PositivePublishers Weekly... inviting ... While full of reflections, each section is so self-contained as to feel scattered and, at times, lacking in depth. Nevertheless, the author’s fans will no doubt appreciate these musings.
PositiveKirkusIllustrated throughout with simple line drawings, this quirky book offers insight into the workings of an exceptionally busy, productive mind as well as the price of living in a hypercompetitive society where “we are all burned out and don’t have enough time” and it’s important to \'steal moments away from yourself whenever you can\' ... A quietly provocative collection.
RaveKirkusIntensely candid ... a charming illustrative style ... Kimball is never shy to point the finger at herself, recognizing her anger that her mother’s illness forced her to witness \'the fact that she transformed from parent to stranger.\' The drama grows with the emerging recognition that her mother is not the only member of the family to suffer from mental illness. It’s an extraordinarily honest look at life behind closed suburban doors—and with a sublimely redemptive conclusion ... A welcome debut that will leave readers eager for a successor—and soon.
RaveKirkusWith scalpel-sharp writing and tidy drawings, Kimball takes on a detective-like rigor as she unthreads her mother’s bipolar disorder and suicide attempts, her parents’ divorce, and the family history leading up to these defining events. It’s as if Kimball wants to push against the slippery nature of memory by researching (and reproducing) court records, home videos, maps, and blueprints ... a riveting reality to inhabit.
J S Dewes
PositivePublishers Weekly... gripping ... Sharply pointed descriptions pepper Dewes’s prose as Cavalon faces the soldiers’ hostility over his family’s background in eugenics, and an investigation into a suspected sensor error reveals that the Divide is collapsing ... Dewes fluidly interweaves complex worldbuilding with a fast-moving plot and satisfying character development in Cavalon and Rake. This should win many fans.
PositiveKirkusHis genially learned evocations of Paris are somewhat more lightly worn than those of Adam Gopnik’s Paris to the Moon, but they’re just as informative. Though readers will feel Curtis’ pain, they will also share his joy—and perhaps relief—at being in a place both beautiful and anonymous ... For those suffering from bereavement, a candid, moving book of commiseration and encouragement.
MixedPublishers Weekly... tender if uneven ... after Curtis’s account of his last trip to Paris with Tracy, the narrative loses steam as it pivots from a dramatic love story to Curtis’s life as a self-described \'flaneur,\' wandering the streets of Paris on subsequent visits without Tracy and thus, to him, without aim. His observations of Paris, though painstakingly detailed (readers get a turn by turn tour of countless Parisian boulevards and corners), frequently fall flat and tend to revolve around lackadaisical descriptions of attractive women he sees on the street. Nonetheless, Francophiles may enjoy this detailed tour of the City of Light.
Joshua D. Rothman
RavePublishers Weekly... harrowing ... Through meticulous archival research, [Rothman] debunks the myth that slave traders were social outcasts and tracks how their brazen advertisements and abusive treatment of captive men, women, and children were used by abolitionists to stoke public outrage. This trenchant study deserves a wide and impassioned readership.
Joshua D. Rothman
RaveKirkusRothman employs his wide breadth of knowledge about the era to vividly depict the human and economic impacts of the domestic slave trade as it burgeoned in the early 19th century ... meticulously documented ... An excellent work of vast research that hauntingly delineates the \'intimate daily savageries of the slave trade.\'
RavePublishers WeeklyMenand writes with his usual mix of colorful portraiture, shrewd insight, and pithy interpretation ... The result is an exhilarating exploration of one of history’s most culturally fertile eras.
RaveKirkusAn overstuffed, brilliantly conceived and executed history ... Whether writing of Woodstock, Frantz Fanon, Andy Warhol, the CIA, Vietnam, or Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Menand is a lucid and engaging interpreter of the times ... An essential survey of an era for which many readers, considering what has followed, will be nostalgic.
Tyler J Kelley
PositivePublishers Weekly... illuminating ... Along with the meticulous reporting and insightful analysis, Kelley considers a series of remedies, including some drawn from successful flood control programs in the Netherlands. Anyone concerned with the myriad issues surrounding the manipulation of waterways will want to take a look.
RaveKirkusRoss wheels kaleidoscopically through different points of view and backward and forward in time, offering readers a cross section of her invented country: its politics, religion, economy, food. Her novel carves out a place in the canon of memorable works of magical realism alongside Midnight’s Children and One Hundred Years of Solitude, but it\'s also totally itself, a raunchy, sly, colorful exploration of individual and collective identity ... A novel that suffuses the senses.
PositivePublishers Weekly... a vibrant story of sensual characters and awe-inspiring, sometimes hilarious magic ... Though the novel suffers from long, laborious exposition, Ross’s joyous imagining of a peoples’ power goes a long way to redeeming the narrative doldrums. This fresh take on magical realism delivers the goods.
PositivePublishers Weekly... solid ... Despite her excellent research, Crowther’s style is sometimes distracting ... Nevertheless, this insightful account is a slick addition to the body of work on these two influential poets.
PositivePublishers Weekly... elegantly written and thought-provoking ... Slor keeps the suspense high in this unconventional detective story, using her characters’ musings on language and perception to enrich readers’ understanding of how and why events unfold as they do. Those looking for an intricately textured tale of family relationships will be rewarded.
PositivePublishers Weekly... determined ... Nyamayaro’s steadfast pursuit of her goals is mirrored by steady narrative pacing; readers will cheer on her uncompromising commitment. Her life example provides a beacon for ambitious change-makers.
PositiveKirkus... moving ... memorable ... An inspiring narrative that will be especially valuable to young people seeking to work for humanitarian causes.
Izumi Suzuki, tr. Polly Barton, Sam Bett
PositiveKirkus... showcases [Suzuki\'s] fluency in the bizarre and surreal ... Not much happens in these stories, and yet they transport readers to worlds both familiar and unfamiliar, indulging our fantasies and fears of the future. Suzuki writes with wonderful despair, showing humanity as resistant to change even as our societies and technologies fail us. She plays with interesting questions about gender and sex, and this is not a dry philosophical exercise. It is authentic and careful and was ahead of its time—even down to the media references that thoughtfully situate readers in the futures of the past ... Dark and slightly absurdist, this collection is a poignant rumination on the despair and isolation of modern society.
Izumi Suzuki, tr. Polly Barton, Sam Bett
PositivePublishers WeeklyThemes of social control and forbidden love run deep in this punky, off-the-cuff collection ... These strangely prescient stories are perfect for fans of Haruki Murakami, George Saunders, and Philip K. Dick
RaveKirkusEnergetic history of the first years of the space race, focusing on Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin ... Though not the first historian to recount the Soviet Vostok program and its successors, the author does good work in contrasting it in detail with the American astronaut program ... Walker’s depiction of Gagarin’s succumbing to the \'rock star\' syndrome after his orbit, a feat he would never again match, is especially affecting. A welcome addition to the literature of space exploration, shedding light on the Soviet contribution.
RavePublishers Weekly... vivid ... Jumping back and forth between developments in the U.S. and the Soviet Union, Walker captures the uncertainty and tension of early test flights ... Walker draws on archival records, memoirs, and interviews with family members to profile key players in the space race ... This entertaining and carefully researched history achieves liftoff.
PositivePublishers WeeklyJournalist Leslie sheds light on disagreement in this encouraging take on the reasons communication tends to break down in conflict ... Leslie succeeds in framing disagreements as a source of creativity with the potential to deepen interpersonal understanding. The result is a thoughtful, thought-provoking guide to getting along even when doing so might seem impossible.
PositiveThe Financial Times (UK)A fascinating rumination on how we could do better than berate others on Twitter, or in rival demonstrations ... it fits with his belief that it is better (and adaptive in an evolutionary sense) to empathise with your opponent than to attempt blindly to crush her or him. It is not only more pleasant, but also more effective ... Conflicted is among several books to focus on collective rather than individual intelligence, and how diversity and informed debate can improve outcomes ... Leslie is interested in emotion as much as intelligence, and how it can obstruct or assist the quest for truth. Despite its risks, and the pain and outrage it can cause when it leads to outright hostility, he is a believer in strong argument.
RaveKirkusAn expert account of the search for \'the holy grail of physics.\' A veteran science writer, theoretical physicist, and lucid educator, Kaku wisely begins with ancient history, providing an illuminating minihistory of physics ... An important work about an ongoing quest that may befuddle those without a solid grounding in its scientific concepts.
RavePublishers Weekly... riveting ... Kaku’s expertise at making mind-bending concepts comprehensible makes this a real intellectual eye-opener.
RavePublishers Weekly... richly detailed ... Kelly delves deeply into the logistics of warfare, including shipbuilding and combatting smallpox, and gathers stirring accounts of heroism on both sides of the conflict. Readers will be intrigued by this evocative portrait of one of America’s greatest traitors at the height of his glory.
RaveKirkusAn expert chronicle of an early Revolutionary War operation that deserves to be better known ... Not content with biographies of the major figures and a fine account of the preparations and battle, [Kelly] ably describes the military culture of the times, the self-defeating politics of the Continental Congress, the design and operation of the various ships, and the tactical problems of fighting on lakes versus the ocean. A boon for fans of Revolutionary-era military history.
Andri Snær Magnason trans. by Lytton Smith
PositivePublishers WeeklyIcelandic writer Magnason (Dreamland: A Self-Help Manual for a Frightened Nation) provides a literary look at the threat of climate change in this moving account ... Magnason’s empathetic rendering [...] makes an impact. Climate-concerned readers will find much to consider.
RavePublishers Weekly... witty and beautifully imagined ... Rosen digs deep to reveal the humanity of these socialites as they cope with death, betrayal, and the ultimate shame: divorce. Just as the imagery of sumptuous feasts, brilliant jewels and gowns, and magnificent palatial estates begins to pall, the increasingly decadent pageantry spurs a moral awakening when Alva’s sisters expose her to the struggles of average women and workers, and Caroline comes to appreciate her family and her devoted butler. The two doyennes, who despite their riches and status have few legal rights, summon the inner strength to defy stuffy convention, find happiness in love at last, and make significant societal contributions, such as funding the building of the original Metropolitan Opera and backing women’s suffrage. Rosen delights with breezy dialogue and keen insights into the era. Historical fans will love this.
PositiveKirkus... a sleek, knowledgeable study ... Napolitano retraces Khadidja’s history with great dexterity, detailing the family’s terror-stricken homeland and their time at a decrepit refugee camp in Chad. Through their struggle, the author paints a broader portrait of the unfortunately common xenophobia that refugees have always faced in the U.S., prejudice that increased considerably during the Trump administration. Backed by research, profiles, court testimonies, and interviews with teachers, refugees, and immigrant advocates, the book calls into question the vital essence of education and why, even in this modern era of accountability, these injustices persist ... An eyebrow-raising report on education that is both enraging and heartbreaking.
PositivePublishers WeeklyLaden with compassion and detailed insights into the practices that threaten equal access to education, this is an eye-opening account of a precedent-setting case.
RaveKirkusMagical realism and realism that’s not quite realistic mingle in this debut collection of 13 stories ... when Collins flirts with magic, rather than fully embraces it, she captures the myriad ways the real world is mysterious—filled with both wonder and terror ... Beautifully written, wildly imaginative stories.
RavePublishers WeeklyCollins (The Hamster Won’t Die) lays on the verve and wit across the 13 stories in this crisp collection ... At times, the stories’ omniscient narration leaves the characters little room to breathe, but the zingy one-liners help make up for it. Collins exhibits a contagious appreciation for the world’s strange horrors, big and small.
Laura Maylene Walter
PanPublishers Weekly... uneven ... While the worldbuilding details are impressive, the critique of rape culture feels shallow and cursory, and the overly earnest characterizations don’t help. Readers might want to pass.
PositiveBooklistClayborn explores the experience of falling in love in a Chicago apartment building in a contemporary romance that will resonate with city dwellers and rural readers alike ... Instead, all of these shenanigans endear Will to Nora, and the two slowly begin to fall for one another in spite of Nora’s fears of being disloyal to her neighbors. A superb cast of characters rounds out this sweet, slow-burn romance.
PositiveKirkusA wronged childhood, a potential youthful romance derailed by the actions of adults, and a hard-won love ... Clayborn dwells on the gap between her characters\' bruised inner lives and their public faces, and the novel is shadowed by that melancholy, making for a Mary Balogh–style love story. The quirky characters who could obstruct—but eventually aid—Will and Nora’s journey to coupledom do much to lighten the mood. The comforting rewrite of Romeo and Juliet you didn’t know you needed.
PositivePublishers WeeklyTadjo’s resonant, unflinching latest delves into the West African ebola crisis of the mid-2010s and how it played out in a region devastated by trauma and loss ... As personal and humane as it is biblically grand ... Tadjo humanizes the crisis, and the most resonant scenes bear witness to the virus as it spreads in \'silence, a thick, threatening silence, auguring even more harrowing days to come.\' Brief and haunting, this makes for a timely testament to the destructive powers of pandemics.
RavePublishers WeeklyDunn takes readers on a wondrous globe-trotting pilgrimage to seek out hummingbirds as their populations are threatened ... As in the best nature writing, Dunn paints striking pictures ... Dunn’s vivid prose, balanced with just the right amount of detail, will captivate birders and non-birders alike.
RaveKirkus... vividly recounted adventures ... All of these marvelous voyages are only part of what makes this book so enchanting. Along the way, Dunn compassionately shares his extensive knowledge of the species endemic to each location, including their aesthetics, mechanics, habitats, and related regional culture and folklore, and he discusses factors contributing to the decline of hummingbirds, including pesticides, climate change, and habitat loss ... A mesmerizing, wonder-filled nature study that also serves as a cautionary tale about wildlife conservation.
MixedKirkusChampaneri’s Kashi is teeming and vivid, but her prose can sometimes feel overdone. The story sags in places. Most interesting are the flashbacks to Pramesh and Sagar’s childhood, but these moments often feel rushed. It’s possible that Champaneri is trying to fit in too much ... Still, the book frequently charms, and it\'s as full of humor, warmth, and mystery as Kashi’s own marketplace. Uneven but charming, Champaneri’s debut intrigues even as the writing occasionally sags.
PositivePublishers WeeklyChapter-prefacing snippets from testimony at Mary’s future court appearances fan suspense, but also make her painful journey there seem at times excruciatingly slow. With its exploration of themes including domestic abuse, toxic masculinity, and mass hysteria, the novel feels like anything but a period piece. Bohjalian fans and newcomers alike will be satisfied.
MixedKirkusMary comes from privilege, and her parents clearly care about her. (Unlike the divorce magistrates, they don’t believe she injured her hand by falling on a tea kettle spout.) That they allow her return to Thomas to avoid witchcraft charges defies plausibility—death at Thomas’ hands seems a more immediate prospect, and her family wealth affords many other options. The charges come anyway—timed for maximum melodrama. The language, salted liberally with thee and thou, feels period-authentic. The colonists’ impact on nearby Native tribes is not Bohjalian’s primary concern here, but the Hobson’s choice facing women in Puritan society is starkly delineated ... Illustrates how rough justice can get when religion and institutional sexism are in the mix.
PositiveKirkusDarling engagingly examines robots and their uses in relation to our interactions with animals ... A minor shortcoming of this book is Darling’s cursory attention to the problem of abuse, for if animals suffer so much hardship at human hands, so might those machines. Still, she provides a useful addition to a body of literature that is growing at a rapid pace ... A provocative work of ethics that may prove altogether timely given the state of the technology.
MixedPublishers Weekly... upbeat if inconsistent ... While entertaining, Darling wanders out on tangents (her treatment of the cat lady trope, for example) that lack cohesion. Readers curious about AI’s ethical conundrums, though, will find this a breezy enough primer.
RaveKirkus... detailed, discursive ... It helps to have some knowledge of economics to read this book, though it’s not essential. Levy is an uncommonly lucid interpreter of numbers and theories and a nimble explainer ... A rewarding exercise in understanding where we are and how we got there.
RaveKirkusMcMeekin pays more attention than most military historians to the loathsome behavior of both sides to civilians and even their own soldiers. He shows less sympathy than most to Stalin’s insults and demands for aid from the Allies and none whatsoever for Soviet representatives vacuuming up America’s patents, technology, and services ... The author’s provocative suggestion that America should have allowed the two evil empires to fight it out will ruffle feathers, but it effectively kills the idea that WWII was a battle of good vs. evil. Yet another winner for McMeekin, this also serves as a worthy companion to Niall Ferguson’s The Pity of War, which argued that Britain should not have entered World War I ... Brilliantly contrarian history.
PositivePublishers Weekly... richly detailed ... Packed with incisive character sketches and illuminating analyses of military and diplomatic maneuvers, this is a skillful and persuasive reframing of the causes, developments, and repercussions of WWII.
William J. Bernstein
RaveKirkusAn intriguing contemporary update of Charles Mackay’s 1841 classic, Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions. Neurologist and journalist Bernstein effectively explains the biological, evolutionary, and psychological bases of human irrationality ... Readers will wince at the often bloody hysteria that accompanied the Reformation, roll their eyes at our inability to resist get-rich-quick schemes, and chuckle at the widespread American movement that awaited the world’s end in 1843—all of which makes for disturbing yet fascinating reading ... The author offers solid sections on digital age hucksters before a concluding chapter on Muslim apocalypticists, who have much in common with the Christian variety. Bernstein’s account of financial shenanigans is a jolly ride, but he finds no humor in religious extremism, and readers may share his despair at learning what seemingly educated people believe. A well-researched, wide-ranging, and discouraging addition to the why-people-do-stupid-things genre.
William J. Bernstein
PositivePublishers WeeklyGod, greed, and the yen for conformity reliably override reason, according to this sweeping survey of religious and financial manias ... Bernstein lucidly deploys neurobiology, behavioral economics, and social psychology to explain why reason fails and other instances, noting, for example, that many people will believe two obviously unequal line segments to be the same length if other people say they are. Unfortunately, his conflation of all irrational doctrine with madness makes him sound somewhat hysterical about even mainstream religious politics ... an entertaining and insightful analysis of delusional outbursts that occasionally goes too far.
Shanna H. Swan with Stacey Colino
RaveKirkusAn urgent examination of a global problem that requires vastly more attention than it currently receives ... In this impeccably researched, cogent book, the author convincingly argues that if society’s trend toward a fertility rate below replacement level continues at the current pace, humans could become an endangered species ... The author’s passion for her work and access to reams of alarming data make for riveting reading, and her writing is crisp and unfettered by jargon ... An eye-opening, disturbing, empowering, and essential text.
Shanna H. Swan with Stacey Colino
RavePublishers Weekly... thought-provoking ... this accessible and shocking account succeeds as an eye-opening wake-up call.
Audrey Clare Farley
PositivePublishers Weekly... intriguing ... Farley sketches the history of the eugenics movement and fears over the emergence of the \'New Woman\' in early 20th-century America, but the narrative is at its most immersive when delving into the exploits of Cooper Hewitt’s mother, Maryon, who got rich by marrying well and often ... Later chapters covering more recent cases of women sterilized without their informed consent feel more obligatory than essential, but Farley sets a brisk pace and persuasively reimagines the dynamic between Ann and Maryon. This is an eye-opening portrait of an obscure yet fascinating case.
Audrey Clare Farley
PositiveKirkusThroughout, Farley maintains the focus on Ann and her family. While she does not provide a comprehensive discussion of eugenics, the eye-opening story of the family is a concrete example of lamentable policies that continue to shape the reproductive rights of women ... A disturbing yet thought-provoking tale of family strife and ethically unsound medical practice.
PositivePublishers WeeklyAs the connection between Joe and Mary Kay deepens, complications arise, prompting him to kidnap Melanda. While some of the plot twists feel familiar, as does Joe’s unchanging and damaged personality, there’s a strange delight in watching Joe battle \'the toxic cycle of masculinity\' by committing heinous crimes in the name of love, all while congratulating himself on his kindness, patience, and woke-ness, and blaming everyone else for his problems.
MixedKirkusJoe Goldberg is back, once again consumed with thoughts about a woman who loves books ... s Joe pursues Mary Kay, Kepnes employs techniques from Joe\'s earlier adventures, including having him imprison characters who threaten his romantic overtures in a special, nearly soundproof room—this time the so-called Whisper Room is in his basement. While using so many cliffhangers at the ends of chapters helps generate excitement (and it will be helpful for the Netflix series), too often these surprises come out of nowhere, introducing a character, for example, who has not even been foreshadowed ... Joe’s head is an uncomfortable place to be, particularly when he reduces women to faux feminist caricatures or contemplates homicide.
PositiveKirkusA woman is compelled to commit murder in order to save her kidnapped baby ... Despite the rather melodramatic, hard-to-believe premise, the tension is skillfully built. A thriller with a sharp #MeToo edge that examines how \'one wild night\' can have terrible consequences.
RavePublishers WeeklyA gripping domestic thriller from bestseller Jackson ... As the intrepid, sympathetic pair scramble to suss out the kidnapper’s identity, they make some extremely disturbing discoveries that could blow up the life Bree loves. A few of the final twists come off as far-fetched, but the dark secret at the novel’s heart rings all too true. Jackson knows how to ratchet up the suspense.
PositiveKirkusA revealing study of \'high conflict,\' the intractable sort that seems to be running like a virus through American society ... Ripley’s observations are provocative, and she introduces us to ideas of mediation and problem-solving that would make many people less miserable if put into practice. Sometimes, however, in the manner of magazine stories, the human-interest anecdotes feel like padding ... Students of mediation, social psychology, and conflict resolution will find much of value here.
RavePublishers WeeklyYouers balances frenetic action with heartfelt character interactions. Fans of full-throttled cinematic action-fests of the Long Kiss Goodnight variety are in for a treat.
RavePublishers Weekly... exceptional ... While the macabre seriousness of the crimes and the narrator’s good-nature and sardonic humor might seem to be at odds, Ames makes it work through assured plotting, superb local color, and excellent prose. Readers will happily root for Doll, a good detective and a decent human, in this often funny and grisly outing.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewA slim, immensely moving book. Johnson skips back and forth from her teenage years to the present, telling her story in plain-spoken language and examining her own reactions to Karen’s murder from both perspectives ... Johnson ponders pain caused by the killer, her father, even herself, especially after losing the religious faith that once provided a framework. When you live in a family forever experiencing \'the background buzz of lifelong mourning,\' the only way to peace is to find a path to forgiveness.
RavePublishers WeeklyScreen writer Johnson debuts with a beautiful and emotional memoir of a family tragedy ... By researching the case and revisiting her past, though, she finally found forgiveness, for the robbers and her own father. Assured prose bolsters the personal insights. This searing story deserves a wide readership.
PositiveKirkusPowerful reflections on crime, murder, punishment, and redemption ... The outcome of this poignant and provocative story arrives after numerous compelling twists and turns and many revelations, including the fact that the scenario of her cousin’s killing was very different in reality from the one she had remembered for all these years. Still, the central truth remains: A young woman who would now be in her mid-50s has long been dead, her killers live, and Johnson is left to ponder whether—and how—justice has been served. A remarkable exploration of forgiveness by a veteran storyteller.
PanPublishers Weekly[An] impassioned yet disappointing debut ... Though Singal accurately identifies many problems with \'fad psychology,\' most of the topics he addresses have already been widely debunked, and his analyses of where the science goes wrong are often too convoluted for the lay reader to follow. This well-intentioned takedown comes up short.
MixedKirkusA journalist questions the shoddy research and pseudoscientific claims of \'popular behavioral science.\' ... Though Singal’s broad-reaching exposé is well documented, the less-than-compelling narrative fails to convey the significance of the issues. The author builds his often pedantic arguments on long stretches of accumulated research findings, citing seemingly every applicable study (more rigorous editing would have helped) ... this book lacks a similarly engaging voice. The result is a well-researched but long-winded exercise. An insightful yet plodding critique of faddish trends.
RavePublishers WeeklyCarter...brilliantly fictionalizes surrealist painter Leonora Carrington’s coming-of-age amid the Nazi occupation of France and her consuming affair with fellow artist Max Ernst ... Through Leonora, Carter contemplates the magic of young love, the trauma of war, and the vagaries of artistic vision ... There isn’t one misstep in here.
PositiveKirkusThroughout the novel, Carter meditates beautifully on the unique difficulties of being a woman artist ... A satisfying historical novel about love, art, and war.
Valerie Gilpeer and Emily Grodin
PositiveKirkusParents of children with autism will find gentle, helpful guidance in these pages.
RavePublishers WeeklyBritish author Stonex’s spectacular debut wraps a haunting mystery in precise, starkly beautiful prose ... Seamlessly marrying quotidian detail with ghostly touches, the author captures both the lighthouse’s lure and the damage its isolation and confinement wreak on minds and families. The convincing resolution brings a welcome note of healing. Readers will eagerly await Stonex’s next.
PositivePublishers WeeklyHistorian Aldridge...celebrates the centenary of Agatha Christie’s fictional detective Hercule Poirot with a comprehensive yet lighthearted romp through his very busy career ... This quirky, trivia-filled look at a touchstone of detective fiction will have Christie fans young and old in heaven.
PositiveKirkusNora Barnacle, lifelong partner to James Joyce and model for Molly Bloom in Ulysses, moves center stage in a story of loyal love tested over years of poverty and effort. Young Nora, a bold, freethinking, uneducated girl from a poor Galway background, narrates this biographical saga in evocative Irish tones, offering a more-or-less conventional account of the role of the supportive wife to a genius ... This is a woman’s story of craving female friendship, tending children, and supporting a wayward wanderer while always loving—and being loved by—him ... She emerges as his rock, the prose to his poetry. O’Connor’s lengthy, indulgent portrait of a marriage forefronts the robust, devoted woman who kept the show on the road.
PositivePublishers WeeklyO’Connor expands on her Granta award-winning short story, \'Gooseen\' in this poignant, comprehensive portrait of Nora Barnacle as a young woman, mother, and literary inspiration for the Molly Bloom character in Ulysses ... the narrative traces Nora and Joyce’s nomadic life from Ireland to Trieste, Zurich, London, Rome, and Paris, and details their constant money worries, health concerns, struggles with two difficult children, and emotional despair ... O’Connor’s admirable accomplishment adds to the abundant Joyceana with a moving examination of an unforgettable family.
PositiveKirkusYoung women eye their futures with the practiced skepticism of people who have already seen far too much. The stories in Adelmann’s debut collection feature women and girls adrift in the world. From broken homes, broken relationships, broken senses of their own identities, the narrators of these stories explore worlds marked by a bleak sense of anonymity—in these largely urban tales, all faces seem to be faces in the crowd. Many of the stories capture their narrators\' inner monologues in a way that is both believable and illuminating ... The similarity among the subjects can sometimes overwhelm the experience of reading the individual pieces. But when read independently, the stories linger, clearly illuminated by their artistry, honesty, and pervasive courage. A strong debut from a writer who probes the inner lives of her female subjects with both purpose and humor.
MixedPublishers WeeklyAdelmann’s uneven debut collection focuses on young women facing difficult choices to varying degrees of impact ... While some stories could have been left on the cutting room floor, Adelmann offers an abundance of insights on the vicissitudes of life.
RaveLocus MagWhere most of the other Murderbot stories are in the action-adventure mode, Fugitive Telemetry belongs more to the locked-room murder-mystery school, and the less hectic, more introspective style doesn’t always show Murderbot to best advantage. This is a petty cavil, because it’s still pretty great ... an interesting hybrid of murder mystery and space adventure. From the beginning of her career, Martha Wells’s characters have been relatable, understandable, complex, and human; her worldbuilding deft and interesting, filled with graceful detail and implying a universe beyond the page. The Murderbot stories continue this trajectory, with an entertaining protagonist – the incredibly relatable Murderbot – and a wry, witty, darkly humorous voice.
RavePublishers WeeklyHugo and Nebula Award–winner Wells brings her solitude-craving, media-loving killer robot protagonist another step closer to independence in the entertaining sixth entry in the Murderbot Diaries series ... Murderbot’s wry observations of human behavior are as humorous as ever and the mystery is thoroughly satisfying. This is another winning series installment.
PositiveBooklistWells returns to a shorter novella and the main plotline from the first four books in the series. The formula remains successful: fast-paced and action-packed, with plenty of sarcasm and plans that don’t work as intended. But maybe this time Murderbot is starting to find their place in their new home. Maybe they could even make a friend or two along the way. And maybe that’s not as horrible as it sounds. Another strong entry in a series fans adore.
PositiveKirkusProbing memoir of a family tragedy and the search for explanations ... Granata records his own sometimes discomfiting reactions to events, such as the impulse to turn his mother into a martyr and figuring out how to keep in balance the contradictory repulsion for and love for a desperately ill brother. Candid and carefully argued, Granata’s memoir helps us better understand the horrors of mental illness.
PositiveBooklistThe I-narrator of the opening prologue, presented rather like an author’s note, sets up a revealing frame for the love story to come even as he inserts, then immediately elides himself ... Despite declarations of mutual, irrepressible adoration and commitment, years of interruptions and separations must be overcome—a former engagement, creative slumps, war zones, PTSD, natural disasters, deceptive adversaries. True love, of course, conquers all. A major bestseller in Japan already turned into a feature film, this is Hirano’s second anglophoned export, greatly benefiting from Carpenter’s impeccable translation that ensures a leisurely, against-so-many-odds romance for globally aware audiences.
PanPublishers WeeklyHirano returns with an overwrought novel of love and longing ... [There] is a clichéd melodramatic twist involving a missed connection and a jealous rival of Yoko from Makino’s musical milieu, which only momentarily enlivens an otherwise slow-moving narrative hobbled by wooden translated prose. The music here is unfortunately discordant.
Positive4Columns[E]arly on, we’d settle for the novel to simply make some sense. This first letter—sections of which end mid-sentence—is not impenetrable, but can be maddeningly elliptical ... Someone writes a letter, another person writes a letter that explains how they found the previous one ... Gradually, it matters not at all how the writer of one letter came across the writer of the previous. Samuel Richardson may have wanted readers to believe Pamela existed. Barakat’s use of the epistolary instead underscores that a novel is always false; that’s part of the appeal. Thus liberated from pantomiming reality, the author is able to truly do something ... I can’t offer plot summary for a work so meandering, so interior; the story of people thinking about their lives. Even character remains elusive—Barakat’s cast feel convincingly real, but the enterprise has the quality of that sort of dream in which you sense the presence of someone you recognize even if you can’t quite see them. So you look for repetitions and choose to believe them themes ... It’s horrific, absurd, yet somehow quite right; the book’s gradual shift from the poetic to the violent is more plausible than I wanted it to be. Barakat is interested in the universals—violence, sex, family. The letter is, for her, not just a mechanism for telling a story, but a reminder that most stories remain unknown.
PositivePublishers WeeklyRuggero recreates the period’s feel, months before the Normandy invasion, while playing fair with the reader. His superior storytelling makes comparisons to James Benn appropriate.
PositiveBooklistThe last time we saw Lieutenant Eddie Harkins, he was a U.S. Army MP in Sicily, thrust into the unfamiliar role of solving a murder. Now it’s April 1944, and Harkins, reassigned to the OSS, is in London, where murder comes calling again. ... Meanwhile, in a somewhat unnecessary subplot, Harkins finds himself in the middle of the bungled Operation Tiger, a D-Day preparation exercise covered more fully in James R. Benn’s The Rest Is Silence . That aside, this is a solid series entry, awash in rich detail about the machinations leading up to the Normandy landings.
PositivePublishers WeeklyA vivid and authentic portrait of life in the modern military ... Recurring themes include the shock of entering a war zone, the experience of losing a friend, and battles with alcohol, drugs, and PTSD. Though the loose structure and lack of transitions from one soldier’s story to the next can be disorienting, the overall effect is powerful. This edifying collection captures the highs and lows of the military experience.
RaveKirkusPatterson and Mooney team with retired Army Sgt. Eversmann to bring together poignant stories of American veterans from all branches of the service ... In this wide-ranging, consistently absorbing collection, the authors cover the entire spectrum of American military action during the last 50 years, from Vietnam to the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. There are some truly striking experiences here ... Narrated in the present tense, the text is urgent and full of suspense, and while there is some repetition of experiences, the stories are different enough to keep the pages turning. The clear, matter-of-fact tone only adds to the gravity of life-and-death events that these courageous Americans have endured.
RavePublishers WeeklyA symbolist dream diary for catastrophic times. A cross between Mei-mei Berssenbrugge’s elliptical poetic treatises and Marosa di Giorgio’s fevered fables, Wang tells stories that begin in clarity but unfurl into complex landscapes, exploring the role of projection and imagination in our relationships ... readers will be grateful for these potent, dreamlike reflections.
RaveVagabond City LitA fascinating mix of fantasy and reality to start off the new year. Many of these poems have a startling beginning – frequently we enter in the moment of a catastrophe, whether it is a natural disaster, attempted murder, perceived poisoning, or just a vague sense of something strange looming. Wang lends credence to the value of dreams in a way that few seem to, and what is often dismissed with a wave of the hand is held in a gentle spotlight here ... She gives careful consideration to philosophy, nods to well-known thinkers from Kant to Kafka, as she uses the lessons of dreams to inform daily life ... She encourages us to think about what is truly worthwhile to pursue, what parts of crazy dreams might essentially be brilliant, or give root to a blossoming thought. In a dream where she mistakes possession/obsession for love, she notes that making an assertion about whether you have been wanted or wronged is also making a subconscious judgment about your own worth.
