RavePublishers WeeklyCarr’s enticing debut is an \'alternative history\' of ... fascinating characters ... clever ... This is a gritty and entertaining fictional history of a great American city.
PositiveKirkus\"The rise of Chicago in the 19th century provides the frame for a trove of colorful stories and characters in this entertaining debut novel ... Melodrama mars a few scenes, and the frequent shifts in voice and style may test some readers’ patience. For the most part, Carr has a sure touch, and in many extended anecdotes, his narrative skills show exceptional detail, pacing, and tension. A solid storyteller enlivens a rich patch of American history.\
MixedPublishers Weekly...[a] spirited but less than game-changing business guide ... With boundless energy and enthusiasm, Bahcall outlines his own ideas, such as distinguishing between product and strategy type loonshots. While the presentation is persuasive, it’s hard to say that the world needed yet another book singing the praises of long shots. His work will likely prove too familiar to achieve the transformative effect he so admires.
RaveKirkusBlake’s writing is deeply feminist. Whether she\'s focused on giving birth or having sex, Blake sketches the female body and experience in all its gore and glory ... Comprised of mesmerizing prose poem–esque sections, the novel explores themes of sexuality, purpose, loss, love, and faith. A poetic debut of biblical proportions.
PositivePublishers Weekly...inventive but erratic ... The author creates a for-adults-only multidimensional portrait of Noah’s wife by combining biblical narrative with modern prose, fantasy with realism, spirituality with erotica. Despite its mysticism and metaphorical aspects that may perplex some readers, this is a remarkable feat of imagination.
PositivePublishers Weekly...[a] boundlessly inventive look at narrative form ... It would do a disservice to this work to pigeonhole it as \'literary criticism\'; the study is filled with clarity and wit, underlain with formidable erudition.
PositiveKirkusA novelist tries her hand at literary theory ... After her lengthy theoretical introduction, she explores the ways that writers have used these structural patterns in more than 20 diverse short stories, novellas, and novels: her \'museum of specimens.\' Readers should perk up as Alison \'dissect[s]\' these texts, demonstrating how \'we travel not just through places conjured in the story, but through the narrative itself\' ... For readers interested in literary theory, Alison does a great job making it palatable; for casual readers, it may be too much.
RavePublishers Weekly...[a] vibrant memoir ... Rush’s storytelling shines as he travels across the country and back again, searching for truth, love, UFOs in New Mexico, peace, something that feels like God, and a place to call home. This is a mesmerizing record of his journey through adolescence.
RaveKirkus...a dazzling debut memoir ... In sparkling, lucid prose that perfectly captures the joy, depression, anger, and wonder that characterized his adventures, the author recounts the seemingly endless hills and valleys of his unique tale ... the author refreshingly avoids tying his story up with a pretty bow, and readers will wish for more from this talented writer. A captivating, psychedelically charged coming-of-age memoir.
RaveKirkusSifting through detail after nefarious detail, Ratliff serves up a taut narrative that limns a portrait of a sociopath whose powers were most definitely used to evil ends. A wholly engrossing story that joins the worlds of El Chapo and Edward Snowden; both disturbing and memorable.
PositivePublishers Weekly[Ratliff] makes the most of the stranger-than-fiction story of Paul Le Roux ... Ratliff makes the complex story accessible ... Ratliff’s dogged investigation, which included interviews with multiple co-conspirators of Le Roux’s, has yielded a true crime classic.
PositivePublishers Weekly\"Early chapters will intrigue environmentally-conscious readers ... Later sections, on the fishing and restaurant industry’s attempts to handle the carp surplus, prove equally fascinating ... Reeves rounds out his investigation by discussing government efforts to manage the Asian carp population, particularly around the Great Lakes, and the Trump administration’s disregard for environmental protections. In so doing, he delivers a thorough look at an important—and multifaceted—topic.\
RaveKirkusIt is, until now, a straightforward story, capturing—with nauseating, addictive accuracy—the particular power dynamics of elite theater training. And then, in the second part of the novel, Pulitzer finalist Choi upends everything we thought we knew, calling the truth of the original narrative into question ... This could easily be insufferable; in Choi’s hands, it works: an effective interrogation of memory, the impossible gulf between accuracy and the stories we tell. And yet, as rigorous and as clever and as relevant as it is, the second half of the novel never quite reaches the soaring heights of the first. It’s hardly a deal breaker: the writing (exquisite) and the observations (cuttingly accurate) make Choi’s latest both wrenching and one-of-a-kind ... Never sentimental; always thrillingly alive.
RavePublishers WeeklySuperb, powerful...marries exquisite craft with topical urgency ... Choi’s themes—among them the long reverberations of adolescent experience, the complexities of consent and coercion, and the inherent unreliability of narratives—are timeless and resonant. Fiercely intelligent, impeccably written, and observed with searing insight, this novel is destined to be a classic.
RavePublishers WeeklyA smart, brutal, and structurally sophisticated military science fiction tale with a time travel twist ... Hurley’s time travel mechanics are intricate but never alienating, and they perfectly serve this story of \'poor ageless grunts\' caught in war’s unending loop. Much of the drama comes from Dietz’s growing disillusionment with the war, and her heartbreaking camaraderie with squadmates whose deaths she has already experienced. Like Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War, this book is both a gripping story of future warfare and an incisive antiwar fable. Readers will savor this striking novel’s ambitious structure and critique of rapacious, militarized capitalism.
RaveKirkusAs always, Hurley is plausibly unflinching about the damage inflicted by the power hungry on those they delegate to carry out their schemes, but thankfully, she doesn’t leave her readers in utter despair, either ... A fascinating and brilliantly confusing journey that ultimately ends, as is appropriate, in illumination. Rereads will be both necessary and desirable.
RavePublishers Weekly[A] fascinating combination of memoir and ethical-legal manifesto ... [Bharara\'s] prose has the quality of a well-written speech, with philosophical pronouncements followed by supporting tales from both his legal career and his personal life, recounted in a superbly accessible and conversational, even humorous, tone. Bharara also reminds readers that, while the law is an incredible tool, it is people who create or corrupt justice. With its approachable human moments, tragic and triumphant cases, heroic investigators, and depictions of hardworking everyday people, this book is a rare thing: a page-turning work of practical moral philosophy.
RaveKirkusThe former federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York skillfully explains how he approached his job, offering a mixture of guiding principles and compelling anecdotes ... Unlike many lawyers who write books, Bharara refreshingly avoids jargon, striking a conversational tone and regularly employing analogies and metaphors that make his points easily understandable ... Rarely does Bharara offer glimpses into his private life, but he does share a few instances of the calumny he has faced due to his Indian heritage ... An engaging tour from beginning to end.
PositiveKirkusEpisode by episode, dodging death squads, Forché builds a story filled with violence and intrigue worthy of Graham Greene around which a river of blood flows—doing so, unstanched, with the avid support of America’s leaders ... A valuable firsthand report of a time of terror.
Agustín Fernández Mallo, Trans. by Thomas Bunstead
PositiveKirkusFernández Mallo’s trilogy makes less a coherent tale than a long literary experiment verging on private joke ... Fernández Mallo writes with considerable elegance, if sometimes onrushingly ... Sometimes puzzling, even inexplicable, but rich. Just the thing for fans of Cortázar—and Borges, too.
PositivePublishers WeeklyA novelist and former New York Times/em> reporter, Berenson (The Deceivers) brings strong persuasive skills, acknowledgment his cause may be lost, and frustrated desperation to this antimarijuana manifesto ... he aims to refute a widespread image of marijuana as an enjoyable, mellow, and harmless mild intoxicant. Those who favor legalization are likely to remain unmoved, but Berenson is certainly meticulous and coherent about making his case, and his well-written treatise never descends into Reefer Madness–like hysteria.
