers may lose interest at some point in the narrative ... An informative and occasionally enlightening survey of American messianic movements, but it will likely have limited appeal among general readers.
PositiveThe New YorkerElkins, working in archives and travelling throughout Kenya, has undertaken an extraordinary act of historical recovery ... With the moral fervor (and, occasionally, the overreachings) of a prosecutor, Elkins provides potent evidence of how a society warped by racism can descend into an almost casual inhumanity.
RavePublishers WeeklyA profoundly chilling portrait of the inherent racism and violence of \'colonial logic,\' Elkins\'s ... superbly written and impassioned book deserves the widest possible readership.
PositiveKirkusA careful investigation of Kenya’s Mau Mau uprising and the manifold crimes by the British colonial government in attempting to suppress it ... Sure to touch off scholarly debate and renew interest in recent, deliberately forgotten history.
PositiveBooklistChandra [is] brilliant, cutting, hilarious, and clueless ... With humor and emotional agility, Balasubramanyam writes a feel-good story that leaves room for feeling bad.
PositivePublishers WeeklyBalasubramanyam demonstrates with insight and a dash of humor that it’s possible to turn one’s life around after everything goes wrong ... Chandra is genuinely transformed—though perhaps a bit too easily. Balasubramanyam makes a winning case for how meditation, restraint, self-reflection and owning one’s character flaws can bring joy and satisfaction to life.
PositiveKirkusRecovering fuddy-duddy Chandra is a droll creation, and his journey of self-realization feels like the real thing.
PositivePublishers Weekly...[a] wonderful study ... Switek concludes by musing on how he might himself be fossilized. This mix of fact and ethical considerations offers much for science enthusiasts to ponder.
PositiveKirkusIf the Dickensian emphasis is a touch overdone, the point remains ... Allowing that the documentary record is incomplete—the case files on three of the five murders have gone missing—Rubenhold urges us to see the victims...not as the \'fallen women\' of the received record. A lively if morbid exercise in Victorian social history essential to students of Ripperiana.
MixedPublishers Weekly...the book begins as a loving naturalist’s ode to the beech tree and branches out to touch a dizzying array of international, transhistorical topics, not least among them what it means to be alive. Fans of Wright will find what they’re looking for in this collection ... But the writing itself sometimes feels unfinished, lacking some of the sharpness that made Wright such an astute observer of other lives and of our world. The result is a kind of traveler’s diary—with all the imperfection that term affords—one anchored by a deep, abiding respect for what Wright termed \'beech-consciousness.\'
RavePublishers WeeklyA fascinating and deeply personal look at the lives of six defectors from the repressive totalitarian regime of the Republic of North Korea ... Thorough interviews recall the tremendous difficulty of daily life under the regime, as these six characters reveal the emotional and cultural turmoil that finally caused each to make the dangerous choice to leave. As Demick weaves their stories together with the hidden history of the country\'s descent into chaos, she skillfully re-creates these captivating and moving personal journeys.
PositiveKirkusA detailed, grim portrait of daily life under the repressive North Korean dictatorship ... Demick shows the state of mind of each of her subjects, what their daily life was like, how they coped and eventually how each escaped ... Meticulous reporting reveals life in a country that tries hard to keep its citizens walled in and the rest of the world out.
RavePublishers WeeklyIn the second volume of his essential history of Nazi Germany and the Jews, one of the great historians of the Holocaust provides a rich, vivid depiction of Jewish life from France to Ukraine, Greece to Norway, in its most tragic period ... This is a masterful synthesis that draws on a lifetime of learning and research.
Henry Louis Gates
PositiveKirkusGates suggests that it’s possible to consider the entire history of America after the Civil War as \'a long Reconstruction locked in combat with an equally long Redemption,\' one that’s playing out even today ... A provocative, lucid, and urgent contribution to the study of race in America.
Henry Louis Gates
RavePublishers Weekly\"... an expansive exploration of Reconstruction, Redemption (white southerners’ attempts to reinstate a white supremacist system), and Jim Crow ... Gates outlines the ideals and accomplishments of black thinkers including W.E.B. Du Bois, George Washington Williams, Frederick Douglass, and Booker T. Washington, and he insightfully demonstrates how history repeats itself by comparing the emergence of Jim Crow with the rise in white supremacism surrounding Barack Obama’s presidency. This excellent text, augmented by a disturbing collection of late-19th- and early-20th-century racist images, is indispensable for understanding American history. \
Henry Louis Gates
RaveBooklist\"Accompanying Gates’ illuminating narrative are bold \'visual essays\' ... Gates also incisively chronicles the \'New Negro\' movement aimed at countering pernicious racist stereotypes, how the Black elite engendered both an artistic renaissance and class divides within the Black community, and the rise of such crucial organizations as the NAACP ... fresh, much-needed inquiry...\
PositiveKirkusThe pendulum has since swung toward decriminalization and legalization, making much of what is recounted here seem like reefer madness in retrospect ... Not as engaging as the author’s bio of Andre the Giant, but his uncluttered drawings suit his straightforward argument.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThis illuminating work by Brown (Is This Guy for Real?) examines the history of the outlawing of marijuana in the U.S. and finds the drug’s restriction is based on racism and falsehoods ... Brown’s black-and-white cartoons are simple rather than realistic, but known figures like Nixon are readily identifiable, and each character is distinguished from the next by variations in facial features ... reminiscent of early comic strips ... This useful work will inform anyone curious about cannabis’s history in America.
PositivePublishers WeeklyBarry’s signature sarcasm and dry wit is on display throughout ... Though he admits that the premise is hardly original, Barry’s easy, conversational tone and sense of humor make for an effortless reading experience for dog lovers and Barry fans alike.
PositiveKirkus...filled with the author’s signature brand of quirky, sometimes-sarcastic humor as he wanders from topic to topic ... His integration of informative tidbits about his life helps readers see him as an average guy confronting his own mortality. Few topics are off-limits ... Even for those who are not as enamored by dogs as the author, his gentle wisdom seeps through the humor. He successfully pokes fun at the aging process without wallowing in overly long discussions of declining health and the wear and tear of body parts ... Astute advice about growing older rolled into a blanket of classic Barry humor.
PositivePublishers WeeklyA series of upbeat, sentimental fables ... Russell has powers of description and mimicry reminiscent of Jonathan Safron Foer...and her macabre fantasies structurally evoke great Southern writers like Flannery O\'Connor. If, at 24, Russell hasn\'t quite found a theme beyond growing up is hard to do (especially if you\'re a wolf girl), her assorted siblings are rendered with winning flair as they gambol, perilously and charmingly, toward adulthood.
PositiveKirkusThe use of an old written language for secret communications by the resistance is a compelling element ... The authors play with formulaic elements to freshen the story. Skin color is rarely mentioned, and the book seemingly defaults to white despite the presence of black people in early modern France ... A fast-paced, immersive, and imaginative romp.
Douglas A. Blackmon
RavePublishers Weekly... a groundbreaking and disturbing account of a sordid chapter in American history ... Blackmon\'s book reveals in devastating detail the legal and commercial forces that created this neoslavery along with deeply moving and totally appalling personal testimonies of survivors. \'Every incident in this book is true,\' he writes; one wishes it were not so.