PositiveKirkusComplex science made accessible ... As in his previous books of both nonfiction and fiction, Lightman is once again our helpful, genial guide to the mysteries of the universe ... A roaming, eye-opening, insightful, and literate collection of science writing.
RavePublishers WeeklyLightman is resolutely upbeat; the scarcity of life in the universe, for example, makes him \'feel some ineffable connection to other living things,\' and he argues that other intelligent beings will share a passion for \'making science and art and attempting to take stock and record this cosmic panorama of existence.\' Lightman’s ability to craft moving prose while accessibly explaining complex scientific concepts is a rare gift. This collection is tough to put down.
MixedPublishers Weekly... uneasily blends fantasy with quasi-procedural detective work ... The worldbuilding is impressive but overextended, with Lostetter’s highly detailed scene setting and frequent digressions into Lutador’s creation myths making for a cumbersome narrative. It’s an uneven opening, but there’s plenty of potential for series installments to come.
RaveKirkus... narrated by Synnott with easy grace—even when the climbing and weather were anything but ... the author introduces readers to a side of the mountain and its routes not typically seen, as most expeditions start from the Nepalese side. In addition to describing all of the roadblocks in their way, he populates the harrowing text with excellent background material to convey a rich sense of what summiting the great peaks entails. Synnott offers important pocket-sized biographies of Mallory and Irvine, of course, but there are also discerning forays into British colonial geopolitics, the ongoing disputes between China and Nepal, Tibet’s tortured relations with China, and the many vested Chinese political interests in the history of Everest mountaineering. Unsurprisingly, given his experience as a mountain guide, Synnott writes with gratifying savvy about all elements involved in the dangerous venture ... A fine tale of adventure and exploration sure to please any fan of climbing and Everest lore.
MixedKirkusThough they sound like journalism’s Justice League, the author doesn’t provide adequate documentation of them springing into action together, and she dwells more on their struggles than their successes. She wraps up the primary narrative with NPR’s near bankruptcy in the 1980s even though the \'founding mothers\' had little to do with either causing or solving the network’s financial woes. In a history filled with so many powerful moments and fascinating details about journalism, perseverance, and gender bias, Napoli could have chosen a higher note for her conclusion ... A flawed yet well-researched deep dive into the careers of the journalists who helped make NPR a household name.
Guido Tonelli tr. Erica Segre and Simon Carnell
RaveKirkusFrom his descriptions of the Big Bang to human creativity and storytelling, the author’s writing is lush and inviting, offering countless points of entry even for those readers unfamiliar with fundamental concepts of physics ... a concise yet action-packed narrative ... With clarity and just the right amount of technical language, Tonelli tackles complex subjects such as supersymmetry, dark matter, and the births of stars and planets. He also masterfully conveys the scientific and epistemic profundity of \'how we look at the world, and therefore our place within it.\' Entangled within his pursuit of scientific truth, the author’s overarching outlook is one of awe ... An exhilarating exploration of the cosmos that is both poetic and cutting-edge.
Guido Tonelli tr. Erica Segre and Simon Carnell
RavePublishers Weekly... elegant, accessible ... Tonelli’s storytelling successfully weaves curiosity, Greek mythology, and scientific discovery ... Already a bestseller in Italy, Tonelli’s lyrical story of creation is sure to ignite the imaginations of American readers.
Johannes Krause and Thomas Trappe tr. Caroline Waight
PositivePublishers Weekly... fascinating ... Krause and Trappe make complicated scientific processes accessible to lay leaders, and offer hope that the ongoing study of ancient genetics and the development of new technologies such as genome editing will help to fight pathogens including Covid-19. The result is a captivating and informative look at the origins and future of humanity.
Johannes Krause and Thomas Trappe tr. Caroline Waight
PositiveKirkus... lucid ... The authors conclude their tight yet wide-ranging survey with a discussion of how science does not support any claims of racial supremacy ... An impressive update on human evolution.
PositiveKirkusIn shifting first-person narratives in which they analyze each other with assumptions that may or may not be accurate, Natasha and Larissa build a portrait of family love in all its variations ... Most compelling when history intersects with the emotions of women figuring out their lives today.
MixedPublishers WeeklyLarissa, a cigarette-smoking widow, is colorfully drawn, though her blunt, mean-spirited dialogue often reduces her to a cliché ... Clear parallels between Larissa’s adolescent crushes and Natasha’s marriage are made unnecessarily explicit, as when Natasha asks if Larissa regrets her choice of whom to marry. While the characters can be lively, there’s not enough to hold readers’ interest.
Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz, tr. Philip Boehm
PositivePublishers Weekly... uncanny ... His bleak reflections on his endless journey are contextualized by scathing observations of Aryan Germans, who sometimes offer mild sympathy but ultimately seem to find the concentration camps \'rather novel and quaint.\' This chilling time capsule offers a startling image of fascism taken hold.
RaveKirkus... luminous and exhaustive ... the author vividly captures the personality and impact of the Chicago Gold Coast debutante who became a Hollywood star and then first lady ... Tumulty’s riveting narrative transcends such oddities as she leads us through the White House years, with colorful portraits of all of the relevant political players as well as the Reagan children. The author’s chapter on the AIDS crisis is a gem, as she clearly portrays the neglect by the White House, the complexity of the Reagans’ view of homosexuality, and the engagement of Surgeon General C. Everett Koop to anchor the administration’s belated response ... The definitive biography of the woman who drove her husband’s presidential ambitions—a shoo-in for the silver screen.
RavePublishers Weekly... an astute reassessment ... Tumulty touches on dark family dynamics, including the impact of Nancy’s \'anxiety and insecurity\' on her children, but the book’s greatest strength is the nuanced, in-depth portrayal of the Reagans’ relationship and Nancy’s fierce stewardship of her husband’s political goals. The result is a complex and engrossing portrait of one of the 20th century’s most quietly influential political figures.
PositiveKirkus... an entertaining education in the ways of a city that never stops transforming, meaning new names in the future ... Toponym aficionados and New York history buffs alike will revel in Jelly-Schapiro’s explorations.
PositivePublishers Weekly... fascinating ... Jelly-Schapiro maintains a light touch, even when acknowledging the city’s history of wealth inequality and racial discrimination. Lovers of the Big Apple will delight in this unique and informative history.
RaveKirkusIt’s easy to adore the characters Heiny conjures in her novels and short stories. They tend to be quirky and smart, caring and passionate. Jane, the protagonist of Heiny’s gentle, funny new novel, is no exception ... Both Jane, ever hopeful, and Duncan, ever appreciative, are pure charm ... Told episodically in chapters titled by year and covering a span of 17 years, Heiny’s book finds beauty and humor in connection and community, family and friendship, and the way love can develop and deepen over time ... A heartwarming novel with a small-town vibe that sparkles like wine sipped with friends under backyard fairy lights.
RavePublishers WeeklyThis touching and fizzy comic novel by Heiny makes the ordinary extraordinary ... The author knows just how to pull the rug out ... Heiny surrounds Jane and Duncan with a full range of quirky friends and relatives who perform key roles in shaping their lives. A deep awareness of the ways the potential for tragedy lies just beneath the surface of small-town life gives the proceedings a sense of gravity and holds the humor in perfect balance. This is a winner.
PositivePublishers Weekly... solid ... Though a few too many subplots make this feel overstuffed, McNamer brings great care to describing her main characters as they gain a renewed purpose for living. This is worth a spin.
MixedKirkusMuch of the writing is quite lyrical ... Still, some passages are overwritten, and some plot points seem dubious. The novel also has a bleak undertow, though Maki’s wife, Rhonda, an animal whisperer, exudes eccentric charm and brightens the scenes she’s in. A quasi-happy ending is preceded by many casualties—some of which seem arbitrary ... Richly drawn characters in search of a more compelling narrative.
PositiveKirkusThere are scores of entries here—the table of contents consumes eight pages—as the author addresses countless topics ... All of the pieces are tightly focused—some are not even a page long, some of which readers may find themselves skimming over—and most are articulate and packed with questions for readers to ponder ... much of the book is for general readers: Hough’s thoughts about wallpaper music (he hates it), comments about smoking, generous remarks about Americans (he’s from the U.K.), and discussions of favorite writers (he loves Willa Cather). Proof that music is not just in notes; it’s also in words.
MixedComplete ReviewPassages is a novel of unbalance and uncertainty -- mental and otherwise --, and distance and remove. The two characters need each other and yet aren\'t entirely comfortable with one another (but, on the other hand, discomfort seems something both of them need) ... This is a novel focussed very much on character, on people uncertain of who they are and what they can be. They seem afraid of identity and certainty ... Quin writes well: these are convincing, if deeply troubled characters, and the thoughts are well and often very effectively expressed. But the self-conscious and reflective musings can be a bit much: many of their concerns are universal, but their approach (and lifestyle) isn\'t always easy to relate to. The story of the missing brother is also something that Quin doesn\'t fully explore, offering some tantalizing bits but refusing to make it too central to the book. An interesting if not fully satisfying short read.
PositiveKirkusA poignant memoir recounts how two dog lovers bonded over their shared affection for an aging bull terrier ... Emails between the two women add wry wit to the tale, which is definitely a New York story, with all the rich details of life on the sidewalks and streets, among dogs and dog owners. It\'s also a story of relatively privileged lives, despite Carol’s illness. Readers may be shocked by the thousands of dollars the two women routinely spent on their dogs or by the fact that Teichner has had live-in au pairs for her series of dogs for the past 30 years. But that privilege doesn\'t preclude loss, and the most touching moments of the memoir show Teichner delicately but firmly confronting the deaths of Carol and, later, Harry. A heartwarming and heartbreaking story of friendship and grief.
RavePublishers Weekly... stunning ... McLain matches poetic prose with deep characterizations as she shines a light on the kindness in her characters’ souls. Fans of literary suspense won’t be able to put this one down.
PositiveKirkus... the stage seems set for a predictable serial killer hunt. But McLain largely avoids that well-trodden path to craft instead a psychological thriller that deftly evokes both the entrancing landscape of the Mendocino hills and the rough terrain of shattered lives ... Most memorable of all are the girls, past and present, who emerge here not as convenient victims but as vulnerable, believable characters ... A muted yet thrilling multilayered mystery enriched by keen psychological and emotional insight.
MixedPublishers WeeklyA young man recounts his years-long friendship with a medium in this cerebral slow burn from Buckley ... Some of the developments come out of nowhere [...] but Buckley stokes a quiet intensity around the characters’ subtle, understated communication. While intriguing, this experiment feels a bit flat.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThough there’s not much action, Waugh builds suspense by raising doubts about motive and character. Did Lowell run away? Is she dead? The search for answers to these and other questions will keep readers turning the pages, though some will be put off by the cruelly casual sexism ... Series editor Leslie Klinger’s annotations offer fascinating insights into the postwar milieu. Those looking for a period mystery where ordinary cops are the good guys will be rewarded.
Clarice Lispector, tr. Stefan Tobler
PositivePublishers Weekly...dense and singular ... The purpose of their apprenticeship is never expressed, though one of Lóri’s goals is to feel \'alive through pleasure\' instead of pain, and Heti’s revealing afterword leaves the reader with much to chew on. This deep immersion into the vicissitudes of love will delight Lispector devotees.
Clarice Lispector, tr. Stefan Tobler
MixedKirkusA love story—of sorts—by one of Brazil’s finest writers ... No doubt the novel is a crucial addition to Lispector’s English-language body of work; still, it’ll likely leave more than one reader yearning for something more earth-bound. Lyrical, ponderous, and dense, Lispector’s latest also feels overblown.
PositiveKirkusThis thoughtful, occasionally meandering book explores the shaping power of the past and also raises provocative questions about what really constitutes a cult. An edgy and unapologetic memoir in essays.
RavePublishers Weekly... The prose is often conversational and witty ... At the work’s heart is the therapeutic act of telling, and while some sections gesture toward cultural criticism, Hough is at her best when illuminating her circumstances. This moving account of resilience and hard-earned agency brims with a fresh originality.
RaveSmart Bitches Trashy BooksThis book was so emotionally raw, funny, hot, and moving. The story touches on themes of sex work stigma and sex positivity, religious practice and faith, and modern intimacy. The romance pairs a badass ice queen heroine with a sweet beta hero. Both the main romance and the individual journeys of the main characters were quite beautiful, and I loved this book almost the entire way through. (The ending was a bit of a clunker for me) ... The sexy scenes are hot, but honestly, what I loved most about this book is the way it successfully captures that early-dating feeling when you meet someone you are super excited about, and how you are trying to learn literally everything about them and kind of smoosh your mind into their mind and your soul into their soul ... I know I’ve spent many words critiquing the ending, but I still have very positive feelings about this book overall. Truthfully, I thought this book was yell-at-your-friends-about-it amazing until the last 90% or so. And it’s not even that I hated the last 10%, it just felt like it belonged to a different book–one that leaned more into typical rom-com tropes instead of one that put so much work into establishing characters and relationships that felt more true-to-life.
MixedKirkusEthan and Naomi’s love story explicitly follows the arc of the Modern Intimacy lecture series, but the pacing suffers as a result. Their romance is full of stops and starts, driven by Danan’s choice to have an external structure rather than organic character growth move the plot. Threads are introduced, dropped, and then reappear suddenly. Several times, Naomi and Ethan reveal their emotional states by lecturing to an audience, even if the other isn’t present. It’s ironic that characters committed to intimacy disclose their feelings in long speeches instead of showing them through action or direct communication with their partner; consequently, their relationship feels flat and underdeveloped. The exploration of faith and identity will likely appeal to contemporary romance readers looking for a full-bodied, nuanced treatment of religion that is also nonjudgmental and sex-positive.
RaveKirkusAn acclaimed chef and restaurateur offers engaging stories from the kitchen and beyond ... French demonstrates her talents as a storyteller, whether she’s discussing her early cooking career, which she spent managing the fryolator, serving clam baskets, and producing perfect soft-serve ice cream cones at her father’s diner; recounting a childhood replete with bucolic wonder ... or delineating her struggles as an adult. Despite these hardships, French refreshingly avoids unnecessary self-pity or sentimentality, and the life-affirming details are just as strong ... A canny life story from a determined woman with the gift of vision and the wherewithal to implement it.
PositivePublishers WeeklyIn this affecting debut memoir, chef French unflinchingly chronicles the victories and failures that led to her establishing The Lost Kitchen, her renowned restaurant in Freedom, Maine ... She artfully describes her growing passion for cooking, which began when she started helping out at the diner at age 12 and intensified after she dropped out of college due to an unplanned pregnancy ... Readers will root for French and will be fascinated by her efforts at survival, redemption, and rejuvenation. Notably heavier on insight and lighter on hubris than the average chef memoir, this will speak to both the brokenhearted and those with kitchen dreams of their own.
PositivePublishers WeeklyTV and video game writer Hall’s mind-bending novel chases its protagonist at full speed through a labyrinth of philosophical conundrums ... The complex typography presents a challenge (be prepared to read sideways and upside down), but for the right reader, the author’s plethora of ideas and proliferating rabbit holes provides endless delights. Fans of Mark Danielewski will love this heady postmodern thriller.
PositivePublishers Weekly... immersive ... The past and present halves of the story don’t really coalesce, but Sharkey makes for an enjoyably larger than life character ... The author’s fans will appreciate the perfectly rendered exotic setting, which takes the reader deep inside the Hawaiian surf culture.
PositivePublishers Weekly... intense ... Chapters from Jonah’s point of view can be wrenching, especially when he reflects on good versus evil and his experiences in Quaker meetings, but at other times they fall flat and feel overstuffed with exposition. Tompkins’s strong point is in deepening the emotional complexities of each character’s actions with well-placed backstory, as with Lorrie’s and Peter’s involvement in the stories of Jonah and Evangeline. While anger, loss, and grief dominate the characters’ lives, forgiveness and connection ease the pain. At its best, this illuminates the limits of faith when facing the darker corners of human behavior.
PositiveKirkusMaking an appealing debut, Tompkins spins a tender tale of wounded souls anguished by loss and grief, yearning for love and forgiveness ... Like Anne Tyler and Marilynne Robinson, who explore similar territories of the heart, Tompkins sensitively portrays her characters’ pain, isolation, and hard path to redemption ... A graceful debut.
Bruno Lloret tr. Ellen Jones
RaveKirkus... lovely yet tragic ... Lloret’s novel is obviously bleak beyond measure, but it’s also quite beautiful thanks to his self-assured and ethereal prose ... Lloret employs unusual typography, punctuating the book with a series of bold X’s; the effect is jarring but powerful, reminding the reader of Nancy’s impending fate. This is a gorgeous novel from a writer unafraid to consider the darkness; it’s hard to read but beyond rewarding ... Bleak, beautiful, and incredibly powerful.
Bruno Lloret tr. Ellen Jones
PositivePublishers Weekly... crushingly dark ... There is no joy or humor here, but the writing shines with piercing descriptions of pain, drawn up in increasingly fractured minimalist prose. Blocks of heavy Xs appear as forced pauses that dictate the rhythm of Nancy’s consciousness and forge black, angular reminders of death ... Old Testament passages open each chapter and often trigger memories with stark brutality, such as Nancy’s mother’s threats to sell her to the Romany as a child. This visually striking fever dream is one worth braving.
RavePublishers Weekly... rigorous, stimulating ... Swenson discourages simplistic interpretations about what the Bible says, and urges readers to embrace curiosity and to question ... Both religious and secular readers will benefit from Swenson’s illuminating analysis of the Bible’s contradictions and oddities.
PositiveKirkusTempering her usual romance, humor, and sex, Sands adds violence ... The romance is template Sands but a slightly bloody read for those who are forever plaid.
PanPublishers WeeklySands’s regressive ninth Highlands Brides romance (after Hunting for a Highlander) hinges on unconvincing sexual chemistry and graphic depictions of abuse ... The [...] romance strikes sour notes with enough frequency to keep the reader wincing right alongside Elysande.
RaveKirkusA must-read. The gun’s not quite smoking, but the barrel’s plenty hot, and there are Russian shell casings all around.
RaveKirkusA fresh examination of the historical milestone ... Despite a plethora of speeches, diplomatic notes, and editorials, Plokhy keeps the pages turning, and he includes far more Soviet material than earlier scholars. Surprisingly, Kremlin archives contain notes and transcripts of Khrushchev’s secret discussions that parallel Kennedy’s, and there is also no shortage of memoirs ... Far from the first account but superbly researched and uncomfortably timely.
PositivePublishers Weekly... comprehensive ... Plokhy dives deep into the events leading up to the crisis ... Though the storytelling bogs down in places, history buffs will savor this balanced and richly detailed look at both sides of the crisis.
L. X. Beckett
RavePublishers WeeklyBeckett’s smart, energetic Gamechanger gets a lively sequel in this outstanding work of science fiction ... The plot leaps and swaggers on [...], driven by joyful confidence that the reader—like the characters—will accept huge helpings of razzle-dazzle strangeness. The result is as delightful as it is mind-bending.
MixedPublishers WeeklyPronzini has been better at evoking a past time and place. Series fans invested in the leads are most likely to appreciate this one.
Brian Matthew Jordan
RaveKirkusAffecting portrait of an Ohio infantry regiment in the Civil War. Jordan, a historian who has previously focused on Union veterans in the postwar era, follows a promising and fresh approach by studying the war through the lens of a single unit ... Reflecting the author’s previous scholarly interest, much of the book concerns the final year of the war and the immediate postwar era, when families at home suffered from those losses as well. Movingly, he writes in an epilogue of a reunion of the regiment at Gettysburg, when the men \'gripped walking sticks, not rifled muskets\' and remembered their fallen brothers in arms. A well-conceived, thoughtfully written contribution to Civil War history.
Brian Matthew Jordan
RavePublishers WeeklyHistorian Jordan (Marching Home) delivers a captivating chronicle of the 107th Ohio Volunteer Infantry during and after the Civil War ... Jordan profiles his characters with precision, revealing the deep emotional and physical scars they carried back from the conflict. This meticulous and engrossing history brings the Civil War to vivid life.
RavePopMattersKorn questions not only her own definitions of success, but those of society at large ... By refusing to take \'empowerment\' or \'inclusivity\' at face value, Korn emphasizes the fact that without substantive changes to economic disparity, and the mechanisms of privilege that support it, progressive mission statements and employment quotas are often ineffective against systemic inequality .... Everybody (Else) Is Perfect is a compelling expose of online journalism, in which Korn dissects the realities of digital media in an informed, but informal blend of essay and memoir. This is useful reading for anyone interested in the evolution of digital journalism, especially as it pertains to the struggles and rewards of mitigating a more diverse and inclusive system.
RaveKirkusThe narrative serves as a poignant insider’s look at women\'s digital media as well as a tender retrospective on growing into adulthood in the early 2000s. The author is honest about her enviable position as a tastemaker, though some readers may not muster sympathy for her depictions of salary negotiations or dressing for Fashion Week ... Particularly incisive is Korn’s essay on feminist language being co-opted for profit while one of the author’s themes—that feminism and aesthetics needn\'t be at odds but that the beauty and fashion industry still need to change—is keenly observed, if familiar. Korn also offers darker reflections about personal and wider pressures on women. A confident, confessional modern account of breaking free from image obsession.
MixedKirkusA spare, unrushed effort, the book has a tingly appeal. But while it succeeds as an endearing study of young love and a dark exploration of the fear of sex, the house never lives up to its promise as a scare vehicle. Malerman, usually a big risk taker, plays things too close to the vest. An enjoyably tenderhearted novel but one that fails to make the most of its spooky premise.
RavePublishers WeeklyMalerman masterfully builds tension, balancing the exuberance of first love with the foreboding mystery of the house. The uncanny elements and strange, evocative setting will keep readers flipping pages, but the atmosphere never gives way to more visceral scares and the underwhelming resolution leaves the mystery dangling. Readers shouldn’t expect any concrete thrills, but fans of Malerman’s precise prose will be pleased to explore this new and unsettling world.
PositivePublishers Weekly... enjoyable ... Among the many historical figures who enliven the plot are Eleanor Marx, daughter of Karl, and William Morris, textile designer and confirmed Socialist. Thomas expertly entwines historical details, exciting action sequences, and a tender love story. This ripping yarn is sure to please series fans and garner new enthusiasts.
PositiveKirkusKing deftly navigates Florence’s rich cultural and political history, painting intimate portraits of Vespasiano and others involved in the book world during these incredible times, including the man who would revolutionize it all, Johannes Gutenberg. Vespasiano’s fascinating and expansive story occasionally sags under the weight of the author’s desire to leave no detail unturned ... A treat for book lovers.
PositivePublishers Weekly... richly detailed ... expansive ... Though somewhat hampered by a lack of available information about Vespasiano’s personal life, this expert account shines a new light on the Renaissance.
RavePublishers WeeklyJournalist Ireland...delivers an immersive account of British prime minister Winston Churchill’s tempestuous relationship with his only son, Randolph ... Consistently entertaining and insightful, this deep dive will reward even the most knowledgeable Churchill buff.
RaveKirkusIn this detailed, engaging narrative, Ireland demonstrates that there is more to be learned about one of the most written-about political figures in history ... Ireland draws unforgettable sketches of life in the Churchill circle ... Throughout, Ireland is generous with the bijou details ... Tragedy as well as triumph in this meticulous, fascinating tale of three generations of Churchills.
RaveKirkusWhat Power does cleverly is make them part of the story’s rising suspense, stoking the tension and disconnect between Robert and Patrick and even inserting some novel within the novel as the narrative intermittently shifts into Robert’s fictional rendering of Patrick’s adventures with the oligarch. Power’s understated style abets the tension, creating gaps and unanswered questions that pull the reader along, recalling Hermione Lee’s description of Penelope Fitzgerald’s prose as \'plain, compact, and subtle,\' leaving \'much unsaid.\' An entertaining literary thriller that traces intrigue from the writer’s mind to the latest headlines.
RavePublishers WeeklyIn this beguiling literary thriller about the ethics of storytelling, Power examines the plundering tendencies of oligarchs and writers alike ... For a novel filled with so much trickery, there are some slack sections, for example, when Robert prepares his family’s summer house in Sweden or returns to London for a funeral. Furthermore, the bond between the two men isn’t quite magnetic enough for the reader to feel the sting of the eventual vampiric betrayal. By and large, though, Power maintains an elegant sense of intrigue around the lengths writers will go for a good story.
RaveKirkusStout’s fast-paced prose has a Mickey Spillane–like cadence to it that fits his subject matter perfectly. The narrative is unrelenting to the bitter end, when Richard had to confront the kind of forced early retirement that guys in his profession almost invariably faced. A compulsively readable criminal biography as well as a vivid cultural snapshot of early Prohibition-era America.
RavePublishers WeeklyStout colorfully evokes the era’s political issues and cultural trends, and describes how Prohibition increased disrespect for the law across American society. This snappy page-turner informs and delights.
C Robert Cargill
RavePublishers WeeklyCargill’s standalone prequel to 2017’s Sea of Rust deepens his imagined dystopian future with another equally thrilling and moving blend of action and ideas ... Cargill’s subtle characterizations and complex plotting make suspension of disbelief easy. Admirers of thoughtful hard sci-fi will hope Cargill continues to flesh out this bleak but brilliant world.
C Robert Cargill
RaveKirkusA near-future political thriller about change and agency ... he villains come across as simplistic, but the divisive political environment from which they arise reads as genuinely terrifying and plausible ... Fast-paced, topical, and engaging.
PositiveKirkusRich provides vivid, often disturbing portraits of individuals and events ... The author hits the ground running with a gripping account of the stubborn lawyer who, since 1999, has been suing DuPont for massive dumping of toxic perfluorooctanoic acid (a component of Teflon) into landfills, streams, and water supplies ... The author doubts that genetic manipulation will save the environment, but he does offer entertaining stories about the efforts to restore the extinct passenger pigeon, create a rabbit that glows in the dark, or get people to \'buy burgers composed of cultured animal cells, if they tasted good enough.\' Another disheartening but important book from Rich.
RavePublishers Weekly... [a] vividly reported survey ... Frightening but with an undercurrent of humor, Rich’s study is packed with moving insight.
RavePublishers WeeklyJournalist Castner...paints a dramatic and frequently gruesome portrait of the Klondike gold rush ... Castner brings the survivors to vivid life ... Packed with evocative details and colorful personalities, this immersive history captures the tragic consequences of \'gold fever.\'
PositiveKirkusA tangy tale ... Castner...has a fine time depicting the salty, seldom virtuous figures who drifted north to Alaska following the acquisition of the Russian territory in the purchase known as \'Seward’s Folly\' ... There’s a lot of swagger and a lot of swishing skirts in Castner’s pages, rife with entertaining accounts of all seven deadly sins ... A vigorous historical page-turner packed with a cast of decidedly colorful (and off-color) actors.
Patrick Radden Keefe
RavePublishers WeeklyHistory repeats itself and disaster ensues in this sweeping saga of the rise and fall of the family behind OxyContin ... It\'s an altogether damning portrait...richly detailed and vividly written. Readers will be outraged and enthralled in equal measure.
RaveKirkusNone of these difficulties prevent the author from offering outstanding recipes for traditional fruity treats such as jams, jellies, pies, syrups, and smoothies. She also discusses such delightfully unexpected home and self-care items as paper and cloth dye, lip balm, skin care masks, and even hiker’s toilet paper (thimbleberry leaves). What makes Lebo’s collection so distinctive is the way she interweaves stories about her own life into her celebrations of the fruits ... Eloquent, well-researched, and thoughtfully conceived and organized, this genre-defying book will appeal to foodies as well as those who appreciate both fine writing and the pleasures of domestic arts and crafts ... A one-of-a-kind reading experience.
RavePublishers Weekly... [a] sensationally chaotic compendium ... Each chapter features a different hard-to-wrangle fruit, a discussion of its history and usages, and witty medicinal and culinary recipes, and are leavened with pungently wrought memoir. In these tangential turns, Lebo never fails to surprise. On the recipe front, many concoctions feel like the result of hard-won battles—one imagines Lebo’s kitchen overflowing with sticky pots and jars—with cravings-inducing taste-combinations such as a barley soup with fennel sausage and \'faceclock greens\' or vanilla bean cake with buttercream. Unusual and piquant, this off-kilter collection will hit the spot with readers hungry for something a little different.
PositiveBookreporterA mystery with the fascinating Mitford sisters at its heart, The Mitford Trial is the fourth installment in the Mitford Murders series, inspired by a real-life murder in a story full of intrigue.
MixedPublishers WeeklyIn 1933, a few months after the Nazis take power in Germany, former Mitford family servant Louisa Cannon is approached by Iain, a British government agent, in bestseller Fellowes’s subpar fourth Mitford Murders mystery ... Flash-forwards to a murder trial with two defendants in 1935 inject some suspense, but this isn’t enough to make up for an uninspired plot. Series fans will hope for a return to form next time.
J. Robert Lennon
PositivePublishers WeeklyLennon deploys his trademark off-kilter, acrimonious humor in this arresting collection ... If some of the pieces fail to elicit more than a smirk or a nod, there are plenty that dig deep. Lennon has talent to spare.
RavePublishers WeeklyIn this riveting account, Coen paints a vivid picture of underworld Chicago while detailing one man’s quest to close a cold case ... Along the way, Coen details the history of the mob in Chicago and the corruption within the city’s police department. With this fascinating survey, Coen burnishes his reputation as a top-notch crime writer.
PositiveKirkusFigliuzzi rightly notes that an exceptional organization maintains high ethical standards, but the way the author communicates his concepts is not as potent as some would expect from a former special agent ... Though Figliuzzi offers explanations of the principles that guide the FBI, the text is largely a series of anecdotes. Many organizations could stand to implement the FBI’s purported moral uprightness, but the book is not a how-to manual ... The author relates events through James Comey’s departure and the early pandemic. Perhaps the clandestine nature of the FBI prevents Figliuzzi from telling us what we really want to hear, or maybe it’s just too soon. A surprisingly middle-of-the-road book.
PositivePublishers WeeklySwedish author Niemi draws on classic murder mystery elements for a sumptuous, deeply informed historical account of 19th-century Lutheran revivalist Lars Levi Laestadius and his adopted son, Jussi, a Sami runaway who narrates most of the novel ... While the plot isn’t likely to leave mystery aficionados baffled, it provides a lively framework for a story that, in other hands might have been devoted to sermon writing and leaf examination. Niemi’s sensitive approach to cultural differences and sharp interest in period details make this worthwhile.
RavePublishers Weekly... a stunning, heartbreaking study of one woman’s struggle against fate and circumstance in an America that’s left her behind ... This gritty page-turner sings with pitch-perfect prose, and Lynette’s desperation is palpable. Vlautin has achieved a brilliant synthesis of Raymond Carver and Jim Thompson.
RaveKirkus... propulsive ... This book plays out like a modern noir take on a Tennessee Williams play, its desperate characters harboring old resentments, its hard-luck heroine settling scores throughout a long, bloody night in her hometown of Portland, Oregon ... Vlautin has written a soulful thriller for the age of soulless gentrification ... A working-class drama finds the grit beneath Portland\'s gentrification.
PositiveKirkus... dense ... The author’s level of detail will daunt casual readers, but those who like their history long and leisurely will enjoy his approach. He offers similarly in-depth treatments of various juicy scandals among the Marlborough House Set, the louche circle formed around the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII), and he shows how they were examples of the triviality and sexual hypocrisy of Britain’s upper classes ... Heffer comes across as middle-of-the-road politically and socially: He deplores Britain’s economic inequality and imperial injustices, but he depicts the strikes of trade union activists and the protests of militant suffragettes as provocative and needlessly divisive. Judicious but brief passages about the period’s culture, including exegeses of such paradigmatic works as John Galsworthy’s play Strife and H.G Wells’ novel Ann Veronica, somewhat leaven the heavy overall focus on political maneuvers ... Fans of sturdy, traditional history will appreciate this comprehensive survey.
PositivePublishers Weekly... dazzling ... While the stakes feel a bit lower as the final ploy plays out, the sharp characterizations bring humor and contemplation in equal measure, touching on the pressures Neil and Anita face to produce a legacy that honors their parents’ sacrifices. Sathian’s bildungsroman isn’t one to miss.
PositiveKirkus... a refreshing tweak of the assimilation novel ... Just as Sathian artfully and convincingly conjures a world in which such a drink exists, she sensitively exposes how its powers backfire ... Sathian’s shifts into romance- and heist-novel tropes in the late going aren’t always graceful, but she does a fine job of showing how the ladder-climbing, Ivy League–or-bust fixations of Neil and Anita’s community lead to hollow grown-up behavior. (Especially when blended with all-American go-getter–ism; Neil acquires robust Adderall and coke habits.) Sathian has a knack for page-turner prose, but the story has plenty of heft ... A winningly revamped King Midas tale.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThe band’s ups and downs, which included the death of drummer Martin Lamble in a road accident and decisions about replacing members, vividly detail the challenges of maintaining a joint creative enterprise. Along the way, Thompson convincingly argues Fairport Convention left a legacy by electrifying traditional English folk songs, and delineates the artistic impulses behind his decision to quit Fairport Convention to perform with his wife, Linda. Thompson extensively quotes his lyrics and isn’t shy about digging into his creative process, but even so, those less familiar with his music will have a bit of a tough time getting into the swing of things. But readers who regard Thompson as a major figure in the arts will consider this a must-read.