PositiveKirkusPart page-turner and part aesthetic treatise, Rock’s latest is, like the currents of the Great Lakes, subtle and haunted, deeply complex and \'quietly…sinister\'; his readers, like his swimmers, ought to know \'that the currents of the subsurface are likely to be moving.\'
PositivePublishers WeeklyHaunting, elegaic ... Though it eschews linear plot and resolution, the book’s moody sense of hidden depths and dangers will intrigue those open to an atmospheric and contemplative novel.
PositiveKirkus...a bittersweet, intricately plotted family saga ... Wells\' style is less antic than that of his admired elder John Irving, but in setting, tone, density of plot, and a streak of (occasionally heavy-handed) didacticism, the resemblances are strong ... overall Wells has written a tender, affecting novel.
RavePublishers Weekly...satisfying ... Touching and timeless, the story is expertly and evocatively rendered, in prose both beautiful and sparse enough to cut clearly to the question at the novel’s heart: how one copes with loss that isn’t—or doesn’t have to be—permanent.
RaveKirkusExplosive, exquisitely researched ... Brown’s prose is sometimes technical but largely accessible and even turns poetic when she describes changed lives. She offers horrifying descriptions of the processing of radioactive meat and other foods for shipment to large cities and towns and of the continuing sale abroad of contaminated berries ... This sobering book should be read—and studied—by policymakers and citizens; pair with Adam Higginbotham’s Midnight in Chernobyl to spark a renewed debate over nuclear power.
RavePublishers WeeklyA gripping book part scientific exploration, part Cold War thriller ... Brown’s in-depth research and clean, concise writing illuminate the reality behind decades of \'half-truths and bald-faced lies.\' Readers will be fascinated by this provocative history of a deadly accident and its consequences.
Timuel D. Black
PositivePublishers Weekly...[an] inspiring, affecting memoir ... Black’s writing is straightforward and conversational, and he is a natural storyteller ... [He writes:] \'For me, and I hope for you, oral history is the real deal.\' This memoir is.
RaveKirkusOn the surface, Somers\' debut is light and breezy, but the narrative is deft, controlled, and deadly smart. She mines depths out of Hollywood\'s propensity to look the other way when beloved men behave badly without a hint of preachiness. Instead, she\'s interested in complicity ... What could be a straightforward novel about a young woman and an older man taking mutual advantage of one another is instead a brilliant study in how rarely we seize opportunities to grow and change for the better—especially if we\'re lucky enough to get more than one. An outstanding comedic debut.
RavePublishers Weekly...[a] witty, melancholy debut ... Somers sidesteps the predictable path the reader might expect this weekend to take, instead meandering into subtle, surprising territory. Within the strict temporal boundaries she has set herself, Somers depicts two equally lost souls unable to connect on a deep level. This is a winning debut.
PositiveKirkusAlthough overlong, Arnold’s memoir will appeal to runners of all types, whether they participate in short-distance races or ultralong endurance tests ... A contemplative, soul-searching account of the death of the author’s beloved father and how she used long-distance running as a way to heal from the grief.
PositivePublishers WeeklyWhile her summations of lessons learned feel too pat, this is a bittersweet recollection of a father-daughter relationship.
PositivePublishers WeeklyReinhardt makes a successful leap to adult fiction ... Reinhardt adroitly navigates the mind of a memorable and unreliable narrator and delivers a page-turner that’s both charming and thoughtful.
PositiveKirkusReinhardt deftly manipulates the villa in paradise into a gothic labyrinth, and Jenna’s curiosity propels her into secrets perhaps best left alone ... A tense mystery driven by maternal and wifely anxieties.
PositiveKirkusMerritt fully immerses readers in her richly imagined setting and hints that there’s much more to the events leading up to Zoe’s trip. The author’s strenuous attempt to counter the unfortunate trope of the hysterical woman is laudable, and Zoe comes to relate to the misunderstood Ailsa. Zoe\'s flirtation with a much younger schoolteacher named Edward is refreshing, realistic, and very sexy. Merritt certainly knows how to build suspense and dread even if readers of the genre will find a few of the elements familiar ... Oodles of atmosphere largely make up for a bit of predictability in this gothic chiller.
MixedPublishers WeeklyDerivative ... Even if the exact details of how the plot unfolds are not predictable, the overall arc is, and the lack of surprise is matched by the lack of scares.
RavePublishers Weekly[A] sensational serial killer novel in which twists are both jaw-dropping and logical ... Russell integrates the period’s political tensions into a mind-blowing story line that will appeal to fans of Caleb Carr and Thomas Harris.
PositiveKirkusWell-crafted ... Russell plants tantalizing parallels ... A seasoned writer, Russell keeps the police case moving at a good clip, more so than the clinical narrative and its unavoidable repetitions. Each has nice surprises but nothing to match the ending, which offers more twists than a Chubby Checker album ... A smart, atmospheric, and entertaining read but not for the Jung and easily Freudened.
PositivePublishers WeeklyWhile other biographies may provide a more complete picture of Alcott’s life, Seiple’s version is laser-focused on this particular period, convincingly making the unique argument that Alcott’s difficult trials forged her personality and informed virtually every facet of her work. Lovers of Alcott and fans of Civil War history will be equally pleased.
PositiveKirkusThroughout, Seiple’s fluid style of writing displays few fireworks but makes the story read like a novel ... A useful addition to the Alcott archives that would also appeal to younger readers.
PositiveKirkusIt’s unfortunate that Shannon’s account of the criminal genius Paul Le Roux appears in the same season as Evan Ratliff’s Mastermind, which covers just the same ground and is the more vigorously written of the two. Still, Shannon opens on a smart note given current events ... Shannon is very good on procedural matters and especially on how the American Drug Enforcement Administration pieced together its multiagency, multigovernmental case against Le Roux ... For sizzle, then, one wants to read Ratliff’s book first, but there’s plenty of steak here ... A painstaking, fascinating account of crime and punishment.
PositiveKirkus... a little like reading Richard Yates on the tripping experience ... Without advocating or sermonizing, and without indulging too much in the descriptions of sexual comingling and the obligatory acid tripping, Boyle writes of the 1960s to come from the perspective of the \'60s that will be left behind ... Keeping his own stylistic flamboyance in check, Boyle evokes a cultural flashpoint with implications that transcend acid flashbacks.
PositivePublishers Weekly...a satisfying, if overlong take on Timothy Leary’s LSD studies from the early 1960s ... Though it takes its time hitting its stride, Boyle’s novel picks up momentum and is an evocative depiction of the early days of LSD.
RaveKirkusComplications ensue, though not the predictable soap-opera ones you\'d imagine. Freudenberger is good at explaining physics, but her real genius is in the depiction of relationships. Each one in the novel, whether between adults, adults and children, or among children, is unique, finely calibrated, and real ... Brimming with wit and intelligence and devoted to things that matter: life, love, death, and the mysteries of the cosmos.
RavePublishers WeeklyFreudenberger (The Newlyweds) explores the convergence of scientific rationality and spirituality in this stunning portrayal of grief ... Like her narrator, Freudenberger resists the impulse to use science solely as metaphor; indeed, readers will learn a great deal about the LIGO project and its Nobel Prize–winning work with cosmic gravitational waves. The integration of ideas from physics sparks in the reader new ways of thinking about the nature of time and existence ... a beautiful and moving novel.
PanKirkus\"The connections among different felonies in this woolly tale are as loose as all those lawyers’ connections to the truth. So many murders, so many plotters, so much churn that you may wonder if you accidentally picked up a collection of short stories.\
MixedPublishers Weekly\"Lockwood disappears for long stretches as other characters take center stage, which lessens the story’s overall intensity and emotional impact. In addition, her personal story arc—particularly her relationship with her firm’s investigator, Jeff Hodges—develops only incrementally. Still, Margolin convincingly portrays the workings of the legal system and has created a worthy heroine.\
PositiveKirkusDoctorow patiently weaves...stories together, while presenting military strategies...with exemplary clarity. Behind it all stalks the brilliant, conflicted, \'volatile\' Sherman, to whom Doctorow gives this stunning climactic statement: \'our civil war . . . is but a war after a war, a war before a war.\' Doctorow’s previous novels have earned multiple major literary awards. The March should do so as well.