RavePublishers WeeklyThe multiple narrators and seemingly unrelated plot lines converge thematically into an intensely powerful and multifaceted meditation on time, history, change, and memory, leavened with a welcome touch of humor. The characters are distinct and lovable, each shedding light on a different facet of the Fleet. Chambers uses the interconnections inevitable in such a small society to provide moments of both horrific pain and soaring grace, and to make it clear that those things are inextricably intermingled. This is a superb work from one of the genre’s rising stars.
MixedKirkus\"A sentimental but precisely rendered account of the life of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain by one of his first music industry backers ... Some will note the author’s continued loyalty to the perspective of Love, a controversial figure for many Nirvana fans; still, Goldberg comes off as likable, a successful insider still befuddled by Cobain’s demons. An intimate perspective on Cobain’s short life, told in the spirit of burnishing a friend’s legacy.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"In this loving remembrance of the troubled Nirvana songwriter and frontman, the band’s former manager explores Cobain’s creative genius and personality ... This is a worthy addition to the growing canon of books on Cobain.\
RavePublishers WeeklyDalton’s splashy, stellar debut makes the typical coming-of-age novel look bland by comparison ... In less adept hands, these antics might descend into whimsy, but Dalton’s broadly observant eye, ability to temper pathos with humor, and thorough understanding of the mechanics of plot prevent the novel from breaking into sparkling pieces ... This is an outstanding debut.
PositiveKirkusBoy Swallows Universe feels like a case of reach exceeding grasp. But it has the virtue of an earnest and bright narrator ... Dalton’s novel is a kind of picaresque, built around comic scenes amid the grim setting ... But the magical elements promised in the novel’s early pages, mostly via August’s non sequiturs, either get abandoned or turn out to be relatively pedantic matters of interpretation ... A likable debut that trades its early high-flown ambitions for dramatic but familiar coming-of-age fare.
RavePublishers Weekly...[a] glittering debut ... The murder mystery is intricate and well-crafted, but the highlight is the relationship between the two brothers ... This is a heartbreaking novel about the lengths to which people go to escape their own pain, and the prices people are willing to pay to alleviate the suffering of their loved ones.
PositiveKirkus...[a] poised, graceful literary debut ... An absorbing tale imparted with tenderness and compassion.
RaveKirkusA vivacious portrait of a therapist from both sides of the couch ... With great empathy and compassion, psychotherapist and Atlantic columnist and contributing editor Gottlieb...chronicles the many problems facing the \'struggling humans\' in her stable of therapy patients ... In addition to its smooth, conversational tone and frank honesty, the book is also entertainingly voyeuristic, as readers get to eavesdrop on Gottlieb’s therapy sessions with intriguing patients in all states of distress ... Throughout, the author puts a very human face on the delicate yet intensive process of psychotherapy while baring her own demons ... an irresistibly addictive tour of the human condition.
RaveBookreporterWith startling wisdom and humor, Gottlieb invites us into her world as both clinician and patient, examining the truths and fictions we tell ourselves and others ... Maybe You Should Talk To Someone is revolutionary in its candor, offering a deeply personal yet universal tour of our hearts and minds and providing the rarest of gifts: a boldly revealing portrait of what it means to be human, and a disarmingly funny and illuminating account of our own mysterious lives and our power to transform them.
RavePublishers WeeklyIn Winspear’s capable hands, Maisie has evolved into a deeply sympathetic character. Readers will eagerly await her next outing.
PositiveKirkusWinspear advances Maisie’s inspiring activities, highlights the bravery of an embattled people during the Second World War, and intimates that lessons from that period have yet to be learned.
RaveKirkusDamrosch offers incisive portraits of individual members, highlighting their relationships and interactions with one another to reveal \'the teeming, noisy, contradictory, and often violent world\' they inhabited ... besides illuminating the salient issues of the day, Damrosch characterizes with sharp insight his many protagonists ... Although Damrosch emphasizes the men and their works, he does not neglect the women in their lives ... Late-18th-century Britain comes brilliantly alive in a vibrant intellectual history.
RavePublishers Weekly... delightfully captures the bonds of friendship and competition which joined some of the late 18th century’s greatest minds ... Damrosch doesn’t provide a fly-on-the-wall account of the Club’s meetings but rather crisp, colorful portraits of its members, illuminated by quotes from their lively, sometimes contentious interactions with each other ... This effervescent history shines a light on the extraordinary origins of a club which still exists to this day.
PositiveKirkusLandvik uses wisdom and her trademark humor to encourage readers to have a thoughtful response to the world and the people with whom they share it. A pleasure to read.
PositivePublishers WeeklyReich infuses his narrative with numerous plot threads that seem separate but end up satisfyingly intersecting for a suspenseful ending. Readers will want to see a lot more of Riske.
PositiveKirkusMonaco, fast cars, rich women, bad Bosnians—what more is there?
RaveKirkusWright exposes the church’s many sins: covert espionage, psychological torment, threatened blackmail using confidential information from auditing sessions and constant physical assaults on members by tyrannical current leader David Miscavage. The author is also interested in something deeper: If it\'s all a con, why is everyone involved (especially the late Hubbard) so deeply invested in its beliefs? Wright doesn\'t go out of his way to exaggerate the excesses of Scientology; each page delivers startling facts that need no elaboration ... A patient, wholly compelling investigation into a paranoid \'religion\' and the faithful held in its sweaty grip.
MixedPublisher\'s Weeklyoffers—in persuasive, albeit sometimes mind-numbing, detail—an eye-opening short biography of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and a long-form journalism presentation of the creature Hubbard birthed: a self-help system complete with bizarre cosmology, celebrity sex appeal, lawyers, consistent allegations of physical abuse, and expensive answers for spiritual consumers. Wright capably sows his thorough reportage into ground broken by Janet Reitman (Inside Scientology, 2011). He poses larger questions about the nature of belief, but can only lay groundwork because he has to fight to establish facts, given the secrecy and controversy surrounding Scientology, and his eyewitnesses are necessarily disenchanted and therefore adversarial. While Wright’s brave reporting offers an essential reality test, an analysis of why this sci-fi and faith brew quenches a quasi-religious thirst in its followers is still needed.
PositiveKirkusA nuanced look at the human cost of immigration policy ... Rivero offers a portrait of the immigrant experience that will undoubtedly ring true to many, but she also writes with great specificity ... Ana is a very well-crafted protagonist, sympathetic but not perfect. Her situation is circumscribed, but Rivero gives her considerable agency ... Thoughtful and eye-opening, this is an admirable debut.