MixedKirkusFor anyone who has heard Thompson classics like Walking on a Wire or I Want To See the Bright Lights Tonight, it’s no surprise that he knows how to tell a story and turn a phrase. He offers plenty of insight into the early days of Fairport Convention and its ever changing lineup along with charming anecdotes about getting stopped by German customs agents for carrying laundry soap in his bag or how his family name went from Thomson to Thompson due to a printing error on a brass nameplate his great-grandfather bought for his front door ... As the narrative progresses, it becomes clear that there are subjects he is happy to discuss—his quest for religious fulfillment or his career as a session musician—and those he is not, including his courting and breakup with Linda or his family life. The holes may not have been as noticeable if the text didn’t move chronologically, using albums and tours to move the narrative forward rather than the major events of his life. That combination leads to awkward placeholders that could have been emotional centerpieces ... Fans of Thompson’s music will enjoy the stories behind his career, but those new to his cool style may find it a little cold.
PositiveKirkus... respectful yet critical ... Booth skillfully recaps signal events of Bell’s youth in Edinburgh, his down-to-the-wire battle with Elisha Gray to patent the telephone, his marriage to his deaf student Mabel Hubbard and subsequent American citizenship, and his friendships with Helen Keller and others ... At a time when \'less than 8 percent of deaf children grow up with regular sign language access,\' this ardent book is likely to reignite debates over what constitutes justice for the Deaf community ... A well-written biography reveals less-familiar aspects of the life of the famed inventor.
PositivePublishers Weekly... impassioned and scrupulously researched ... Booth uses moving anecdotes about her deaf grandparents and great-aunt to illustrate the psychologically corrosive effects of oralism, and notes the irony that Bell, who saw the education of the deaf as his most important work, came to believe that the world would be better with fewer deaf people in it. Enriched with vivid sketches of Bell’s wife, Mabel Hubbard, and other historical figures, including Helen Keller, this revelatory history deserves a wide readership.
PositivePublishers WeeklySportswriter Epplin debuts with an inspirational account of the rise of the newly racially integrated 1940s Cleveland Indians, focusing on four remarkable men—players Larry Doby, Bob Feller, and Satchel Paige, and team owner Bill Veeck ... The thrilling game-by-game survey of the Indians’ roller-coaster season culminates in a rousing World Series win. Epplin’s epic saga is simultaneously a riveting drama and a searing portrait of the racism that plagued baseball for decades. This sharp and well-documented history will be a hit with baseball lovers and general interest readers alike.
PositiveKirkusA vigorous history of a little-known episode in the integration of professional sports ... Quite apart from his role in bringing Black players into the game (Doby considered him a second father), Veeck also pioneered between-innings giveaways, pregame shows, postgame firework displays, and other standard tropes of modern pro baseball, contributions that have been largely unsung. Social and sports history meet capably in this eventful account, a boon for baseball fans.
RavePublishers WeeklyLyndsey Duncan, one of two female CIA officers at the center of this quiet but gripping espionage thriller from Katsu, has just returned to CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., her reputation tainted by an affair she had with a British intelligence officer in Lebanon ... Katsu, a former intelligence analyst, captures the thorny but oddly intimate alliance between two CIA officers who share an adversarial relationship with their employer, while providing an intriguing look at the day-to-day office politics and jostling that goes on behind Langley’s walls. Best known for her novels of psychological terror, Katsu shows a sure hand at a new genre.
RavePublishers WeeklyIn this searing memoir, novelist Frangello charts the spectacular highs and devastating lows of her midlife with extraordinary candor ... Frangello describes this bold and tumultuous period of her life in intimate and remarkable detail, and despite the tumult celebrates her own resilience. This unapologetic account both moves and fascinates.
Bo-Young Kim tr. Sophie Bowman and Sung Ryu
RaveKirkusPlaying with notions of immortality and toying with improbable transgressions of the laws of physics, Kim delivers a suite of stories that is at once lyrical and full of foreboding, keeping dramatic tension tight among poetic evocations of a home planet that is \'our hall of learning, our cradle of experiences, our short-term interactive training ground,\' if one we have also destroyed ... Much of the best science fiction today is coming from East Asia, and Kim’s work ranks high in that emerging tradition.
RavePublishers Weekly... captivating ... She doesn’t sugarcoat the disappointments that came her way, instead recalling them with a self-awareness that allows balance for her marriage, motherhood, and national tours. While the author’s rise to fame was impressive, it is her raw emotion that resonates after the book’s end.
RaveKirkusCarlile has quite a story to tell ... Throughout the narrative, Carlile shows acute grace and clarity as she follows her navigation of certain rites of passage ... Along with lyrics and snapshots that suggest a scrapbook, the author provides crucial behind-the-scenes insight into her rise to stardom. Especially illuminating are her descriptions of the process of creating such songs as \'The Story\' and \'The Joke\' showing how her personal struggles strengthened her art. The story builds to her Grammy triumphs, her role in the Highwomen supergroup, her co-production of childhood hero Tanya Tucker, and her friendships with Joni Mitchell, Elton John, and the Obamas. With plenty more likely to come, the memoir ends on a high note ... An intimate, life-affirming look at a musician whose artistic journey is far from over.
Maki Kashimada tr. Haydn Trowell
PositiveKirkus... ably translated ... a delicate, layered exploration of family, trauma, and memory ... While this story links thematically to Touring the Land of the Dead through its portrayal of a family in unglamorous circumstances, uncertainty in one\'s sense of self, and aberrant manifestations of familial bonds, it doesn\'t quite rise to its rarefied level ... An intriguing introduction to a significant voice in contemporary Japanese fiction.
Sharman Apt Russell
PositiveKirkus... heartening ... an engrossing, modestly optimistic narrative about a sadly evergreen issue ... Readers may have mixed feelings over the emphasis on private enterprise, but with humanitarian groups overstretched and leaders in many developing nations largely indifferent, there are few alternatives ... A sensible, encouraging account of progress (if not a \'revolution\') in feeding hungry children.
Sharman Apt Russell
PositivePublishers WeeklyExpansively reported and gracefully written, this cautiously optimistic account brings an important yet underreported issue to the fore.
Caleb Azumah Nelson
RavePublishers WeeklyNelson’s breathtaking lyrical debut employs a love story to explore systemic racism and the cultural impact of Black artists. Set primarily in London and told in second person, the novel follows a young unnamed Black photographer as he forges an artistic working relationship with a friend’s ex ... The result is consistently powerful.
PositivePublishers WeeklyDarznik is adept at depicting Dorothea’s evolving worldview as well as San Francisco a decade after the earthquake, a \'world of raw possibility,\' especially for women artists (at least until they marry). Less successful are the novel’s largely superfluous closing chapter and epilogue, which gloss over the following decades of Lange’s life and more familiar photographic work. Still, Darznik’s rich and rewarding introduction to Lange’s early milieu makes this worthwhile.
PositiveKirkus... captivating ... Dorothea Lange springs to life .. Darznik, with a keen eye to history, weaves real artists and historic events into an engaging story of struggle and success. Though the book is set more than 100 years ago, it feels powerfully contemporary ... A powerful novel about a woman who shuns convention to follow her passion.
J. Robert Lennon
RaveKirkus... askew, uncanny—and consistently compelling ... The tone is surreal and the result sometimes, à la Kafka, darkly funny. The novel features elements of the picaresque (she is Alice, or perhaps Gulliver), but it also has the everyday-suburban-made-strange-and-luminous quality of Steven Millhauser and the gleefully absurd, improvised feel of César Aira. Eventually the narrator\'s other, prior world starts to bleed through, and the reader gains tools that help to illuminate the mystery, if not quite (and bless Lennon for this) solve it ... Sharp, inventive—and disorienting in all the good ways.
J. Robert Lennon
PositivePublishers Weekly... deliriously inventive ... Lennon strikes a delicate balance, and the surreal story is only occasionally weighed down with overwriting ... This is an impressive marriage of a vibrant, tortuous fever dream and an unsentimental meditation on life and death.
PositivePublishers WeeklyLowell conjures vivid characters in this intelligent Victorian romance ... The corruption they uncover provides plenty of atmospheric intrigue, deepened by Lowell’s willingness to engage with ideas of gender, class, and empire, and by the complexity of the characters. Anthony struggles with self-doubt after a lifetime of being belittled, while sharp-eyed Lucy is refreshingly unwilling to indulge his vices or to throw away her dreams in favor of passion. Seasoned readers may predict the fates of both Lucy’s painting and Anthony’s sister, but will be too invested in the characters to mind.
PositiveKirkusLowell’s prose is vivid and evocative, and issues such as class inequity, women’s rights, and alcohol addiction complement the intense on-page evolution of the love story. Some elements may be too neatly resolved, but those looking for a happy-ever-after for complex and passionate characters will be very satisfied here ... A new voice in historical romance that will keep readers riveted.
RavePublishers Weekly... riveting ... O’Rawe channels both Elmore Leonard and Guy Ritchie in this heist thriller full of sharp twists and gritty dialogue, emerging with a style all his own. His reimagining of the real-life bank heist feels so authentic readers will hope he has a strong alibi. Ken Bruen fans won’t want to miss this one.
RavePublishers Weekly... [an] exuberant, meticulously researched debut ... Though this sweeping effort takes some time to build momentum, the payoff is deeply satisfying. Williams’s feminist take on language will move readers.
PositiveKirkusWilliams provides readers with detailed background and biographical information pointing to extensive research about the OED and its editors, many of whom appear as characters in Esme’s life. The result is a satisfying amalgam of truth and historical fiction. Who tells your story? Williams illuminates why women needed to be in the room where, and when, it’s written.
RavePublishers WeeklyScience journalist Wald debuts with a thoughtful and funny survey ... At home with an awkward topic, the author lucidly discusses \'pee-cycling\' (including the extraction of phosphorous from urine to be used as agricultural fertilizer) and myriad designs for water-conserving toilets. The green-minded will find this insightful and entertaining study to be a fresh angle on a perhaps underappreciated environmental concern.
PositiveKirkusToilet humor is one thing, but toilet fact, as digested by skilled science writer Wald, is quite another ... Arriving at new toilet designs figures into much of this lucid narrative, with solutions that produce biodegradable concrete coatings and fertilizer ... A highly informative, well-reasoned call to rethink the throne.
PositivePublishers Weekly... another charming contemporary romance, which maintains a fun, energetic mood while tackling serious themes of prejudice ... Hana and Aydin’s late-in-book romance feels like a bland but believable add-on to their budding friendship. The social dynamics at the radio station and in Toronto’s Indian communities are the real highlights, bound by just enough plot to move the story forward smoothly. Jalaluddin’s fans won’t want to miss this.
PositiveKirkusJalaluddin has a keen ear for rapid-fire dialogue and lively characters who add plenty of color. Hana’s feistiness and occasional impulsiveness make her an endearing protagonist, and you\'ll root for her especially when darker events threaten to torpedo the carefully constructed community festival her family has cobbled together. Certain predictable plot elements notwithstanding, there’s plenty of lighthearted whimsy to warm a reader’s heart. A delicious treat filled with South Asian fervor and Canadian heart.
S. Kirk Walsh
RavePublishers Weekly... [a] charming debut ... Hettie’s devotion to Violet forms the emotional core of this novel, which does an excellent job of recreating daily life in Belfast during WWII. Hettie and Violet’s bond is one to treasure.
S. Kirk Walsh
PositiveKirkusThe concept sounds whimsical, but this is not a light or frivolous novel ... As Walsh sets the stage for the bombing, though, sometimes the novel feels padded out, with interludes that don’t add up to much. On occasion Hettie’s behavior feels too impulsive and unlikely, robbing her of any common sense. Still, Walsh offers a unique perspective of a country at war and the lengths people will go for those they love. A fresh perspective on painful losses during wartime.
RavePublishers WeeklyVerdon’s brilliant seventh mystery featuring retired NYPD homicide detective Dave Gurney...showcases a nifty impossible crime variant ... The surprises keep coming as the plot builds to an impressive reveal. Verdon has never been better at crafting a bizarre setup and resolving it in a satisfactory way.
MixedKirkusThe residents of Larchfield are an admirably unlovable bunch, seething with resentments and snubbed privilege, and Gurney and his wife are pleasantly down-to-earth, but overall the plot mechanics reach too far beyond the merely astonishing. Well-drawn characters and a dynamic situation but in the end, just a bit too much.
Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
PositiveKirkus... the characters\' working worlds are depicted in absorbing detail ... this novel is far quieter than Sweeney\'s hit debut...and the characters are less well developed. We should know Flora best, but Margot is more clearly drawn (which would be no surprise to Flora, always second fiddle). While a little thin, plotwise, Sweeney\'s second novel lives up to its title: warm, witty, and interesting.
Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
MixedPublishers Weekly... disappointing ... While the deliciously flawed characters are well developed, the lackluster climax and drawn-out therapy scenes involving Flora and Julian are less successful. In the end, readers will long for more drama in a story of people whose lives are steeped in it.
RavePublishers Weekly... [a] sprawling, eloquent debut ... Diofebi pieces together a revealing mosaic of the city. In between he lays bare the cold machinations of casino operators, such as a series of layoffs of nonunion female employees revealed in an exposé by Lindsay, the fallout described by Diofebi with scathing precision. With intelligence and empathy, Diofebi delivers a powerful and unapologetic slice of Americana.
RaveKirkusThis sprawling, delightful debut book captures the artificial worlds within worlds in the casinos ... The author, who spent several years as a professional poker player (both online and live), knows these people and their habitats, and he brings them to life in colorful, page-turning detail; even if you’ve been to Vegas, he makes you feel as if you’re seeing it with fresh eyes. Even when he gets a little too cute—for instance, footnoting Ray’s inside-poker jargon—there’s something around the corner to make it all worthwhile. This is a tremendously funny book, but it earns its laughs through human frailty. It makes fun of the powerful and the ridiculous, but even then there’s nothing easy ... An intimate epic set in a virtual but deeply human world.
RaveKirkusA complex portrait of sexual abuse set in the world of pre-Olympic equestrian competition ... Debut novelist Mihalic takes us inside a life of extreme privilege, equestrian “eventing”—a kind of horse-based triathlon—and sexual predation with Roan Montgomery, a feisty 15-year-old Olympian-to-be who confides her story in a cleareyed narration ... To the author’s credit, this is no poor-little-rich-girl story. Rather, Mihalic complicates the narrative at every turn, creating a disturbing and flinty picture of what abuse, psychological control, and rage look like. The emotions Roan feels toward her father are multilayered and confusing, speaking to the gnarled nature of their relationship ... A searing examination of love and lust, power and control, as the narrator’s rising sense of self yearns to take the reins.
RavePublishers WeeklyMihalic’s taut, bracing debut takes a daringly understated approach to its exploration of sexual abuse ... Mihalic has a firm grasp of the intricacies of competitive riding, and she grounds her narrative in a sense of the day by day, or even minute by minute, decisions involved in negotiating its dangers, which gives a reader an understanding of why Roan might hope the danger her father presents can also be contained and navigated. As the dread the novel evokes grows increasingly overwhelming, the reader is torn between that perspective and the knowledge that, from an objective point of view, Roan is dealing with a monster. The novel takes every narrative hurdle as nimbly and astonishingly capably as Roan does the courses she rides. This is a powerhouse.
RaveKirkusA homecoming spurs a strange family’s transformation ... Extended chapters with long, florid descriptions of the setting make the story drag somewhat. Keeping the tale tightly tied to an atmospheric old mansion and a reclusive, tightknit, supernaturally dysfunctional family gives it an almost claustrophobic feel. The decline of an old family with European roots is a classic theme in literature, here given horror-novel elements, with a slowness and complexity best suited for patient older readers. Shadowy, gothic, labyrinthine.
Victor L Wooten
PositiveKirkusThe renowned bassist takes readers on a loopy, decidedly unique tour of the enigmatic realm of music. A founding member of the jazz-tinged bluegrass (or perhaps bluegrass-tinged jazz) group Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, Wooten, a five-time Grammy winner who clearly thinks deeply about matters of art and philosophy, opens with the observation that people are recruited by an enigmatic force to make music ... Part exhortation, part New Age–ish memoir, part philosophical treatise, Wooten’s book is full of surprising and illuminating lessons along with some learned guesswork ... A sometimes puzzling yet always rewarding delight for music fans of a mystical bent.
Victor L Wooten
RavePublishers Weeklya remarkable fable in which music is dying ... In Wizard-Of-Oz–like fashion, he meets up with and befriends fellow musicians along the way and at story’s end discovers that the only way to defeat the Phasers is through the passion and spontaneity of live performance. This allegorical foray into the power of music is both heartfelt and wildly imaginative. Music lovers will adore this sparkling manifesto.
RavePublishers WeeklyPart elegy, part protest, Borzutzky’s writing doesn’t \'worry about the wound the poem must fit neatly into today.\' Rather, he offers a panoramic and formally various investigation of the evils of capitalism, imperialism, and white supremacy ... Above all, these pages capture the pain of being alive, and the reality that it is \'the living who are dying of so much living,\' as they endure loss, debt, anxiety, and fear ... Borzutzky captures the endless and ordinary pain of life in America ... Borzutzky’s arresting writing sings and stuns as it addresses difficult, painful truths.
RaveKirkusReaders who only know Lemon from his high-profile gig as a CNN anchor will be pleasantly surprised by his abundant prose skills ... Lemon strikes a nice balance between the personal and the political, sharing moments of his life with his fiance, Tim, and his family, dealt a severe blow by the death of his sister, Leisa. Throughout, the author demonstrates an impressive ability to loop it all together and make it stick. He puts 2020 in context and gives it the language to sing a quietly outraged song. Long on context and analysis, this is a vital book for these times.
MixedPublishers WeeklyCNN host Lemon...ruminates in this lyrical yet diffuse account on the legacy of white supremacy in America ... he meanders across well-trod ground, losing some of the thrust of his arguments. Readers will savor the well-honed language, but wish for stronger substance.
PositivePublishers WeeklyItalian novelist Sartori delivers a witty tale of family resilience and a dangerous, homemade AI bot ... While Sartori tends to pile on the similes and rushes his conclusion, the characters’ antics escalate in inventive and unexpected ways. This is worth a spin.
RaveKirkusA veteran historian and journalist pulls together many historical threads in this portrait of the \'battle for the Middle East…one of the critical fronts of World War II.\' ... Gorenberg delivers historically accurate and fascinating descriptions of Bletchley Park as a collection of smart, workaholic men and women that included a sprinkling of geniuses ... Gorenberg’s gimlet eye reveals a remarkably unheroic Rommel, unimaginative British generalship, know-it-all American leadership, and a delightful cast of colonial officials, family, unhappy Egyptian royalty, Arab nationalists, adventurers, and even two bumbling Nazi spies out of central casting. The author also includes a helpful cast of characters, divided by country, and a list of relevant intelligence and security agencies. Sure to be among the year’s best histories of World War II.
PositivePublishers WeeklyJournalist Gorenberg explores the battle for North Africa and the Middle East during WWII in this richly detailed yet somewhat impenetrable history ... Weaving Middle Eastern politics with the history of cryptography, profiles of Allied and Axis codebreakers, and technical descriptions of battlefield campaigns, Gorenberg at times bites off more than he can chew ... Gorenberg gathers a wealth of intriguing material, but occasionally loses the thread of the narrative amid the jumble of military acronyms and the large cast of characters. This deeply researched account is best-suited to WWII completists.
RavePublishers Weekly... a powerful memoir about overcoming life\'s obstacles ... It\'s impossible not to fall for Winn\'s beautiful prose and her fierce advocacy for her husband. Her descriptive powers pull readers in, and the pacing is pitch-perfect. This powerful narrative proves the resilience of the human spirit and stuns with its grace.
RaveKirkusHer descriptions are highly visual, often poetic. There are passages so perfectly apt, melancholy, or achingly lovely that you want to stop and live inside the text, though occasionally she loses control and begins to romanticize. Yet Winn’s talent is undeniable, as is her capacity to locate the profound amid the din of modern life. We see her embrace change, from self-imposed isolation and total emotional reliance on Moth to embracing new possibilities. A memorable celebration of a \'silent enmeshing of lives lived in unison,\' a potent marriage of heart and mind.
Peter Ames Carlin
PositivePublishers WeeklyMusic journalist Carlin relays in his characteristic colorful style how music mogul Mo Ostin built Warner Bros. Records into an industry leader ... Those looking for a gossipy tell-all won’t find one here; Ostin stuck with a formula, trusted and invested in his artists, took the music seriously, and honored the intelligence and taste of his customers. This brisk portrait of the man who made Warner Bros. into a powerhouse offers essential reading on the business and history of popular music.
Peter Ames Carlin
PositiveKirkusThe author of biographies of McCartney, Simon, and Springsteen delivers a fast-paced, overstuffed history of the storied record label ... Ostin and his cowboys rode off into a sunset that grows ever darker as the record business declines, but Carlin captures their glory days without sentimentality or untoward nostalgia. Not as much fun as Almost Famous, but fans of LP–era rock will enjoy Carlin’s knowledgeable deep dive.
PositiveKirkus\"Mosse keeps a firm grip on the extremely complex Reformation history in which her characters are enmeshed. The role of Vidal in the plot is less successfully executed. The aging and ailing prelate appears too overtly crazy to fulfill his intended role as mastermind and nemesis. And there may be too many minutely described stabbings for some tastes.Thrills aplenty as readers await the next installment of this well-researched series.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThe fascinating historical detail fuels the drama and keeps the plot zipping along. Wilbur Smith fans will want to check this one out.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThe daughter of a Russian noble joins the French Resistance in the suspenseful latest from Abriel ... While an abrupt conclusion will leave readers wanting more, Lana’s quest to avenge her husband’s death is enhanced by vivid details of the German occupation of France. Abriel’s fast-paced revenge story will please fans of WWII fiction.
RaveBookreporter\" a riveting and heartfelt story of a young woman recruited to be a spy for the resistance on the French Riviera during World War II ... a sweeping and suspenseful tale of survival and second chances during some of the darkest days of history.
PositivePublishers WeeklyWhile the dialogue is a bit wooden at times, Scottoline expertly brings historical events to life. Fans of WWII fiction will be drawn to this immersive, emotional novel.
MixedKirkusScottoline struggles mightily to bring her sorely tried characters alive through their love for each other, but they mostly remain pawns of history who believe till the end that \'the Vatican will intervene, of course.\' A heartfelt but schematic wartime tear-jerker.
PositivePublishers Weekly... informative ... Lay readers may find Winant’s academic prose and copious data points slow-going, but those with a background in labor history and economics will be rewarded by this incisive deep dive.
Quiara Alegría Hudes
RaveKirkus... a tender yet defiant tale ... elegant and moving ... The text often reads like poetry, but it is also playful, the author toying with the barriers of language, and the narrative is propelled by the urgent notion that community matters in a world designed to push the have-nots further into the margins. It’s rewarding to see how, with the help of a loving mother and support network, Hudes derived power from her own culture and found success ... If the author’s worst fear is to be silent, she can rest assured that this memoir speaks volumes ... A beautifully written account of the importance of culture and family in a small but powerful community.
Quiara Alegría Hudes
RavePublishers Weekly... astonishing ... The fine-tuned storytelling is studded with sharply turned phrases ... This heartfelt, glorious exploration of identity and authorship will be a welcome addition to the literature of Latinx lives.
MixedKirkusPoignant vignettes ... This theme—of one reality nesting within another and people being tethered to each other, their specific neighborhoods, and the stories that preceded them—plays throughout the multiple strands, depicting the connections the characters may share with each other, but it’s only the thinnest of filaments. The novel reads like a striking literary version of the movie My Dinner With Andre, each narrator riffing on life and beauty, the joys of the city coupled with the heartbreak of human existence ... Line by line, the writing is beautiful, crisp, and keen-eyed. The stories, alas, never add up to more than a series of compellingly rendered mosaic tiles, lacking the sharp trajectory of a short story and the slow-building resolution of a novel ... Readers looking for more than freshly executed moments honoring NYC and its dwellers may be disappointed.
MixedPublishers Weekly... rich if diffuse ... Lewis finds great beauty in his descriptions, though the many threads drift and occasionally feel unresolved, particularly the late speculative concept of a half-real, half-mechanical bunny sold by street vendors that acts to spread a deadly flu in The Winter Market. While the character-driven sequences are stylishly conceived and nuanced, the fragmented pieces fall short of completing a bigger picture. Readers will find themselves wishing for a little more.
Yxta Maya Murray
PositivePublishers Weekly... a fascinating if uneven portrait of a Latinx artist as she struggles to balance life and art. The narrative takes the form of a shifting series of Wikipedia entries, snippets of confessional autobiography, blog entries, Snapchats, Instagram posts, marketing copy, and unpublished Yelp reviews as Los Angeles performance artist Amanda Ruiz navigates identity, the difficulties of making art as a marginalized woman, and a desire for love ... While long passages of art criticism serve only to restate themes evident in the primary narrative, such as the art world’s white hegemony, Amanda’s story feels immediate. Murray’s attempt to challenge traditional narrative structure along with definitions of sexuality and art takes on a bit too much.
RaveKirkusThis is probably the most literal iteration of McGuire’s ongoing argument that biology is not destiny. The author can’t seem to stay away from transmitting these messages over and over, both in this series and in her other works, but she does transmit them beautifully, and some people may need to read them over and over, either for reassurance or to let the ideas sink in ... Possibly preachy, but usefully so, and eloquently expressed.
RavePublishers WeeklyMcGuire pulls off another hit ... McGuire conjures a distinctive, remarkable world to nurture Regan’s moving coming-of-age. Series devotees will not want to miss this standalone addition, and anyone who appreciates off-the-beaten-path adventures will be swept away.
RaveKirkus... the series returns to top form after a spell of doldrums in Kopp Sisters on the March (2019) ... The fictional opportunities [Stewart] dangles for her three feisty protagonists at the novel’s close will leave readers eager for the next installment ... Smart, fun, staunchly feminist entertainment.
M. A. Carrick
RavePublishers Weekly... intricately detailed doorstopper ... The authors devote much of this volume to detailing the names, places, and belief systems of this sometimes tediously complex world, causing the pace to drag. But readers who persevere will be rewarded with a tightly laced plot dripping with political intrigue. Carrick has built a strong foundation for things to come.
PositiveKirkusWhat seems simple and predictable turns complex and surprising in this thriller ... The swiftly paced, action-dominated plot rushes headlong from its outset ... Brisk, terse, and diverting.
MixedPublishers Weekly... disappointing ... Petrie expertly handles the rotating points of view, but the big finale—an extended shoot-out between Peter’s gang and an army of Holloway’s lethal, highly intelligent robots—isn’t entirely persuasive. The action, supercharged with 007-style threats, builds to a rather abrupt conclusion. Series fans will hope that Peter returns to his old-school heroism next time around.
PositivePublishers Weekly... persuasive and methodical ... With carefully selected examples and lucid prose, Konczal makes a convincing case that the American project has long depended on rigorous regulation of capitalism. Progressive voters and policy makers will find plenty of ammunition for their arguments in this cogent history.
RaveKirkusThe prolific VanderMeer moves from fantasy into noir territory with this version of an eco-thriller ... It wouldn’t be a VanderMeer story, no matter what the genre, without a post-apocalyptic turn, and after all the assorted villains (one of them in particular very evil indeed) and oversized amphibians and mad-scientist taxidermists and exploding heads, it’s sort of nice to get to a future that no one will survive—one that strongly resembles 2020, for that matter. A daring change of genres, and an entertaining whirlwind at that.
RavePublishers Weekly...this striking mix of thriller and biotech speculative fiction from VanderMeer (Dead Astronauts) charts a seemingly mad quest by its anonymous narrator ... Exquisite prose pulls the reader deep into the labyrinthine plot. VanderMeer reinforces his place as one of today’s most innovative writers.
RavePublishers Weekly... outstanding ... Rachel’s no female Jack Reacher, but she’s tough physically and morally—even while struggling with qualms about her own past actions and terrified of what could happen to Eric and her daughter, Megan. Readers will cheer her every step of the way. This powerful family-values thriller is a convincing, moving performance.
RavePublishers WeeklyWickenden expertly weaves together the biographies of \'co-conspirators and intimate friends\' Harriet Tubman, Martha Wright, and Frances Seward in this novelistic history ... Through extensive research and fluid writing, Wickenden rescues Wright and Seward from obscurity and provides a new perspective on Tubman’s life and work. This is an essential addition to the history of American progressivism.
PositiveKirkusWickenden braids together the intersecting threads of their lives and accomplishments into a highly readable, instructive historical narrative ... in the strength of the bonds forged among Wright, Seward, and Tubman, Wickenden offers hope for a healing of old wounds and a future where \'the dignity and equality of all Americans\' is an authentic reality ... A well-researched, sharp portrait of the \'protagonists in an inside-out story about the second American revolution.\'
PositiveKirkusBreaking down the messy nature of Donald Trump’s hard-line China policy and how China took advantage of the relationship ... It doesn’t make for heartening reading, but Rogin covers it comprehensively. An exhaustive study that leaves open the question of whether the Biden administration can maintain a steadier hand.
PositivePublishers WeeklyWashington Post columnist Rogin debuts with a deeply reported look at U.S.-China relations during the Trump presidency. Contending that the administration’s instinct to confront China over trade and national security matters was the right one, Rogin details how internal divisions between trade policy adviser Peter Navarro, treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin, chief of staff John Kelly, and others led to a disjointed, chaotic approach ... Packing the account with insider details, Rogin makes a persuasive case that confronting China’s rise is essential to world affairs. Readers will appreciate this in-depth look behind the headlines.
PositiveKirkusThe first half of the novel is a delicious guilty pleasure: hyperbolic descriptions of the glamorous superficiality that we all suspect lies at the heart of most Instagram lives and experiences. But the second half takes us to a darker place as Lloyd explores the pitfalls of living a life on the internet, especially when that life involves kids. How can we ever assume privacy and safety? And when does the line between persona and person no longer exist? Despite a rather melodramatic climax and rushed conclusion, this one will get under your skin. Silence your notifications and lock the doors, then indulge in this delightfully distasteful, cozily creepy thriller.
PositivePublishers WeeklySome of the multilayered plot’s more nefarious twists strain credulity, but clever red herrings, sharply drawn characters, and steadily mounting dread largely compensate. Lloyd dramatically highlights the artificiality of influencer culture and the toxicity of society’s social media obsession.
PanKirkusWell-liked in their Maine hometown, [Annie and Sam] came back after college to run a sandwich shop with a sub so popular it\'s a tourist attraction ... Each chapter of Medwed\'s first novel in 12 years starts with a quote from the manual—\'Women like flowers,\' \'Don\'t let your underwear become tattered,\' \'Change the answering machine to your own voice\'—and longer excerpts are also included, featuring quite a bit of urging that, as a widower, Sam seek comfort from Annie\'s lifelong best friend, Rachel. Though the doctor continues to insist she tell both Sam and her mother (a famous actress who\'s been worthless as a parent and is now, after many husbands, this doctor\'s girlfriend) and also to please, please consult a specialist for a second opinion, Annie sees no rush. If you\'re gonna die, you\'re gonna die. Despite the utter unbelievability of every other plot element, you still end up craving one of those sandwiches.
PanPublishers WeeklyMedwed (Of Men and Their Mothers) returns with an underwhelming tale of a woman with marital and maternal woes ... plot twists that rely on Annie’s almost pathological unwillingness to examine her life until the well-connected Ursula sweeps her off to New York to see a specialist. Medwed’s tendency to repeat key facts over and over, such as Sam’s depression and Ursula’s selfishness, gives the whole affair an unpolished feel. With a passive protagonist at the center, this is a bit of a slog.
PositivePublishers WeeklyChristofi traces Dostoyevsky’s miserable childhood, tempestuous adulthood, and novel-writing career, but also introduces readers to the women in Dostoyevsky’s life ... Christofi’s approach pays off in his recreations of intimate scenes ... Christofi succeeds in revealing Dostoyevsky’s personality in ways no ordinary biographical treatment could.
PositiveKirkusAn exploration of the tumultuous intimate relationships of the canonical Russian author and how they informed his work ... The narrative is both an illuminating literary biography and an evocative snapshot of the context in which the great writer created his enduring work. Dostoevsky fans are certain to find this book insightful and captivating.
RavePublishers Weekly... terrific ... Along the way, Quartey skewers Ghanaian politics, religion, and the law. Smooth prose complements the well-wrought plot. This distinctive detective series deserves a long run.
RaveKirkusA gripping setup, some workaday sleuthing, and a neatly turned solution.