PositivePublishers WeeklyIn this powerful novel, Doctorow gets deep inside the pillage, cruelty and destruction—as well as the care and burgeoning love that sprung up in their wake ... Most of the many characters are...well-drawn and psychologically deep ... Though his lyrical prose sometimes shades into sentimentality when it strays from what people are feeling or saying, Doctorow\'s gift for getting into the heads of a remarkable variety of characters, famous or ordinary, make this a kind of grim Civil War Canterbury Tales.
RavePublishers WeeklyA finely tuned collection by writer\'s writer Pearlman combines the best of previous collections...with austere, polished new work ... This should win new converts for Pearlman.
RaveKirkusElegant, lapidary stories ... Pearlman...is a master of the form, without doubt, though, like V.S. Pritchett, with whom she shares several points in common, there is nothing at all flashy about her fictions. Her stories are lush ... Pearlman’s characters, too, are often layered in symbolism without being mere ciphers ... Most of these stories are earnest, often even grim, though Pearlman is not without a sense of humor ... But humor is not what these stories are about; instead, Pearlman favors the startling moral problem (what should we think of a travel writer who does not travel, but invents places?) and the poetic meditation on family history and the passage of time. Lovely and lyrical—a celebration of language and another virtuoso performance from a writer who does indeed deserve to be better known.
MixedKirkusThe most impressive accomplishment of Jones\'...fifth novel—her first with a contemporary setting—is the seemingly straightforward, actually rather complicated nature of the relationship between Bea and Dan. The depiction of the frustrations of dealing with the French bureaucracy is also on the money. However, the rich parents are two-dimensional in their utter repulsiveness, and the violent closing section of the book does not quite fulfill the potential of what precedes it. A well-executed, character-driven cross between domestic drama and crime thriller.
PositivePublishers WeeklyIn his bold second novel, Porter...combines pastoral, satire, and fable in the entrancing tale ... This is a dark and thrilling excavation into a community’s legend-packed soil.
RaveKirkusAn off-center sophomore novel by Porter...steeped in British folklore and a canny sense of the uncanny ... Porter is an enchanter with words; at no point does his story, recalling British tales of the Green Man, seem improbable, even as its eerier and more inexplicable moments come faster, revealing the leafy darkness that threatens the unwary. Elegantly mysterious: a story worthy of an M.R. James or even a Henry James and a welcome return by an author eminently worth reading.
RaveKirkusLasdun hooks the reader on his narrative with brief, tautly controlled chapters, each one adding new evidence and detail and relying on acute observation of the sometimes-bizarre machinations of the psyche ... Of the novels to come out of the #MeToo moment to date, none is more riveting, insightful, and unsettling. Lasdun is the perfect writer to navigate these troubled waters from the male perspective.
PositivePublishers Weekly...thought-provoking ... Set in the days just after Trump won the Republican nomination—and referencing disgraced figures including Anthony Weiner and Roger Ailes—this novel comes to a brilliantly ironic conclusion that will leave readers reeling. Mainstream literary fiction readers will appreciate this one as well.
MixedKirkusUnfortunately, despite Taseer’s earnest attempts to force a declaration of truth from his Brahmin interviewees, he is evasive about his own ethnicity and identity—namely, his Muslim family and his gay sexual orientation—often stranding readers with him in emotional limbo. A beautifully rendered but flawed exploration of how caste still prevails painfully in modern India.
PositivePublishers WeeklyTaseer sets...meditations against a gorgeous, sinister portrait of Benares...with its religious fervor, funeral pyres, and floating corpses. The lengthy conversations about Hindu philosophy sometimes drag, but Taseer’s wonderfully atmospheric rendition of landscapes and gnarled social psychologies make for an engrossing dissection of India’s discontents.
PositiveKirkusA touching and necessary manifesto and history featuring firsthand accounts of the recent Indigenous uprising against powerful oil companies ... carefully researched and much-needed ... The narrative is particularly interesting for the way it connects current environmental efforts—namely, the \'Water is Life\' movement at Standing Rock, North Dakota, in 2016—with the earliest attempts by Indigenous nations to protect their homeland, as well as with international politics ... With an urgent voice, Estes reminds us that the greed of private corporations must never be allowed to endanger the health of the majority ... An important read about Indigenous protesters fighting to protect their ancestral land and uphold their historic values of clean land and water for all humans.
PositivePublishers Weekly[A] scorching indictment of American settler colonialism, which resulted in the near-genocide of the continent’s indigenous peoples. With scrupulous research and urgent prose, he declares the DAPL protest a flowering of indigenous resistance with roots deep in history and Native sacred land ... In this powerful work, Estes’s condemnation of the United States government is clear and resonant.
MixedPublishers WeeklyFlechner attempts a bold reconsideration of the life and work of St. Patrick, unsuccessfully aiming to speak to both a general and academic audience ... n attempting to appeal to two audiences at once, Flechner seems likely to appeal to neither: a general audience will find his dense style hard-going, while academics are likely to be put off by his oversimplifications ... Flechner also has a habit of continually referring to a discussion taking place at a different point in the book, forcing readers to flip back-and-forth between chapters in order to follow his lines of argument, only adding to the confusion. However, those really interested in the life of St. Patrick might enjoy Flechner’s account, despite the frustrating presentation.
Andrea Dworkin, Ed. by Joanna Fateman and Amy Scholder
PositiveKirkusFateman and Scholder’s anthology is useful as a primer on works by a figure consigned to the radical fringe of feminist discourse, but its no-holds-barred accounts of misogynistic brutality and uncensored expressions of female rage do not make it a book for the faint of heart. Intense reading most likely to appeal to radical feminist scholars.
PositiveKirkusA merry gloss on politics, campaign work for John Kerry and Obama, her stint in the White House, dating and breaking up, watching Friends and Sex and the City, the health problem—irritable bowel syndrome—she wrote about in the previous book, how social media has changed politics, and many other topics, including Donald Trump ... The brief conversations are as frothy as the essays ... Most pieces are funny and many, insightful ... An entertaining miscellany by a sharp-eyed observer.
MixedKirkusReaders could be forgiven for thinking the world doesn’t need another biography of Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe. However, Burke distinguishes her book from previous treatments by investigating the dynamic between the more famous couple and the artists who would become their protégés ... The linear story is a laundry list of events in the quartet’s lives, but it contains relatively little drama ... Some readers might prefer to know more about that marriage than about Stieglitz’s eye pain or O’Keeffe’s swollen legs after a smallpox vaccination. Still, there’s enough juicy material here to intrigue readers interested in the private lives of artists ... A well-researched if surprisingly cool account of sensual artists.
PositivePublishers WeeklyIntimate and exhaustively researched ... This biography offers detailed insight into one of the most important periods in American art.
RavePublishers WeeklyA powerful and intimate portrait ... Jessen is a talented and empathetic writer (and kudos must be given to translator Aitken, whose translation is supple and luminous), and has imbued a quiet story about a woman finding herself after her husband’s death with poignancy and stunning humanity.
PositiveKirkusWe get to experience the voyeuristic pleasure of becoming immersed in someone else\'s grief, self-discovery, and eventual reinvention ... Wit and vivid descriptions are presented in equal measure, as issues of sexual desire and the need for both solitude and companionship come to the fore ... An engaging, honest, and beautifully written look at love, loss, and self-realization.
PositivePublishers WeeklyPhelan’s father provides the heartbeat of the memoir: he’s a taciturn, no-nonsense man who loved and respected his family, worked hard ... Phelan’s vivid images of life on the farm and at school provide a rich and colorful snapshot of the times that shaped him.