RaveKirkus\"The collage of impressions and reactions creates a holistic portrait that also allows Samantha and more secondary characters, like Lillian’s high school boyfriend, to reveal their own complexities. Lillian herself—selfishly single-minded in her artistic drive but genuinely protective of her child and often desperately lonely—is both larger than life and thoroughly human. A riveting portrait of an artist who happens to be a woman.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"... Goldberg’s novel highlights the ways in which things have and have not changed for women artists. The book’s combination of voices (composed largely of the adult Samantha’s photographic descriptions and contextual narratives, excerpts from Lillian’s journals, and letters between Lillian and friends) serves to construct, appropriately, a curated version of Lillian. This is a memorable portrait of one artist’s life.\
PositiveKirkus\"Although the legal denouement is frustratingly opaque and leaves behind many unanswered questions, Bowden expertly maintains suspense as long as possible, re-creating the detectives’ painstaking efforts via the documentation of their bedeviling focus on Welch. A keen synthesis of an intricate, decadeslong investigation, a stomach-churning unsolved crime, and a solid grasp of time, place, and character results in what is sure to be another bestseller for Bowden.\
RavePublishers Weekly\"Bowden... delivers a narrative nonfiction masterpiece in this account of fiercely dedicated police detectives working to close a cold case ... Bowden makes extensive use of taped recordings of those conversations to bring the reader inside the interrogation room as the detectives inch closer to the truth. This is an intelligent page-turner likely to appeal even to readers who normally avoid true crime.\
RavePublishers WeeklyStarling’s riveting near-future debut depicts an intense psychological battle of wills between two damaged, deeply flawed women who forge an unbreakable connection in the dark ... Both women can be messy, cruel, and selfish, and Starling disregards conventional notions of such women seeking or needing absolution. This claustrophobic, horror-leaning tour de force is highly recommended for fans of Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation and Andy Weir’s The Martian.
MixedPublishers Weekly...a Tempest sequel that falls short of its progressive aims ... Despite poetic prose, the narrative bogs down under arbitrary trauma-logic ... Dorothea is a perpetually patient and brown-skinned caretaker-lover for hapless white Miranda, and their off-puttingly unequal romance undermines the book’s postcolonialist talk ... Half rescue fantasy and half violent Gothic, this disturbing story forgets there’s more to love than being deemed not a monster.
PanKirkusA thoughtful novelist might have taken this idea in many interesting directions ... If Duckett intended to do any of those things, her debut novel shows little sign of it. The characters lack depth, and the writing lacks magic ... Oppressive mysteries threaten vaguely ... Thankfully, such almost purpureal prose is rare; for the most part Duckett sticks to unobjectionably pedestrian language.The novel fails to explore its promising premise in any depth. Shakespeare this ain’t.
David E Hoffman
PositiveKirkus\"One of the many virtues of Hoffman’s book is that it depicts not just the death-tainted hand of the military-industrial complex in the United States, but also in the Soviet Union, where supposed strongmen like Leonid Brezhnev and Yuri Andropov had considerable trouble keeping the warmongers under control ... Indeed, readers will realize how lucky we are to have escaped being destroyed at their hands ... A compendium of discomfiting, implication-heavy facts, of particular interest to students of geopolitics.\
David E Hoffman
PositiveSeattle P.I.\"Hoffman’s second book is an engaging page turner that reads like a Michael Crichton novel (high praise from me!) ... Presenting new information gleaned from diaries and memoirs recently made available along with declassified government papers and interviews, Hoffman takes the reader on an adventure of international intrigue and world politics that makes us wish it were fiction and along the way answers many important questions ... Would I buy The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and its Dangerous Legacy? Yes, and I would recommend it even to those who did not care for Reagan. It’s an important book about an important time in world history presented factually with little or no bias. It contains a serious warning about the influence of the Cold War on the present and also our future survival.\
Megan K. Stack
RaveKirkusA self-critical and heartfelt narrative ... eye-opening ... These chapters are beautifully written, informative, and sometimes harrowing as she recounts the joy, fear, and exhaustion of becoming a mother. Her chronicle of how she found her way out of depression offers wisdom that new mothers will find supportive and enlightening ... Stack writes compassionately about her encounters with her nannies ... What women—and men—can learn from Stack’s story is that \'women’s work,\' in all of its complexity and construction, should not be only for women.
PositiveKirkus[Hemon] maintains an appealing, self-deprecating voice throughout these early chapters, readily recognizing his own delusions and youthful arrogance ... Hemon’s technique is not conventional—this is no linear boyhood-to-manhood narrative. The chapters, in fact, could in many ways stand alone. But their cumulative emotional power—accelerated by a wrenching final section about the grievous illness of his younger daughter—eventually all but overwhelms ... Amuses, informs and inspires—then, finally, rips open the heart.
PositivePublishers Weekly... the book has the feel of a patchwork memoir that focuses on defining and enlightening moments in the author’s life rather than his existence as a whole ... As he goes on to focus on his adopted hometown, the immigrants he plays soccer with, the chess players at his local cafe, and his past and present lovers, the themes and writing become more personal, emotional, and dynamic. The book culminates with The Aquarium, 28 heart-wrenching pages of powerful prose originally published in the New Yorker, about his infant daughter’s battle with cancer that is nothing short of a tour de force; its terrible beauty demonstrates Hemon’s transformation as a writer and a man.
PositiveKirkus... a quietly devastating story that shows how fear and hatred during World War II changed (and even ended) the lives of many innocent Americans. Although Mariko is a central character, Elise’s personal growth is what drives the story—she must learn how to take control of her life even as she’s at the mercy of a government that sees her family as enemies. Readers may wish they could see more of Mariko’s experiences and hardships, but Elise’s story is still compelling and important ... An emotional and informative look at a shameful chapter of U.S. history that’s often swept under the rug.
PositivePublishers WeeklyVivid historical detail and elegant prose bolster this rewarding story of profound friendship, family, fear, and the pain that arose for American-born children of immigrant parents.
RaveKirkus\"A poet, memoirist, librettist, translator, and more, Svoboda has always engaged language as a tool of exploration. Her enigmatic sentences, elliptical narratives, and percussive plots delve into the possibilities of form, genre, and plausible futures, but always with an eye on the vast subterranean psychologies of her all-too-real creations. A challenging author’s take on the most challenging of subjects—the survival of our species from its distant beginnings into the possible future.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"Svoboda... transports readers to a fantastical American West in this collection of stories that surprise, disturb, and amuse in equal measure ... Svoboda’s desert-themed stories wonderfully capture the wonder and nastiness of the American West.\
PositiveKirkusAn inspiring account of a very personal battle against \'the plague of our generation.\'
RavePublishers Weekly... a sweeping epic of obsession, brilliant researchers, dramatic new treatments, euphoric success and tragic failure, and the relentless battle by scientists and patients alike against an equally relentless, wily, and elusive enemy ... Mukherjee shapes a massive amount of history into a coherent story with a roller-coaster trajectory ... Mukherjee\'s formidable intelligence and compassion produce a stunning account of the effort to disrobe the \'emperor of maladies.\'
RaveKirkusFagin weaves fascinating background material on epidemiology, statistical analysis and more into this hard-hitting chronicle ... A gripping environmental thriller.
PositivePublishers Weekly... a well-documented exposé of toxic industrial plants, corporate greed, and government neglect ... A crisp, hard-nosed probe into corporate arrogance and the power of public resistance makes this environmental caper essential reading.
RavePublishers WeeklyGlass’s substantial novel stands out as both social commentary on contemporary issues of bodily autonomy, gender, and social power and as feminist retribution fantasy, made manifest through an appealing epic fantasy setting and grounded in a carefully designed magic system ... Though female leads take center stage, Glass gives real depth to her male characters as well. Personal and political aspects of the story blend gracefully together to provide a high-energy story with sweeping forward momentum toward the next installment.