PositiveKirkusAn overview of the causes of our mistrust in the institutions we once held sacred ... All readers will agree that government, industry, and other trusted bodies have failed us in one way or another, and the author provides them with ample statistical data to prove it. How best to rebuild that trust—from within or without? It would be too easy for Zuckerman to criticize skeptics and insurrectionists as cranks or lunatics. Instead, the author provides solid examples of the many insurrectionists who have upended industries ... Throughout, the author uses concrete examples to illustrate his points—sometimes too many examples. The narrative could have benefitted from a deeper focus on fewer topics. A wide-ranging, occasionally overwhelming book that condemns failed institutions and challenges us to make needed change.
PositivePublishers WeeklyMIT Media Lab scholar Zuckerman examines high levels of mistrust in social institutions across the Western world in this passionate yet somewhat meandering account ... Zuckerman examines the causes of these dissatisfactions, including rising inequality and greater public access to information (and misinformation), and offers a wide-ranging discussion of the ways in which battered institutions can be rebuilt and replaced. He draws from the works of Francis Fukuyama, Hannah Arendt, and Albert Hirschman, and references political, corporate, and social disruptions ranging from the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements to Bitcoin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX ... Readers hoping the 2020 elections bring a sea change in American politics will be galvanized by this optimistic account.
PositivePublishers WeeklyItalian novelist Maurensig spins an intriguing historical narrative of Indian chess master Malik Mir Sultan Khan (1903–1966) ... The story sputters a bit in the latter half, particularly with Sultan Khan’s bizarre rant from a psychiatric ward. Still, Maurensig’s tragic tale of genius and destiny duly salvages a forgotten hero.
PositivePublishers WeeklyCharacter sketches and nostalgic detail pepper this wide-ranging essay collection ... The memoir essays sometimes settle for simple nostalgia rather than arriving at a revelation, a dilemma Kushner seems aware of ... Still, the author’s fans will enjoy these insights into her evolution as a writer.
PositiveKirkusThe essays serve as testaments to the author’s talent for marshaling her softness into a curiosity that allows her to write capably on a variety of subjects. These include the exceptional opening essay ... A few of these pieces would have benefited from more reflection ... Still, the best essays are superb ... Fascinating insight into the development of an inquisitive, probing authorial mind.
MixedPublishers Weekly... amiable if flawed ... The tongue-in-cheek approach jars with the otherwise realistic plot. Copperman has done better.
RaveKirkusProlific Copperman launches a new series starring a defense attorney who could give Perry Mason a run for his money ... In or out of the courtroom, Copperman’s right on the money.
RaveKirkusA romp among the senile and, if you buy that, an alleged triumph of age over youth and institutions ... Is Carrington winking at us too? Probably not, for this dubious group endures rebellion and cataclysm to greet a new Ice Age. You can only wonder why. Dotty despite its lofty pretensions and symbolic props.
PositiveKirkusDespite the book’s title, Elizabeth II remains \'a benign enigma\' throughout this gossipy romp through a history of the British monarchy. Founding editor of Condé Nast Traveler and former managing editor of the Sunday Times, Irving is more revealing about the dramatic changes in British journalism throughout the 20th century ... Drawing on his own experience as an editor, reporter, and confidant of high-placed sources, Irving describes this transformation in sharp detail ... though he is an entertaining storyteller, he offers no special insight into the character of the \'safely conservative and stolid\' Elizabeth. A contributor to the BBC documentary Margaret: The Rebel Princess, Irving creates a more animated portrait of the younger sister ... Decent modern British history, with cameos by the queen.
RavePublishers WeeklyJournalist Irving (Pox Britannica) delivers a clear-eyed portrait of Queen Elizabeth II ... Irving puts his mark on a familiar story with his confident assessments and insider perspective on the British press. Royal watchers will delight in this richly detailed appraisal of the world’s oldest reigning monarch.
PositivePublishers WeeklyHarper’s broad perspective reveals the interconnectedness of these anti-colonial struggles and their reverberations more than a century later, yet the staggering level of detail may be overwhelming to lay readers. Nevertheless, Asia scholars and students of international affairs will find this revisionist history to be of exceptional value.
PositivePublishers WeeklyGupta (Chasing Life), a neurosurgeon and chief medical correspondent for CNN, offers hopeful advice on how to maintain a healthy brain in this bracing study. With many references to medical studies, he thoroughly debunks common myths about the brain ... Those looking for simplistic strategies for improving brain function and memory should look elsewhere ... Gupta is particularly effective in chapters that address those coping with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis and their caregivers; especially useful is his list of logistics for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and resources for patients and their caregivers. While Gupta’s approach to better brain health doesn’t break new ground, his optimism and the wealth of scientific information he corrals will embolden and comfort readers.
PositiveKirkusThe author’s primary concern is to nurture a resilient brain that propagates new cells, makes the ones you have work more efficiently, and is continuously enriched throughout life ... None of this is going to make your jaw drop, but they are all good reminders of their import and how we can let them slide by without much thought ... Inclusive and recognizably sturdy advice on building a healthy brain.
RavePublishers WeeklyAndersen (It Had to Be You) loads this addictive historical romance with charismatic characters and well-handled drama ... Andersen [...] does a good job handling Hattie and Jacob’s transition into lovers, though some readers will be turned off by the age gap and familial relationship between them. A powerful plot, vibrant characterization, and stirring dialogue make this romance a delight.
PositiveKirkusHeartfelt ... Despite the scars of discrimination, poverty, and war, her commitment to the service of others has never wavered, and her moving story demonstrates that \'healing is always possible, and that the low moments can lead to the greatest heights\' ... An inspiring example of the power of determination.
RavePublishers WeeklyGreeley (The Clergyman’s Wife) delivers an immersive queer reimagining of Pride and Prejudice character Anne de Bourgh ... Greeley’s expert imaginings of the life of Anne de Bourgh reveal the hidden depths of her character and highlight the societal restrictions of 19th-century women as Anne seeks to overcome her mother’s domineering persona and find happiness. Historical fiction fans will be drawn to Anne’s plight.
PositiveKirkusChaudhuri sometimes wanders deep in the musicological weeds when exploring the music’s complex rhythmic and melodic patterns. Though he provides some points of comparison to Western music, from Beethoven to John Lennon, there’s little that’s analogous ... The text is engrossing when Chaudhuri speaks personally of his own experiences with the music ... Those looking for an orderly introduction to the music will be disappointed, but directness has never been Chaudhuri’s goal ... Regardless, fans of the music, and those attuned to his more impressionistic approach, will see the charm in it ... A deliberately digressive foray into an enduring yet slippery style of music.
PositiveKirkusThough the memoir is unevenly, frenetically narrated, that will only deter readers unfamiliar with Stone’s persona. Delivering a barrage of self-reflective anecdotes, she is consistently candid, alternatingly tender and feisty, and always witty ... Fans will blissfully revel in the intimate if restlessly delivered details in this perceptive memoir.
PositivePublishers Weekly... bold ... Suffused with wry humor, Stone\'s storytelling alternates between literary descriptions and intimate colloquialisms ... Though there are plenty of celebrity cameos, the memoir is neither tell-all nor fluff; without veering into self-pity, Stone\'s clear about the difficulties of being a woman who became famous for baring it all on screen, but didn\'t want to sleep with her coworkers ... The mix of moxie and vulnerability conveys a life well lived, and well examined.
PositiveKirkusLiautaud, who runs her own consulting company and teaches ethics at Stanford, proves that it’s possible to write a book about ethics without deploying the words virtue or utilitarian or the names Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Bentham, or Mill. Readers accustomed to historically grounded philosophical works of broad abstraction or technical argumentation will find this text less demanding. In one sense, the book is philosophy for the digital age ... The author sometimes reduces difficult philosophical questions to a series of bullet points that would fit nicely in a corporate PowerPoint presentation ... Despite shortcomings, the simple-to-understand narrative encourages deliberate reflection, an ethical act in its own right.
PositivePublishers WeeklyMilestones from Ocasio-Cortez’s college years, including her father’s death when she was 19 and her junior year in Niger, where she worked on maternal health-care issues, shed light on her personal motivations and political acumen, but the book’s strength lies in the attention Freedlander pays to lesser-known figures and movements ... Progressive political junkies will relish this deep dive into the forces behind Ocasio-Cortez’s turn in the spotlight.
RaveCrime By the Book... Kørner and Werner are back in The Butterfly House, the second installment in Engberg’s crime fiction series—and what a fantastic installment it is. There’s something particularly exciting as a reader about following an up-and-coming author’s career and seeing their growth and development, and The Butterfly House is proof positive that Katrine Engberg is on an upward trajectory. While I enjoyed her debut novel The Tenant, I loved The Butterfly House, and would highly recommend this engaging, inventive Danish crime novel for fans of Nordic Noir and police procedurals ... The Butterfly House is an engaging, fresh take on Nordic Noir, a procedural brimming with personality, eccentric characters, and plenty of mystery and intrigue ... consider Katrine Engberg’s The Butterfly House the perfect book with which to get your armchair sleuthing fix and your armchair traveling fix, all in one gripping package.
PositiveKirkusA satisfying, if predictable, thriller that will please fans of police procedurals.
RavePublishers WeeklyIn Engberg’s well-crafted sequel to 2020’s The Tenant, Copenhagen homicide detective Jeppe Kørner investigates the murders of three people connected to a now-closed teen psychiatric facility, the Butterfly House ... Readers will be pleased to see Falck playing a heroic role at the climax. By addressing the issue of society’s treatment of the mentally ill, Engberg brings the complexities of life into this superior Danish police procedural. Fans of Scandinavian noir will hope this series has a long run.
PositivePublishers WeeklySasaki [...] offers a methodology for developing helpful, healthful habits in this handy guide ... He finishes with habit-maintaining advice like gradually increasing challenges to avoid boredom and chaining new habits onto established ones. Readers who find establishing a routine frustrating will love Sasaki’s methods.
PanKirkusA minimalist guru delivers a tepid discussion of remaking one’s rotten behavior ... Sasaki blends jargon [...] with a few observations from science, as when he notes that remaking habitual behavior is largely unconscious activity ... The best parts of the book are glosses on others’ thoughts ... Pass on this one and turn to Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit or Wendy Wood’s Good Habits, Bad Habits instead. Of minimal interest considering the many better books on the subject already on the market.
PositiveKirkusCelebrities abound in these pages, but the author takes care to clarify the benefits and drawbacks of each style and emphasizes that for any individual, the most appropriate style is one that matches their personal goals, career stage, and needs. Throughout, she blends the findings of numerous sociological and psychological research studies with thoughtful advice and relevant stories from her own life, which gives the book a comfortable balance and adds to its readability. Rather than providing quick tips on how to build a network, King gives readers the big picture, showing what social networks are and demonstrating their importance in one’s career and personal life. A personable approach to one of the hot topics of our times.
RaveKirkus... wide-ranging ... As in many of his previous books, Weidensaul is a peerless guide, sharing his intoxicating passion and decadeslong experience with countless bird species all over the world. Another pleasing aspect of the narrative is the author’s fine-line descriptions of the often remote landscapes through which he has traveled and the vest-pocket character portraits of his birding comrades ... Another winner from Weidensaul that belongs in every birder’s library.
PositivePublishers Weekly... remarkable ... [Weidensaul] notes with urgency the consequences of climate change and urban development on migration patterns (brightly lit skyscrapers disorient migrating birds) while maintaining a sense of wonder about the birds’ efforts and abilities: \'a migratory bird’s ability to traverse thousands of miles is perhaps the greatest physiological feat of all.\' Bird enthusiasts and fans of nature writing shouldn’t miss this.
PositivePublishers Weekly... lively ... Much of the book is taken up with summarizing Elizabethan history to provide context for McCarthy’s theories, but Blanding does a good job of capturing the eccentric McCarthy and his passion to get to the bottom of this particular rabbit hole. Shakespeare fans and readers who enjoy the thrill of a good bibliographic treasure hunt will want to check this out.
PositiveKirkus... lively ... Not surprisingly, McCarthy’s arguments have not been welcomed by Shakespearean scholars; too many, he asserts, are invested in the image of Shakespeare as a solitary genius. Readers who peruse his lengthy appendix, offering parallel excerpts from North and Shakespeare, can come to their own conclusions ... An entertaining look at a literary iconoclast.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThree women survive various wars in this ambitious, centuries-spanning outing from Dray ... While Dray often rushes into summary of the first two women’s narratives, the high emotions and careful plotting of Marthe’s story compensates. Historical fiction fans will want to take a look.
PositiveBookreporterIntricately woven and powerfully told, The Women of Chateau Lafayette is a sweeping novel about duty and hope, love and courage, and the strength we take from those who came before us.
PositiveKirkusThe plot, which also features a Banks nemesis from the past, may be one of Robinson\'s knottiest. Full pages are devoted to the volleying of questions about possible motives and methods and what led to a suicide. But Robinson pulls the reader in with deft characterizations, powerfully understated action scenes, and strong locales—while leaving space for this amateur musicologist\'s usual legion of song and album references ... For Robinson, it would seem, things can never get dark enough. A strong addition to the Banks series that suggests tantalizing possibilities for the next installment.
PositivePublishers WeeklyBestseller Robinson ably balances multiple plotlines in his intricate 27th novel featuring Det. Supt. Alan Banks ... Fans will wonder what lies ahead for his career and personal life.
RavePublishers WeeklyWhile series fans will be delighted at the background Qiu provides, this is an accessible starting point for newcomers interested in a dogged, honest cop who must battle his own government to do his job.
PositiveKirkusThe title of Inspector Chen’s 11th case has a sly double meaning, introducing both a deep dive into the literary detective’s early life and an unexpected professional resurgence late in his career ... Series fans will be rewarded by another elegant mix of recent history and literary embellishments and a richer Chen backstory, though newcomers may be impatient ... Qiu’s stylish hybrid is half fictional literary memoir and half crisp whodunit.
PositivePublishers WeeklyZabor, the narrator of Algerian writer Daoud’s rich, exhilarating second novel, finds salvation in writing ... As he labors on his opus, details of his backstory and situation emerge: an outcast for being something of an autodidact among the barely literate people of his village, he almost never leaves his house. The episodic chapters touch on various points in Zabor’s development, and they’re united by his literary passion, where sustenance and the purpose of his existence lie chiefly in the world of the word ... A Proustian undertone drives this provocative book, which will resonate with readers who share Zabor’s zeal for literature.
PositivePublishers WeeklyRichardson, a self-described laundry evangelist, debuts with a cheery and thorough guide to all things laundry ... In addition to advice, Richardson throws in tales of laundry drama, including a highly entertaining story concerning permanent marker and a wedding dress on the bride’s wedding day. Richardson’s love for doing laundry is so infectious that readers just might find themselves dreading this mundane chore a bit less.
RaveKirkusReading good books doesn’t just entertain us; it teaches us how to better use our brains and our emotions, as this lively treatise tells us. Fletcher, a professor of story science at Ohio State’s Project Narrative, holds doctorates in both literature and neuroscience, which meet fluently in this thought-packed survey ... An idiosyncratic, richly detailed, often lyrical invitation to reconsider how and why to read literature.
RavePublishers WeeklyFletcher, professor of story science at Ohio State’s Project Narrative, delivers an innovative take on storytelling that shows how stories \'plug into different regions of our brain.\' ... Fletcher proves that understanding the classics brings new life to the craft of literary creation. The result is a fresh take on the history of literature and a testament to the enduring power of reading.
RavePublishers Weekly... an exhaustive and deeply reported history ... Morgan enriches his impressive research and insightful analysis with vivid writing and deft character sketches. The result is a definitive portrait of the epicenter of America’s longest war.
RaveKirkus... [an] impressive debut ... as Morgan vividly shows, the enemy proved skillful in overcoming the Americans’ apparent technological superiority ... a sobering look at how the same mistakes were repeated by subsequent deployments, with predictable results. Required reading for anyone who wants to understand the war in Afghanistan.
RavePublishers WeeklyWhite (The Tastemaker) suggests legendary director Alfred Hitchcock had more lives than a cat in this sweeping biography. In his coverage of Hitchcock’s 60-plus-year career, White examines 12 \'lives\' that shaped what he terms the \'Hitchcock brand\' ... Hitchcock fans will be enamored of this canny, full portrait of an artist with a singular vision.
PositiveKirkusA fresh assessment of the legendary director ... The author plumbs Hitchcock’s films and TV shows to reinforce his view that he was a man of many contradiction ... Although the author doesn’t uncover much groundbreaking information, he presents the man and his films in a readable, entertaining package. An incisive literary autopsy of the Master of Suspense.
RaveKirkusThree decades of South African sociopolitical history are woven into a saga of loss and missed opportunity that upends a dysfunctional Afrikaner family living outside Pretoria ... Galgut moves fluidly among accounts of every single major and minor character, his prose unbroken by quotation marks or italics, as though narrated from the perspective of a ghost who briefly possesses every person. The language is peppered with regional geography, terminology, and slang, with sentences ranging from clipped to lyrical ... Galgut’s multifarious writing style is bold and unusual, providing an initial barrier to entry yet achieving an intuitive logic over time ... Galgut extends his extraordinary corpus with a rich story of family, history, and grief.
RavePublishers Weeklythe keenly observant Galgut offers a deeply affecting family saga spanning decades of upheaval in South Africa ... He’s an expert at voices, stealthily examining the world from the inside out and engaging the reader with inventive triangulation, such as the omniscient narrator’s sudden mocking of Anton’s habit of repeating himself ... This tour-de-force unleashes a searing portrait of a damaged family and a troubled country in need of healing.
Anthony Bourdain and Laurie Woolever, illustrated by Wesley Allsbrook
PositiveKirkusPosthumous selection of Bourdain’s thoughts on places exotic and well known, blended into a kind of Baedeker for the hipster set. There’s Frankensteining at work here, with Woolever, who worked with Bourdain for nearly 10 years, surrounding his pithy excerpts with the kind of dryly useful information of a standard guidebook ... Bourdain went nearly everywhere on the planet, eating and drinking prodigiously along the way. It makes for an exhilarating whirlwind tour, complete with charmingly impressionistic sketches by Allsbrook. It doesn’t substitute for a true travel guide, but anyone who loved and misses Bourdain will want this book.
Anthony Bourdain and Laurie Woolever, illustrated by Wesley Allsbrook
RavePublishers WeeklyWoolever, longtime cowriter with the late Bourdain (1956–2018), knits together an impressive food-obsessed travel guide based on her conversations with Bourdain ... but the book’s power comes from Bourdain’s joyfully combative stances [...] unabashed enthusiasm, dense overlay of cinematic references, and world-weary advice [...] This gloriously messy miscellany of off-kilter observations and lightning-in-a-bottle insights will make one want to read, eat, and experience the world the way Bourdain did. Bourdain’s fans will devour this.
John Woodrow Cox
RavePublishers WeeklyCox debuts with a hard-hitting report on the impact of gun violence on American children. Noting that, on average, a child is shot every hour in the U.S. and that 30,000 kids and teenagers have been killed by guns in the last 10 years, Cox argues that America is in the midst of a public health crisis ... The story of pen pals Ava Olsen, who lost her friend and first-grade classmate in a school shooting in 2016, and Tyshaun McPhatter, whose father was killed in 2017, illuminates both the emotional trauma of gun violence and the healing power of friendship for its youngest victims ... Balancing sound research with moving profiles of victims and activists, Cox makes an impeccable case for how to solve the problem and why it’s essential to do so now.
John Woodrow Cox
RaveKirkusIn a stellar debut, Cox expands his Washington Post series on the invisible wounds of children damaged by gun violence, a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing ... [a] powerful report ... With deep sympathy for his young subjects, he probes the roots of—and possible solutions to—the crisis, taking sharp aim at the $3 billion school security market ... his surpassing achievement in this eloquent book is to let children speak for themselves about their grief ... An indispensable contribution to the debate about gun violence.
RaveKirkusA poignant memoir about a mother’s love as told through Korean food ... Aptly, Zauner frames her story amid the aisles of H Mart, a place many Asian Americans will recognize, a setting that allows the author to situate her personal story as part of a broader conversation about diasporic culture, a powerful force that eludes ownership. The memoir will feel familiar to children of immigrants, whose complicated relationships to family are often paralleled by equally strenuous relationships with their food. It will also resonate with a larger audience due to the author’s validation of the different ways that parents can show their love—if not verbally, then certainly through their ability to nourish ... Zauner’s ability to let us in through taste makes her book stand out from others with similar themes. She makes us feel like we are in her mother’s kitchen, singing her praises. A tender, well-rendered, heart-wrenching account of the way food ties us to those who have passed.
PositivePublishers WeeklyMusician Zauner debuts with an earnest account of her Korean-American upbringing, musical career, and the aftermath of her mother’s death ... The prose is lyrical if at times overwrought, but Zauner does a good job capturing the grief of losing a parent with pathos. Fans looking to get a glimpse into the inner life of this megawatt pop star will not be disappointed.
PositiveShelf AwarenessA sweeping yet personal coming-of-age story. Following Painted Horses, Malcolm Brooks again offers engaging, resolute characters and evocative descriptions of the country and the era ... Worldly Annalise and whip-smart but sheltered Huck share respect, affection, a goal of getting in the air and a commitment to following Amelia Earhart\'s progress.
PositiveKirkusBrooks\' singular style, evoking the ornate vernacular of a cowboy poet, does not quite distract from the fact that we’re going deep—too deep—into the mechanics of any practical challenge that might arise, such as retrieving a gangster’s body from a trout stream with an ingenious pulley system ... Brooks won’t let any of his characters be marginalized, or stereotyped, for long. The backstories of Roy, McKee, and Gloria are a vivid, anecdotal compendium of Western disgrace and glory. Although the flight scenes are majestic, they’re often truncated by excessively detailed preflight tinkering. Amid all the eloquence, history, scenery, and how-to, forward momentum stalls. An occasionally profound novel that takes risks with language and readers’ patience.
PositivePublishers WeeklyPart coming-of-age story, part adventure, and part gangster melodrama, the elements don’t totally come together, but the nostalgic atmosphere and exciting flying scenes transport the reader to an early, adventurous time in aviation history. When airborne, Brooks really shines.
Stefano Mancuso tr. Gregory Conti
PositivePopMattersWith The Nation of Plants, [Mancuso] veers more directly into the political implications of plant intelligence. Much of the book is a rebuke aimed at humans who might think they\'re the superior species on the planet ... There\'s less science and more politics in this book than in his previous works, but his argument is compelling and important ... it\'s also innovative ... The Nation of Plants is a whimsical, speculative foray into applying plant neurobiology to humanity\'s problems ...
Stefano Mancuso tr. Gregory Conti
RaveKirkusA renowned scientist delivers a simple yet urgent call to action ... Despite the author’s sometimes tongue-in-cheek writing style, which most readers will find refreshing and pleasant, the subject matter is dead serious ... Mancuso concludes his elegant and cogent argument with straightforward advice accessible to anyone ... Insightful and arresting, this book offers an achievable road map to a more \'radiant future.\'
Stefano Mancuso tr. Gregory Conti
PositivePublishers WeeklyBotanist Mancuso (The Revolutionary Genius of Plants) showcases his discoveries about plant communication in this passionate if quirky manifesto ... The whimsical approach will not be for every reader, but those open to suspending disbelief will benefit from a concise summary of plants’ past, present, and possible future role in sustaining life on Earth. Lewis Thomas’s fans should take a look.
Sarah Beth Durst
RavePublishers WeeklyDurst (Race the Sands) sets this richly drawn fantasy in a world where magic wielders called bone makers use animal bones to animate lifeless objects ... Though Durst relies a bit too much on the legendary reputations of her heroes and their actions in the first war, leading the present-day epic action to feel a bit unearned, the exquisite worldbuilding and inventive, macabre magic system more than make up for this flaw. Durst’s fans will be delighted.
RavePublishers WeeklyThis effortlessly readable posthumous essay collection from Diski (1947–2016) shows her at her best ... Diski’s works are varied and surprising, and she puts a fresh spin on the personal essay with her bracing, singular prose, never veering into self-indulgence: To miss these essays would be a shame.
RaveKirkusA collection of essays by a master of the form ... In nearly all of the pieces, Diski’s voice is sharp, wry, and entirely her own ... She describes both a trip to Antarctica and her difficult childhood, and the connections she draws are surprising and profound.Diski also wrote about the kind of bustling chaos that seemed to have become emblematic of contemporary life. Here, too, the author’s prose has a crispness and clarity of expression that have been rarely matched. Within a single sentence she can exude both a seemingly effortless elegance and a fearless iconoclasm. For writers and readers alike, this new volume is a tremendous gift. The crystalline quality to these extraordinary essays confirms Diski as one of the most talented writers of her generation.
PositivePublishers WeeklyFragoza’s debut collection delivers expertly crafted tales of Latinx people trying to make sense of violent, dark realities. Magical realism and gothic horror make for effective stylistic entryways, as Fragoza seamlessly blurs the lines between the corporeal and the abstract ... Fragoza’s characters are earnest while remaining complicated and conflicted. They speak to diverse immigrant experiences, stand up to patriarchal structures, and ground themselves in hope for a better future ... With haunting prose and an aptitude for the surreal, Fragoza emerges as a distinctive voice.
RaveKirkusThis collection of visceral, often bone-chilling stories centers the liminal world of Latinos in Southern California while fraying reality at its edges. This slim volume\'s brevity belies its heavy punch, with a focus on each character\'s often violent yearning to exist on their own terms. The title story is unforgettable in its horror ... At times utterly fantastical but deeply rooted in lived experience, these stories will reach a hand inside and yank out your insides—in the best way.
PositivePublishers WeeklySayers romance, mystery, and a family curse into a spellbinding historical fantasy ... The rich descriptions and fascinating settings create engagement in both timelines, and the secret of Lara’s bloodline is original and surprising. Fans of Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus will love this page-turning story of dark magic, star-crossed love, and familial sacrifice.
RaveKirkus... disturbing and absorbing ... In this unique contribution to the literature of Black American history, Bay, a professor of American history at the University of Pennsylvania, successfully resurrects the story of \'a sustained fight for mobility that falls largely outside the organizational history of the civil rights movement.\' In doing so, the author effectively demonstrates \'Black mobility as an enduring focal point of struggles over equality and difference\' ... In a fascinating, sometimes infuriating narrative spun with engaging facts, stunning firsthand accounts from generations of Black travelers, and potent imagery, Bay elevates the importance of the Black right to mobility in the struggle for civil rights. Not simply a record of oppression, the book also illuminates the determined spirit that underpins the fight for Black equality across the country, exploring the methods that Black people have used to subvert a racist system that persists today ... A book that shocks, shames, and enlightens with critical scholarship on the Black pursuit of genuine liberty.
PositivePublishers Weekly... comprehensive ... Though somewhat dry, this meticulous account proves that \'Black mobility [is] an enduring focal point of struggles over equality and difference.\'
MixedKirkusMuch of this material appears in greater detail in other, better books, including some of Thomson’s own works ... Thomson’s opinions are often based on debatable logic ... Curiously for such an acclaimed film critic, Thomson gets facts wrong ... While the author makes some progressive statements...he undercuts them with tin-eared comments ... A well-meaning but flawed book about legendary filmmakers.
MixedPublishers Weekly... scattershot ... less a history than a series of essays that each nominally focuses on one or more directors before devolving into unconvincing metaphors and tangents ... There are insights to be found, about both directing and cinema in general ... While film snobs may enjoy Thomson’s roving insights on whether \'the cult of directors could be ending\' those looking for a comprehensive history of directorial masters will be left wanting.
PositivePublishers Weekly...rich if didactic ... While Jerkins effectively blends folk legend with contemporary details such as references to the Black Lives Matter movement and gentrification in Harlem, the premise is restricted by occasionally prosaic writing...and the heavy-handed moral of the story, which implies that Black women who fail to support other Black women will pay a price. Still, it’s vividly conceived, and the strong plot will carry readers to the end.
PanKirkusThis novel sinks under the weight of clunky melodrama, a river of tears, an awkward bloom of adverbs, and a plot so far-fetched that interior logic collapses. Readers keen for the indelible links among Black generations would do better with Margaret Wilkerson Sexton\'s The Revisioners (2019) or any of Toni Morrison\'s novels ... An intriguing idea for magical realism in Harlem delivers too little of either.
PositivePublishers WeeklyCurious characters, strange events, and mysteries abound in Oyeyemi’s delightfully bonkers latest ... Though capped by a somewhat disjointed and confusing finale, the narrative is bolstered by its underlying blend of humor and suspense, as well as Oyeyemi’s ability to skillfully thread together the lives of her characters and show how they’ve been shaped into the people they are today. Despite its problems, this exciting and inventive novel brims with unusual insights.
PositiveKirkusOyeyemi imbues Otto and Xavier\'s journey with her familiar flair for the fantastic, from wily pet mongooses to trainwide bazaars to men with hazy faces. Yet, as Oyeyemi once again pushes the boundaries of the novel, each of the spaces, times, and characters here are as loose, fragmentary, and un-pin-down-able as the man Otto is unable to see ... A surrealist tale of love, heartbreak, and being haunted by the past.
RaveKirkusDebut author Walton wields the oral history form with easy skill, using its suggestion of conversation and potential for humor to give her characters personality .... the author adeptly captures the particular tenor of discussions of race in the early \'70s ... An intelligently executed love letter to Black female empowerment and the world of rock music.
RavePublishers WeeklyWalton’s spectacular debut pulls off a polyphonic oral history of a fictional proto-Afro-punk performer and her white musical partner. The novel begins with the sensational origin story of unlikely duo Opal & Nev ... Walton pumps up the volume with a fresh angle on systemic racism and freedom of expression. This is a firecracker.
RavePublishers WeeklyMcCracken’s sly, emotionally complex collection (after Bowlaway) focuses on characters uprooted from their usual surroundings ... McCracken has a gift for surprising similes...that ignite the reader’s imagination, making great fun out of ordinary settings and scenery. Each story opens to reveal a whole life spent within the web of a family, chosen or not. Full of gems, this collection is a winner.
RaveKirkusMcCracken switches gears and proves her mastery of short fiction with these 12 tightly structured, searingly realistic stories ... McCracken’s stories are often heartbreaking, but those about Jack and Sadie are particularly incisive, showing all the hidden crevices of a long-term relationship ... An astonishingly powerful collection worth multiple readings.
RaveKirkusBrownstein also takes in a wide swath of the world outside LA ... There’s some nice dish, too...and shrewd cultural analysis ... An endlessly engaging cultural history that will resonate with anyone alive in 1974.
PositivePublishers WeeklyEnriched by interviews with the period’s luminaries, including Warren Beatty and Linda Ronstadt, this astute and wide-ranging account shows how L.A. led the U.S. into an era when the 1960s counterculture became mainstream.
PositiveKirkusLindstedt’s novel reads like the love child of a pornographer and a high theorist: Derrida meets Anaïs Nin. Ultimately, this is as much a novel about language as it is about sexuality or psychology, and translator Hackston has performed a virtuosic task capturing the Finnish pyrotechnics in English. Lindstedt may not be looking to make an exact analogy between the work of therapy and the work an artist does, but it’s hard not to read this as an ars poetica ... Bawdy and beguiling.
MixedPublishers Weekly... uneven ... Though often humorous, some of the arch prose falls flat ... Still, fans of subversive stories of psychoanalysis may want to take a look.
RaveKirkus... lively ... fine and fearless ... fine because it’s so thoughtful and revealing, fearless because the author’s method is to engage strangers in conversation that quickly becomes oral history ... Altogether, a compelling portrait of New York and a must-read for residents and visitors alike.
PositivePublishers Weekly... engrossing, multihued ... Expertly edited and arranged, these striking snapshots make clear that in New York, \'the people are the texture.\' Admirers of the Big Apple will be enthralled.
PositivePublishers WeeklyChristofi’s approach pays off in his recreations of intimate scenes and in his revelations about Dostoyevsky’s fiction ... Christofi succeeds in revealing Dostoyevsky’s personality in ways no ordinary biographical treatment could.
PositiveKirkusDrawing on Dostoevsky’s letters, journals, fiction, and other sources, Christofi successfully constructs a biographical portrait that is \'both novelistic and true to life.\' The narrative is both an illuminating literary biography and an evocative snapshot of the context in which the great writer created his enduring work ... Dostoevsky fans are certain to find this book insightful and captivating.
RaveKirkusA year in the inner life of a solitary woman in an unnamed European city ....Its spare, reflective prose and profound interiority recall the work of Rachel Cusk and Sigrid Nunez as much as Lahiri\'s earlier fiction, which generally focused on the Indian immigrant experience in the U.S. Lahiri now lives in Italy, wrote this book in Italian, and translated it herself ... Elegant, subtle, and sad.
RavePublishers WeeklyThe latest from Pulitzer winner Lahiri is a meditative and aching snapshot of a life in suspension ... The tranquil surface of her life belies a deeper unrest: a frayed, distant relationship with her widowed mother, romantic longings projected onto unavailable friends, and constant second-guessing of the paths her life has taken. The novel is told in short vignettes introducing a new scene and characters whose relationships are fertile ground for Lahiri’s impressive powers of observation ... Throughout, Lahiri’s poetic flourishes and spare, conversational prose are on full display. This beautifully written portrait of a life in passage captures the hopes, frustrations, and longings of solitude and remembrance.