RaveKirkusA tender recollection of growing up on a farm in Ireland in the 1940s ... In precise, vibrant prose, novelist Phelan...creates a finely etched portrait ... A captivating portrait of a bygone time.
PositiveKirkus...incisive ... In short chapters, readers are treated to insights into the lives of the other women at Lisa Hopper, especially Karen, who has different plans for Millie’s future than what Millie is expecting. Though Millie’s mundane and self-destructive despondence sometimes feels all too familiar, Butler has nonetheless created an disquieting heroine with an indelible voice. Butler is a sharp and observant writer, who takes to task the tragicomedy of modern capitalism.
RavePublishers WeeklyLiterary biographer Gordon...brilliantly ties together the biographies of five women writers ... Painstakingly examining her subjects’ diaries, letters, speeches, and novels, as well as their lives and times, Gordon draws close connections between them ... By addressing an almost inconceivably wide range of themes through the book’s conceit—health, mores, politics, pregnancy, economics, sex, sexism, secrets, and silence—Gordon seduces readers interested in all that these fascinating women had to offer.
PositivePublishers WeeklyWonderfully effusive ... Ferlinghetti’s prose pulses with the enjambments that energized the beats, whose work he published (famously, Ginsberg’s Howl), and it’s punctuated with stunningly evocative metaphors ... This book is a Proustian celebration of both memory and moments that will delight readers.
MixedPublishers WeeklyThis biography of Louis XIV, king of France (1643–1715), from historian Wilkinson...is an entertaining, if unnecessary, work that brings no new understanding of the thoroughly studied royal ... The Louis XIV that emerges is by turns pious and pitiably impulsive, though there’s little examination of either state. And Wilkinson’s text requires of the reader a level of historical knowledge that would render this book redundant. Readers hoping for a new authoritative biography of the Sun King will be left wanting.
PanKirkusToo much of Wilkinson’s plodding narrative details the romantic court intrigues, including Louis’ extramarital affairs with Louise de La Vallière and Madame de Montespan, and his happy late-life second marriage to the governess of the royal children, Madame de Maintenon. Sadly, the romance rarely sizzles, and the author doesn’t provide enough big-picture analysis of significant points in his subject’s life—e.g., his stoking of the War of Spanish Succession. Wilkinson offers little in the way of passion or illumination to enliven this account of the dazzling reign of the Sun King.
César Aira, Trans. by Chris Andrews
PositiveKirkusAs per [Aira\'s] modus operandi, it’s a slim but thoughtful affair, punctuated by numerous bons mots, acidic self-deprecation, and cutting observations about the world around him ... It’s a trifle when compared to the author’s body of work, but it’s an eminently readable one, rife with keen observations about passers-by, notes about the author’s unique style and why it changed over time, and ruminations on how the author has dealt with the inscrutable eventualities of aging. As with all this writer’s outlandish novels, numbering nearly 100 by this point, the writing is whimsical, humorous, and poignant by turns. Yet there’s still a finality by the end that readers of Aira’s age may find painfully true ... A fanciful contemplation of the writer\'s life that is not quite a novel or a memoir but a whimsical combination of the two.
César Aira, Trans. by Chris Andrews
PositivePublishers WeeklyIn this profound memoir, Aira ... [writes about] a darker contemplation of youth wasted, a diminishment of artistic authority in his work, and his potentially bleak future ... The reader gradually realizes Aira’s seemingly feigned self-deprecation is actually clear-eyed honesty, and the ostensible simplicity of the volume carries powerful and incisive ideas about life and aging.
PositivePublishers WeeklyIn this informative, casual narrative, Miodownik ... compresses myriad science lessons into one transatlantic flight ... This popular science work straightforwardly and clearly explains \'the mysterious properties of liquids and how we have come to rely on them\' in a novel, engaging manner.
PositiveKirkusThe chapters on body fluids, tea, and soap are mostly by-the-numbers, but the author’s enthusiasm and wry humor even make these relatively banal substances entertaining ... Another cleverly told and engagingly accessible study of the stuff around us.
Takis Wurger, trans. by Charlotte Collin
MixedPublishers Weekly\"... chilling if obvious ... Though it moves at a good pace, the novel is contrived in its depiction of upper-class snobbism, hypocrisy, and corruption, resulting in a diverting if thin story.\
Takis Wurger, trans. by Charlotte Collin
PositiveKirkus\"While the crime at the novel’s center is not surprising, it serves as a catalyst for Würger’s interesting ruminations on class, violence, power, wealth, and masculinity ... The novel’s complicated ending touches on the problems of justice and redemption: who gets it, who deserves it, and its human cost ... A sparse, cutting debut in which violence begets violence begets healing.\
RavePublishers WeeklySets a bittersweet love story within the cut-throat world of academic research, a great pairing [Rothman] explores with heart, smarts, and a lot of furtive sex ... This insider look at the rigors and risks of the competitive world of scientific research is fascinating, but it’s Rothman’s aching study of loneliness, heartbreak and forgiveness that resonate.
PositiveKirkusA debut novel by a scientist that makes the lab feel like a real place, not clueless stage dressing ... a vivid sense of place and a well-paced, intelligently constructed story. And if readers may sometimes feel like shaking a little sense into her characters, well, isn’t that also true of many of the great romantics of literature (looking at you, Heathcliff and Juliet) as well as—face it—a fair number of one’s own friends? ... The pleasure of this novel lies in Rothman’s sincere, straightforward, unpretentious prose wracked with the loneliness of young love.
RavePublishers WeeklyWest, a GQ culture writer and former staff writer for Jezebel, balances humor with a rare honesty and introspection in her debut ... West\'s chronicle of the series of highly personal online attacks—and of how much Internet conversations have changed in the past decade—marks this book as required reading. Always entertaining and relatable, West writes openly and with clear eyes about embarrassing moments ... thought-provoking.
PositiveChicago ReaderEvery political movement needs a folk hero ... Someday, I hope there will be a comic book version of Shrill for little girls who worry about taking up too much space or talking too loudly ... It would be instructive for them, a way of learning to be a woman in the world without having to modulate their voices or contort their bodies to please men.
RaveThe Real Book SpyParks has rebounded in spectacular fashion, proving he’s far from a one-hit-wonder by delivering a devilishly good story with more twists and turns than Say Nothing and enough edge-of-your-seat suspense to fill two books ... Buckle up and hold on tight ... The Last Act is the kind of heart-pumping thriller that you’ll stay up all night to read and then spend another day telling everyone you know all about it.
PositiveKirkusFans of Parks’ well-oiled thrillers won’t even bother to ask; they’ll be too busy licking their chops anticipating the twists that are bound to come ... The setup is so patient and the logistics so matter-of-fact that even the savviest readers will be caught in the story’s expertly laid traps before they know what’s happening.
PanPublishers WeeklyAn intriguing setup but few thrills ... The action slows as Tommy leads a boring life in the minimum-security prison, where he’s never in peril and threats to others feel minimal. He makes little progress in getting close to Mitchell. Much of the plot depends on coincidence or surprise revelations. Hopefully, Parks will return to form next time.
RaveKirkusAn epic of Shakespearean emotional depth and arresting visual imagery that nonetheless demonstrates the racism and sexism of the period. Scheherazade has nothing on Berry whose acute eye for detail renders the glittering lights of Paris as dreamlike in their beauty as the soul-sucking trenches on the French front are nightmarishly real. The mortal characters are all vibrant, original, and authentic, but none is more captivating than the goddess of love herself, who teaches her husband that love is an art form worthy of respect and admiration ... An unforgettable romance so Olympian in scope, human at its core, and lyrical in its prose that it must be divinely inspired.
RavePublishers WeeklyBerry’s evocative novel starts slow but gains steam as the stories flesh out. Along the way, it suggests that while war and its devastation cycles through history, the forces of art and love remain steady, eternal, and life-sustaining.