MixedKirkusHigh fantasy with a feminist perspective. Sort of ... In this faux medieval world, the ability of women to control their own reproductive destinies should be a big deal. It’s baffling that it isn’t. Not only are men not freaking out about their loss of power, but it takes many, many pages before it’s clear that women understand that they can now enjoy sex with men without worrying about pregnancy. Part of the problem is one of perspective ... Another issue is worldbuilding ... Glass’ Seven Wells seems more like a stage set than a real universe. This is, apparently, the first in a three-book series. One suspects there is enough material for one excellent novel in those three volumes. Timely, fascinating idea. Confounding execution.
RavePublishers WeeklyIn this sweeping, ambitious debut, journalist Shulman offers a group biography of a family indelibly marked by the Spanish Civil War ... Prodigiously researched and beautifully written, Shulman’s work reveals a remarkable family of \'refreshing weirdness, poetic obsessions, and [a] sacrilegious taste for destruction\' as a microcosm of Spain’s tortured 20th century.
PositiveKirkusMaking his book debut, journalist Shulman creates a deeply researched portrait of the Paneros, one of Spain’s most notorious families ... A richly detailed history chronicles a family’s pain.
RaveKirkusAn incisive exploration ... Stent...offers a deeply informed look at why Russia, directed by President Vladimir Putin, persists in behaving in what the West regards as an exceedingly maddening, paranoid, and often aggressive manner ... A compelling historico-psychological work delineating how the West should respond to Russia going forward.
Hal Brands and Charles Edsel
PositiveKirkusIt’s the stuff of Aeschylus and Thucydides but also of the current headlines ... Literate and lucid—sure to interest to readers of Fukuyama, Huntington, and similar authors as well as students of modern realpolitik.
Ed. by Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll
PositivePublishers WeeklyLou Murrey’s photograph of diverse people protesting a federal prison in Kentucky and Roger May’s stunning portrait of his aunt serve as a striking counterpoint to Elegy’s depiction of an apathetic people ... this valuable collection shows resilience, hope, and belonging are in Appalachia, too.
RavePublishers WeeklyKolbert accomplishes an amazing feat in her latest book, which superbly blends the depressing facts associated with rampant species extinctions and impending ecosystem collapse with stellar writing to produce a text that is accessible, witty, scientifically accurate, and impossible to put down ... Throughout, she combines a historical perspective with the best modern science on offer, while bringing both scientists and species to life ... Kolbert, however, offers some optimism based on the passion the concept of extinction evokes: \'Such is the pain the loss of a single species causes that we’re willing to perform ultrasounds on rhinos and handjobs on crows.\'
RavePublishers WeeklyIn this gloriously learned page-turner, both biography and intellectual history, Harvard Shakespearean scholar Greenblatt...turns his attention to the front end of the Renaissance as the origin of Western culture\'s foundation ... Nearly 70 pages of notes and bibliography do nothing to spoil the fun of Greenblatt\'s marvelous tale.
RaveKirkusGreenblatt’s [book] brilliantly ushers readers into this world, which is at once recognizable and wholly foreign. He has an evocative hand with description and a liquid way of introducing supporting players who soon become principals: Democritus, Epicurius, scribe monks, Thomas More, Giordano Bruno, Montaigne and Darwin, to name just a few. More wonderfully illuminating Renaissance history from a master scholar and historian.
RaveKirkusA thoroughgoing study ... King traces the pernicious tentacles of bigotry and expertly depicts the role of the press, the cast of characters and the entire contextual story of civil-rights law and the NAACP. Deeply researched and superbly composed.
RavePublishers WeeklyThe story’s drama and pathos make it a page-turner, but King’s attention to detail, fresh material, and evenhanded treatment of the villains make it a worthy contribution to the history of the period, while offering valuable insight into Marshall’s work and life.
RaveKirkusLopez eloquently describes four years of wanderings in the Arctic Circle ... Lopez is a conservationist as well as an excellent writer ... Lopez is uninterested in anecdotes, seldom describing either his human companions or the technological support-systems that make his presence in such a remote and forbidding landscape possible. His most memorable descriptions are of animals: arctic foxes, migrating musk-oxen, sea-birds. Self-consciously rejecting a human-centered viewpoint, Lopez instead shows things as they might appear to the creatures them-selves ... While acutely receptive to beauty...Lopez sees...calm as only respites from the encroachments of history and human expansion. This is a polemic, then—and at its best moments, something more. Combining his heightened, notably \'literary; style with his objective desire to see things as they are...Lopez often succeeds in transmitting a unique and powerful vision.
RavePublishers WeeklyThis is one of the finest books ever written about the Far North, warmly appreciative and understanding of the natural forces that shape life in an austere landscape ... Lopez has written a wonderful, compelling defense of the Arctic wilderness.
Valeria Luiselli, Trans. by Christina MacSweeney
PositiveKirkusA debut novel that never lets readers forget it’s a novel, toying with them on multiple levels. The Mexican author...revels in artifice while constructing a labyrinth where memory meets lies, dead literary figures live again, and the narrative spirals through decades and various voices ... fragmentary, funny, sexy, exasperating and perhaps post-postmodern ... Ultimately, a novel that is no more (or less) than words on the page.
Valeria Luiselli, Trans. by Christina MacSweeney
PositivePublishers Weekly...haunting ... Inhabited by the spectral presence of poets and a creeping desperation that branches into the psyche of the narrators, this elegant novel speaks to the transience of reality ... Luiselli plays with the idea of time and identity with grace and intuition.
Bret Easton Ellis
PanPublishers Weekly...[a] contentious manifesto ... Ellis’s pop-culture preoccupations sometimes feel callow—he paints Charlie Sheen and Kanye West as America’s last free men ... an unoriginal reprise of ideas commonplace to right-wing media outlets.
Bret Easton Ellis
MixedKirkus...his principal interest is in the fractured American culture, political and otherwise ... He lashes out at certain writers while delivering praise to others—e.g., he admires Joan Didion and Jonathan Franzen ... Well-written pieces bubbling with attitude and self-confidence but, at times, as judgmental as those Ellis condemns.