RavePublishers WeeklyThe power and pain of Wright’s writing are evident in this wrenching novel, which was rejected by his publisher in 1942, shortly after the release of Native Son ... Wright makes the impact of racist policing palpable as the story builds to a gut-punch ending, and the inclusion of his essay Memories of My Grandmother illuminates his inspiration for the book. This nightmarish tale of racist terror resonates.
RaveKirkusA falsely accused Black man goes into hiding in this masterful novella by Wright, finally published in full ... Today, it resonates deeply as a story about race and the struggle to envision a different, better world. A welcome literary resurrection that deserves a place alongside Wright’s best-known work.
RavePublishers WeeklyMurakami’s engrossing collection offers a crash course in his singular style and vision, blending passion for music and baseball and nostalgia for youth with portrayals of young love and moments of magical realism. The one thing shared by the collection’s eight stories is their use of the first-person-singular voice. Murakami’s gift for evocative, opaque magical realism shines ... These shimmering stories are testament to Murakami’s talent and enduring creativity.
RaveKirkusA new collection of stories from the master of the strange, enigmatic twist of plot ... Murakami’s characters are typically flat of affect, protesting their ugliness and ordinariness, and puzzled or frightened by things as they are. But most are also philosophical even about those ordinary things, as is the narrator of that fine Beatles-tinged tale, who ponders why it is that pop songs are important and informative in youth, when our lives are happiest: \'Pop songs may, after all, be nothing but pop songs. And perhaps our lives are merely decorative, expendable items, a burst of fleeting color and nothing more.\' An essential addition to any Murakami fan’s library.
PanPublishers Weekly... subpar ... The characters are paper-thin, and an over-the-top reveal undermines any suspension of disbelief.
PositiveKirkusA key characteristic of Ouellette’s writing is her preoccupation with nature, as she calmly skips between accounts of her past and factual information about the natural world...On occasion, these observations serve as distractions from personal pain; in other instances, they mirror the author’s emotional state...The memoir also eloquently describes how the effects of abuse resonate into adulthood...The presentation of the author’s life story as a series of fragments may strike some readers as idiosyncratic; however, this structure poignantly reflects a self-described \'brokenness\' ... A textured remembrance of a traumatic childhood that also offers affecting moments of beauty.
Alberto Angela, tr. Katherine Gregor
PositiveKirkus... readable ... combines scholarship with novelistic detail and character depth ... Notwithstanding the author’s lapses into overheated language, he effectively draws on previous scholarship, wading through legend and myth to get at the truth of what actually occurred. Angela engages readers with rhetorical questions and emphasizes that Cleopatra was a thoroughly modern woman, instrumental in paving the way for the Roman Empire under the ruthless Octavia ... A character-rich historical biography that will have special appeal to young students of history.
Alberto Angela, tr. Katherine Gregor
MixedPublishers Weekly... spirited yet somewhat overwrought ... Though Angela strives to make the ancient world accessible to modern readers, long sections in which he plays tour guide through the streets of Rome and Alexandria offer genuine insights but slow the narrative pace, and the significance of Cleopatra and Marc Antony’s first meeting is undercut with comparisons to Lady Gaga and Jim Carrey’s \'jaw dropping to the ground\' in The Mask. This well-intentioned history swings and misses.
RaveKirkusResounding history of Jewish women who fought the German invaders in World War II ... Those women, Batalion convincingly argues, have often been misrepresented ... In a vigorous narrative that draws on interviews, diaries, and other sources, Batalion delivers an objective view of past events that are too quickly being forgotten—and a story much in need of telling. A welcome addition to the literature of the Shoah and of anti-Nazi resistance.
RavePublishers WeeklyMemoirist Batalion (White Walls) delivers a remarkable portrait of young Jewish women who fought in the Polish resistance during WWII ... Batalion allows her subjects to speak for themselves whenever possible, weaving a vast amount of research material into a cohesive and dramatic narrative. This poignant history pays vivid tribute to \'the breadth and scope of female courage.\'
RavePublishers WeeklyGarcia’s dexterous debut chronicles the travails of a Cuban immigrant family ... Throughout, Garcia illustrates the hard choices mothers make generation after generation to protect their children ... The jumps across time and place can occasionally dampen the various threads’ emotional impact, but by the end they form an impressive, tightly braided whole. This riveting account will please readers of sweeping multigenerational stories.
MixedKirkusAs the book opens, it\'s 2018, and Carmen is writing in anguish to her daughter, Jeannette, begging her to find the will to live. Then we\'re immediately swept away to Camagüey, Cuba, in 1866, right before the first Cuban war for independence from Spain, where we meet one of the women\'s ancestors ... If the novel had continued to offer rich scenes like these, it would have been a success, but from this point on, it feels haphazardly stitched together ... Even with snatches of gorgeously compelling prose, the book can\'t overcome the lack of relationship development among the women of the family in both Miami and Cuba. A Cuban family grapples with violence and addiction, but their relationships lack depth.
Kirstin Valdez Quade
RavePublishers WeeklyNational Book Critics Circle Award winner Quade’s penetrating debut novel (expanded from a story in Night at the Fiestas) tells of a man’s quest for self-acceptance through the metaphor of the five wounds Jesus suffered during crucifixion ... The well-developed characters convey palpable emotion as Amadeo’s failures as a father, partner, entrepreneur, and even as Jesus translate into fits of rage and frustration. Quade’s rendering of a singular community is pitch perfect.
Kirstin Valdez Quade
RaveKirkusWith beautifully layered relationships and an honest yet profoundly empathetic picture of a rural community—where the families proudly trace their roots back to the Spanish conquistadors while struggling with poverty and a deadly drug epidemic—this novel is a brilliant meditation on love and redemption. Perfectly rendered characters anchor a novel built around a fierce, flawed, and loving family.
RaveKirkusAn entire book devoted to the odd caracara? Yes, and the narrative rarely lags. Meiburg, a journalist and leader of the band Shearwater, begins with Darwin ... Meiburg’s enthusiasm matches Darwin’s, and readers will share it ... Not only a fine writer, the author is clearly an adventurer, and he devotes other entertaining chapters to treks into the high Andes and South American jungles in search of other caracara species ... Wholly captivating natural history.
RavePublishers WeeklyMeiburg elevates himself to the top ranks of science writers with this enthralling debut on the obscure caracara ... Fans of literary nature narratives will be thrilled by his lyrical account, and eager to see where Meiburg goes next.
Sofia Lundberg tr. by Nicola Smalley
PositiveKirkus... when it does arrive, the climactic moment seems like it comes from another novel. Nonetheless, Lundberg does deftly spin the tale of Alice and Elin’s reconciliation, as Elin decides to tell her daughter everything. Together they travel to Sweden, heading back into Elin\'s past, ready to face the truth. A warmhearted portrayal of family and forgiveness with some loose threads.
Sofia Lundberg tr. by Nicola Smalley
RavePublishers WeeklyIn this tense outing, Lundberg (The Red Address Book) follows photographer Elin as she attempts to come to grips with the course of her life ... As the novel continues, Lundberg gradually reveals the complexity of Elin and Fredrik’s bond and the entwined relationship of their families ... The author succeeds at painting a picture of Elin and Fredrik’s intersecting families, as Elin grapples with the decisions she made for self-preservation. Readers will soak up the suspense as they search for the truth alongside Elin up until the end.
RavePublishers WeeklyClark conjures an elaborate fantasy world inspired by Northern Africa and delves into an international political conflict that draws on real histories of colonialism and conquest in their excellent debut, the first in the Magic of the Lost series ... Clark’s precise, thorough worldbuilding allows this remarkable novel to dive deep into the intricate workings of colonialism, exposing how power structures are maintained through social conditioning and exploring the emotional toll of political conflict. The result is a captivating story that works both as high fantasy and skillful cultural commentary.
Juan Villoro, tr. Alfred MacAdam
PositiveKirkusA deeply learned appreciation of the author’s native Mexico City ... Along his leisurely, illuminating path, Villoro delivers an essential update of Octavio Paz’s The Labyrinth of Solitude (1950). He can be both brittle and funny ... Celebrating food, wandering through earthquake-struck ruins, reflecting on literary heroes, Villoro makes an excellent Virgil ... An unparalleled portrait of a city in danger of growing past all reasonable limits.
Juan Villoro, tr. Alfred MacAdam
PositivePublishers Weekly... erudite and idiosyncratic ... Villoro weaves in literary references (Amado Nervo, Alfonso Reyes, Ezra Pound) and offers stinging critiques of the country’s plutocracy, whose \'luxury depends on poverty.\' Though Villoro’s fragmentary approach can be disorienting, this is a stimulating portrait of one of the world’s most mind-bending metropolises.
MixedPublishers WeeklyA young woman evades her uncertain future by fixating on an elderly man in DeRobertis-Theye’s introspective if meandering debut ... Gabriele’s gradual drift builds to a tentative conclusion, though the author’s tendency to rush past major details blunts the impact. While gracefully written, this circuitous bildungsroman only skims the surface.
RaveKirkusDeRobertis-Theye unfolds Gabriele’s quest like a mystery, revealing clues both to Vietri’s life and Gabriele’s: her fear of inheriting schizophrenia, her overwhelming feelings of grief, her conflicted longing for family, and her obsession with Vietri ... A captivating tale.
Alice Zeniter, Tr. by Frank Wynne
PositiveKirkusAn unnamed and invisible narrator occasionally breaks through the fourth wall of Zeniter’s narrative, which is densely packed with fact and feeling about Algeria’s often difficult relationship with France and France’s difficult relationship with Algerians. Awarded the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens, the novel provides a crash course in a contemporary problem with historical roots ... Where are you from? Zeniter’s family saga addresses this question and a more difficult one: What if you don’t know?
Alice Zeniter, Tr. by Frank Wynne
PositivePublishers Weekly... ruminative ... Zeniter skillfully demonstrates the impact of colonialism on family, country, and the historical archive. With nuance and grace, this meditative novel adds to the understanding of a complex, uncomfortable era of French history.
RavePublishers WeeklyPoet Nutt (Wilderness Champion) spins a striking tale of survival and loss in this haunting essay collection ... The book’s episodic, mosaic form perfectly balances the strange appeal of getting close, \'but not too close\' to the author’s \'cabinet of all past dreads.\' Lovers of the personal essay will be thrilled by this innovative collection.
PositiveKirkusNutt follows up her debut poetry collection, Wilderness Champion, with her first book of prose, a spare gathering of 18 numbered, interrelated essays (a \'personal canon\') comprised of memories held together by fragmentary, epigrammatic thoughts, images, and lists ... The author’s descriptions of relationships—childhood, family, friends, sexual—weave in and out, like walking into different rooms to experience what is there, try to understand it, feel it, question it, and then move on to another room ... Although obtuse and rambling at times, the strange, uncanny prose rhythms created in these essays are affecting, like lucid dreams. Offbeat, imaginative essays for fans of literary experimentation.
PositivePublishers Weekly... evocative ... Though the pacing is slow, the conflicts over immigration and racism are brilliantly distilled, and they dovetail seamlessly with the narrator’s lyrical, increasingly defiant narration. Patient readers will find much to ponder.
RavePublishers WeeklyWith sharp turns and charming characters, this debut thriller by Annishinabe author Boulley centers 18-year-old Daunis Fontaine, who loves and fits into her community but yearns for official citizenship in the Sault tribe ... Hitting hard when it comes to issues such as citizenship, language revitalization, and the corrosive presence of drugs on Native communities, this novel will long stand in the hearts of both Native and non-Native audiences.
RaveKirkusWhile dealing with tough topics like rape, drugs, racism, and death, this book balances the darkness with Ojibwe cultural texture and well-crafted characters. Daunis is a three-dimensional, realistically imperfect girl trying her best to handle everything happening around her. The first-person narration reveals her internal monologue, allowing readers to learn what’s going on in her head as she encounters anti-Indian bias and deals with grief. A suspenseful tale filled with Ojibwe knowledge, hockey, and the politics of status.
RaveKirkusThe prolific author returns to an old love ... This being a book by Kurlansky, who never met a fact he didn’t like, the narrative turns from his experiences as a fisherman to a more universal history ... As for rods and flies, Kurlansky geeks out, reciting names that are known to this day ... Stuffed full of trivia, data, lore, and anecdote—a pleasure for any fan of trout fishing.
RavePublishers WeeklyJournalist Kurlansky [...] enlivens a quotidian subject in this vibrant treatise on fly-fishing ... Alongside personal meditations, Kurlansky provides a wide-ranging history of fly-fishing, noting how it has featured in art, literature, and the lives of political figures ... He enlivens historical explanations with personal anecdotes ... This is a thoroughly enjoyable mash-up of vivid memoir and fastidious, eccentric history.
RaveKirkusIntellectually vigorous essays on Black culture ... an impressive book debut with a collection of 20 deftly crafted essays ... McCarthy’s range is broad ... Urbane, penetrating cultural analysis.
RavePublishers WeeklyMcCarthy, an assistant professor of English and African American Studies at Harvard, sheds light on the intersection of politics, art, and Black identity in his thought-provoking debut ... an insightful collection as timely as it is original.
Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes
MixedJacobinAs Parnes and Allen make clear, despite a relentless post-election narrative emphasizing the supposed strength of Biden’s victory, usually resting on the meaningless statistic that he had won \'more votes than any other presidential candidate in US history,\' the campaign was well aware of how fragile this really was ... Puzzlingly, despite all their reporting to the contrary, the authors conclude that Biden’s detractors had been wrong about him, and suggest the outcome proved his strategy had been the right one all along ... Yet the inescapable takeaway from both Lucky and the campaign it recounts is quite the opposite.
Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes
RaveKirkusA probing history of the 2020 presidential race ... A must-read for politics junkies, with plenty of lessons on how not to run a campaign.
Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes
PanPublishers Weekly... [a] familiar rehash of the 2020 election ... much of the analysis will be old hat to news junkies, and attempts to add color...mostly fall flat. The result is a well-sourced yet unenlightening run-through of recent history.
J. Randy Taraborrelli
PositivePublishers Weekly... a detailed and largely flattering group portrait of the Bush family matriarchs ... Taraborrelli’s breathless prose...occasionally mars his deep research and fluid pacing. Still, this is a unique and colorful look at one of America’s most powerful political families.
J. Randy Taraborrelli
PositiveKirkusA glossy dissection of the women members of a family that has loomed large over decades of U.S politics ... Taraborrelli...has his work cut out for him in finding intrigue in the Bush story—this isn’t Camelot territory—but he digs deep and locates plenty of interesting details ... As in previous books, Taraborrelli doesn\'t shy from clichés ... Writing in dozens of brief, punchy chapters and making good use of ample research, including many interviews with those who worked in the households of the various branches of the family, the author assembles a colorful mosaic of lives that didn\'t always fit comfortably together. Taraborrelli gives the Bushes the royal treatment.
Michael A. Heller and James Salzman
PositivePublishers Weekly... illuminating ... They stuff their survey with intriguing legal cases and historical lessons and display flashes of wit. Readers will gain fresh insights into the law and society from this entertaining and instructive guide.
Michael A. Heller and James Salzman
PositiveKirkusLaw professors Heller and Salzman bring their expertise to bear on this cogent explanation of the myriad ways that humans define, claim, and defend ownership ... A thoughtful and illuminating study.
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
PositivePublishers Weekly... [an] enthusiastic outing ... This fast-paced and fascinating group biography will enthrall pop culture, television, and women’s history buffs.
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
PositiveKirkusThough Armstrong repeats some pieces of information over the course of the narrative, her history is fresh and welcome. Engaging and well-documented recognition of four women’s significant impact on the emerging TV medium.
RavePublishers WeeklySet in the fall of 1941, bestseller Winspear’s outstanding 16th Maisie Dobbs novel initially focuses on fleet-footed 12-year-old Freddie Hackett, who earns a few bob a week running government messages across London ... Maisie discovers a connection between the two victims that stretches back to the previous war. Maisie and her loving family of supporting characters continue to evolve and grow in ways sure to win readers’ hearts. Winspear is writing at the top of her game.
RaveKirkusGorgeous writing, fascinating stories, and a vibrant cast of locals and expats dance around this basic theme. One of Shay\'s early allies is Bertine La Grande, the head housekeeper, who helps her use witchcraft to undo the wrongs wrought by her husband and the evil manager. Another thread depicts the rivalry between two powerful women, one a restaurateur and the other a bar owner. Against a background of myth and magic, as well as racism, sex tourism, and exploitation, the never-perfect match between Senna and Shay continues to devolve. An utterly captivating, richly detailed, and highly critical vision of how the one percent lives in neocolonial paradise.
PositivePublishers WeeklyLee’s seductive novel chronicles the life of Shay Gilliam, a Black American woman married to an Italian man ...If the plotting is episodic, the writing is vivid: \'the first caress of tropical air\' is \'like an infant’s hand on the face,\' and Shay’s fond reflections on Bertine are especially moving. Things ebb and flow, but the overall impact is quietly powerful.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThe struggle against racist oppression in the antebellum North is excavated in this illuminating history ... Masur also explores the growth of a multiracial civil rights movement that braved mob violence to challenge these measures through protests, action in state legislatures and Congress, and increasingly powerful antislavery political parties. She tells this complex story in lucid prose that brings out the drama of charged racial politics while insightfully analyzing the era’s tortured constitutional theorizing about states’ rights and Black citizenship. This engrossing study goes beyond sectionalist accounts of the South’s peculiar institution to show how racism and civil rights activism have shaped every corner of America.
PositiveKirkusA well-respected scholar of racial issues in 19th-century America offers a history of \'the first civil rights revolution.\' ... Masur, a professor of history at Northwestern, chronicles the efforts by Black and White Americans, from the Revolution through the 1870s, to end slavery and racial discrimination ... Though Masur focuses on the Old Northwest, she does not exclude major nodes of activism such as Missouri and Massachusetts ... Masur fittingly closes with a sobering lesson for today—i.e., that the gains of constitutionalized manumission and equal rights were reversed by the Supreme Court starting in 1873 and ending in the 1896 case of Plessy v. Ferguson. It required a second civil rights movement decades later to reignite Americans to further work ... the author could have provided more on the role of religion in awakening Americans to racial injustices as well as on the general context of social reform in antebellum America ... A fine history of the first phase of the nation’s most enduring moral reform effort.
PositiveKirkusA world traveler, not always by choice, ponders the meaning and location of home ... Ali alerts readers to the First Nations’ struggles to fend off an open-pit titanium mine, a gas pipeline, and other water projects, taking care to include many Indigenous voices in his account. A graceful, elegant account even when reporting on the hard truths of a little-known corner of the world.
PositivePublishers WeeklyPoet Ali chronicles his return to the small Canadian town he lived in during early childhood in this layered memoir ... Ali’s prose shines when recalling his interactions with members of the Pimicikamak community and friends. Those concerned with environmental justice or the plight of Indigenous peoples will want to give this a look.
Andrew J. Graff
PositivePublishers WeeklyThough set in 1994, the wilderness odyssey that shapes Graff’s rewarding coming-of-age debut has a timeless, archetypal resonance ... Though the resolution yields few surprises, Graff depicts the harsh Northwoods setting and his misfit characters’ inner lives with equal skill. The dynamic quest narrative offers plenty of rich moments.
Andrew J. Graff
PositiveKirkusThe action sequences are exciting, though the reader has to overlook a few unlikely scenarios and coincidences to follow this journey ... Still, Graff’s characters have heart to spare, and his affection for this rugged part of the country is infectious. His coming-of-age story offers us nostalgia and escape, and he reminds us that while freedom can be elusive, the people who love you always make your life worth living. A nostalgic coming-of-age story that plays out in a wild, intriguing setting.
RaveKirkus... [an] expert overview ... engrossing ... A must-read, fully-up-to-date report on the holy grail of computing.
RaveKirkusAn expert but disturbing account of a noble diplomatic failure ... Zelikow shines fresh light on a major historical crossroads ... Zelikow is convincing in his disagreement with numerous historians who maintain that negotiations were impossible because neither side would compromise. In reality, powerful British leaders and the German chancellor took the idea seriously. Zelikow’s skillful account of the following year makes for frustrating reading ... Outstanding revisionist history demonstrating what could have been a far more peaceful 20th century.
PositivePublishers WeeklyDeeply researched and scathingly critical of the war’s foremost political figures, this history offers an intriguing look at what might have been.
PositivePublishers Weekly... spellbinding ... With stirring prose and strong characters, Terry captures the complexities of memory and the difficulties of going home. Fans of Kristin Harmel will want to take a look.
PositiveKirkusIn this wildly ambitious, prodigiously researched work, Princeton history professor Colley, a winner of the Wolfson History Prize, traces how the proliferation of written constitutions coalesced with the rise of hybrid warfare—land and sea—thus protecting the rights of those who were soldiering as well as those affected by violent invasions ... A sweeping, unique, truly world-spanning political and military history.
PositivePublishers WeeklyCopiously researched and elegantly written, Colley’s treatise goes beyond the usual Anglo-American focus of constitutional history to show the global impact of the constitutionalist movement. The result is a fresh and illuminating take on these still-living documents.
PositiveKirkusA searching examination of our intellectual divorce from the natural world ... Challenger proposes ways to retool our thinking, including recognizing the emerging fact that animals possess consciousness (whales dream, wolves carry mental maps in their heads, and so forth) and acknowledging that human consciousness is just one aspect of \'a spectacle of richness before us all the while.\' Throughout the book, the author invites us to accept our animal nature and the responsibility toward the world that comes with it. A welcome, well-considered contribution to ecological thought.
Jessie Van Eerden
PositivePublishers WeeklyFrankie holds Ruth close while drafting atmospheric details of their journey...as the narrative slowly builds to a poignant resolution. The quirky characters and rich landscapes will keep readers invested.
MixedPublishers Weekly[A] lively contemporary Dickensian outing set in a Soho brothel ... Of greater concern to the author than the fate of the building and its residents, though, are the social problems of poverty, addiction, and rising gentrification, which she roundly illustrates through depictions of the myriad men who frequent the brothel ... Unfortunately, the main characters are often flatly reported and fail to leave a deep impression ... Still, Mozley’s ambition and vision make this a worthy effort.
MixedKirkusThrough a sizable cast of characters and references to Soho\'s origins, the author conjures up the notorious London village in all its seedy glory, now awash not only with the sex industry, drinking holes, and crime, but also upscale developments and a more stylish, younger crowd ... Mozley’s focus is more on her web of interconnected characters than events. And while themes of human trafficking, violence, and depravity seam the narrative, relationships and conversations dominate, sometimes a weakness when central figures can seem two-dimensional and peripheral ones lack definition. Cheryl’s transfiguration in the bowels of the city adds a surreal, dreamlike quality to a loose, witty, soapy story that, even while reaching toward cataclysmic events, retains gentle detachment ... A long, empathetic vision of place and people is delivered with wide context but less pungency than its title implies.
PositivePublishers WeeklyAsle is a gentle, somewhat fretful narrator, and Fosse masterfully arranges the strands of the different narratives as they lap against each other and occasionally contradict. The result is meditative and cyclical, yet surprisingly accessible.
C J Box
PositivePublishers WeeklyJoe Pickett gets a miserable assignment in bestseller Box’s well-paced 21st novel featuring the Wyoming game warden: to guide Steve Price, the multibillionaire CEO of Aloft, a social media company, on an elk hunting trip ... Still, this is another page-turner for Box, who writes lyrically about big sky country.
RavePublishers WeeklySchanoes reinterprets and unpacks old, familiar tales in this powerful debut collection of 13 speculative stories. The pieces vary in subgenre, including fabulism, historical fantasy, and surrealism, but all are united by common threads of revolution, female power, revenge, and trauma both historical and personal ... Dark pacts, willful daughters, and young punks in fishnets abound, and the collection suffers somewhat from the limited range of perspectives, with a few of the pieces striking similar notes. But at their best, these stories are rousing, political, and visceral, even gut-churning. Fans of Kirsty Logan, Daniel Mallory Ortberg, or Catherynne M. Valente will find much to enjoy.
PositiveKirkusHistory and fairy tales are reimagined, repurposed, and remixed in this intriguing debut story collection ... Drawing deeply from history (particularly leftist, labor, women\'s, and Jewish history), folklore, fairy tales, and pop culture, Schanoes explores themes of historiography, queerness, duty, justice, and oppression ... What begins as a captivating examination of the ways narrative choices, including state propaganda, affect perception and outcome, with the narrator imagining Goldman making a renewed commitment to revolution in the Baba Yaga\'s forest cottage following her disillusionment with the Bolshevik state, suddenly fizzles into a direct accounting of the United States\' recent slide toward fascism ... An ambitious but uneven collection from a writer of significant talent and promise.
PositivePublishers Weekly... suspenseful ... Credible, fully realized characters and tense situations compensate for plot twists that aren’t as memorable as in Swanson’s best work. Many readers will devour this page-turner in one sitting.
Michael J Gerhardt
PositiveKirkusA life of Lincoln emphasizing the men responsible for his political education ... Intensely gregarious and an obsessive reader, Lincoln soaked up ideas relentlessly, but Gerhardt makes solid cases for his choices as major influences. A satisfying general biography that concentrates on Lincoln’s political career.
Michael J Gerhardt
MixedPublishers WeeklyA well-researched yet unfocused history ... Close looks at Whig politics and legislative battles over slavery and secession provide genuine insights, but the selection of mentors seems somewhat arbitrary and the personal dynamics between them and Lincoln are undeveloped. The result is a solid history in search of a more coherent theme.
RaveKirkusGroom has fashioned another broad historical chronicle for a general readership, presenting parallel biographies of the three Founding Fathers who were integral to the creation of the American republican government—when no one could be sure it was going to take. As he has demonstrated in his many books of history and fiction, the author is a natural storyteller, choosing relevant engrossing details about each character amid the myriad historical detail. His account of Alexander Hamilton\'s early life story, which opens the book, proves most compelling ... A useful selection for libraries because it imparts a solid civics lesson within an engaging historical narrative.
PositivePublishers WeeklyHistorian and novelist Groom delivers an entertaining group portrait of founding fathers Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams and their disputes over how to balance federal and state power in the American system of government ... Though readers well-versed in American history won’t learn a great deal new, Groom spins his familiar tale with aplomb. This solid history reveals that the art of compromise is an essential ingredient in American democracy.
C S Friedman
RavePublishers WeeklyThe long-awaited second entry in Friedman’s Outworlds series will only whet the appetites of hard sci-fi fans for more adventures set in Friedman’s expertly rendered vision of the future ... Friedman perfectly balances action and characterization while keeping up a page-turning pace. Readers won’t want to put this one down.
RaveKirkus... a complex, fraught exploration ... The author recalls fascinating anecdotes of ordinary people taking risky stands against the status quo ... A sincere, poignant synthesis of memoir and social history of a troubled time.
PositivePublishers Weekly... admirable fictional biography ... Though aspects of each sister’s love lives occasionally come off as tiresome, the descriptions of the millinery trade are consistently fascinating. Little’s story of two indomitable women offers an eye-opening account of the unsung Antoinette and her pivotal role in her famed sister’s success. Fashion aficionados in particular will appreciate this take on the life of a legend.
Helene Tursten trans. by Marlaine Delargy
RavePublishers Weekly... spellbinding ... The action includes a spectacular chase sequence, a bombshell twist that turns the cases around, and an explosive firestorm. This stunning page-turner is unarguably the best in the series.
RavePublishers Weekly... poignant and moving ... The father and son’s odyssey through the gritty streets of Marseilles is laced with many memorable details ... Antonio’s catalog of intimate experiences, whether painful, pleasurable, or bittersweet, make for an enchanting coming-of-age tale.
RaveKirkusThis is a novel of a specific time and place that makes you sorry and even a little melancholy to leave that time and place behind ... In language plain and graceful, presented in a svelte translation from the Italian by Curtis, Carofiglio quietly lays their souls bare in allowing them to see each other as human beings for the first time ... Here those dark nights arrive with shimmering, unforced beauty, filling the pages with jagged moonlight like the finest neorealist film ... A journey by foot: crisp, lean, yet quietly mournful.
RavePublishers WeeklyRussell (Evil), professor of philosophy at the University of Sydney, delivers a concise, enthralling exploration of the philosophical nature of evil ... The strength of Russell’s thorough analysis lies in his ability to break down complex philosophical thinking into lay reader–friendly rubrics. These nuanced arguments will push any reader toward a fruitful intellectual engagement with the nature of evil acts.
PositiveKirkusIn captivating detail, the author explores how the concept of convergent evolution can be used to deduce how aliens may use language and communication, socialize, move, and develop organic and artificial intelligence ... The author successfully conveys tricky subjects without sacrificing clarity or letting his narrative get buried in technical discussions, and he writes with an enthusiasm that is infectious despite the fact that his core argument—that alien life must exist—has no empirical evidence. This is a fun, rewarding journey, and by the end, his analysis teaches readers as much about life on Earth as it does elsewhere ... A fresh take on an always fascinating subject.
PositivePublishers Weekly... entertaining ... Rather than offer a fantastic version of extraterrestrial life, [Kershenbaum] gives readers something logical to consider, and in so doing provides insight on animals and humans as he explores how life, communication, and movement have evolved. This quirky study of biology is sure to please readers looking to learn about life on other planets, or even here on Earth.
RavePublishers WeeklyDyja’s omnivorous curiosity takes in city bureaucracies, investment bankers, neighborhood activists, literati lunching at Elaine’s, hip-hop impresarios, and downtown artists. Dyja shapes it all into a cogent narrative studded with pithy insights and vivid profiles ... Dyja’s exhaustive knowledge of the era, dazzling prose, and all-embracing sympathy—and scorn when it’s merited—make for a stimulating study of New York’s never-ending upheaval.
PositiveKirkusDyja is no fan of the authoritarians and plutocrats, clearly, but he does not spare more liberal mayors like David Dinkins and Bill de Blasio, who \'let the city go adrift\' ... Morally and politically charged, an urgent, readable story of Gotham’s fortunes.
PanPublishers Weekly... so-so ... The familiar plot builds to a predictable conclusion. Fans of Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lecter novels will have seen this all before.
PositivePublishers WeeklyBeneath the veneer of understated English-village realism lies a mind-bending reality in this slow-moving sci-fi fable ... Much of the novel is bogged down by dreary characters and overly vague worldbuilding, but as Whiteley builds to the climax, her trademark subtle surrealism shines. Literary sci-fi readers with a taste for family drama will enjoy this molasses-slow, deeply weird story of missed chances, invasion, and assimilation.
PositiveKirkusA feminist perspective on life and art ... While most essays on literature and culture focus on canonical figures (Melville, Primo Levi, Hannah Arendt, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Rachel Carson), Gornick pays homage to lesser-known Black writer Kathleen Collins, whose voice, \'black, urban, unmistakably rooted in lived experience,\' acutely conveyed \'what it was like to be living inside that complex identity…the way Grace Paley used her New York Jewishness, to explore the astonishment of human existence\' —an astonishment that Gornick shares.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThis parade of greatest hits from Gornick spans the essayist’s career as a literary and cultural critic ... Gornick skillfully reads authors’ lives and work, observing \'how good writing struggles to emerge from the inner chaos with which we all live,\' and she writes with precision and a voice that is dry yet deeply humane. Gornick’s collection is illuminating and a welcome addition to the astute critic’s oeuvre.
RaveKirkusOn the whole [...] the story is readable and entertaining, whether the author is discussing drama on the high seas, the objectives of the Five Deeps Expedition, as the enterprise came to be known, or Vescovo’s love for the great depths ... Vescovo gradually emerges as a complicated character, one moment expressing his strong ego and the next, the humility and respect that must be brought to extreme adventuring—and there’s plenty of adventure to be found here. A vigorous tale of human ambition, technical challenge, and nervy attitude.
PositivePublishers Weekly\"...[an] atmospheric, rather melancholy 30th mystery ... The action builds to a thrilling denouement involving coast guard boats and navy commandos, though some readers may be dissatisfied by the mystery’s less than morally clear resolution and the two men’s uncertain fate. Those already emotionally invested in Brunetti will best appreciate this entry.
Kurt Vonnegut, ed. by Edith Vonnegut
RavePublishers Weekly... revelatory ... Literary buffs will relish this fascinating, intimate glimpse of a renowned writer’s formative years.
Kurt Vonnegut, ed. by Edith Vonnegut
PositiveKirkusA charming set of Vonnegutiana that will appeal to fans of his writing—and love letters in general.
RaveKirkusA White social justice advocate clearly shows how racism is America\'s core crisis. Educator and activist Wise collects more than 50 of his hard-hitting essays from 2008 to the present, most previously published online, that address racism, inequality, and injustice ... Asserting, with ample evidence, that \'post-raciality is a fantasy,\' Wise comments on a host of events that bear witness to pervasive racism ... A trenchant assessment of our nation’s ills.
RavePublishers WeeklyEducator and public speaker Wise (White Lies Matter) examines white privilege and systemic racial inequality in this collection of previously published essays dating back to 2008. Even the older pieces [...] have a deep relevance for today ... In some pieces, Wise is more provoking than persuasive ... Still, he offers sound advice on how to promote antiracism ... The result is a bracing call to action in a moment of social unrest.