PositiveKirkusAn inspired history ... a beautifully woven narrative ... As Thompson smoothly traces the history of the Polynesians and their language and culture through discoveries in anthropology and archaeology, especially radiocarbon dating, she emphasizes the importance of the migrations of the Lapita people from Asia ... Thompson vividly captures the wondrousness of this region of the world as well as the sense of adventure tied up in that history.
RavePublishers Weekly...artfully written ... Thompson does not hesitate to point out erroneous thinking ... Along the way, she writes with infectious awe and appreciation about Polynesian culture and with sharp intelligence about the blind spots of those investigating it at different times. This fascinating work could prove to be the standard on the subject for some time to come.
Caroline Criado Perez
PositivePublishers WeeklyCriado Perez handles this material with subtle wit, calm authority, and a tendency to turn toward solutions. The book inaccurately treats womanhood as interchangeable with certain traits or experiences—like small stature, having given birth to one’s children, or facing gender discrimination in professional settings—which will turn off some readers. But this is still a provocative, vital book.
Caroline Criado Perez
PositiveKirkusThe author provides an incisive narrative paced more like a novel than a scientific study, offering digestible information with a sharp dose of wit ... the author offers a balance of statistics, provocative questions, and concise assessments of systemic bias and how to address it. She pinpoints how the personal and the political intersect in these data gaps ... In clear language, the author builds a strong case for greater inclusion with this thoughtful and surprisingly humorous view of institutional bias and gendered information gaps.
RavePublishers Weekly...a cabinet of wonders ... Wilson-Lee also brings to rich life the cultural milieu of the age ... Wilson-Lee’s fascinating account brings back to wholeness \'the largest private library of the day\' while revealing the son of a renowned man as, among other things, a master librarian.
RaveKirkus...drawing on rich historical and archival sources—including Hernando’s writings—[Wilson-Lee] creates a thrilling narrative of the perils of 16th-century exploration ... An elegantly written, absorbing portrait of a visionary man and his age.
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...drawing on rich historical and archival sources—including Hernando’s writings—[Wilson-Lee] creates a thrilling narrative of the perils of 16th-century exploration ... An elegantly written, absorbing portrait of a visionary man and his age.
RavePublishers Weekly...fantastic ... Each story is earnest and engrossing, holding surprising depth for tales so compact ... Visiting many of the themes she grapples with in her novels, Aboulela ties together her expanding oeuvre with this poignant, impressive collection.
MixedKirkusAboulela seldom dips beneath the surface of the narrative, and, when she does, she doesn’t linger. Given that so many of the settings and situations are similar across these stories, a sense of sameness sets in. And some of the shorter entries feel more like writing exercises ... An uneven collection from a gifted writer.
RavePublishers WeeklyMukherjee makes the most of his setting, 1921 Calcutta, in his superior third mystery featuring the all-too-human Capt. Sam Wyndham, of the British Imperial Police, and his Indian assistant, Sgt. \'Surrender-Not\' Banerjee ... Mukherjee, who only gets better and better with each book, has established himself as a leading historical mystery writer.
PositivePublishers WeeklyPleasing ... Rum’s short chapters crisscross timelines with the zippy pace of a thriller, yet repetitive scenes and unwieldy dialogue deflate the narrative. Though the execution is sometimes shaky, there’s enough to make it worthwhile for fans of stories about family secrets.
PositiveKirkusIn telling this compelling tale, Rum—who was born in Brooklyn to Palestinian immigrants herself—writes that she hopes readers will be moved \'by the strength and power of our women\' ... A richly detailed and emotionally charged debut.
PositiveKirkus[Garfield] turns his attention to models and miniatures and other small things that grab and reward our attention ... As much history as the author provides, he seems even more interested in human psychology: Why would someone spend so much time and effort to construct something that is ultimately without purpose, and why would others flock to see it? Garfield devotes a lot of attention to the ideal of order in a world of chaos while recognizing that the obsession can seem insane ... Another entertaining book from Garfield.
PositiveKirkusTelling the tale through Emma’s perspective enables Wood to capture not only the fiery conflict between the provincial, French-speaking Dionnes and the medical team (with its well-meaning but arrogant emphasis on cleanliness and what’s best technically for the children), but also Emma’s uncomfortable sympathies ... A charming and well-researched, if long-winded, tale of love and survival.
PositivePublishers WeeklyIntriguing ... Wood cleverly combines fact and fiction in a fast-paced novel that will leave readers contemplating how the best intentions of government intervention can have dire, unanticipated consequences.
PositivePublishers WeeklyEngaging, well-researched ... Hubbard showcases the independent nature and innate business sense of Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury through the lens of her passion for large-scale architecture ... Hubbard balances material concerns and incidents of family infighting with stories of Bess’s generosity toward relatives, servants, and the poor, including building almshouses. Hubbard argues that Bess used her intellect to create the life she wanted and to create a stone-and-mortar legacy. This is a captivating new look at a powerful woman.
PositiveKirkusIn a sprightly recounting of her life, times, and penchant for building and remodeling vast estates, Hubbard vividly portrays a tense, roiling world in which Queen Elizabeth ruled with an unforgiving hand, all the while fearing to be betrayed and usurped ... A brisk, perceptive portrait of a formidable Elizabethan woman.
PositivePublishers WeeklyGeorge Pelecanos fans will welcome Swinson’s gritty third novel featuring PI Frank Marr ... Swinson, a former police officer, writes with authority and honesty, giving readers a timely, informed look at the mean streets from an insider’s perspective.
MixedKirkusMarr is frequently tempted to relapse into cocaine use, and he and Luna consume a prodigious quantity of alcohol keeping their various demons at bay, but addiction never really gets any traction in the plot, nor does the tension of working with one\'s estranged sweetheart ... The private eye and his apprentice have a pleasingly uneasy relationship, and the growth of their friendship is the most rewarding element in the book. Though the two don\'t exactly triumph over ambiguity and injustice, the unlikely buddies enliven a slightly flat thriller.
William L Silber
PositiveKirkusDeeply researched and authoritative ... Silber’s detailed recounting of the fluctuating prices of silver throughout history is enlivened by portraits of some obsessed silver investors, including psychiatrist Henry Jarecki and Nelson Bunker Hunt, a right-wing oil baron who was once the world’s richest man ... A well-informed history of silver’s allure.
Julie Delporte Trans. by Helge Dascher and Aleshia Jensen
PositivePublishers Weekly[A] melancholy meditation on art, femininity, and longing. Delporte has lived a life scarred by sexual assault, degradation, and diminishment on the basis of her gender—but she also celebrates moments touched by bliss. This contradictory reality, rendered here in vibrant, feathery pencils and inks, will be familiar to many women readers ... Delporte’s confident linework is at once soft—beachy blues, rumpled fabric—and almost cruelly stark. By the final page, Delporte has shared no easy answers. But the cumulative effect of her work lands soft as a child’s whimper and as strong as a heroine’s laugh.
PositivePublishers WeeklyCaptivating ... Strauss persuasively argues that each man brought his own personality and peccadilloes to his rule, and that each was successful and revolutionary in his own way ... Citing numerous primary and secondary sources and providing modern analogies to convey complex relationships and ruling styles, this captivating narrative breathes new life into a host of transformative figures.
PositiveKirkusFresh documentary evidence on these times rarely turns up to add to the skimpy surviving chronicles (by Pliny, Tacitus, Cassius Dio, Suetonius et al.), so popular histories have little new ground to break. They must be read for pleasure, and this one delivers good value.