RavePublishers Weekly\"History professor Boyle... has brilliantly rescued from obscurity a fascinating chapter in American history that had profound implications for the rise of the Civil Rights movement ... This popular history, which explores the politics of racism and the internecine battles within the nascent Civil Rights movement, grips right up to the stunning jaw-dropper of an ending.\
RaveKirkus\"Told with exemplary care and intelligence, this narrative chronicles inflammatory times in black and white America and pays tribute to those heroes who struggled to get Old Jim Crow where he lived. The way history should be written.\
RavePublishers Weekly\"... luminous ... Iyer weaves in sharp observations of a graying Japan, particularly of the vigorous but gradually faltering oldsters in his ping-pong club, and visits to the Dalai Lama, a family friend, who dispenses brisk wisdom on life’s impermanence ... The book is partly a love letter to the vibrant Hiroko, whose clipped English unfolds like haiku, and it’s partly an homage to the Japanese culture of delicate manners, self-restraint, and acceptance that \'sadness lasts longer than mere pleasure.\' The result is an engrossing narrative, a moving meditation on loss, and an evocative, lyrical portrait of Japanese society.\
PositiveKirkus\"Throughout the narrative, the author mixes musings on the ephemerality of existence with scenes of quotidian life ... Some readers may be put off by Iyer’s decision to render Hiroko’s English dialogue in fragments...the rendering will still strike some as insensitive. Otherwise, this is a thoughtful work with many poignant moments, as when Iyer and Hiroko take her mother on a drive past Kyoto’s temples and, in a moment of clarity, she starts crying when she remembers visiting them with her husband ... This moving work reinforces the importance of finding beauty before disaster strikes.\
RaveThe Real Book Spy\"Provides a fitting end to Kerr’s storied career which, in many ways, has now come full circle. Obviously, Bernie’s bosses were right in that he would one day go on to become a brilliant detective, but readers know that going into this one, having already followed him for thirteen previous cases. This one’s special, though, and while readers will certainly recognize Bernie’s wise-cracking voice and trademark banter, Kerr still managed to bring an innocent-like element to him not previously seen on the page until now ... In addition to the character development, Kerr’s writing is beautiful, and as always, he nailed the setting, which is brought to life with vivid descriptions throughout. There’s also a number of real-life historical characters weaved in, one of which explains the book’s title, and plenty of intrigue throughout. It’s incredibly sad that this is the end of the line for Bernie Gunther, but there’s no question—Kerr saved some of his best work for last ... shows once again why Philip Kerr was one of the most talented novelists of his generation, and his final novel is one his fans won’t soon forget.\
RaveKirkus\"With its lessons for the Trump era, this book is plenty timely. But completed shortly before the author\'s death, it is also one of Kerr\'s most congenial, beautifully controlled, and entertaining works. The banter is priceless ... Going against the grain—as usual—by writing an origin novel as his swan song, Kerr leaves his fans happy.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"Gripping ... This police procedural may lack the complex plotting of the best Gunther books, but Kerr (1956–2018) does a fine job of immersing the reader in the seamy side of Weimar Germany as Bernie crosses paths with such real-life folks as artist George Grosz and scriptwriter Thea von Harbou, the wife of filmmaker Fritz Lang. Fans will be sorry to see the last of the honest, wisecracking Bernie.\
RaveKirkus\"An atmospheric chronicle of New York’s bohemian gay subculture in the freewheeling 1970s, a keening depiction of the AIDS-stricken \'80s ... ranges widely to investigate contemporary culture through the complicated human beings who inhabit it ... characters sketched with acuity and perception ... Elegant, enigmatic, and haunting.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"DuBois beautifully handles Semi’s half of the novel, told in first person, but the third-person Cel sections, in which she plays detective to piece together Mattie’s past life, lack the power of Semi’s. Though somewhat uneven, this is nevertheless a powerful novel.\
Mary Laura Philpott
PositivePublishers WeeklyHeartwarming if occasionally self-indulgent ... Philpott’s prose is conversational and easy to settle into. However, her tone, while aiming to be witty, can come across as arrogant. Readers who worry their type-A personalities have led them to be unsatisfied with their successes, or those who yearn for change but can’t pinpoint exactly why, will find this book comforting and reassuring.
Mary Laura Philpott
PositiveKirkusAppealing essays ... Warm, candid, and wise, Philpott’s book is both an extended reflection on the pressures of being female and a survivor’s tale about finding contentment by looking within and learning to be herself ... Delightfully bighearted reading.
Yannick Haenel Trans. by Teresa Fagan
PositivePublishers Weekly\"The delightfully deluded protagonist of Haenal’s latest juggles high and pop culture references with aplomb and a light touch ... There is no lack of incident, but one hesitates to call it a coherent plot. The constants are the narrator’s indomitable passion for his artistic vision, however bizarre, and Haenal’s artistic boldness. His Cimino, meanwhile, is not just a comic device but a fully realized character. Near the end, there is a lovely and surprisingly serious chapter built around a funeral, with a thoughtful contemplation on the nature of Christ. This is a stimulating novel, full of mischief and clever curveballs.\
PositiveKirkus\"The initially slow plot picks up steam when the Lily embarks, and per requisite dystopian story arc, relentless, rigid, and righteous Poe discovers dark secrets about the Outpost, sympathizes with the rebellious raiders (or drifters as they prefer to be known), and reconsiders romance. Race is barely noted—17-year-old Poe has \'sun-black hair\' (and few other physical descriptors), while Call, Brig, and the Outpost’s leaders appear to be white. A callout to the Matched series should satisfy loyal readers while the constant twists and a cliffhanger ending will encourage new audiences to anticipate possible sequels ... A swashbuckling steampunk mashup of Mark Twain and Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines Quartet.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"Defiant and determined, Poe is reminiscent of other well-known dystopian heroines, but her introspection, ingenuity, and insight will endear her to readers. The plot moves across a well-thought-out dystopian backdrop, offering enough surprises to both intrigue and excite. Fans of Condie’s Matched should find this a welcome and satisfying return to the author’s YA roots.\
PositiveKirkus\"Those intrigued by Agassi’s personal life will relish the accounts of his significant romantic liaisons, particularly his obsession with and eventual wooing of current wife, Steffi Graf, and his team mentality in building a close support network. An ace of a tale about how one man found his game.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"...lively and entertaining ... As with many ensemble novels, some characters do not get the development they deserve, most notably Nick’s wife, Kaye, a flighty-seeming Southern belle. Nevertheless, this ambitious and intriguing work about the American suburbs is perfect for fans of Ann Patchett or Meg Wolitzer.\
MixedKirkus\"Langsdorf\'s not-too-endearing cast includes two central female characters who should be easier to keep straight than they are ... An almost Shirley Jackson–esque view of human nature emerges when the bulletin board at the local cafe spontaneously blooms with tattletale notes ... After a surprisingly cruel climax, a cleanup chapter can\'t quite make the skies blue again ... A dark comedy with more darkness than comedy.\
MixedPublishers Weekly\"... strange, uneven ... There are parts of this book that require near-impossible suspension of disbelief; no thought is given to what would happen if one of the kids turns out to be queer or transgender, for example, and some premises go unexplained, such as why Warren has suddenly developed a guilt complex 13 years in. Fans of bad horror movies might find the story fun, but if Malerman intends it to be a serious exploration of gender or parenting, it falls far short.\
MixedKirkus\"Though one shocking plot turn is forced and the publisher needlessly gives away what would have been a beautifully orchestrated surprise, this unlikely cross between 1984 and Lord of the Flies tantalizes ... Malerman delivers another freaky thriller. The book ultimately lacks real depth but still enhances his reputation as one of today\'s most unpredictable novelists.\
RavePublishers Weekly\"The tension throughout the novel between science (Perowne\'s surgery) and art (his daughter is a poet; his son a musician) culminates in a synthesis of the two, and a grave, hopeful, meaningful, transcendent ending. If this novel is not as complex a work as McEwan\'s bestselling Atonement, it is nonetheless a wise and poignant portrait of the way we live now.\
RaveKirkus\"An increasingly mellowed but no less gripping McEwan ... Comprised by an active awareness of his place in the world, of his love for family and work, and of the contingencies that make his life his own, and that make Baxter’s life his own, Henry’s thoughts—especially since they’re informed also by a matter-of-fact understanding of the neurological processes that emerge as behavior and look like choice—envelop us in a total immersion experience.
Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett
MixedKirkus\"Though the conversation has plenty of wit and bite, it is the atheist equivalent of preaching to the choir, capable of reinforcing convictions but unlikely to topple or change any. It’s a convivial conversation without agenda, as the four thinkers try to figure out what they’re collectively trying to accomplish and what the best outcome might be ... Mostly for devotees of the New Atheism. More than a decade later, not much has changed, as the faithful and the skeptics continue to talk past each other.\
Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett
MixedPublishers Weekly\"... meandering, unmoderated ... provocative but underdeveloped arguments ... the tone is generally harsh and unsparing. Readers who are looking for a taste of new atheism will get a good sense of the tone and style of these thinkers, but those familiar with the arguments will see this as an unpolished curiosity.\
PositivePublishers WeeklyA study in arrogance, incompetence, and corruption ... Ward\'s rehash of the \'Javanka\' saga is well-researched but not well-presented; it\'s an eye-glazing maze of small-to-middling improprieties, with the thread often getting lost in the chaos of White House power plays and backstabbing. Still, Ward offers a useful, though dispiriting, guide to the ascendance of private business over the public interest in the Trump administration.\
PositiveKirkus\"Many details here have been previously reported, and the author’s efforts to elevate the book above a clip job rest mainly on a raft of juicy quotes delivered by anonymous sources ... As a portrait of Jared’s character, the book’s fiendish aura is hard to trust, but given the factual record, it’s not out of bounds ... a handy primer on a troublesome Trump in-law, even setting its gossipy parts aside.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"The political intrigue never feels too abstract or removed from 21st-century Earth. Readers will appreciate the care McDonald takes with both worldbuilding and characterization, and will enjoy little touches such as giving an assassin the job title of Corporate Conflict Resolution Officer. Newcomers will have difficulty mastering the intricacies of the setting and story, as McDonald doesn’t provide even a short recap or cast of characters; however, fans of the prior books will find this wrap-up rewarding.\
Victor Davis Hanson
PositivePublishers Weekly\"Hanson is shrewd and insightful on Trump’s appeal—even the dyed hair and tan bespeak an endearing authenticity, he notes, \'proof that even aging billionaires were patched-together, creaking everymen and insecure humans\'—and on the disdain with which liberal (and Never-Trump Republican) politicians, media, and celebrities portray Trump’s supporters as bigots and losers. He’s less cogent when dubbing Trump a \'tragic hero\' like Achilles or Dirty Harry, and when he cursorily dismisses the importance of welfare initiatives like Obamacare to working-class people of all races. But this is one of the smartest conservative defenses of Trump yet published.\
RavePublishers Weekly\" ... brilliant, cinematic ... Olson’s weaving of Fourcade’s diary artfully and liberally into her own writing and her heart-stopping descriptions of Paris, escapes, and internecine warring create a narrative that’s as dramatic as a novel or a film. Olson honors Fourcade’s fight for freedom and her \'refusal to be silenced\' with a gripping narrative that will thrill WWII history buffs.\
PositiveKirkus\"[Olson] use of quotes and solid descriptive passages help re-create the tension and anxiety Fourcade and her friends felt as they risked everything to save France. Olson also effectively integrates a thorough history of the role of the Vichy government during this time as well as details on how MI6 and the Allies used the information Alliance collected to change the course of the war. She shares specifics on many of the agents under Fourcade’s control, their daring exploits and escapes, and what happened to those captured by the Germans. With the same attention to detail, Olson writes about Fourcade’s secret lover and her children. Although the text is overlong, the author brings into the spotlight a woman whose courage and endurance helped shape history yet whose full story had not yet been told ... An engaging, informative addition to World War II history.\
PositiveKirkus\"On the whole this is an impressive achievement, with nods to the historians, anthropologists and others who have laid the groundwork ... The prose is not brilliant, and there are apologies and redundancies that we could do without. But a fair answer to Yali\'s question this surely is, and gratifyingly, it makes clear that race has nothing to do with who does or does not develop cargo.\
RavePublishers Weekly\"[Diamond\'s] masterful synthesis is a refreshingly unconventional history informed by anthropology, behavioral ecology, linguistics, epidemiology, archeology and technological development.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\" ... gripping ... Fascinating historical details encompass uranium mining, the gulags, and cultural life in the Soviet era. Natalie’s tense and illuminating journey will enthrall readers.\
MixedKirkus\"Much of what ensues strains credulity, though some of her adventures are in themselves quite rewarding and some of the descriptions of Siberia, excellently written. Natalie grows, takes chances, even learns to use bad language, but the accumulated disasters and escapes cost others dearly, and Natalie\'s burgeoning self-awareness seems cheap ... Some thrills, some chills, but tepid overall.\
Joao Gilberto Noll Trans. by Edgar Garbelotto
PositivePublishers Weekly\" ... surreal, audacious ... When something shocking happens to the Englishman, the narrator thinks, in a moment of surprising clarity: \'I was a survivor in bloom.\' Though the narrator is referring to the specific horrors he’s suffered, in Noll’s capable hands, it becomes a statement on the lives humans lead. This is a cunning, memorable novel.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"A gripping take on the zombie apocalypse ... Matt is a typical action hero, trying to protect his woman and prove he is smarter than everyone around him. As more information about the Haters is revealed, Matt’s need to learn more drives the plot forward. Some scenes feel rushed, especially after long sections of Matt surviving by waiting and staying still. Fans of zombie thrillers will not be disappointed.\
Kim Man-jung Trans. by Heinz Insu Fenkl
PositivePublishers Weekly\"Man-Jung’s rollicking fantasy is a many-layered pleasure, equal parts fairy tale, religious instruction, and ode to classical Chinese literature and society ... a hypnotic journey, a scholarly, instructive Buddhist bildungsroman set across Tang dynasty China, and in Insu Fenkl’s skilled translation, a glimpse into the rich crossroads of religions and society therein.\
MixedPublishers Weekly\"Alex and his LAPD friend, Lt. Milo Sturgis, follow predictable lines of inquiry ... Kellerman has done better both with plotting and with bringing the reader inside the heads of his characters.\
PositiveKirkus\"Descriptions of Juliet’s hallucinations are vivid, fantastic imaginings ... At times it becomes a numbing catalog of Juliet’s teenage parties and hangouts ... Juliet’s story is most compelling when she is contemplating her future or breaking through her own narrative to directly address the reader ... A vivid if sometimes-repetitive rendering of mental illness and disaffected youth.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\" ... searing ... Escoria rejects a traditional structure, opting instead to tell the story in vignettes reminiscent of Eve Babitz’s work, including handwritten notes, official reports and logs, and other paraphernalia from that era. The specificity lends the novel an immersive feel. Interspersed with letters from a future Juliet, who offers a glimmer of possibility if not exactly blind optimism, Escoria’s novel is a moving and intimate portrait of girlhood and mental illness.
PositiveKirkus\"A thorough and well-researched account ... Beneath the author’s firm, stately prose, which never becomes alarmist or provocative, lies a bleak assessment of the mental health profession. Its practitioners come across as hampered by the current, insufficient state of understanding of how the mind functions and malfunctions as well as prompted by jealousy, fear, greed, and a desire to one-up those they see as their competitors ... A measured, insightful survey of the limits of contemporary treatment for mental illness.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"Harrington lucidly and accessibly chronicles the search for mental illness’s elusive causes ... Anyone interested in mental health care’s history and future will appreciate this informative and rewarding survey.\
Maylis De Kerangal Trans. by Sam Taylor
PositivePublishers WeeklyFitfully delectable ... Ranging from Paris dining temples to Berlin kebab houses to a 10-diner-only, 10-course restaurant in Bangkok, the author takes readers on a brilliantly realized culinary tour of the world. Though its emotionally distant narrative style and tendency to tell rather than show may turn off some readers, this is a rich novel, particularly for armchair travelers.