PositivePublishers WeeklyJournalist Maurer (coauthor, No Easy Day) delivers a straightforward account of the battle for the Philippines island of Corregidor during WWII ... Drawing on letters and war journals, Maurer follows Jones and other officers, as well as enlisted men, throughout the difficult and dangerous campaign ... Maurer includes several intriguing scenes from the Japanese perspective, and dramatically describes many individual acts of American heroism, but the sorties and missions begin to blur together, and the links to the larger war effort are somewhat underdeveloped. This tightly focused history is best suited to WWII completists.
PositiveKirkusMuch of the narrative is a series of gripping, somewhat scattershot accounts of small-unit firefights, ambushes, suicidal attacks, heroic feats, and tragic deaths. The sole map of the entire island is little help in following the action, so readers should sit back and enjoy the fireworks. Although the mission was a combined airborne and amphibious assault, Maurer relies heavily on unpublished memoirs by three paratroopers, so the seaborne landing is only mentioned in passing; readers searching for a more balanced account will need to look elsewhere. Having worked hard and long gathering material, Maurer crafts a narrative that reads less like serious history and more like a novel, with invented dialogue and melodrama. Still, history buffs can be assured that he gets his facts right. Entertaining popular military history, mostly for fans of the genre.
PositiveKirkusMore information about the infrastructure of the music industry would better contextualize the story, and Brod delves further into the bands’ compromised late-period discographies than casual fans will care about. But their shifting fortunes are a reminder of their mix of talent and dumb luck: They all could have been Starz. A fun, compassionate history of arena rock’s finest hour—and the less-fine hours that followed.
Paul Celan, trans. by Pierre Joris
RavePublishers WeeklyThis ambitious bilingual edition completes Joris’s herculean effort to translate all of Celan’s poetry into English ... Joris’s introduction and commentary provide useful historical and literary context. This admirable translation presents the early work of an eminent German language postwar poet to a new audience.
PositivePublishers Weekly... spirited ... Greene delves deeply into the legal, cultural, and political matters behind rights conflicts, and laces his account with feisty legal opinions and colorful character sketches. This incisive account persuades.
MixedKirkus... provocative, dense ... Though the author presents a valid argument, the presentation is lacking. He describes a dizzying number of cases and characters, which makes the text overwhelming for lay readers. The first third of the book, which includes an introduction and historical overview, reads like a lecture ... Greene’s arguments, which may be useful to legal scholars and students, deserve ample airing, but his style doesn’t aid wide comprehension ... Intended for general readers but unlikely to register with many non–legal eagles.
RaveKirkusYejidé follows up her debut, Time of the Locust (2014), with a deeper, broader, and more audacious immersion in magical realism ... Historic detail and mythic folklore forge a scary, thrilling vision of life along America\'s margins.
PositivePublishers Weekly... ambitious ... Yejidé creates a tapestry of interconnected stories of guilt, loss, love, grief, justice, and restoration as the story builds toward an intense climax ... While at times the book can feel didactic, with the characters very obviously meant as metaphors for historical trauma, Yejidé’s prose is often stunning. At its best, the story’s rich texture evokes the ghost stories of Toni Morrison.
RaveKirkusA concise, fast-paced biography of the German poet, critic, and essayist ... Prochnik [...] takes a sympathetic look at the life and work of Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) ... Prochnik recounts significant connections ... A discerning portrait of the writer and his times.
Jenny Minton Quigley
PositivePublishers WeeklyFormer book editor Minton Quigley (The Early Birds) brings together 30 thought-provoking essays inspired by Nabokov’s famous 1955 novel ... The essays are uniformly enjoyable, and readers will find this collection full of welcome perspectives on a literary classic.
Jenny Minton Quigley
RaveKirkusA sparkling collection of essays about the controversial novel ... A compendious, wide-ranging collection of sharp, thoughtful essays.
Ahmet Altan, trans. by Brendan Freely and Yelda Türedi
RaveKirkusThe second installment in a Godfather-level crime saga set in the Ottoman Empire ... a complex story ... The book is comparable to Vikram Chandra’s Sacred Games (2006), not only in terms of its scope, but also in the depths of its characterization and the visceral tensions between characters. Osman’s connection with the dead brings in that little touch of magical realism that makes things cool. The political war games that constantly surround the crown give everything an extra bit of palpable menace. This book is just as piercing as the first in the series, Like a Sword Wound (2018), and readers would be well served by reading that one first. An ambitious and intelligent thriller about love and war.
Nona Fernández, tr. Natasha Wimmer
RavePublishers WeeklyChilean author Fernández’s second novel to be translated into English (after Space Invaders) powerfully evokes the brutality of Augusto Pinochet’s 17-year military dictatorship and is based on the life of one of his security policemen ... This disturbing story of a repentant man makes for a gripping psychological game of cat and mouse.
Nona Fernández, tr. Natasha Wimmer
RaveKirkusFernández continues her project of lifting the veil on the dark years of Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship ... Fernández’s story has shades of the cat-and-mouse mystery, her touchstones emblems of mass global culture: episodes of The Twilight Zone, to be sure, but also old movies and, of course, the video games of the era ... Fernández is emerging as a major voice in South American letters, and this slender but rich story shows why.
PositivePublishers Weekly... incisive ... Though the women only cross paths briefly, during a witty section of the novel that unfolds at intermission, their respective anxieties about climate change, the confines of womanhood, and love and loss intersect magnificently throughout. Meanwhile, as the onstage drama progresses, the play’s protagonist becomes increasingly trapped by the desiccated earth, thus serving as a performative embodiment of the women’s own inexorable journeys through time. This richly rendered and perceptive meditation on motherhood, memory, and the challenges of living through frightful times will hold readers spellbound.
PositivePublishers Weekly... spellbinding ... While there is never any doubt who the bad guys and good guys are, the yarn moves swiftly and with sufficient suspense to its predictable denouement, Brooks’s lean prose never getting in the way of the plot. This is an exquisitely creepy page-turner.
PositiveKirkusBrooks’ elegant prose and artfully written protagonist keep this somewhat predictable thriller from feeling formulaic ... Eerie, gripping, and macabre: a gothic romance for the contemporary age.
RavePublishers Weekly... exceptional ... Eriksson adeptly teases whether there’s a connection between the call and the fire, even as violence claims more lives. This artful blend of mystery and psychology is sure to please Scandinavian noir fans.
PositiveKirkusAs usual, Eriksson folds the lives of his engaging detectives into the mystery ... The heroine’s eighth case uses a clever whodunit to treat contemporary issues with complexity and compassion.
ed. by Les Standiford
RavePublishers WeeklyThe 19 selections in this welcome reprint anthology in Akashic’s noir series enshrine the dark side of Miami ... This historical survey makes a fine case for Miami as a timeless setting for great crime fiction.
ed. by Les Standiford
PositiveKirkusAlthough the stories, all of them reprints, are grouped thematically into four sections, they’re arranged chronologically, and their development over the 90-plus years they span is startling ... A collection that shows how far a city can come and still maintain a strong noir tradition.
PositiveKirkusIn a memoir refreshingly devoid of either bragging or score-settling, the author reminds us about his significant contributions as a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, and he offers a straightforward perspective on tumultuous times ... He does both in a manner that is never flashy but always steady. A cleareyed, evenhanded tale from a pivotal figure in the development of country rock.
MixedPublishers WeeklyHillman, a founding member of the Byrds, shares his passion for making music in this poignant but underwhelming memoir ... The narrative trudges dutifully from one phase of his life to the next ... Readers looking for gossip or an inside scoop may be disappointed, as the narrative is a broad chronological overview without any dramatic reveals. Though Hillman’s fans will love his book, this memoir’s appeal will not extend far outside of that circle.
PositivePublishers WeeklyBiographer Morton examines in this vibrant history the \'push-and-pull between... deep love and primal jealousy\' that bonded Queen Elizabeth II and her younger sister, Princess Margaret ... Morton draws a sharp contrast between duty-bound George and self-indulgent Edward, and between Elizabeth and Margaret, who once confessed that \'disobedience is my joy.\' ... Royal watchers will be enthralled.
RaveKirkusA vigorous fictional account of the popular uprising that threw the Nazis out of Naples in 1943 ... a vivid narrative ... The gripping climactic account of the widespread revolt that forces the arrogant Nazis to abandon the city may surprise readers who know Merullo as the author of unconventional spiritual fiction [...] but this multifaceted writer always surprises and entertains. He finds time among the mayhem for a few poignant human dramas, brought to satisfactory conclusions along with the uprising. Stirring and moving: more fine work from a versatile, gifted writer.
Edward St Aubyn
RaveKirkusThis is a novel of ideas—more specifically, the idea that somehow the world can be saved, whether through rewilding a patch of English forest or employing virtual reality to battle schizophrenia. Everyone involved represents an aspect of mind ... More humorous but just as intellectually inclined as Richard Powers and David Mitchell, among other contemporaries, St. Aubyn explores human foibles even as he brilliantly takes up headier issues of the human brain in sickness and in health. A thought-provoking, smartly told story that brings philosophy, medicine, and neuroscience into boardroom and bedroom.
Edward St Aubyn
RavePublishers Weekly... sublime ... St. Aubyn brings off a seemingly effortless and provocative examination of the mind and its refractions. This one’s not to be missed.
PositivePublishers Weekly... funny ... West has her hand on the pulse of adolescent angst fed by academic and social pressure, jealousies and raging hormones—all compounded by social media—but also the self-doubts experienced by parents (mothers in particular) who can be as lost as their children when it comes to handling the challenges of puberty. Soulful and entertaining, this offers plenty of insight on the space children need to make their own mistakes.
PositiveKirkusA seemingly open-and-shut murder trial opens onto complex class and ethnic relations in the early Colonial era ... Pearl sometimes overwrites but her narrative makes a solid bookend to Jill Lepore’s The Name of War in limning the complex relationships at work in a fraught place and time. A sturdy tale of Native-White relations in Colonial America that have echoes in Native legal struggles today.
PositivePublishers WeeklyPearl, a lawyer by training, debuts with a painstaking yet accessible account of a consequential murder trial in 17th-century New England ... Pearl argues that the verdict validated the jury system as a source of justice, paving the way for \'a government for and of the people\'; temporarily alleviated \'the rampant fear and misgivings between settlers and indigenous tribes\'; and helped bring an end to the Pequot War. Drawing extensively from primary sources, Pearl blends rigorous research with vivid storytelling and provides essential context for understanding the era. History buffs will be riveted.
PositiveKirkusA welcome revisionist study of Lady Bird Johnson’s roles and accomplishments within her husband’s administration ... Sweig, a nonresident senior research fellow at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, casts a wider lens around Lady Bird’s public persona and personal life, especially the White House years. The author covers a lot of ground ... Sweig deftly constructs a complex and admiring portrait of Lady Bird as a hardworking, intuitive, and highly intelligent political strategist who served as a vital bolstering force behind LBJ’s political ambition ... Sweig provides an engrossing, well-researched narrative that offers useful historical context about the prevailing issues of the day ... A superb portrait that elevates Lady Bird’s stature as one of the most accomplished first ladies of the 20th century.
PositivePublishers WeeklyDrawing on the diary recordings Johnson began making shortly after the assassination of President Kennedy, Sweig contends that Lady Bird effectively served as her husband’s vice president while he filled out the remainder of JFK’s term ... Sweig details Lady Bird’s opinions on the Vietnam War, Great Society programs, and civil rights legislation, as well as her own policy agenda, which included urban planning reforms, natural conservation programs, and home rule for Washington, D.C ...Sweig brings her subject to life with exhaustive research and fluid writing. This polished account takes the full measure of the \'disarmingly modern\' partnership between Lady Bird and LBJ.
PositiveKirkusAs Nazism tightens its grip on Germany, an English crime reporter tackles a handful of juicy stories ... Downing\'s inclusion of episodes from the rise of Nazism and backstories involving Russell and his expatriate friends adds texture but slows the propulsive pace of the story ... A litany of sordid crimes that are both a MacGuffin for and a window into a chilling, compelling era.
RaveKirkusZimmer gives ample space to nitpickers who point out exceptions, and a few chapters record interviews with scientists exploring each of these hallmarks. None answer the author’s big question, but readers will not complain because Zimmer is such an engaging communicator. Confronting a possibly unanswerable question, the author explores its history, an eye-opening review of three centuries of research by intensely curious, obsessive, often obscure scientists who contributed to many revelations about the amazing attributes of life ... An ingenious case that the answers to life’s secrets are on the horizon.
RavePublishers Weekly... stimulating ... a pop science tour de force that extracts provocative insights from life’s oddities.
RaveKirkus... a richly detailed, fluent narrative ... A lively, readable story that nicely complicates the view of racial and ethnic relations in the South of old.
RaveKirkusIn this outstanding work...Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Frankel covers every facet of the film’s creation ... In a canny move, Frankel places the film in historical context, detailing major world events at the time of the shoot ... Interviews with the film’s surviving principals add immediacy, and descriptions of small production details enhance the book’s power ... A rare cinema book that is as mesmerizing as its subject.
RavePublishers Weekly... a vivid chronicle ... This enthralling account of a boundary-breaking film is catnip for film buffs.
PositivePublishers WeeklyHarmon’s debut illustrated novel is a spare but vivid exploration of a lonely teenager’s complicated life ... The author’s clean, thin-lined illustrations add period detail to the prose’s cool lyricism, and though there are some mesmerizing passages, the reader glenas limited insight into Ali’s interior life. Harmon traces the nuances of a teenage female friendship’s fraught dynamics with clinical precision.
PositiveKirkusThis is Harmon’s debut novel, and she also provides illustrations; she\'s done an impeccable job re-creating a very particular moment in time, exploring what it felt like to be a teenage girl when the beauty ideal for women grew to maddening heights. Though there was no social media, the expectations for how women should look were no less ubiquitous than they are now. Harmon’s words and illustrations together show how pervasive and seductive these images were, especially for still-developing minds. While the novel is short on resolution, it’s a propulsive depiction of what a summer in the New York suburbs felt like before iPhones and what a crush can drive someone to do. ... A novel that captures the emotional intensity, confusion, and quickness of adolescence.
PositivePublishers WeeklyDoucleff, a correspondent for NPR’s Science Desk, debuts with a lively account of traveling with her three-year-old daughter Rosy \'to the corners of the world\' to research parenting techniques ... Doucleff includes specific and manageable instructions for parents and end-of-chapter summaries include extra resources. Parents will find Doucleff’s curiosity contagious and guidance encouraging.
RaveKirkusPulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist Moss is a powerhouse when it comes to research and analysis, and much like his contemporary Michael Lewis, he possesses the ability to maintain a solid narrative arc. Characteristically, the author opens his deep dive back into the processed food industry with a story about a Brooklyn schoolgirl whose craving for McDonald’s led to morbid obesity during adolescence ... In addition to examining the chemistry of food, appetite, and addiction (highly prevalent), Moss breaks down the complex and contentious arguments at the intersection of the food industry and the law. More disturbingly, he explores the often devious and potentially dangerous ways that manufacturers manipulate foods to trigger addictive behavior ... The author covers much of the same ground as his previous book, but readers will be engaged and shocked by the sheer velocity of the process for changing foods to boost consumption ... Another cleareyed inquiry into the companies that feed us, hook us, and leave us wanting more.
RavePublishers Weekly... propulsive action and twists that keep the reader guessing .. page-turning ... Hester is a fascinating, troubled, but not overly dour narrator, who must use her wits and past experiences—which are teased out in flashbacks—to solve the murder and stay alive. This tense sprint through a future dominated by profit-driven amorality makes for a gripping, cinematic sci-fi thriller that readers won’t want to put down.
RaveLocus MagHere the comfort doesn’t derive from the content of the fiction – there are decidedly unsettling and even brutal moments in the work of both writers – but from its execution. It’s the simple comfort of knowing you’re in supremely competent hands, and it’s the sort of comfort I found myself feeling before opening either book, or even glancing at the table of contents. There is, of course, some curiosity as to whether familiar tales will hold up on a return visit, and whether the unfamiliar ones would live up to expectations. In both volumes, while a few stories seemed decidedly minor in compared to others, I’m happy to report that my initial sense of assurance was not misplaced: I found myself re-reading stories I hadn’t expected to re-read, simply because they drew me in all over again ... Despite this variety of genres and modes, Hand’s fiction is distinctively recognizable in a number of ways ... While these vernacular tales demonstrate the tonal range already apparent in Hand’s novels, they’re also the least characteristic stories here ... it’s hard to argue with an elegant masterpiece like this, or with the balanced overview of Hand’s varied talents that the always-reliable editor Bill Sheehan has assembled here.
RavePublishers WeeklyThe 14 stories of this superior collection showcase the versatility of World Fantasy and Nebula Award–winner Hand while demonstrating an ear for prose that elevates genre tropes to transcendent levels ... Hand gracefully handles trauma, telling the story of a female entomology student who undergoes an unusual transformation in the aftermath of being raped. Readers will be blown away.
Briona Simone Jones
RavePublishers WeeklyJones traces \'the long history of love between Black women\' in this wide-ranging, celebratory anthology. Documenting \'the purview of the poet, blues woman, essayist, and critic,\' Jones collects cultural criticism, theory, personal essay, and poetry from 1909 to 2019 ... Jones’s inspiring and prodigious anthology is striking.
RaveKirkus[A] history of Virginia’s eugenics movement and its interconnections with racial, gender, and class prejudices ... [a] grounded, well-rendered, and highly disturbing account ... With justified outrage backed by copious archival evidence, Catte describes the process by which Virginia made eugenic sterilization legal. Importantly, the author also demonstrates how practitioners of eugenics did more than just sterilize the mentally ill and those who were not considered \'pure.\' ... The author closes by examining the suppression of memory as it pertains to the thousands of sterilizations that occurred as well as Western State’s use of patients for free labor. A well-told, richly contextualized investigation of an appalling episode in American history.
RavePublishers Weeklya concise and deeply unsettling study of the eugenics movement in Virginia ... In a lacerating analysis of the links between economic policies and eugenicist thought, Catte examines coerced labor at Virginia’s psychiatric institutions, the destruction of a historically-Black neighborhood in Charlottesville under the guise of urban renewal, and the transformation of Western State into an upscale hotel and condominiums. This provocative and impeccably argued history reveals how traumas of the past inform the inequalities of today.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThe most eloquent section highlights her grief moving through a world built on violence toward Native peoples ... Her prose is crisp and precise, and the references hit spot-on ... Fans of the personal essay are in for a treat.
RaveKirkusThe book breaks from traditional memoir in intriguing ways, including footnotes that speak directly to readers and an essay that begins by focusing on Twin Peaks and then slowly begins to emulate it ... A fascinating magic trick of a memoir that illuminates a woman\'s search for meaning.
RaveKirkusIn this unnervingly good debut, Davis’ narrator pieces together details of his father’s death ... The tension of the novel builds to delirious heights ... An eerie and surprising reconstruction by an unreliable narrator.
PositivePublishers Weekly[A] delightfully off-kilter account of a man’s hallucinatory search for clues about his father’s death ... Historical details of colonial genocide add another level of ominousness...but their connection to the mystery feels tenuous. In the end it’s beside the point, as Davis offers plenty of surprises from her narrator. With the eeriness of a David Lynch film, this is made gripping by the narrator’s self-made traps.
RaveKirkusDemonstrating his deep knowledge of the era, the author energetically recounts Drake’s action-packed journey ... The narrative is long but never boring, as Bergreen masterly portrays the principal characters in this drama ... A smooth, dramatic, and well-fleshed world history perfect for library collections.
Jo Ann Beard
RavePublishers WeeklyThis imaginative and precise collection shows Beard at her best ... Beard can evoke many emotions in a single stroke ... She’s also cunning with surprising metaphors and details ... These sharp essays cement Beard’s reputation as a master of the form.
Jo Ann Beard
MixedKirkus... gripping and meditative ... vary in style, substance, and quality ... A rangy collection, sometimes insightful, uneven, and occasionally unsettling.
RavePublishers WeeklyA daughter gets caught in her Aboriginal Australian family’s complicated legacy in Indigenous Australian writer Lucashenko’s darkly funny U.S. debut ... With strong voices and kinetic prose, Lucashenko’s engrossing narrative speaks to the ongoing traumas of indigenous life in Australia. This deserves to make a splash.
RavePublishers WeeklyHistorian Read (Winston Churchill Reporting) delivers an action-packed and vividly written rundown of how Allied forces sank Germany’s four most dangerous battleships during WWII ... Drawing on firsthand accounts from Allied and German sources, Read recreates the demise of each German warship in gripping, often poignant, prose. WWII buffs and naval history fans will be spellbound.
RaveKirkus... well-told ... exciting ... A suspenseful, well-wrought account of battling ships at sea and grave wartime conditions
João Gilberto Noll, tr. Edgar Garbelotto
PositiveKirkusThe writing is excellent and strange in the fashion of much of the Argentinian fabulists, but there’s no real point to it. Another somewhat mystic parable about middle-aged crazy and our search for meaning in a world that has lost its way.
João Gilberto Noll, tr. Edgar Garbelotto
PositivePublishers Weekly...provocative and outlandish ... The book flows with the logic of dreams, the scenes altering as suddenly and inscrutably as the narrator’s explosive urges ... The plot meanders so unpredictably that it leaves readers bewildered but never disinterested. But, as this is a portrait of a man’s alienation amid a search for joy, its disorientation might just be the point.
PositiveThe New York TImes Book Review[A] cleverly hyperlocal novel that unfolds during Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearings in September 2018 ... There’s some heavy-handedness happening here: the Whartonian names, the witchiness, the crumbling edifice as stand-in for a world gone mad. I took notice and moved on. Benjamin is like an overly chatty but skilled magician; she earns herself a few twee flourishes by telling a modern and energetic story about a marriage on the skids ... Instead of steering us into an affair, Benjamin sets up an intricate obstacle course ... What’s at stake is the state of the Fromes’ union, but neither of them stops to consider this until they’ve both lost sight of their destination: the supportive, creative and thoughtful idyll they hoped to build together. Instead, the two change lanes so many times, they’re not even on the same highway.
PositivePublishers WeeklyPsychologist Zadra and psychiatry professor Stickgold team up for this thorough look into \'the relationship between brains, minds, and dreams.\' ... At the heart of the work is the authors’ Network Exploration to Understand Possibilities (NEXTUP) model, which proposes that dreaming is a \'form of sleep-dependent memory processing\' in which human brains connect dots they couldn’t when awake. The authors follow the implications of this model, touching on such dream-related disorders as sleep paralysis ... Like art, they conclude, dreaming \'enriches our life while helping to guide us.\' This smart mix of science and theory hits the mark.
PositiveKirkusTwo sleep and dream researchers illuminate their specialty ... They explain dreaming as a form of \'sleep-dependent memory processing\' that \'extracts new knowledge\' from recent experiences but rarely offers \'concrete solutions\' to problems. Most readers will understand the authors’ theories, but they will especially relish the final chapters, which explore nightmares, lucid dreaming, narcolepsy, creativity via dreams, and even how to link a dream to waking-life events. Readers convinced that dreams reveal deep insights and those who dismiss them as meaningless will both enjoy a painless education on dreams and memory. Few will object to the authors’ preferred theory because, as good scientists, they present their evidence without claiming that it’s overwhelming.
Takis Würger, Tr. Liesl Schillinger
PositivePublishers Weekly... spare, affecting ... While the novel’s ending doesn’t feel fully resolved, Würger skillfully intertwines fact and fiction. This subtle, thought-provoking narrative is worth a look.
Takis Würger, Tr. Liesl Schillinger
MixedKirkusWürger’s commitment to the historical reality of the Nazi regime is commendable, and he doesn\'t shy away from depicting the gruesome horrors it inflicted on Jews in Berlin in the early 1940s. But passages giving historical context for the events of the novel grow tedious, and the excerpted documents can feel extraneous. Conversely, his decision to tell the true story of Stella Goldschlag, a fascinating and terrifying woman, through the lovestruck eyes of a bland and entirely fictional male character is frustrating ... A well-intentioned and thoroughly researched novel that works better in theory than in practice.
Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
PositiveKirkusWatching the deeply insecure Ambrosia morph into the toxic Sully’s broken acolyte is like paying witness to a slow-motion train wreck. It’s hard to sympathize with Amb, but her self-aware narration, which alternates between past and present, illustrates how a vulnerable psyche can be twisted into something exceedingly ugly. The ever rising tide of dread will keep readers hooked even when they realize that a happy ending may not be in the cards ... A sharp, pitch-black thriller that takes the mean-girls trope to another level.
Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
PanPublishers Weekly... disappointing ... The plot fails to convince: among other implausibilities, Amb attends the reunion despite not liking most of her peers and suspecting that someone might take revenge there. Moreover, the preposterous climax is unsatisfying. Fans of psychological thrillers won’t find much to shout about.
RaveKirkus... stories that push the boundaries of fiction ... Cohen’s stories are profoundly original. While some hew closer to realism and others are more imaginative, they are each narrated in distinct voices and rendered in dreamy, glistening prose. Some of the collection’s more experimental stories manage to reach into the realm of the metaphysical, exploring possibilities of being and alternate universes; Cohen manages to do this in a manner that, remarkably, does not feel overwrought. As with any collection of stories, some feel more fully realized than others; this is perhaps exacerbated by the protagonists’ shared name, with the less memorable Sarahs fading into the background, their stories blurring together. But in general, Cohen’s book is impressively even, particularly for a debut ... A bold collection that explores how we might break free from or reimagine ourselves and our places in the universe.
PositivePublishers Weekly... wonderfully bizarre ... Throughout, Cohen cleverly reimagines the world through a queer lens and uses pop culture and fairy tale references to illustrate the various lives, stories, and worlds the Sarahs can inhabit. A thought-provoking work, Cohen’s collection surprises and excites.
Laura Imai Messina, Tr. by Lucy Rand
RaveKirkusThis wonderful, gentle, hopeful story leads the reader through the beginning of Yui and Takeshi’s 30 years together. Through their sorrow and grief, they learn how to let happiness, hope, joy, and laughter reside side by side with their memories of loss. It is a beautifully written book. Messina—an Italian who has lived in Tokyo for 15 years—writes in a way that’s evocative of Kazuo Ishiguro but in an opposite way: While Ishiguro leads with comfort and hints at the sadness to come, Messina offers grief and sadness first but offers the reader a trail of breadcrumbs toward future happiness ... A must-read.
PositiveNew York Times Book Review\"
To be poor in America is to constantly be aware of how close you are to empty ... It’s fitting that each chapter of Guanzon’s relentless novel begins with the amount of money Henry has: Unexpected expenses, over the course of one day, torpedo Henry’s careful plans toward upward mobility in an excruciating slow-motion cascade ... This is worthy but heavy stuff, and the novel occasionally staggers under the weight. Henry feels more like the sum of his identities — father, felon, half-Filipino — than a fully-fleshed character, consumed by his fears of turning into his own embittered immigrant dad. Instead, what Abundance captures is how mundane poverty is, and how psychologically punishing.\
PositiveKirkusAn impressive debut tells of a Midwestern father on the brink of destitution and his grim efforts to survive ... The novel’s structure works well to track the legacy and persistence of bad choices and how they whittle down options in lives that didn’t have many to start with. Guanzon tends to overwrite, but he can be eloquent regarding Henry’s hard, hungry struggle ... An imperfect but compelling picture of poverty, desperation, and pain.
RavePublishers WeeklyGuanzon debuts with a harrowing story of a man’s desperation and unyielding love for his son ... Each chapter is titled after the dwindling amount of cash Henry has, while flashbacks show Henry’s brief windfall from a pill sale and struggle to foot the hospital bill for Junior’s delivery ... Guanzon’s descriptions of grinding poverty are visceral and Henry’s attempts to fend off relentless adversity for the sake of his son are heartbreaking. This one hits hard.
PositiveKirkus... ingenious and unsettling ... The authors also examine the concept of the placebo, which in certain cases is \'the most benevolent of lies,\' and they defend their position that optimists with fatal diseases live longer than \'realists,\' quoting studies that show this and ignoring those that show the opposite ... A passionate, often counterintuitive, disturbingly convincing addition to the why-people-believe-stupid-things genre.
MixedPublishers Weekly... intimate if lackluster ... While Hashimi rushes through Aryana’s intervening years in the U.S., and the plot is fairly predictable, she does a good job developing Aryana’s character. Still, this one fails to leave a mark.
PositiveKirkus... vibrant ... [a] singular work of scholarship ... While women artists and performers endured numerous unfair stereotypes, the author ably shows their significance to the cultural scene. Via a dozen or so minibiographies of these fascinating, talented women, many of whom rose from humble beginnings—as well as scores of contextualizing photos—Cormack makes the convincing case that \'at its core, this was a group of women demanding to be heard as they asserted their wishes, claimed their rights, and made space for themselves.\' Shining examples abound ... A lively and original story of modern Egypt told through the lives of its first generation of women celebrities.
PositivePublishers Weekly... lively ... Cormack portrays the colorful lives of these women within the context of the era’s political and cultural upheavals, including Arab nationalism and the emergence of an Egyptian feminist movement. This sparkling account casts the history of the Egyptian capital in a new light.
PositivePublishers Weekly... striking and surprising ... As Beate and her children’s fortunes ebb and flow, so, too, do the conditions of the town, and Grattan shines in his depiction of Kritzhagen as it evolves over the years from a place of refugee encampments and neo-Nazis to a chic vacation town. At turns funny and frightening, this is a moving, memorable portrait of a family and town in turmoil.
PositiveKirkusIn the early going, the book feels like a gothic novel with a Brutalist severity: The characters are so downcast and the home so haunted by the past that emotional escape seems impossible. But when the narrative leaps back into the 1970s and forward to the 21st century, the novel brightens as the characters’ motivations and experiences deepen ... Grattan is a graceful writer and keen observer of family dynamics; the domestic themes, realist style, and emphasis on German culture can’t help but recall Jonathan Franzen. But the energy Grattan expends on characterization doesn’t quite extend to the plot, which feels shapeless despite some dramatic flare-ups. The lassitude is somewhat intentional, though: When you’re as disoriented as this clan is, Grattan suggests, there truly is no place like home ... An ambitious, artful, and winding tale of a family in search of its moorings.
PositivePublishers Weekly... unflinching ... It’s this haunting threat of a foreshortened life that sets this work apart from traditional addiction memoirs. Mohr’s raw account is equally shocking and moving.
PositiveKirkusA provocative work that will appeal to students of world history and geopolitics.
MixedPublishers Weekly... a well-informed yet disjointed account of how the legacy of imperialism influences modern-day global affairs ... Unfortunately, Puri’s lucid insights into the roots of modern-day Hindu nationalism in India, for instance, are somewhat obscured by his tendency to meander through the history and contemporary politics of each country he surveys, and the book’s central argument often falls out of focus. Though Puri’s knowledge of world affairs impresses, readers looking for an actionable guide to overcoming the long shadow of imperialism will be disappointed.
PositivePublishers WeeklyJane’s narration can be a bit slow and tedious, but the novel takes off when it switches to Lauren’s point of view, building tension as Lauren finds her way through a difficult situation. Though the novel feels a bit schematic at times, Winter’s surprisingly complex characters make it worthwhile.
MixedKirkusOne of the loveliest parts of this novel is Jane’s early motherhood experience with her daughter Lauren—a sweet and sensual romance shaped by Jane’s reading of D.W. Winnicott ... Winter’s gifts for dialogue and characterization are evident ... For a long time, there is one leisurely episode after another with very little narrative momentum established. Is anything ever going to happen? Then, about two-thirds of the way through, you see exactly where it’s heading, and it’s so ripped-from-the-headlines that one hopes for a surprise. But Winter doesn’t seem to care about plot; the quick series of climactic events at the end are the flattest parts of the book. On the other hand, if you have the patience, there is much—including snarky riffs on Buffalo and the Buffalo accent!—to enjoy ... Excellent writing and well-developed characters contend with uneven pacing and a predictable plot.
RaveKirkusUprooted from their land, the seeds Dakhóta women carried with them were not just a source of sustenance, but their link to the past and hope for the future, a symbol of their profound bond with the Earth. They provide a powerful symbol for Rosalie’s rediscovery of her lost family and the ways of \'the old ones\' ... A thoughtful, moving meditation on connections to the past and the land that humans abandon at their peril.
RavePublishers Weekly... deeply moving ... Wilson offers finely wrought descriptions of the natural world, as the voice of the seeds provides connective threads to the stories of her people. This powerful work achieves a deep resonance often lacking from activist novels, and makes a powerful statement along the way.
Elliot Ackerman and James Admiral Stavridis
RaveKirkusThis novel starts out like a Tom Clancy thriller, but whether Wedge Mitchell is more like Jack Ryan or Dr. Strangelove is for the reader to decide ... Unlike with the never-ending Clancy series, it’s hard to imagine a sequel to this dark warning about human folly and miscalculation ... This compelling thriller should be required reading for our national leaders and translated into Mandarin.
Elliot Ackerman and James Admiral Stavridis
PositivePublishers WeeklyThe authors do a fine job depicting the human cost of geopolitical conflict, though they avoid the hardware emphasis of most military thrillers, and some of the potentially more exciting scenarios occur offstage. Those seeking a realistic look at how a future world war might play out will be rewarded.