PositiveThe Real Book SpyAnother solid showing ... While FBI agent Elsa Myers, who stared in A Map of the Dark, plays a small role, the bulk of the story follows Crisp and Detective Cole, as two interwoven storylines eventually come together in a way that’ll satisfy most readers. While the writing is above-average, Ellis’ decision to not use more of Myers may have been a miscalculation, as none of the other characters feel compelling enough to drive the story on their own. Likewise, the plot relies far too often on either dumb luck or improbable coincidences, leaving the story feeling contrived and forced at times. Still, Ellis’ writing talent is evident, and her pacing and attention to detail help cover the book’s flaws, making Last Night a fine read for those craving a solid mystery.
MixedPublishers WeeklyMyers plays a limited role in the case, and the interwoven story line of Lex Cole, the NYPD detective assigned to find Crisp, fails to engage. Readers will hope that Ellis uses fewer coincidences to drive her plot next time.
MixedPublishers WeeklyFunny and sometimes harrowing ... hampered by an emotionally detached narrative style ... The Chicago cartoonist intersperses each chronological step of her pregnancy with cleverly scathing facts about the history of obstetrics as well as the superstitions surrounding giving birth. Knisley shines in those segments, with her didactic narrative voice and clever cartooning solutions being well suited to the material. The stories about her miscarriages, a detailed account of each trimester, and her near-death experience while giving birth are all intense and intimate. However, her art is too clean and cheerful to adequately convey the intensity of these experiences. The artifice of Knisley’s narrative style clashes with the raw emotion of her hardships, making it feel as though she’s writing about someone else. The book’s most affecting moment comes when Knisley’s husband relates the story of the near-fatal birth from his point of view. If the book sags when Knisley discusses her own pain, it soars when she offers blunt opinions about the myths she’s heard or the insensitive treatment she received. Despite its tonal problems, the book is worth reading for Knisley’s fierce wit, strong point of view, and well-paced storytelling.
PositivePublishers WeeklyFans of psychological thrillers will want to see more from this talented newcomer.
MixedKirkusBartz has written a novel that is as much a portrait of post-recession Brooklyn hipster ennui as it is a thriller; unfortunately, it’s also a reminder of how insufferable hipsters could be. It’s hard to tell if Bartz wants readers to take Lindsay’s and her friends’ \'like\'-peppered speech and emotional immaturity as pointed social commentary or as genuine characterization. Equally problematic is Bartz’s near-constant reliance on exposition through dialogue, even at the novel’s climax; it weighs what should be a zippy plot down like an anchor ... Readers nostalgic for Pabst Blue Ribbons and Molly-fueled ragers should enjoy the world Bartz creates here; those looking for a terse thriller might turn elsewhere.
PositiveKirkusThe romance runs at a low boil—after all, everything feels temporary in the city—but their travels through the new Czech Republic are entertaining, characterized by light irony or black comedy ... Kimberling has a rich store of peculiar tales to share, from a penguin smuggler to a mansion whose fireplace mantle \'could have slept a family of five comfortably.\' The novel’s episodic structure and laugh lines diminish the impact of Elliott’s more sour reckonings toward the end, but Kimberling’s deadpan wit and powers of observation amply compensate ... A winning, offbeat yarn about life and love after communism.
RaveKirkusEmploying a dynamic combination of meticulous research and impassioned prose, Ryan familiarizes readers with the precarious post–Prohibition-era atmosphere ... The author insists on its overdue appreciation, and he offers a richly evocative chronicle filled with notable queer game-changers ... With a sharp eye for detail and a knack for vivid re-creations, Ryan eloquently contributes to an \'old queer history\' ... A romantic, exquisite history of gay culture.
PositivePublishers Weekly...a lively, character-filled portrait and well-researched analysis of Brooklyn’s queer social landscape ... Ryan acknowledges that much well-known history focuses on cis white gay men and is careful to curate available materials about the experience of lesbians and black people, drawing from letters and reading between the lines of reports of crime or deviance. This evocative and nostalgic love song to the borough and its flamboyant past offers a valuable broadening of historical perspective.
Howard Andrew Jones
RavePublishers WeeklyMultiple protagonists thrive amid immersive details of the realm and the creatures found therein. Jones’s exciting epic will have readers laughing, crying, and cheering for the men and women of the Altenerai.
PositivePublishers WeeklyDevastating ... Their inevitable relationship is predictable, but this tear-jerker is bolstered by Richman’s perspective on how teachers and students can learn from each other, resulting in a heartening tale.
Gebe Trans. by Edward Gauvin
PositivePublishers WeeklyBuilt on a foundation of whimsical gallows humor, this book bursts at the seams with lessons as relevant to the current state of the world as when it was first published in France over 35 years ago ... Contrasting the thought-provoking stories, Gébé’s simple artwork is as playful as a children’s book. Through black-and-white cartoon linework, the characters of the letters and the family they are being read to are brought to life in a manner as satirical and pointed as the lessons they are depicting. This introspective and sardonic book makes it painfully clear how far society has failed to come in the decades since its debut.
RaveKirkus[A] deeply resonant collection ... The push-pull of life and death, the tug of postpartum depression, the shame of deception, the guilt of separation—all are explored in these pages ... An exquisite collection that is candid, compassionate, and emotionally complex.
PositivePublishers WeeklyStriking ... Rosenwaike’s edgy stories are endearingly honest, excruciatingly detailed, and irresistibly intimate, expertly depicting what motherhood means to millennials.
Tanguy Viel Trans. by William Rodarmor
PositivePublishers Weekly[A] beguiling noir ... Arresting metaphors enliven the spare prose ... Viel should win new American fans with this elegant effort.
RaveKirkusThe stories are skillfully told and entirely entertaining ... The history of vaccines, mostly the story of smallpox eradication, is so satisfying that it deserves its chapter. Hager follows with exciting stories of discovery with an international reach—antibiotics in Germany, antipsychotics in France, cholesterol-lowering drugs in Japan—and plenty of unknown geniuses. Though not a muckraker, the author is no fan of drug companies, and he admits that new drugs are greeted with too much enthusiasm, unpleasant side effects invariably appear, and the juiciest pharmaceutical \'low-hanging fruit\' was plucked during a golden age that ended 50 years ago ... An expert, mostly feel-good book about modern medicine.
PositivePublishers WeeklyLucidly informative and compulsively readable ... Hager’s thoughtful and captivating survey leaves readers with the insights that finding \'magic bullets\'—all-powerful drugs with no risk—is unlikely, and that no drug is all good or all bad.
PositiveKirkusOne of the great virtues of this book is the author’s cleareyed explanations of how alpinists parse mountains, rating them for difficulty and then doing the calculus of who qualifies as the world’s leading climber on the strength of those numbers. Old-timers agree: Honnold may be ill-mannered and self-absorbed, but he’s got the right stuff, doing what previous generations of climbers deemed impossible. As for lessons for would-be climbers, Synnott offers the cardinal one in the voice of one of the old-timers: \'Don’t fall\' ... Fans of mountaineering will find this a winner.
PositivePublishers WeeklyHilarious and candid ... Tobia thoughtfully and accessibly captures the anguish of being placed inside boxes that don’t fit—how \'gender hurts us all\' by creating prisons of identity, with both kids and adults policing and bullying those who fail to conform ... While older readers may feel the book includes too much of the minutiae of college life, Tobia’s outspoken refusal to be bound by social constrictions is admirable, and their funny, sometimes raunchy voice is a charming bonus.
PositiveKirkusrefreshing, courageous, and important. Though the author sometimes overdoes the self-congratulation and snarkiness, these flaws are more than overcome by the feisty candor and wit, especially when discussing their relationship with their parents and the church that at first rejected but then finally accepted Tobia’s sparkling \'queer spirit\' ... A funny, sharply observed, and intelligent journey into self-identity.
PositivePublishers WeeklyAnyone who enjoys space opera, exploration of characters, and political speculation will love this outstanding novel, Bear’s welcome return to hard SF after several years of writing well-received steampunk and epic fantasy ... This exciting story set in a richly detailed milieu is successful on many levels, digging into the nature of truth and reality, self-definition vs. predestination, and the calibration of moral compasses. Amid a space opera resurgence, Bear’s novel sets the bar high.