Maylis De Kerangal Trans. by Sam Taylor
PositiveKirkusSlim but potent ... the author does a fine job of exploring why someone like Mauro is still enchanted by the lifestyle. A love of food is part of it, and she writes lovingly about \'the taste of a tomato, the subtlety of a stalk of asparagus, the crunch of a curly endive.\' She’s less interested in food porn, though, than in the way the kitchen provides a kind of holistic calm ... Too short to feel like a full-bodied novel but an admirable literary lagniappe.
RavePublishers Weekly\"Darkly hilarious and forthcoming essays ... Young uses pop culture references and personal stories to look at a life molded by structural racism, the joy of having a family that holds together in a crisis, and the thrill of succeeding against difficult odds. Young’s charm and wit make these essays a pleasure to read; his candid approach makes them memorable.\
PositiveMinneapolis Star Tribune\"In this memoir in essays, we learn about Young through 16 pieces that are ostensibly about something else ... Readers who know Young’s work from the blog he co-founded, Very Smart Brothas, will recognize his voice, his fondness for lists, his precise, comprehensive and spectacular references to pop culture, his wit and his keen mind ... If Young were a soul-food restaurant and What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker were his current menu, not every dish would succeed. Some essays fail to showcase Young’s loftiest ideas, and the book gets off to a slow start. Still, the overall menu is outstanding ... the kind of offering that’s so good even those of us who frequented the joint before word got out will end up hoping this chef will get his due and the line to see what he’ll cook up next will stretch around the block.\
RaveKirkus\"Leithauser shifts affectingly from present-day comic encounters and observations to fraught memories, from Louie’s first experience of transcendence at age 9, in the delightful opening, and again in Ely Cathedral, to first love and various brushes with shame and failure. Leithauser, a poet, novelist, and MacArthur Fellow, recalls Stanley Elkin, Wilfrid Sheed, and Richard Ford in this complex anatomy of a midlife crisis and then some ... An exceptional glimpse of the human comedy marked by sometimes dazzling prose.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\" ... charming and moving ... Leithauser’s novel offers civilized comforts of beguiling characters, witty dialogue, and trenchant observations about modern life that enshrines the visceral pleasures of armchair travel.\
RaveKirkusMcInerny’s best friends and their unwavering support through all the ups and downs are also significant factors in this perceptive tale. The author’s love for both Aaron and Matthew is consistently apparent but, refreshingly, never maudlin. McInerny delivers a highly emotional—but not overly somber—story that will appeal to anyone who has suffered a significant loss and is seeking a path toward life’s next chapter. Reflective and tender writing on finding new meanings and a different life after heartbreaking loss.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThis beguiling study of bohemian subcultures celebrates the louche gay expat scene on the sun-drenched Italian island of Capri ... along the way [James] offers colorful historical anecdotes that feature wild parties, ritual nudity, and occasional gunplay, as well as a travelogue of the modern-day island. The result is a sensitive, wryly comic, engrossing history about creative eccentrics and erotic outlaws seeking a physical and spiritual home.
PositiveKirkusPart travelogue, part history, and part literary analysis, this book pleasantly meanders ... A colorful, captivating literary companion for those visiting the island and a peek into the lives of some figures largely faded from history.
PositivePublishers Weekly\"The story is slow to start as Devin journeys through the ravaged land alone, but it picks up steam as Devin accumulates companions, among them his eccentric and suddenly magical brother-in-law, his devout sister, a talkative faery, and the inevitable fierce-but-vulnerable dagger-wielding love interest. Together they uncover ways in which scripture they’ve accepted as fact is false and attempt to survive their new reality. Dalglish manages to combine familiar elements in exciting ways in a slightly overlong fantasy epic that’s sure to keep readers turning pages.\
PositiveKirkus\"True, Devin is the least interesting of these characters, but his friends\' strong desires make them more compelling. Dalglish has created a rich and intriguing world and keeps the plot moving along at a steady pace ... Fantasy fans will enjoy this story, where everything is changing and the fate of the human race—and some appealing characters—is at stake.\
PositiveKirkus\" ... a lively exploration ... That humans are conscious, cultured, and much cleverer than any other animal—but an animal nevertheless—is no secret to popular science writers. A steady stream of books explains how we got that way, and readers will not regret choosing this cheerful addition to the genre from British science journalist Rutherford ... Rutherford also ably explores current conceptions and focus on cooperation through communication ... A smooth, expert, and often startling history that emphasizes that no behavior separates us from other animals, but we remain an utterly unique species.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\" ... enlightening ... Rutherford teaches a great deal about the basics of evolutionary relationships, while cementing homo sapiens’s position as just another member, among many, of the animal kingdom. But Rutherford also looks beyond those similarities to explore what makes humanity unique, concluding that while there is a continuum of types of cultures across the animal kingdom, humans reside at one end of that spectrum ... Rutherford’s entertaining work offers a refreshing and perspective-altering view of the complex history of life on Earth.\
RavePublishers Weekly\"Oller makes the history of such firms surprisingly fascinating ... shows how lawyers’ influence extended well beyond corporate boardrooms; the book’s most interesting section delineates the pivotal role that attorney William Cromwell played in the building of the Panama Canal, which may have included inciting Panama’s revolt against Colombia. Oller doesn’t shy away from detailing early corporate lawyers’ role as tools of monopolistic robber barons, or the endemic prejudice against Jewish lawyers. That balance makes this a valuable addition to the literature on America’s transformation during the Gilded Age.\
PositiveKirkus\"A lucid account of the rise of the modern law firm and the concomitant rise of the modern corporation ... Students of economic and legal history will find Oller’s book insightful and revealing.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\" ... superb ... persuasively sketches two sides of the comedian-filmmaker’s personality: \'Nice Mel,\' a zany performer who is always on, cares deeply for others, and craves affection, and \'Rude Crude Mel,\' a tenacious negotiator and a genius at self-promotion who is riven by insecurity ... While the book sometimes bogs down in the minutiae of Brooks’s legal deals, it is best at showing Hollywood as a place full of remarkable talents intricately interconnected through friendship and career ... McGilligan’s exhaustive biography will be essential reading for anyone interested in Brooks or, more broadly, how Hollywood functioned during the second half of the 20th century.\
MixedKirkus\" ... isn’t exactly a hagiography ... Much of this material has been documented elsewhere, which makes the book overlong. In the second half, the author gets bogged down in the minutiae of Brooks\' business deals, and the prose is occasionally peculiar or old-fashioned. For example, McGilligan repeatedly refers to Brooks’ first wife, Florence Baum, only as \'Mrs. Brooks\'; he does the same thing a couple of times with his second wife, Anne Bancroft, a far more famous figure than Baum. These choices are emblematic of the troubling tendency to represent women in biographies only in relation to the men in their lives. Nonetheless, McGilligan does a nice job dramatizing the insecurities that drove Brooks and offers entertaining anecdotes about Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, and Brooks’ other collaborators, who didn’t always speak favorably of him ... Readers can decide for themselves whether the Brooks who emerges in these well-researched yet sometimes-tiresome pages caused more joy than harm.\