PositivePublishers WeeklyNovelist and historian Miles spotlights \'rebel women\' from the past two centuries in this brisk and freewheeling history ... Miles also tracks how colonialism exacerbated tensions over women’s roles, details how Southern sisters Sarah and Angelina Grimké linked abolitionism to women’s rights, and profiles 19th-century abortion provider Ann Trow, better known as Madame Restell ... Miles writes with verve and jam packs her account with useful information, but her resolutely optimistic outlook for the 21st century seems at odds with the history she chronicles, and her abrupt shifts from one topic to the next can be jarring. Nevertheless, this is an energetic and enthusiastic survey of feminist boundary pushing.
PositiveKirkusEnglish novelist and journalist Miles celebrates women’s achievements—some worthy and others dubious—from the French Revolution to the age of #MeToo ... Miles’ tone sometimes does a disservice to her subjects, as she ranges from matter-of-fact declaration to sarcastic dismissal ... Still, this fact-packed chronicle may appeal to younger readers or those seeking a more playful, anecdotal approach to women’s history. The book ends with \'The Women’s Manifesto for Equality,\' of perhaps less interest to American women than to their sisters in places where feminism still lacks traction. Herstory with a dash of sarcasm and a wide global and chronological reach.
Syed M. Masood
MixedKirkusThe story is well written, but the fascinating familial and religious dynamics are often too convoluted, and the relationship between Anvar and Azza never takes off because Azza is not as fully developed a character as Anvar. Her victimization defines her even when she breaks free, which makes her disappointingly one-dimensional. An engaging though overly complicated story of two people fighting to overcome their circumstances.
MixedKirkusAs in her first novel, Rous entwines the present with the past, and Sadie’s narrative alternates with an account of events that took place at Raven Hall in the late 1980s, as told by 14-year-old Beth Soames, an orphaned teen who is taken in by Leonora Averell, her partner, Markus Meyer, and their daughter, Nina. Passages that seem to take place between Sadie\'s and Beth’s stories are interspersed as well ... Beth and Nina’s story is absorbing, but Sadie’s narrative never pops. With this kind of setup, one might expect some Clue-esque hijinks at the looming mansion, but alas, it is not to be, and the confusing pile-on of revelations in the final act, as the author connects the seemingly disparate threads, might leave readers with whiplash. An intriguing premise, but this lacks the suspense and sharp plotting of the author\'s first novel. Call it sophomore slump.
RavePublishers Weekly... witty and profound ... What astounds is Polzin’s ability to draw such deep understanding of the couple through their interactions with the chickens, which live only in the moment ... The narrative is full of such sharp, distinctive observations as the narrator works to move on from her desire to have children. Told in short vignettes studded with breath-catching wisdom, this novel feels both delicate and sustaining from beginning to end.
PositiveKirkusCalling to mind the cerebral works of Olivia Laing and Jenny Offill, Polzin’s story has a quiet intensity that churns throughout. It’s in the tension she builds within her narrator’s isolated world, navigating the paradox of domestic intimacy, the comfort and terror it sows, and the unexpected shapes motherhood can take. There are no heart-quickening plot twists or climactic endings here, and that’s the beauty of Polzin’s writing. It doesn’t need either to move you. In Polzin\'s deft hands, the mundane is an endless source of wonder ... A moving meditation on loss, solitude, and the hope that can rise from both.
RaveKirkus\"A magisterial biography of the co-discoverer of what has been called the greatest advance in biology since the discovery of DNA ... A diligent historian and researcher, Isaacson lucidly explains CRISPR and refuses to pass it off as a far-fetched magic show. Some scientific concepts (nuclear fission, evolution) are easy to grasp but not CRISPR. Using charts, analogies, and repeated warnings for readers to pay attention, the author describes a massively complicated operation in which humans can program heredity. Those familiar with college-level biology will have a better time, but nobody will regret the reading experience. A vital book about the next big thing in science—and yet another top-notch biography from Isaacson.
RavePublishers WeeklyBiographer Isaacson depicts science at its most exhilarating in this lively biography of Jennifer Doudna, the winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize in chemistry for her work on the CRISPR system of gene editing ... The result is a gripping account of a great scientific advancement and of the dedicated scientists who realized it.
PositivePublishers Weekly[A] thorough history of wildlife conservation movements ... As she lays out the origins of environmental groups including the World Wildlife Fund and Nature Conservancy, Nijhuis warns that organizations and governments are not doing enough to stave off mass extinction ... Nijhuis’s comprehensive survey is sure to delight nature enthusiasts and those concerned with disappearing species.
RaveKirkusA fine history of the genesis of the conservation movement ... The author delivers a vivid account of the movements’ past and present along with compelling minibiographies of the lives of many brilliant and energetic if not always admirable men and women ... The author concludes with a review of current efforts to preserve wildlife and wilderness ... Compassionate yet realistic and candid throughout, Nijhuis makes a significant contribution to the literature on environmentalism. An engrossing history of conservation and its accomplishments.
RaveKirkusAlyan’s riveting novel, set in America and the Middle East, brims with overlapping memories of secrets, betrayals, and loyalties within a seemingly assimilated Syrian Lebanese American family ... Palestinian American psychologist and writer Alyan is masterful at clarifying the complicated sociopolitical realities surrounding Lebanon\'s and Syria’s intertwined histories in terms of class, caste, colonialism, and tribalism. But even more masterful here —is her laserlike focus on her multifaceted characters in big and small moments that come together to create a singular family ... Painful and joyous, sad and funny—impossible to put down.
RavePublishers WeeklyPoet and novelist Alyan illuminates in this exquisite novel the recent history of Lebanon and Syria through the intimate tragedies and betrayals befalling one family ... The family conflict plays out over the summer of 2019, and the narrative alternates with scenes from Mazna and Idris’s lives in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War and in California during the early years of their marriage ... Tenderly and compassionately told, and populated with complicated and flawed characters, the Nasrs’ story interrogates nostalgia, memory, and the morality of keeping secrets against the backdrop of a landscape and a people in constant flux. Alyan’s debut was striking, and this one’s even better.
PositivePublishers WeeklyLanchester returns with a modest collection of supernatural or vaguely dystopian tales that are constructed with cool precision, but fail to produce chills ... Lanchester is too good a writer—ironic, observant, worldly—not to imbue these tales with some degree of charm and pathos. Still, they feel more like exercises than genuine experiences of terror.
MixedStorgyUnfortunately this book may have delivered on the cover but it didn’t on the scares, or the uncanny or anything chill worthy… I could have read this book sopping wet and in a draft, and still not have got any chills, just a case of mild annoyance ... Some writers are born to write horror, John Lanchester in my opinion was born to write great literary works – and on this offering I hope he returns to the latter ... I did enjoy his writing in this collection, his skill and deft touch is evident in every story and is present on every page. Lanchester’s prose is beautiful ... I had high hopes for this collection having read some of Lanchester’s other works, his skill as a writer is undeniable, but I feel that Reality, and Other Stories falls way short of the mark.
RaveKirkus... striking ... Amusing details like this, rendered in sharply wrought sentences and brief paragraphs, keep this story of lost moorings light on its feet ... Handler gets it right from the title on out. Edie is definitely not alone. Her plight is one many readers will respond to deeply and perhaps even be soothed by. Along those lines, the depiction of Edie\'s relationship with her somewhat clueless husband, who wants so much to help, hits the perfect note ... Profound yet often quite funny, keenly observed, and deeply affecting.
PositivePublishers Weekly... affecting and darkly funny ... Edie’s increasingly unpredictable behavior reaches its crescendo with a heartbreaking climax, and along the way, the author explores not merely Edie’s guilt, but the complicated feelings over her loss. This quick, engrossing novel brings laughter and tears.
MixedKirkusEdgarian zooms the lens in on Vera, who narrates the book, and her immediate landscape, a choice that too often straightjackets the story. The novel shines in painting a vivid picture of early-20th-century San Francisco, including its rowdy politics, but it falls short of truly immersing the reader. Too often it reads like a daily chronicle of Vera’s doings, which gets claustrophobic. Rose’s mansion registers some damage but seems to escape the earthquake largely unscathed, a point that also strains credulity. Frustratingly, the plot takes a huge leap after the early post-earthquake days, barely skirting by Vera’s adulthood before we catch her again in old age. Even a memorable historical event can’t shake up a mostly bland story.
PositivePublishers Weekly... visceral ... Despite some anachronistic word choices, the author paints a vivid portrait of a metropolis teeming with sex workers, immigrants, corrupt politicians, and artists, and it’s fun to follow two strong young characters with very different views on life. The result makes for a stirring testament to a resilient city that never knew the meaning of the word quit.
PositiveKirkus... these ghost stories do their haunting in a wide variety of tones and moods and modes. These miniatures aren\'t always long on narrative. Many are thought experiments, meditations, fables, allegories, head-of-a-pin paintings. What unites them is first and foremost Brockmeier\'s questing sensibility, a fascination with abstract ideas that find form in fiction the way spirit is said to find form in phantasm ... Uncanny and unsettling but also consistently amusing ... Brockmeier has created an elaborate organizational schema...Ultimately this apparatus seems labored, clunky—but that minor flaw doesn\'t detract much ... Varied, inventive, uncanny, and playful: a gifted fabulist\'s cabinet of curiosities, his book-length memento mori.
PositivePublishers Weekly... sonorous ... Brockmeier’s luminous sentences and potent metaphors animate the phantasmagorical material. These eloquent dispatches show the writer’s remarkable range.
PositiveKirkusA dozen improvisatory narratives from a mind that just won\'t stop ... a series of impossibly clever riffs on familiar features of modern life ... plot and character serving mainly as carriers for intellectual humor and existential riffs ... The Care Bears, Louise Nevelson, Mallarmé, a bodega cat named Ersatz Panda...everything a grad student in semiotics could dream of is here ... Very far over some readers\' heads lies the sweetest of spots for others.
PositivePublishers Weekly... inventive ... Through juxtaposition and collage, these stories illuminate the trickier fringes of life right now.
PositivePublishers WeeklyIn this compulsively readable account, Telfer delivers a darkly humorous tale of some of the most outrageous con women who ever scammed the public ... Assured prose complements the vivid portraits. True crime fans are in for a treat.
RaveKirkus... witty and erudite ... wide-ranging ... A graceful stylist who casts a wide literary and geographical net, Zimmerman can make nearly anything interesting ... The author avoids academic cant and shows a disarming willingness to acknowledge her own vulnerability to damaging messages ... Not everyone will accept her argument that the traits that made monsters dangerous \'are actually their greatest strength[s]\' and can be turned on their heads...Nearly every page, however, brings fresh insights into age-old myths or tragicomic observations on 21st-century womanhood...This book is excellent armor for the battle ... A sparkling and perceptive critique of ancient ideas that still hold women back.
PositivePublishers Weekly... wry and deeply personal ... Occasionally, the book’s larger themes slip out of focus...For the most part, though, Zimmerman’s skillful pairing of ancient and modern, universal and personal, leads to nuanced discussions of how society suppresses female individuality. Zimmerman’s call for women to reclaim their own monstrosity rings loud and clear.
PositiveKirkus... serves as both a primer for immigrants and a knowledgeable alternative viewpoint on a fractured nation. The narrative is pleasingly intimate, as well, with the author speaking directly to \'you,\' not only exploring her own experiences, but also using the exercise to emphasize the shared anxiety faced by any stranger in a strange land. She breaks the book into two equally useful and thoughtful halves ... Hakakian somehow manages to make the drudgeries of entry into a new culture both fascinating and frightening. In the second half, the author takes a more introspective approach and adds useful cultural and historical context to the experiences of immigrants when they arrive in America ... his is heavy stuff, not least Hakakian’s breakdown of the love-hate relationship between immigrants and their chosen country as well as a peek behind the curtain at \'Anti-American Vitriol.\' The author maintains a smooth narrative pace punctuated by intriguing anecdotes about everything from the first Persian to meet an American president to the biography of American asparagus ... An enlightening reminder about human rights and civic responsibility, all too relevant in a troubled time.
PositivePublishers Weekly... a poignant and richly observed account of the immigrant’s experience of America ... Hakakian’s portrait largely excludes those forced to enter the country illegally, or unable to find adequate means of support, but she captures the immigrant’s twinned sense of hope and loss with lyrical precision. Readers will salute this astute and sincere look at what it means to “be remade” on American soil.
RaveKirkus... literate, constantly surprising ... Kaiser’s story approaches the conclusion on an unsettled note that, he laments, would be simpler to resolve if he were writing a novel and not nonfiction—though it does end on a cliffhanger worthy of a thriller ... An exemplary contribution to the recent literature on the fraught history of the Shoah.
PanPublishers Weekly[A] disappointing thriller from bestseller Coben ... Readers will struggle to empathize with Coben’s hedonistic lead, who can’t help viewing even his own aunt as a sexual object. Hopefully, Win will return to a supporting role in any future outings.
PanKirkusMemo to fans who’ve longed for Windsor Horne Lockwood III, the moneyed, omnicompetent buddy of sports agent Myron Bolitar, to snag a starring role of his own: Beware what you wish for ... meaty complications are duly unfolded, and gobs of cash thrown at them, by the ludicrously preening, self-infatuated Win ... Densely plotted and replete with incident if you can overlook the insufferable narrator.
Charles J. Chaput
PositiveKirkusReflections on what is most important to a life of faith ... Though the narrative is broad in scope and often scattershot, the author is introspective, genuine, and sometimes inspiring. Throughout, he exhorts readers to live the Christian life with sincerity, placing these significant elements of life first and making their importance clear to others ... Though prone to calling out what he sees as wrong with culture today, Chaput’s overall view is one of faithful optimism. Heartfelt, worthwhile thoughts from a seasoned church leader.
Charles J. Chaput
MixedPublishers Weekly[An] erudite if rambling reflection on \'things worth dying for... [which are] things worth living for, the things that give life beauty and meaning.\' Chief among these, for Chaput, is love and service of God, and he also praises family, friends, and both secular and religious communities ...The strongest section digs into the tension in Christian thought that holds death as both desirable and terrible. A weaker portion is his simplistic critique of contemporary culture, which Chaput sees as full of yearning for transcendence. The book also suffers from dubious assertions about the similarities between Jewish and Christian theology. While fans of Chaput’s homilies or previous works will enjoy this, it’s unlikely to win new ones.
PositivePublishers WeeklyShorr’s immersive latest delves into the fate of a Czech Jewish family sent to Auschwitz during WWII ... Through various historical sources, including an oral history made by Hermann’s late daughter, Magda, Consie absorbs accounts of the brutal treatment of the Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe and later at the death camps. Shorr draws from real-life accounts for gruesome details of the latter, in which babies were burnt alive, young girls with \'beautiful skin\' were turned into gloves, and survival \'was less a matter of heroic triumph than of simple chance.\' ... This moving account makes clear the need to remember the horrors of war.
RaveKirkusA woman retraces her great-uncle’s steps through Auschwitz ... It’s a story within a story, and it’s so vividly and urgently written that, reading it, it’s easy to forget about Consie and her search entirely. But when Magda’s story ends, Consie’s continues. Shorr’s prose is powerful but never overblown, and while the details she includes about the suffering endured at Auschwitz might not be entirely new to most readers, the novel as a whole is still deeply moving. There’s also a subtle and very smart commentary running through the book about not only how history is recorded, but how it is then experienced and sometimes resisted ... you’ll have trouble putting it down at all, much less slamming it shut.
Written with urgency, elegance, and grace, Shorr’s novel is a deeply moving account of a family’s suffering.
PositivePublishers WeeklyDennis attempts a Modianoesque detective story in her lukewarm debut ... The premise is part of the book’s problem; Siobhan’s request is so improbable that it’s difficult to take seriously ... Elena, as she obsessively reads and writes, becomes preoccupied with the journals and Ella’s life, and with her own grief for her dead mother, who struggled with mental illness. Descriptions of Paris and of Chiang Rai are sharp and lovely, and many of the questions the plot raises pique, though the dialogue feels stilted. This never fully comes to life.
PositiveKirkusIn Dennis’ elusive debut novel, Elena—a young woman grieving her late mother—finds herself in the pages of a missing woman’s journal ... If the journal rewriting is an interesting (if convoluted) premise, Dennis’ sensory prose leads to a fascinating exploration of identity, grief, and time ... Dennis’ abilities to blur fact and fiction—through structure and pronoun use—and wield language elevate the novel. Her prose is sensory and unsettling ... With an unsurprising (though satisfying) ending, the women come to terms with their lives—the ones they currently inhabit and the one Elena has created. An experimental, psychological debut about selfhood, fiction, and memory.
Marguerite Duras, Tr. Kelsey L. Haskett
MixedPublishers WeeklyUnfortunately a peculiarly bland work of juvenilia, a boring book about bored, bourgeois people ... Essays by Haskett and biographer Jean Vallier are of more interest than the novel itself, situating its semiautobiographical story historically and with regard to Duras’s perennial themes and future career. This lackluster novel has strictly scholarly appeal.
PanPublishers WeeklyThe weak plot spins on Emma’s rationalization that in trying to save Josh she’s also helping those who truly are in pain, but whose medication has been cut back because of government crackdowns. Emma’s plan soon goes awry as the bodies pile up while her inexperience puts herself and her loved ones in danger. This well-meaning effort to highlight the opioid crisis spins out of control with clichés, shallow characters, and a preachy narrative. McDonald has done better.
PositiveKirkusTidbeck pieces together multiple worlds against a background of Swedish folktales and history. The fairy-tale quality of the prose adds to the folkloric themes of the novel but creates distance from the characters, who never develop true depth. Nevertheless, the strange and unique cast and the twists of the plot between weird and recognizable landscapes make for a satisfying read. A dark fairy tale that snakes through the multiverse while maintaining the familiar tropes of legend.
PositivePublishers WeeklyTidbeck straddles fantasy, coming-of-age drama, and horror with an exciting, sometimes wrenching tale of friendship and time travel ... Expansive and wildly imaginative, the narrative mixes fantasy elements with enough violence to satisfy horror fiction lovers ... This fast-paced fantasy will please fans of quest stories who don’t mind a bit of darkness.
PositiveKirkus... gripping ... In addition to bestowing humanity and dignity on the victims, Green demonstrates impressive reporting chops. For example, he unearthed Rogers’ earliest killing in Maine even though the trial ended in an expunged record. The author also provides substantive documentation of the New York media’s and New York Police Department’s callous neglect of the murders. Only occasionally is the text marred by insipid writing ... A deeply researched reclamation of a series of unfairly forgotten, gruesome crimes.
MixedPublishers Weekly... ambitious if flawed ... Green’s at his best in analyzing how the crimes were handled at the time, when the victims’ sexual orientation led to the murders being treated less seriously. The author did his homework, spending over three years reviewing records and interviewing those who knew the victims, but his methodology can be spotty. At one point, he quotes then NYPD commissioner Bernard Kerik about the handling of Rogers’s case, noting in a footnote, without elaboration, \'Off the record, Kerik said something different,\' leaving readers to wonder what that was and its significance. Green deserves credit for reviving awareness of the killings, but this won’t stand out amid the current true crime boom.
RaveKirkusJournalist and private investigator McGarrahan’s debut is an engrossing, authoritative fusion of true crime and memoir. She has a particular connection to the grisly crime at is center, which she portrays in a chilling prologue ... Throughout, she maintains tension by connecting the case’s labyrinthine backstory to her own life of wanderlust and detection, portraying her exasperated husband as a source of solidity and her PI career as an enigmatic motivation for grappling with the ugly mystery of the murder. She eventually makes a conclusion about the case after a full consideration of available evidence, including talks with the state’s attorney and surviving eyewitnesses. Although her reflections are occasionally redundant, McGarrahan captures a keen sense of place and the significance of the entire ordeal. An accomplished, unsettling look at a confounding crime and larger issues of memory, culpability, and punishment.
RavePublishers WeeklyJournalist-turned-PI McGarrahan brings readers along on her affecting quest to discover the truth about who killed two law enforcement officers in 1976 Florida ... McGarrahan knew from attending a play based on the crime and its aftermath that Rhodes confessed to pulling the trigger less than a year after Tafero and Jacobs were convicted, then he recanted. She subsequently embarked on her own investigation, which included travel to Ireland to interview Jacobs and to Australia to interview Jacobs’s son ... Ultimately, she reached a definitive conclusion about who was responsible for Black and Irwin’s murders. McGarrahan’s blend of detective work and insights into the criminal justice system make this must reading.
RaveKirkusThe vivid imagery creates a profound sensory experience, evoking intense emotions in a story that will resonate with readers from many backgrounds ... Movingly unravels themes of belonging, Islamophobia, and the interlocking oppressions thrust upon immigrant women.
RavePublishers WeeklyNostalgia for the unknown controls the rhythm of this resonant novel in verse ... rtfully profound and achingly beautiful, Elhillo’s verse aptly explores diasporic yearning for one’s home and a universal fascination with possibilities.
MixedPublishers Weekly... faltering ... Penner’s story starts strong but peters out as the engaging premise gets muddled in convenient plot turns, though the author does a good job of making two disparate stories into eventual foils for one another. This has a few things going for it, but in the end it fails to cast a spell.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThe reissue of this 1932 novel should help Fisher (1897–1934) get the wider acclaim he merits for writing the first mystery novel populated solely by Black characters ... Fisher tosses in plenty of red herrings and subtly planted clues, along with self-referential humor. (At one point, Dart notes that in books, \'It’s always the least likely person.\') The clever plot will resonate with golden age fans.
PositivePublishers WeeklyIn Cassidy’s engrossing debut, a teenager in upstate New York makes a painful discovery about his late father ... Still, the author convincingly depicts the ways his sensitive, turbulent protagonist navigates the murky period between adolescence and adulthood. Cassidy’s distinctive coming-of-age story will move readers.
PositiveKirkusFifteen-year-old Ian Daly is a curious combination of hard-bitten adolescent and walking blind spot, a naïve old soul who knows too much and not nearly enough. Ian makes a compelling narrator, the heart and soul of Cassidy’s debut novel. In a sense, he’s so self-aware that he comes to realize he isn’t ... The novel’s vivid upstate New York universe of blue-collar neighborhoods gives Ian’s surroundings a heavy coat of realism, as do the insecurities, sexual and otherwise, suffered by Ian and his few friends. Ian is a worthy literary cousin of Holden Caulfield, another kid with little tolerance for fakes and phonies and too much hard-won skepticism for his age. The grown-ups have let Ian down; now he must create himself.
RavePublishers Weekly... devilishly plotted ... the game truly is afoot as Florence scrambles to figure out the nature of what will prove to be Helen’s fiendish master plot, barreling full-speed towards a breathtaking series of Highsmith-style twists and a stunning conclusion. This darkly comic take on contemporary publishing may well leave readers asking, \'Who is Alexandra Andrews?\'
PositivePublishers Weekly... fascinating yet flawed ... Levine is at his best documenting the evolution of Stevens’s views on slavery, from the seeds of abolitionist thinking planted as a student at Dartmouth to his rise in the tentatively anti-slavery faction of the Whig Party in the 1840s, brief alignment with the nativist Know-Nothings in the 1850s, and pivotal role as a leader of the radical Republicans pushing for the Emancipation Proclamation and a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery. Though he provides valuable historical context and ably tracks the era’s landmark legislation through Congress and the White House, Levine falls short in explaining how Stevens accrued and exerted his outsized political power. Still, this is an accessible and well-researched introduction to one of the most consequential lawmakers in U.S. history.
PositivePublishers Weekly... delightful ... Heron enhances the love story with mouthwatering descriptions of Indian cuisine and a rich glimpse into Toronto’s Indian Muslim community and Reena’s family culture. Equally sweet and spicy, this is sure to leave readers smiling.
PositiveKirkusHeron writes a compelling story of a woman trying to balance personal fulfillment against the intense pressures of familial duty and cultural expectations. Reena’s relationships with her father, mother, and sister are filled with past hurts and secrets, creating a realistically thorny and complex family dynamic. Although Reena makes progress in understanding her place in the family, the solutions are not pat and easy. Nadim is not a point-of-view character and not as well developed; Reena’s personal journey is the main focus of the novel ... Will appeal to readers looking for complex family dramas and sumptuous descriptions of food and cooking.
RavePublishers WeeklyMartine spins a dizzying, exhilarating story of diplomacy, conspiracy, and first contact in the powerhouse sequel to her Hugo Award–winning debut ... Martine effortlessly balances several points of view to provide a vivid window into a struggle over the question of who gets to be counted as a person. Martine’s aliens are viscerally unsettling and utterly believable, and she deploys them masterfully to underscore themes of colonization, assimilation, and cultural violence. This complex, stunning space opera promises to reshape the genre.
RaveCrime Fiction Lover... a pure joy to read ... written with a wonderful lightness of touch and it is clear from the off that Griffiths is enjoying every minute of writing it. Kaur is a great character ... this book is something of a smile-fest, with some hearty chuckles thrown in for the fun of it and there’s a cosy vibe too ... The scenes at the crime festival and the authors they meet there are wonderful. Griffiths has more than a festival or two under her belt and she uses that experience to fine effect. I’m sure fellow authors will recognise some of the people who feature, but we readers have no need to worry – we’re drawn in, rather than perhaps feeling left out of the in-jokes ... Amidst all the fun there’s a tightly rendered plot which keeps you guessing… and guessing ... There’s plenty of darkness and worry out there at the moment, but books like The Postscript Murders offer some welcome light relief – and isn’t that something to be applauded?
PositivePublishers Weekly... clever ... Complex characters, hidden histories, and adept twists enrich the narrative. Readers will be enthralled.
RavePublishers Weekly... fierce and intelligent ... The narrator is remarkable for her complete lack of self-pity and unflinching depictions of her own motives and needs. This mesmerizes from the first page.
PositiveKirkusThough the narrative tone is largely gossipy, LaPorte ably covers all the aspects of the scandal, including the unique atmosphere of LA ... Her fast-paced book has much to interest parents whose offspring are aiming for top-tier colleges. An engaging tale of the lifestyles of the rich-and-felonious parents of college-bound students.
PositivePublishers Weekly[A] riveting rundown of Operation Varsity Blues, the 2019 FBI investigation that led to the arrests of Hollywood celebrities Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman ... LaPorte provides plenty of juicy gossip about the rich and famous, but also probes systemic flaws and \'inequities of class\' in American higher education. Readers will be captivated by this entertaining look behind the headlines.
RaveKirkusA thoughtful memoir rolled into a set of joined essays on life, death, and the Black experience in America ... tightly constructed, smart essays—in this case, about the history of marathon dancing, the exhilarating contributions but tragic life of Soul Train host Don Cornelius, the deaths of both his mother and Aretha Franklin, and numerous other subjects. In another essay, Abdurraqib considers the concept of the magical negro and the unenviable role of being the Black friend who provides an escape route for White racism ... social criticism, pop culture, and autobiography come together neatly in these pages, and every sentence is sharp, provocative, and self-aware. Another winner from Abdurraqib, a writer always worth paying attention to.
RavePublishers Weeklystaggeringly intimate meditation, essayist and poet Abdurraqib, chronicles Black performance in American culture ... Broken into five \'movements\' consisting of essays, fragments, and prose poems, Abdurraqib weaves cultural analyses with personal stories ... his prose is reliably razor-sharp. Filled with nuance and lyricism, Abdurraqib’s luminous survey is stunning.
RavePublishers Weekly[A] meticulous account on the intertwined personal, professional, and political lives of professor and public intellectual Edward Said ... Brennan’s work will be invaluable reading for students of Said or the postcolonial critical movement his work sparked.
RaveKirkus... sharply incisive ... Drawing on abundant archival sources, Said’s hefty FBI file, his published and unpublished works, and hundreds of interviews, Brennan, who remained Said’s friend until his death, traces the evolution of a boldly transformative, controversial thinker, considered to be the inventor of post-colonial studies ... Exemplary scholarship informs an absorbing biography.
PositivePublishers Weeklya probing, character-driven report on Amazon’s impact on the American economy and labor practices ... MacGillis gathers copious evidence that Amazon and other tech companies have disadvantaged American workers, yet he resists sermonizing in order to let readers draw their own conclusions. This cogent and wide-ranging study sounds the alarm bells.
PositiveKirkusDrawing on interviews with Amazon workers and other sources, the author excels at showing how the Seattle-based company plays communities against one another in seeking sites for new facilities that may promise only modest job growth ... In showing the human costs of all of this, MacGillis at times relies on overlong profiles of or unedifying quotes about Amazon’s corporate casualties. Nonetheless, the book abounds with useful information for anyone weighing the costs and benefits of having an online behemoth come to town ... A sobering portrait of how Amazon is remaking America.
PositiveThe Maine EdgeA rarity, a work of thoughtful, honest self-awareness that isn’t quite like anything I’d ever read before. And believe me – that’s a good thing. It’s a story of truth that is unafraid of untruth, which might sound contradictory, but when you delve into DelGaudio’s words, it makes perfect sense ... This book is magic in multiple senses of the word. It is magic because it is narratively transportive, a book that sweeps the reader up into the world being created, pages crammed with vivid storytelling. But it is also magic in the performative sense, in that it is also about the art of stage magic, specifically sleight-of-hand. And it is magic in that it allows its author to reinvestigate his own history, to use the perspective of the present to change his view of the past – a transformation of both the man he is and the man he once was ... a memoir unlike any other, beautifully written and brilliantly conceived. Derek DelGaudio is an artist whose work defies categorization.
PositiveKirkusA boy enthralled by magic becomes an accomplished swindler ... In his entertaining debut memoir, performer, artist, and magician DelGaudio recounts his transformation from a child who loved magic tricks to a professional card cheat immersed in a world of high-stakes grifters ... Throughout, he creates animated portraits of the many nasty characters he encountered and conveys a vivid sense of the greed and deception pervasive among gamblers, shills, and liars ... A lively tale of immersion in—and escape from—the underworld.
Positivehttps://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/matthew-salesses/craft-in-the-real-world/A fresh view of teaching craft to writers of diverse backgrounds ... Korean-born novelist and essayist Salesses, who teaches Asian American literature as well as creative writing, offers a thoughtful analysis of the teaching of craft in colleges and writing programs ... Salesses counters that view with an illuminating chapter on East Asian and Asian American fiction, where he points to 10 ways that Chinese fiction is different from Western tradition, and he offers an innovative syllabus and exercises. An insightful guide for readers, writers, and instructors from all walks of life.
PositiveOn the SeawallBut this book also should be essential reading for others in the publishing industry seeking to understand how we marginalize, neglect, or discredit writers going against dominant and institutionalized western literary traditions. What things do we already know to be true? On some level, we’ve always known, though we may have struggled to find the right language to articulate it, that craft has never been about neutral, objective techniques. Instead, it is about — as Salesses unpacks them here — history, race, class, gender, nationality, ethnicity, sexuality, ability, and more. And about how all of these play into power, vulnerability, value systems, privileges, agency, expectations, biases, assumptions, choices, imperialism, and colonization of craft standards just as they do in our lives ... Salesses reminds us that it is because craft, as a set of standardized and teachable tools and techniques, is also about who gets to create those standards, why and how. Whether and how a writer is \'good\' (that is, conforming to or complying with particular craft standards) has more to do with the writer’s place in the culture that creates and maintains those standards than it does with the writer’s actual skills. So, for the writer not wanting to conform to or comply with such craft standards, Salesses provides much guidance.
PositiveKirkusAn acclaimed biographer turns his attention to the author he has called America’s \'greatest living novelist.\' ... In this excellent biography, Bailey offers an evenhanded portrait of an author whose many admirers include authors Nicole Krauss, Edna O’Brien, and Zadie Smith but whose depictions of women in novels such as Portnoy’s Complaint and Sabbath’s Theater infuriated others ... While Bailey notes that Roth may not have been the misogynist some would believe, he doesn’t shy away from pointing out his flaws and blind spots ... An outstanding biography of a prolific author for whom writing was \'a ghastly protracted slog.\'
RavePublishers WeeklyBailey brings his talents to bear in this remarkable portrait of lauded and divisive literary titan Philip Roth ... Bailey tirelessly unpacks the real-life inspirations behind Roth’s fiction ... Bailey doesn’t shy away from Roth’s dark side, notably his self-involved nature and tendency to let \'old griefs and resentments fester.\' In consistently luminous, humorous prose, Bailey vividly evokes Roth as a writer and a man ... A stunning feat, this is as dynamic and gripping as any of Roth’s own fictions.
RavePublishers WeeklyFigueroa’s masterly debut explores the grief and trauma of two half siblings. Four months after the death of their mother, Rosalinda, Rufina and Rafa Rivera, 28 and 30, make a pact: if they collect enough money performing for the tourists visiting their high desert town in the American Southwest over the course of a weekend, the depressed Rafa will live, traveling in search of new beginnings, instead of taking his own life ... Though the novel brims with spellbinding prose, magical elements, and wounded, full hearted characters that nearly jump off the page, its most remarkable feature is perhaps its piercing critique of the white Anglo tourists’ tendency to romanticize people of color, as well as Figueroa’s examination of the traumatic effect this attitude can have on those who are deemed \'the Other.\' This cleverly constructed and deeply moving account enthralls.