MixedKirkusBear offers plenty of big, bold, fascinating ideas in a narrative that culminates in a double showdown with a dazzling array of said thoughtful beings, but to get us there the plot has to wheel through highly improbable convolutions. The main characters—MacGyver-ish Haimey with her angst-y self-censorship, absurdly dull Connla, a chirpy know-it-all AI that natters on about politics—annoy more often than they appeal. The whole package contrasts somewhat unfavorably with Bear’s fantasy works, where the characters realistically inhabit fanciful landscapes and stories grows organically from their interactions with it and each other ... Impressive at the core. Readers who relished the Jacob’s Ladder trilogy will certainly enjoy this one.
RaveThe Real Book SpyAfter going back in time to tell Cotton Malone’s origin story in last year’s The Bishop’s Pawn, which was an inadvertent step backward from the success he saw with The Lost Order (2017), Steve Berry rights the ship in a big way here. Ordinarily, you can have lots of historical elements, mystery, puzzles, misdirection, and suspense, or lots of action. It’s hard to combine them all, and even harder to do it well, but Berry bucks the trend with this one, delivering a story that reads like something you’d expect to find if Dan Brown and Brad Thor ever co-authored a thriller together. The Malta Exchange has all the above and more, including a lights-out twit two-thirds of the way through the story, kicking off an intense, gripping final act that’ll have readers begging for the next book.
RavePublishers WeeklyEnthralling ... Fans of Dan Brown will have fun, and some may even prefer Berry’s action-oriented hero to Brown’s cerebral Robert Langdon.
PositiveKirkusThe intrigue is intense ... Thriller fans will have their violence fix, but the real fun is in learning about the inner workings of the church, its history dating all the way back to Constantine, and the troubled past of Malta ... Kastor and Pollux are the conniving hypocrites who really pop off the pages ... This one will appeal to Dan Brown fans and anyone else in the mood for a page-turning yarn.
PositivePublishers Weekly[A] clever combination of easy travelogue and thoughtful exploration of queerness in America ... [Allen\'s] approach is firmly inclusive; she acknowledges the limitations of her perspective as a white woman, giving readers a brief explainer on Kimberlé Crenshaw’s concept of intersectional oppression. Queer readers will nod knowingly at the descriptions of finding gay-friendly hangouts and questioning whether public hand-holding is safe in a new area, and readers without that experience will still enjoy Allen’s charming, humorous recounting of the ultimate road trip through rainbow-colored America.
MixedKirkusIn Search of Gay America is a clear precursor for the present volume by Allen ... Allen tells a more personal story relating to her own transformational experience, which, while often instructive, pulls attention away from the fascinating individuals she encountered on her trip. Though she generously acknowledges the strong work they are doing within their communities and sheds meaningful light on the progress achieved within these red-state regions, she doesn’t allow their portraits to come into clear focus; all too often their stories revert back to her. By the end of the book, few of these folks will be memorable for readers ... While expanding awareness on the efforts being made in the LGBT community within red states, this journey feels somewhat perfunctory, and the narrative rarely sustains the promise shown in the opening chapters.
MixedPublishers Weekly...[an] uneven debut ... Unfortunately, an overabundance of cliché causes the tale to reflect the awkwardness of its pubescent protagonist a bit too closely ... However, when the excessive simile usage settles down, Fried’s lighthearted humor shines through ... While Fried’s novel offers playful moments and an evocative atmosphere, these vignettes never come together into a fully formed story.
MixedKirkus\'I never knew quite where she would come to rest.\' That question, and Evie’s continued machinations, ebb and flow throughout the book. It’s an interesting strategy, a way to inject more risk into the narrative, but in the end, it backfires a little bit. This is because Evie is a more compelling character than her cousin ... None of it sticks, however, or more accurately, none of it comes fully to life. The scenes resound with a kind of nodding recognition, charged less from within than by the recollections of its readers, the memories of adolescence they provoke.
RavePublishers Weekly...[a] spirited second novel ... Like the late Robert Stone, Scibona exhibits a command of language and demonstrates a knack for dramatizing the tidal pull of history on individual destiny. The novel accrues real power as its vividly imagined characters try to make sense of an often senseless world. This is a bold, rewarding novel.
PositiveKirkusScibona’s story takes in a broad sweep of time, looking into the future to foresee an end that may not be so terrible but that is just as certain. The plot sometimes threatens to come off the rails, but throughout, the narrative is marked by distinctive lyricism and striking images ... A touch overlong and sometimes perplexing but original and memorable.
PositiveKirkusThe aftermath of a school shooting, told from the point of view of a first-grader who hid with his class in a closet while his 10-year-old brother and 18 others were massacred … Since his parents are preoccupied to the point of cruelty and don’t get him professional help, he is on his own in figuring out how to cope. His touching tactics include assigning colors to his feelings and making paintings of them and studying the ‘secrets of happiness’ purveyed in the Magic Treehouse series ... A powerful exercise in empathy and perspective.
PositivePublishers WeeklyNavin’s gripping debut opens with first grader Zach Taylor huddling in a closet with his teacher and classmates while shots and screams echo in his school’s corridors … Those who can handle the difficult subject matter will find the plot to be a page-turner; Navin also excels in brilliantly capturing Zach’s perspective.
PositiveKirkusAs Friedman readily admits at the beginning of the book, this is not a comprehensive history of the birth of Israel—and it can’t be, since records are few, confusion was the norm, mistakes were made, and many died ... An exciting historical journey and highly informative look at the Middle East with Israel as the starting point.
PositivePublishers WeeklyEvocative prose ... The author’s best material comes from primary sources, including interviews with Shoshan, now 93, and Gamliel Cohen’s 2001 book. That and Friedman’s familiarity with the locations he describes give his account an intimacy lacking in many espionage tales. \'I was looking less for the sweep of history than for its human heart,\' he writes, and he finds it.
T. J. Martinson
RavePublishers WeeklyFans of superhero tales will relish Martinson’s energetic debut ... Martinson ratchets up the tension and keeps the suspense high to the end. Readers will eagerly await his next novel.
T. J. Martinson
PositiveKirkusIt’s nearly impossible to review metafiction that relates to superheroes without directly calling out its influences, but debut novelist Martinson provides great storytelling without relying too heavily on his inspiration ... At its core, this is a straightforward police procedural, but it’s one in which the police might have something significant to hide. The main characters are designed to fulfill their roles, but Martinson is remarkably effective at depicting them and uniting their disparate worldviews—the jaded journalist who still believes in the truth ... Anyone who’s read comics will recognize the analogy—the AWOL vigilante is a certain dark knight, and Stetson is the policeman who once sanctioned his violence. Regardless, Martinson has turned in a linguistically nimble and narratively taut fiction that skews closer to Jeffrey Deaver or Don Winslow than tales of costumed capers ... A solid crime novel about people just trying to do the right thing in a bad old world.
PositivePublishers WeeklyA brisk overview ... [Nadell\'s] particular strengths are social, labor, and cultural history ... She also turns out strong mini-profiles of several dozen prominent figures and unearths the little-discussed oppressive side of American Jewish women’s history, including sexual harassment of sweatshop workers and economic hardships that forced some Jewish women into prostitution. The broadness of the topic means there are some omissions: the writers Grace Paley and Edna Ferber are mentioned but not, say, Tillie Olsen or Cynthia Ozick; some prominent Jewish women are covered too cursorily (two 20th-century political firebrands, Emma Goldman and Bella Abzug, are accorded all of three sentences each); and American Sephardic women and Jewish feminist theology are barely dealt with. It is easy to kvetch, but Nadell has taken on a big job in covering such a multidimensional, important subject. Nadell does it in informative and succinct style, and the result is a readable, valuable text.