PositiveKirkus\"A very weird debut novel that somehow manages to transport Conrad’s Heart of Darkness to a futuristic mega-city with a minimum of social satire but grand sociological observations about cities on the scale of Geoff Manaugh’s A Burglar’s Guide to the City ... Fried can’t quite decide what he wants to play here—it’s too buddy-cop comic to be a hardcore thriller and too tongue-in-cheek about technology to be a serious social satire, but it’s still a fun read. The narrative is packed with irrelevant but fun-to-read set pieces including a gunfight in a museum, a couple of car chases, and a few deadlocks that are usually solved by OWEN’s deus-ex-machina abilities. Kirklin and Laury are mostly ciphers, and not very interesting ones at that, but the banter between the drab Henry and the supercilious OWEN is worth the price of admission ... A fun, relatively harmless comic thriller about the nature of cities, the threats of technology, and how to blow stuff up good.\
PanPublishers Weekly\" ... lackluster ... an urban thriller constrained by its narrow scope ... The relationship between Henry and OWEN is simple and repetitive, and with a small and male-dominated cast, the story is empty and quiet. The breadcrumb-trail plot and stiff protagonists undermine both the serious thriller concepts and the contrasting elements of the bizarre.\
Fernando Aramburu, Trans. by Alfred Macadam
RaveLibrary Journal\"A Basque-born novelist now living in Germany, Aramburu unfolds the consequences of the Basque insurgency while asking us to ponder larger issues of violence, friendship, and moral choice ... Punch-in-the-face powerful with a bittersweet ending; this leading Spanish novelist\'s first English-language outing is a masterpiece.\
Fernando Aramburu, Trans. by Alfred Macadam
RaveKirkus\" ... complex ... Aramburu recounts the lives of ordinary people shattered by events that are ongoing in Spain today even years after ETA has suspended its armed campaign; the reader needs no background in that tangled history to understand that basic, terrible truth. A humane, memorable work of literature.\
Fernando Aramburu, Trans. by Alfred Macadam
RavePublishers Weekly\"The cast is sprawling—with both matriarchs, husbands, five children, spouses, grandchildren—but each’s story is realized masterfully, as the characters look to escape violence however they can, be it exile, alcohol, or love. Aramburu’s remarkable novel is an honest and empathetic portrait of suffering and forgiveness, home and family.\
PositivePublishers Weekly...[a] derivative fantasy thriller ... Genre fans will easily pick up the many nods to J.K. Rowling and C.S. Lewis, not to mention J.R.R. Tolkien in the climactic battle between the bad guy and a magician.
PositiveKirkusThe novel’s climax includes some spectacular magical battles to complement the complex emotional entanglements Grossman has deftly sketched in earlier chapters ... Very dark and very scary, with no simple answers provided—fantasy for grown-ups, in other words, and very satisfying indeed.
PositiveThe Irish Times...an evocative and encompassing experience – you feel the novel in the recess of your mind, sitting there and taunting you with its beguiling timeline, its array of robust female characters who wield dialogue as weapons and its surreal character studies ... Although the novel is written in flawless English, evidence of other languages lurks under the surface, which only enhance descriptions and dialogue, bending words and phrases in vivid and hypnotic ways.
RaveKirkusA fresh biography ... MacCarthy...brings insight and sensitivity to a sweeping, penetrating life of Walter Gropius ... Altogether, she produces a multidimensional portrait of a towering, complex figure ... Engrossing, impressively researched, and keenly perceptive.
PositiveThe Economist\"... a riveting book about a man who nurtured a vastly ambitious project through extraordinary times.\
RaveKirkusA thoughtful story of bears, humans, and their tragic interactions ... Montana-based conservationist Andrews...writes without sentimentality or undue anthropomorphizing of a pair of grizzly cubs whose mother, Millie, was brutally murdered, leaving the cubs orphaned and helpless ... A gem of environmental writing fitting alongside the work of Doug Peacock, Roger Caras, and other champions of wildlife and wild land.
PositivePublishers Weekly[Andrews] combines research with experience ... This local story illustrates larger concerns ... Andrews’s well-written cautionary tale leaves readers with the sobering message that humans must as well, if they are to be responsible stewards of nature.
David E McCraw
PositivePublishers Weekly\"McCraw colors his legalese with wit and levity ... Laws regarding leaks, libel, and Freedom of Information Act requests are explained thoroughly, with McCraw believing \'there was still something right about a system where you had a chance to stand up to your government in a court of law.\' News junkies will relish the insider access.\
RaveKirkus\"Wilkins crafts a subtle, tightly plotted, and slowly unfolding narrative told through three characters’ points of view ... Through these characters, in a prose that can hum gently, then spark like a fire, Wilkins fashions a Western fable which spirals down to a tragic end ... Following in the literary roots of Montanans Jim Harrison and Rick Bass, Wilkins packs a lot of story and stylistic wallop into this gripping, outstanding novel.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"Montana’s rugged beauty is poetically evoked in Wilkins’s fine debut ... Though the plot depends on too many coincidences, the novel achieves an undeniable cumulative emotional power as the fates of its memorable characters play out. This is an accomplished first novel, notable in particular for its strong depiction of the timeless landscape of Montana’s big sky country.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"As with the first entry in this series, Thompson lays out the narrative in a non-linear fashion through multiple perspectives, resulting in a story that feels alternately epic and almost claustrophobically intimate. The slow pacing and numerous moving parts make this ambitious tale somewhat dense and difficult at first, but the exciting second half and intriguing ending set the stage for what promises to be a fascinating conclusion.\
PositiveKirkus\"The title offers perhaps too strong a clue as to the real source of the Queen’s anger as well as the nature of Sakti and Muna’s predicament, but watching the strands of the plot converge and the details play out still offers some surprises and wonderful set pieces. There’s even a sweet dash of romance at the end. As in her previous novel, Cho offers plenty of sharp commentary on the misogyny and colonialism of this magical version of Regency England, in which spells are thrilling and exotic when performed by a witch from the Far East but scandalous when cast by an Englishwoman ... Perhaps not as groundbreaking as the debut but a solid follow-up, nonetheless.\
PositivePublishers WeeklyA brooding castle, rain-lashed windows, hidden passages, and a séance all contribute to a delightfully creepy tale with twists that would make Daphne Du Maurier proud.
William J. Burns
RavePublishers WeeklyHighly relevant ... [Burns\'] sketches of his colleagues and counterparts are often generous with praise, but also incisive; readers may be particularly interested in his take on Vladimir Putin ... Burns’s work showcases an impressive combination of dedication, passion, and diligence, and persuasively demonstrates the \'quiet power\' that diplomacy can have in world affairs. This is not to be missed.
William J. Burns
RaveKirkusA resounding defense of American diplomacy and the need for negotiation in a non–zero-sum world ... Some of the most newsworthy elements of this book, in fact, involve how the State Department crafted a response to 9/11, if one that largely went ignored ... Excellent reading for students of contemporary geopolitics and recent American history.
Margaret Leslie Davis
MixedPublishers Weekly...[an] enjoyable but unsatisfying history ... Despite...intriguing facts and characters, Davis’s overall thesis—that \'each owner and his or her circle left a mark\' on the book—doesn’t leave the reader with any meaningful insights by the end of her book.