PositiveKirkusThe popular Chilean novelist shares life\'s lessons. Approaching 80, Allende offers wise thoughts on aging, romance, sex, love, and, above all, her feminism—which began in kindergarten, when she saw her mother, abandoned with three small children, forced to become dependent on men ... A pithy, upbeat memoir by a self-described romantic feminist.
PositivePublishers Weeklya rich and intimate account of her lifelong commitment to feminism ... The book’s biographical details include Allende’s youthful fight for equality in sports; her early years as a journalist in Chile in the 1960s and ’70s; profiles of her beloved mother and chauvinist stepfather; and a tribute to legendary literary agent Carmen Balcells ... This spirited call for women to continue fighting for \'a joyful world\' will resonate with Allende’s many fans.
RaveBooklistFrom the vantage of her 70-plus years, Allende uses the lens of feminism to reflect on her life. Feminist was a role she was destined to fulfill, in spite of the misogyny rampant in her native Chile ... Independence of spirit fueled Allende’s ambition, the desire to witness as strong as that to write. Allende’s transformative approach to feminism is visceral and, not surprisingly, lyrical ... In a narrative that is part memoir and part manifesto, Allende both rails against and embraces aging, making peace with the adjustments she’s made and celebrating life’s joys and accomplishments as measured against a life well lived. A crisp and buoyant unburdening, Allende’s philosophical treatise on women’s issues is unabashedly passionate and personal, as befits one of the world’s most beloved authors and journalists.
RaveKirkusA beautifully wrought memoir about how emerging technology makes us think and feel ... In her latest, renowned MIT professor Turkle achieves something unique: a near-perfect melding of personal and intellectual memoir. The author digs deep into her childhood to understand where her lifelong thirst for understanding the interface between technology and humanity was born ... What a gift that this brilliant scholar is still at MIT, writing and studying; perhaps her next book will investigate the current age. Anyone who studies, develops, or produces technology—and anyone who uses it—will gain crucial insights from this profound meditation on how technology is changing us. A masterful memoir by a pioneering researcher and incisive thinker.
Catherine E McKinley
PositivePublishers WeeklySelecting from her personal collection, curator McKinley showcases 150 studio photographs of African girls and women (mostly from Burkina Faso, Chad, Gambia, Nigeria, and other countries in the Sahel and along the continent’s Atlantic coast) in this richly detailed and immersive visual history ... Packed with arresting images and incisive analysis, this well-conceived survey tells a powerful story of African liberation.
V. P. Franklin
PositiveKirkus... lively ... A compelling narrative that sheds light on a little-known aspect of the struggle for social justice.
MixedKirkusAnother helping of pop philosophy from the prolific writer ... the book addresses such topics as forgiveness, repentance, climate change, and more. Though the book will appeal to her longtime fans, the essays are marred by observations that are trite or just plain obvious ... For Lamott devotees, file alongside the aforementioned books; others can take a pass. A simplistic attempt at hope in troubled times.
RavePublishers WeeklyBestseller Lamott explores the relationships between personal anxieties and larger social concerns in these quiet, often darkly humorous reflections ... Concentrating on being more intentional and focusing on small changes in one’s personal life, she writes, allows hope to grow and to serve as the first step to larger societal changes. Lamott argues that people too often block themselves from love through perfectionism, self-loathing, cowardice, and the fear of being vulnerable with others ... Her answer: kindness, humility, words of love, and stories of when the worst seemed possible, but it turned out okay. Lamott’s many fans will enjoy this ode to relishing small things.
RavePublishers WeeklyJournalist Cooke (The Other Side of Paradise) recounts in this dramatic history the surprising role Pan Am stewardesses played in the Vietnam War ... Skillfully intertwining jet-age excitement with the tumultuous politics of the era, this is a unique and compassionate portrait of barrier-breaking women in the 1960s and ’70s.
RaveKirkusA breezy account of Pan American World Airways in its glory days is smoothly interwoven with the engagingly complex stories of several longtime flight attendants ... Cooke excels at placing their individual stories within this context without turning them into object lessons. She also examines, clearly but without a heavy hand, the close relationship between Pan Am and the U.S. government, particularly in regard to Pan Am\'s role in transporting military personnel to and from Vietnam and to various cities for rest and relaxation trips. Readers will be delighted with the author’s inclusion of many behind-the-scenes details ... An entertaining, insightful look into a gritty and glamorous era in air travel.
RaveKirkus... six cogent, thoughtful letters about the vexed problem of cultural appropriation ... Rekdal makes the useful distinction between adaptation [...] and appropriation ... Rekdal’s sophisticated analysis reveals a generous respect for the creative process ... An astute, lucid examination of an incendiary issue.
RavePublishers WeeklyThe essays take the form of a series of letters addressed to a student in one of Rekdal’s creative writing classes who had asked for a recommendation for an essay to help better understand appropriation in literature ... This passionate, nuanced take will raise sharp questions for literary-minded readers.
MixedPublishers Weekly... mystical, uneven ... While Winter’s digressive interior monologue can be hard to follow, Souljah’s saga is conceptually imaginative. The author’s diehard fans will appreciate this.
Dan Pucci and Craig Cavallo
RavePublishers Weekly... [a] deeply researched account of the history of apple cider ... A survey of contemporary producers rounds things out ... This fascinating guide will appeal to history buffs and imbibers alike.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThis charming edition of his short stories and essays by the Swiss writer Walser (1878-1956), selected and translated by Whalen ... In reading these short pieces, translated with mastery and attention to emotional nuance, one is struck by the author’s abiding good nature and boundless sympathy for his milieu. Walser enthusiasts will find much to love here.
Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan
RaveKirkusAn appropriately hefty biography of the mercurial artist ... In this exhaustively researched, well-rounded profile, which took a decade to complete, Stevens and Swan make one of the few attempts to give a holistic account of the iconic Bacon (1909-1992) ... The authors skimp neither on context nor on details regarding Bacon’s friends and lovers, and they are unafraid to dig into the more volatile elements of his character ... Hyperbole, to be sure, but Stevens and Swan are up to the task of demonstrating the many complexities of an intense, significant artistic life. An unflinching portrayal of an often unwieldy character—further proof of Bacon’s enduring influence.
PositivePublishers Weekly... [a] In this shocking true crime epic ... The authors take the reader beyond the sensational multiagency investigation to provide a comprehensive exploration of the international precious metal trade to show how a criminal enterprise can thrive with a product where melting can erase all traces of origin easier than documents can be forged. This is a must-read for fans of Matthew Hart’s Diamonds and Roberto Saviano’s ZeroZeroZero.
MixedKirkusThe authors write with a journalistic yet culturally attuned voice, but the narrative is sometimes repetitive in its frequent juxtaposition of the brutal conditions in the mine-ravaged rainforests with the wealth and colorful backstories of the key players as well as the determination and diligence of the various law enforcement agencies involved. An authoritative consideration of \'dirty\' gold’s grip on the environment and role in rampant geopolitical corruption.
PositiveKirkusAn optimistic exploration of aging ... Readers searching for secrets of long life must absorb Steele’s explanations of the hallmarks of aging, but it’s worth the wait to understand the sad litany: DNA damage, malfunctioning mitochondria, deterioration of our bacterial microbiome, declining immunity, disappearing telomeres, etc. In a long section on preventing or reversing aging with drugs, transplants, procedures, and genetic manipulations, the author shows how many succeed—in the lab and small human studies ... A diligent scientist, Steele does not ignore flops and fads; antioxidants flopped, but health food enthusiasts have not lost faith. The author concludes with a list of proven life-extenders, few of which will surprise readers—e.g., don’t smoke, exercise, get vaccinated, take care of your teeth ... Good science in service of a convincing case that vast life extension is inevitable.
RaveThe EconomistWhether or not readers are persuaded that ageless humans could ever be more than a theoretical possibility—and it is a stretch—this book will convince them that discounting the theoretical possibility altogether is based on nothing but prejudice ... This prejudice held back the field of biogerontology for a very long time, but in the past few decades some scientists have cast it aside ... Now they are trying to understand that process in all its extraordinary complexity, and to intervene much earlier. They have many tools at their disposal, and Mr Steele, who has a background in computational biology, evaluates them expertly and with verve.
Kate Hope Day
MixedPublishers WeeklyWhile Day does a decent job developing June as a curious girl who claims to be \'better with machines than with people,\' the haphazard plot feels rushed and the prose can be clunky ... This is primed for launch, but it doesn’t really take off.
MixedPublishers Weekly... a rich if diffuse story of loss, betrayal, and systemic racism, centered on two families spanning the 1990s to the present, set mainly in the Piedmont area of North Carolina ... While Coster’s exploration of race is powerful, the scattered plotting dampens the impact of the various stories. It’s undoubtedly ambitious, but it doesn’t hang together.
RaveKirkus... an intergenerational saga of two North Carolina families inextricably connected by trauma and love ... Coster weaves together a gripping portrait of generational pain. But the details of her plot—carefully constructed, if not especially subtle—pale in comparison to her characters, who are startling in their quiet humanity. Coster is an exacting observer but also an endlessly generous one, approaching her cast with a sharp eye and deep warmth. The overlapping pieces fit together, of course, but it’s the individual moments that are exquisite, each chapter a tiny snapshot of a whole world. Tender but—miraculously—never sentimental.
PositiveKirkus... searching, compassionate ... Evenhandedly and without undue criticism, Engelhart brings forth the counterarguments, but she offers enough convincing evidence about the efficacy and ethical standing of the right-to-die movement that many readers will be persuaded of its value to society ... A meticulous and frank collection of end-of-life stories, conversations, and ideas.
Dennis C. Rasmussen
RavePublishers Weekly... an illuminating account of how the founding fathers worried about the future of America ... Rasmussen lends weight to his arguments with revealing—and often sobering—quotes from primary sources...and enlivens the proceedings with flashes of wit ... This standout history provides useful context for understanding the roots of contemporary political turmoils and may comfort those who fear that American democracy is in dire peril.
Dennis C. Rasmussen
RaveKirkus... [a] striking argument ... His distinctive approach yields something overlooked by historians ... While offering an authoritative and convincing argument in disarmingly artful prose, Rasmussen...ends on a hopeful note ... A relevant history suggesting that the U.S. may be stronger than many of its citizens believe.
RaveKirkusA gripping account ... Environmental journalist and outdoorsman Dean combines a grueling mountain-climbing chronicle with a revealing life of the co-leader of the first successful Denali expedition, Hudson Stuck (1863-1920), an impressive figure who deserves to be better known ... Those not captivated by climbing will puzzle over the misery these adventurers embraced, but they will keep reading ... Mountaineering and biography in expert hands.
RavePublishers Weekly... propulsive action and twists that keep the reader guessing .. page-turning ... Hester is a fascinating, troubled, but not overly dour narrator, who must use her wits and past experiences—which are teased out in flashbacks—to solve the murder and stay alive. This tense sprint through a future dominated by profit-driven amorality makes for a gripping, cinematic sci-fi thriller that readers won’t want to put down.
PositiveKirkus... contains just about everything you would want to know about breasts. Pardon the pun, but it’s not about titillation—though plenty of insight can be gleaned from her cultural history ... Lehr is a smooth, eminently likable guide, and she elicits no small measure of sympathy for the trials she has endured, including her bout with breast cancer. She is thoughtful and honest about the push-pull of acculturation and candid about her own complicity in how societal attitudes often narrow women’s status. Occasionally, the author engages in doctrinaire language and sweeping generalizations. Justified though she may be in her anger about certain cultural norms, the outrage sometimes gets overheated, undermining valid arguments with exaggeration. While many of the statistics buttress Lehr’s views, numbers don’t tell the whole story. She is at her liveliest and most convincing when she tempers rhetoric with personal anecdotes ... A serious and provocative book with enough lightness to keep the pages turning.
PositivePublishers Weekly... witty and incisive ... Lehr’s appealing sense of humor runs throughout, as does her sharp analysis of broader social issues such as the messages girls receive about being smart versus being pretty, the \'bro culture and tribe mentality\' of the Senate Judiciary Committee during Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings, the marketing techniques of lingerie brands, and the censorship of women’s breasts in movies and on social media platforms ... Lehr’s engrossing and empathetic account will appeal to women of all ages.
Mitchell James Kaplan
RavePublishers WeeklyKaplan builds an enchanting world ... Kaplan’s meticulous research is evident throughout, and the pages glitter with the names of such musical luminaries as Richard Rodgers, Duke Ellington, and Fats Waller, who provide a glamorous backdrop to the narrative, punctuated with major world events: the Great Depression and the ominous gathering storm of fascism in Germany. This spellbinding and luminous tale will linger in readers’ minds long after the final page is turned.
Mitchell James Kaplan
MixedKirkusAbetted by its often omniscient narration and long passages of historical context, the novel seems intent on hewing as closely to nonfiction as possible. The history is engrossing, particularly to students of early Broadway—there’s name-dropping aplenty in this and other cultural and political arenas ... Although Kaplan’s propulsive style imparts a momentum of its own, narrative tension is all but absent—the Warburg marriage is not exactly a hell demanding escape, and Gershwin is not exactly a port in a storm. The many disquisitions, on topics as varied as the underpinnings of American anti-Semitism to the misappropriation of Black culture by well-intentioned Whites, are interesting and important, but they do interrupt the novel’s flow ... The characters’ star turns are upstaged by the vastness of the set.
RavePublishers Weekly... no good deed goes unpunished in this gruesome yet mesmerizing paranormal coming-of-age story ... Gory and unnerving, this twisty chiller has sufficient sins and revelations to keep readers pursuing the action to its breathless conclusion. King fans are in for a treat.
PositiveKirkusCrave chills and thrills but don’t have time for a King epic? This will do the job before bedtime. Not that you’ll sleep.
PositiveThe Associated PressThere’s classic King here for fans. Imagine the carnage on any given day in the Big Apple and then imagine being a young man seeing the mangled dead walking around in the afterlife ... But even amid the gore and escalating tension, King finds moments to make Jamie relatable ... a thrilling whodunit.
MixedPublishers WeeklyThe reader learns much about fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints culture and religion as the plot labors toward an unexpected answer to whodunit. An uplifting ending may mollify those put off by some graphic sex and disturbing scenes of cult practices involving underage girls. Quinn is a writer to watch.
PositiveKirkusIn an alternate London in which colonialism never existed, the Ark holds the promise of salvation, but at what cost? ... Newland explores a noncolonial London that adopted African beliefs and values, juxtaposing this alternate—yet also flawed—London with our own. On the heady levels of twisting timelines and spirit planes, this novel excels, revealing Markriss in all the worlds he traverses. There is little time left, however, to explore his connection to other characters, including the pivotal women in his life and Nesta. This is an ambitiously imagined book that, by removing the European lens on African cultures, creates a new reality that allows us to question how we view our own. Complex and multilayered, this novel opens the door to the possibilities of noncolonial worlds.
PositivePublishers WeeklyNewland smoothly incorporates elements of Egyptian mythology into his layered, multicultural world, and though the climax feels somewhat unearned, the fragmented timelines and multiple versions of Markriss are skillfully handled. This is sure to please fans of thought-provoking speculative fiction.
RaveLibrary JournalBren...excels with this insightful, well-written account ... Because of the difficulties of finding specific material about the hotel itself, the book often veers into a history of the magazine Mademoiselle and several modeling agencies, where many residents worked. However, these anecdotes provide additional context into the lives of the women who inhabited the hotel and their lasting influence ... A must read for anyone interested in the history of 20th-century women\'s lives, fashion, publishing, and New York.
RavePublishers WeeklyHistorian Bren...delivers an entertaining and enlightening account of New York’s Barbizon Hotel and the role it played in fostering women’s ambitions in 20th-century America ... Carefully researched yet breezily written, this appealing history gives the Barbizon its rightful turn in the spotlight.
PositiveKirkusDrawing on extensive research, extant letters, and numerous interviews, Bren beautifully weaves together the political climate of the times and the illuminating personal stories of the Barbizon residents. Although some parts of the narrative are repetitive, particularly regarding Plath and Kelly, the book remains captivating ... Elegant prose brings a rich cultural history alive.
RavePublishers Weekly... the brilliant story of a young academic powering through her existential dread ... Dorothy is an intensely cerebral creature. Her narration of interactions with others, whether exchanging text messages with a friend, giving money to a panhandler, or parrying with her peers, is filtered by literary analysis, often to hilarious effect ... Dorothy’s sharp, witty narration makes this book something special ... like the glorious love child of Otessa Moshfegh and Sally Rooney.
PositiveKirkusThis dichotomy—between a mystical appreciation for the natural world and the environmentally extractive nature of work and industry—pervades Brown’s beautiful if uneven debut ... Like many debuts, Brown’s first novel is imperfect. His dialogue sometimes veers toward preciousness at the expense of character development; his characters are often too accurately aware of the wider themes that shape their lives; and the plot moves through increasingly convenient contortions as it hurtles toward its foreseeable crescendo. Yet despite these shortcomings, Brown tells a gripping tale. And in his hands the Penobscot region of the 1980s and \'90s—with its eccentric cast of Vietnam veterans, hippy fugitives, gruff lobstermen, and Penobscot tribal members—comes wonderfully to life ... Mystical, gripping, rooted in the land—Brown may bang a little too hard on the keys, but he plays a compelling tune.
PositivePublishers Weekly... dynamic ... Brown poetically depicts the bucolic backdrop and grounds the action amid forested hillsides \'deep and green and smoky with the scent of pine.\' Lyrical and gorgeously written, Brown’s memorable outing does justice to a complicated web of issues.
RaveKirkusThe novel’s structure, which alternates two very different narrative segments, seems awkward at first and then strikingly effective ... Banks, who turned 80 this year, explores aging, memory, and reputation in thoughtful and touching ways, enhanced by the correspondence between aspects of Leo’s life and the writer’s own history ... A challenging, risk-taking work marked by a wry and compassionate intelligence.
PositivePublishers Weekly... sinuous if uneven ... Fife’s reminiscences are generally vivid, though the spell is dissipated by the weaker scenes in which, for instance, Emma repeatedly objects to proceeding with the interview and the sycophantic Malcolm reiterates the novel’s themes in windy proclamations. Still, Banks keeps the audience rapt.
RavePublishers Weekly... fascinating ... Schillace explores White’s deep Catholic faith and outsized ambitions and contextualizes his experiments with lucid discussions of the primitive state of American medicine in the 1950s and how Cold War tensions fueled an \'inner space\' race between U.S. and Soviet doctors to perform the first human head transplant ... Schillace explains the medical nuances of White’s surgeries without too much gruesome detail, and her lyrical prose and psychological insights keep the pages turning. Readers will be riveted by this story of how White tried \'to stretch the limits of what science could do.\'
PositiveKirkus... captivating ... With ease, [Schillace] explains in detail White’s complex medical research and procedures ... Swirling around inside this absorbing biography are Schillace’s thoughtful discussions of the knotty issues involved in medical and religious ethics. At times Frankenstein-esque, it’s unquestionably a \'strange journey from science fiction to science fact\' ... Odd, engrossing science history capably related.
RaveThe Irish Times (IRE)In her bracing debut, The Panic Years , journalist Nell Frizzell examines the period in a woman’s life where she can have children, and the many dilemmas, heartaches and joys that spring from that ... Frizzell’s warts-and-all approach goes deep into her subject matter, using her own life, and the experience of peers and friends, to give us a raw, affecting and important book on what it means to be a woman in today’s society ... similar in subject matter to Sheila Heti’s Motherhood, The Panic Years is not about the decision itself, or rather it is not, like Heti’s autofiction, about the agonising indecision. She wants a baby but hasn’t found someone to do it with. This conundrum gives the book its tension. As we learn about the many different types of women out there – women who get pregnant early or accidentally, who have abortions, who are childfree by choice – Frizzell’s own desire for a baby is the beating heart of the book.
RavePublishers WeeklyA high-octane near-future thriller from Marrs, a covert program to preserve the country’s most crucial records enlists citizens in a most unusual way ... This page-turner never sacrifices the characters’ humanity for the sake of plot. Marrs has definitely upped his game.
MixedKirkusLevi has a lot on her plate here: a historical novel tied to a family saga tied to a psychological portrait of a boy who might or might not be a prodigy. Alessandro would have made a fine focal point for the novel, but Levi seems to lose interest in him. She flits from one character to another without resting. That means, unfortunately, that none of the characters really come alive, and we never learn why Alessandro’s mother is so permanently disappointed or why his grandfather is so annoyed by his own daughters. Too many minor characters clutter these pages, and while some of them occasionally reappear, others only show up once before disappearing. Levi has a fluid style and a clear talent for storytelling, but this novel, at least, is not particularly successful.
RaveThe Real Book SpyIde, while offering some similarities, delivers a refreshing take on the often clichéd genius detective protagonist, re-inventing the character as a black, street-smart millennial from Long Beach. Isaiah Quintabe is brilliant, but it’s Ide’s writing that elevates the whole series, with his gritty prose proving to be a perfect fit with the series’ urban setting ... Smoke is perhaps Ide’s most hard-boiled thriller yet, and without giving anything away, it’s clear that the author continues to find new ways to keep his series fresh while also keeping readers on their toes. A side plot involving the fan-favorite character Juanell Dodson allows Ide to flash his expert ability to develop his cast, even if it takes a while to see where that thread is going ... bringing a new vibe and setting that his fans will surely enjoy. If you’ve yet to discover this series, don’t wait any longer.
MixedPublishers WeeklyLengthy unrelated sections involving supporting characters, such as a person whose successful business is threatened by a blackmailer, only further mar the uninspired cat and mouse plot. Isaiah has little opportunity to display his considerable intellectual gifts, and at one point he only avoids serious injury by the tired contrivance of slipping on some dirt. Series fans can only hope for a return to form next time out.
PanKirkusThe criminal plot is a violent, overgalvanized shambles; the main attraction here is the racially inclusive three-ring circus Ide organizes around it in a series of overlapping, endlessly expanding circles ... Overstuffed, riotous, and exhausting in both good ways and bad.
RaveKirkusA warm portrait of stark, strenuous lives in remote China ... From her home in northwestern China, essayist and nature writer Li joined a family of Kazakh herders—and their camels, sheep, cattle, and horses—to spend winter on immense pastureland where the population density was \'one person per every square mile and a half.\' ... this charming memoir, the author’s first to be translated in the U.S., captures the harsh reality and quiet pleasures of the herders’ nomadic way of life, migrations threatened by the consequences of overgrazing ... Li offers affectionate profiles of neighbors, visitors, and members of her host family ... The arduous work caused Cuma and his wife to rely on daily doses of painkillers, but their mastery of their environment, and their contentment, earned the author’s admiration. A rare look at a disappearing world.
RavePublishers WeeklyA magnificent tale about traveling through the freezing tundra of northern China ... She highlights the importance of the herders’ chief survival tool, sheep manure, which is used to build animal pens and structures for human habitation in deep winter ... She also recounts, in remarkable detail, learning the Kazakh technique of weaving textiles from the readily-available wool of the community’s hundreds-strong flock of sheep. A seamless blend of memoir, travelogue, and nature writing, Juan’s skillful prose paints an extraordinarily vivid picture of a remote world ... This mesmerizing memoir impresses on every page.
RavePublishers Weekly[A] joyous and captivating third collection. These memorably voiced lyric poems find his speakers expressing love for things local and cosmic ... The tension between connection and distance frequently finds humorous expression ... Meditations on humanity’s search for meaning are handled with wit and vulnerability, while the book’s final section, the 14-page \'Poem Written in a Cab,\' breaks the fourth wall in a captivating performance of selfhood ... In this affecting collection, his most fully achieved thus far, Dimitrov provides the reader with a needed celebration of pleasures.
RavePublishers Weekly... a nuanced and revealing chronicle ... This immersive, illuminating, and timely account takes a meaningful step toward bridging the gap between what American society asks of police and what they’re trained to deliver.
PositiveKirkus... provocative ... Brooks ably shows how the truth [about policing] is...complex, and the anecdotes she offers along her beat demonstrate the complicated relationships among authority, violence, gender, race, and other elements. Some of the officers she portrays are noble civil servants, others dead weight, others just this side of psychotic—very much like the people they both serve and combat. The author’s look at the Dickensian \'secret city\' is both revealing and appalling, and she delivers sometimes-surprising news along the way ... A thoughtful book that offers abundant material to rile up—and edify—Blue Lives Matter and Defund the Police advocates alike.
Jaap Robben, tr. David Doherty
PositiveKirkus... thoughtful, empathetic ... Robben...skillfully conjures a sense of unease, most notably through Brian’s first-person narration. Like most children who grow up in neglectful or abusive households, Brian does not fully understand that his father’s behavior is inappropriate, dangerous, or both, and he treats his brother with sometimes cavalier disregard ... This can be upsetting, yet Brian’s love for his brother, and Robben’s care in writing his disabled characters, remains clear throughout this nuanced novel. A sensitive yet unsentimental depiction of poverty and disability from the perspective of an abled character.
Jaap Robben, tr. David Doherty
PanPublishers Weekly... unsettling ... the distressing treatment of the disabled characters feels oddly gratuitous. Robben’s tragic tale of generational dysfunction muddies the waters to inscrutable effect.
RavePublishers Weekly... a gritty and well-informed look at the current state of the U.S. war in Afghanistan ... Skillfully interweaving big-picture policy analysis with frontline reporting, Donati shines a stark light on this shadowy conflict. The result is a distressing yet vital update on America’s longest war.
RaveKirkus... a searing, dispiriting portrait of America’s elite warriors in the field ... potent ... Donati’s on-the-ground account—and it’s clear that she put herself in constant danger to tell the soldiers’ stories even as American officials dithered about how to deploy those troops—is sometimes as hallucinatory as Dispatches and as taut and well written as Mark Bowden’s now-classic book [Black Hawk Down]. Exemplary journalism and a powerful argument for not putting soldiers in harm’s way unless we’re sure we know why.
RavePublishers Weekly... a searing look at that city’s recent police corruption scandal ... Fenton’s detailed narrative makes the tragic consequences of the GTTF’s graft palpable. Fans of TV series such as Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire based on journalist David Simon’s groundbreaking coverage of Baltimore will be engrossed.
PositiveKirkusFenton’s fast-paced narrative, perfect for fans of The Wire, delivers a satisfying resolution, though it remains to be seen whether the department will truly clean up under new management, for which readers must stay tuned ... A harrowing study in true crime, most of it committed by men with badges.
Joseph Andras, tr. Simon Leser
PositiveKirkusIt is almost forgotten today, and though mostly affectless in tone, Andras’ novel revives a lost moment in history, neatly bookending Kamel Daoud’s The Meursault Investigation ... A promising debut of interest to students of modern French literature.
Joseph Andras, tr. Simon Leser
PositivePublishers WeeklyAndras achieves a clear-eyed recreation of postwar Communism and the armed battle against tyranny, shot through with intense prose and insight into the characters’ inner lives. The result brings an immediacy to a fraught chapter of history.
yörgy Dragomán, tr. Ottilie Mulzet
PositiveKirkusContrasting narrative styles illustrate the strikingly different manners in which the two characters process their respective traumas ... Discursive plotting allows Dragomán to draw parallels between Emma’s adolescent growing pains and those felt by her country as it tries to rebuild itself in the wake of communism’s collapse ... A poignant coming-of-age tale set against the backdrop of regime change.
yörgy Dragomán, tr. Ottilie Mulzet
MixedPublishers Weekly... evocative ... The striking mix of magical elements and post-Communist setting compensates for the lack of much of a plot. Fans of Gabriel García Márquez may want to have a look.
PositiveKirkus... while the novel is somewhat slow to start, Ryan hits her stride during “Main Course.” As a bonus for history buffs, many chapters end with ration-conscious recipes ranging from the eccentric (sheep’s head wrapped in its own tongue) to the more mundane (apple cake sweetened with honey instead of the hard-to-come-by sugar). Replete with a hearty amount of melodrama and more than a dash of that wartime staple, saccharine, this is nonetheless a creative and satiating novel ... Certain to delight lovers of historical fiction and TV cooking competitions.
PositivePublishers Weekly... wonderful ... A master of plotting and working in different registers, Ryan weaves in a romance for Nell and a subplot involving Gwendoline’s abusive husband while keeping the cooking competition front and center, complete with tempting recipes. Readers with an appetite for homefront WWII novels will find this deeply satisfying.
RaveKirkusPart survivor’s tale and part exposé of intimate violence, the book offers a candid, often frightening exploration of the diabolically schizophrenic ways that the patriarchy conspires to disempower women ... A courageous and compelling example of an author writing her \'way out of the darkness.\'
PositivePublishers Weekly... shattering ... Lawton builds a strong story around her attainment of emotional balance and her quest for identity and belonging. At turns revelatory and profound, this memoir sings.
PositiveKirkus... Lawton offers a unique perspective on identity and family in an era of racial awakening ... As she tells her personal story, the author weaves in discussions of such relevant concepts as transracial identity, Afro-futurism and the importance of Black hair, without assuming that readers are familiar with any of them. She helpfully situates her epiphanies about identity within the robust canon of contemporary Black thinkers, from bell hooks to Zora Neale Hurston to Solange. But the book isn’t just a passive examination of race. Lawton uprooted her life in search of community, traveling to Cuba, Nicaragua, Morocco, and Vietnam. The book is sure to resonate with those who have had to negotiate their existence in the in-between or who possess identities that defy old-fashioned, traditional norms. Lawton gives herself, and others, permission to contain multitudes ... A timely, engaging exploration of family and racial belonging featuring many valuable lessons.
RaveKirkus... may not strictly be a romance, but it will strongly appeal to readers of the genre. For all the sweet charm of the blossoming love between Grace and Yuki, the book is especially notable for its celebration of friendship, especially in queer communities, and for exploring the many ways relationships can be meaningful and intimate beyond romance. Both Grace and Yuki have diverse, tightly woven groups of friends who buoy and ground them, and the richness of these relationships is the true core of the story. Romance fans will appreciate the happily-ever-after of it all, with a rewardingly emotional conclusion, but this is a book with true crossover appeal as well ... A strong romantic fiction debut that will appeal to readers looking for a story of true love via self-discovery.
PositivePublishers Weekly... frothy ... While the story’s minimal tension gives the reader ample time to wonder if it’s worth plowing through, the dialogue is pitch-perfect ... Patient readers will find plenty to appreciate in this rom-com.
MixedNB Magazine\"Some novels defy easy classification and that’s certainly true of Spiral by Australian author Iain Ryan. To read the book is to play the game, it’s a mystery unlike any other I’ve read, it’s a fantasy adventure for grownups and a pastiche/homage to the early interactive books that came along several decades ago ... This is not my kind of book, that’s not a judgement on its quality, just a statement about my personal reading tastes. I read it to get a feel for its style and drift so that I could pass some impressions on. I did not finish Spiral and so my intention is only to give potential readers a flavour of the novel in case this might be something interests you. I think many readers will love it and I expect Spiral to be a big seller, it’s certainly well written and engaging, I enjoyed the sections of the book in the real world, I just didn’t want to engage with the fantasy or the game playing element. Caveat delivered, here are some thoughts that I hope are still useful to the prospective reader.
Kathleen Dean Moore
PositiveKirkusA heartfelt plea to save nature\'s cacophony ... n a series of essays, many previously published, nature writer and environmentalist Moore offers an ardent warning against the perils of climate change and species endangerment. Writing mostly from Alaska and the Sonoran Desert, the author focuses on sound, which she evokes in sensuous prose that reflects her \'deep love for the world’s music—the birdsong, the frog song, the crickets and toads, the whales and wolves, even old hymns and Girl Scout songs.\' ... The author’s passion is evident, though the prose sometimes ascends into rapture. An enthusiastic argument that love, care, and defiance may still save the Earth.
RavePublishers WeeklyBritish filmmaker Hopkins’s ambitious and satisfying debut uses a big story—the century-plus cathedral building project in Hagenburg in the Holy Roman Empire (now Lower Saxony)—to tell an even bigger story—the rise of merchants and the corresponding decline of the church through the 13th century ... Six hundred pages sounds long, but this deeply human take on a medieval city and its commerce and aspirations, its violent battles and small intimacies, never feels that way. This sweeping work is as impressive as the cathedral at its center.
PositiveKirkusThis first novel by screenwriter Hopkins imagines a paean to the glory of God arising from the unholy muck of the Middle Ages ... A thoroughly engrossing, beautifully told look at human frailty.
PositiveKirkusA veteran sportswriter explores his grandson’s addiction and how he became \'\'one of those wanderers whose lives are a mystery and a bafflement, an undoable jigsaw puzzle.\' ... This is a love letter of sorts, from a grandfather whose work made him a Hall of Fame sportswriter to a grandson who rode trains to a form of freedom until he couldn’t ride anymore ... Kindred writes with an impressive combination of journalistic detachment and grandfatherly love. He shows genuine curiosity about the ways of the hobo code and growing alarm at the hell through which Jared put his body as his trips to the hospital became more frequent. It’s clear the author wanted to help, but he also wanted to understand, partly because that’s what his training taught him but mostly because of his genuine love for Jared ... The book mostly leaves out the tragic parts, and the author doesn’t sugarcoat the protagonist\'s tale. Kindred approaches a difficult story with love and curiosity rather than sentimentality.