MixedKirkusFocusing on specific individuals and even specific families, the author presents a personalized story that is slanted toward progressive Jewish women and the legacy of Reform Judaism. Nadell follows a natural and predictable progression through the history of American immigration ... The author largely succeeds in providing a fascinating portrait of American Jewish women, though her subject matter is definitely slanted toward Reform and even secular Jews. She offers little examination of Orthodox or even Conservative Jewish women’s lives, especially in the modern era ... A worthwhile history given the difficulties of capturing such a wide-ranging population.
RaveConnotation PressSmith manages an autobiographical portrait of two artists\' coming of age story graciously, modestly—somehow making Robert Mapplethorpe the star, despite her clear resolve to background Robert and approach his story gently, offering a picture of the young artist while leaving him just out of reach. It\'s Robert you fall in love with ...
You love him so much you can\'t read the last few pages, or even glance at them, without crying ... Smith lacks the self-obsessed narcissism of the artists she loves, an absence that explains the quality of her writing ... Just Kids is an important missing link, documenting the first days of tomorrow\'s sound and image makers and the last days of magic before the turbulent flight into post-innocence when the center did not hold[.]
RavePublishers WeeklyThis beautifully crafted love letter to her friend (who died in 1989) functions as a memento mori of a relationship fueled by a passion for art and writing. Smith transports readers to what seemed like halcyon days for art and artists in New York as she shares tales of the denizens of Max\'s Kansas City, the Hotel Chelsea, Scribner\'s, Brentano\'s, and Strand bookstores ... Most affecting in this tender and tough memoir, however, is her deep love for Mapplethorpe and her abiding belief in his genius. Smith\'s elegant eulogy helps to explain the chaos and the creativity so embedded in that earlier time and in Mapplethorpe\'s life and work.
RaveKirkusWriting with wonderful immediacy, Smith tells the affecting story of...entwined young lives as lovers, friends and muses to one another ... The author colorfully evokes their days at the shabbily elegant Hotel Chelsea, late nights at Max’s Kansas City and their growth and early celebrity as artists ... The book abounds with stories about friends, including Allen Ginsberg, Janis Joplin, William Burroughs, Sam Shepard, Gregory Corso and other luminaries, and it reveals Smith’s affection for the city ... Riveting and exquisitely crafted.
MixedLiterary ReviewUnusually, Kaufmann is fluent in opinion surveys and political demography too. That alone ensures that Whiteshift is a very substantial book with important things to say about identity, migration, populism and other questions of the moment ... When Kaufmann writes history he is very good. Anyone might profit from the chapters on immigration to the USA ... One of the best aspects of Kaufmann’s book is its optimism. He does not regard the current migration crisis as insoluble ... A few critical thoughts need airing about Kaufmann’s book. It is very long ... The graphs and tables do not help the smooth reading of the book, and the monochrome graphics are too poor in quality to make them easily comprehensible. Not every reader will be as interested as the professor in following the playpen antics of the postmodern academy. At times the book feels like an assemblage of earlier articles, and some of Kaufmann’s sensible policy prescriptions are scattered throughout the book, rather than situated in a dedicated section. Kaufmann also risks giving too much weight to one particular cause of the current populist conniptions ... the problem of immigration may pale in significance beside the massive technological changes ensuing from Industrial Revolution 4.0, a subject totally absent from this important book.
PositivePublishers WeeklyIn this ambitious and provocative work, politics professor Kaufmann...delves into white anxiety about the demographic decline of white populations in Western nations ... Although it has a marked point of view, this is a data-driven work, informed by public opinion studies and theoretical insights from psychology, philosophy, and anthropology. This challenging book is likely to make a big splash and certain to appeal to quantitatively inclined centrists and conservatives longing for an academic defender.
MixedPublishers Weekly...[an] uneven debut ... though ambitious, the conceit isn’t carried all the way through ... Other stories feel underdeveloped, and though the collection is only somewhat successful as a whole, Rodriguez’s best stories are both heartbreaking and insightful.
Taylor Jenkins Reid
PositiveKirkus...an unusual approach to dissecting the breakup of the fictional rock band ... There is great buildup around answering the big question of what happened at their final concert together, though the revelation is a letdown. Further, the documentary-style writing detracts from the storytelling; it often feels gimmicky ... Despite some drawbacks, an insightful story that will appeal to readers nostalgic for the 1970s.
Taylor Jenkins Reid
RavePublishers Weekly...a stunning story of sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll in the 1960s and ’70s in this expertly wrought novel ... Reid creates both story line and character gold. The book’s prose is propulsive, original, and often raw ... Reid’s gift for creating imperfect characters and taut plots courses throughout this addictive novel.
PositiveKirkusOffers a variety of thought-provoking arguments to counter the accepted wisdom about Simpson ... For all that was said about Simpson, Pasternak’s most illuminating point is that she knew how to soothe him and helped him understand the necessity of his duties; unfortunately, she was unable to curb his obsession with her ... The author provides a host of intriguing insights into a misunderstood woman. Those who have read other accounts will want to look at this other side.
RaveKirkus\"Kotlowitz offers a narrative that is as messy and complicated and heart-wrenching as life itself: \'This is a book, I suppose, about that silence—and the screams and howling and prayers and longing that it hides.\' A fiercely uncompromising—and unforgettable—portrait.\
RavePublishers Weekly\"Kotlowitz has a ruminative, almost poetic sensibility...The violence is made palpable but never romanticized. Kotlowitz’s approach is empathetic in this a bold, unflinching depiction of an ever-lengthening crisis.\
PositiveThe Economist\"Mr Kotlowitz is a sympathetic, fluent writer. He is not one for policy prescriptions, but the accumulating accounts of suffering serve to condemn the city for letting the violence drag on ... The shifting nature of violence is also troubling. Mr Kotlowitz picks out two trends.\
PositiveKirkusA proper novel...albeit one that uses shifts in time, hallucinatory wordplay, and a deeply wounded protagonist to strange effect ... Chiem can’t stick the landing—his denouement is abrupt, incongruous, and garish—but it’s still a remarkable portrayal of restless youth, made sweeter by the author’s crisp, spare prose and a thoughtful portrayal of a woman who lost her way ... Just another sad chapter in life’s rich tragedy.
PositiveKirkusThe bulk of this compelling account focuses on the extraordinary trial and 2001 conviction ... A useful firsthand account of a series of civil rights landmarks, with some additional analysis of our current political climate.
PositiveKirkus\"An idiosyncratic, much-needed biography of \'a woman before her time\' ... Jam-packed with many funny, goofy footnotes, this passionately written biography will do much to bring Patrick the recognition she deserves.\
RavePublishers Weekly\"...[a] captivating and exhaustively researched biography ... personal anecdotes may initially appear a distraction from Patrick’s story, but O’Meara’s enthusiasm for her subject soon overcomes all objections. This is a fascinating slice of Hollywood history with a feminist slant, correcting a sexist wrong from decades ago and restoring Patrick to her rightful place of esteem.\
PositiveKirkusThough the author is obviously not an impartial source, that understandable bias mingles throughout the narrative with fierce intelligence and the author’s touching loyalty to fellow prisoners also being brutalized. Nearly every page of the book is depressing because of the inhumane treatment of the prisoners ... an important story for these times.
RavePublishers WeeklyIn this devastating, superb memoir, Woodfox reflects on his decades inside the Louisiana prison system ... The book is a stunning indictment of a judicial system ... This breathtaking, brutal, and intelligent book will move and inspire readers.
RavePublishers Weekly\"Though the cities Kunz inhabits in these poems may have seen better days, he finds quiet moments of beauty in the surrounding natural world ... Kunz’ poems are sparse and accessible, reminiscent of Hemingway in both content and style, and feature an extraordinary new voice that draws its energy from an underrepresented perspective.\
RaveThe Real Book SpyCoben, a true master of suspense, is known for producing nonstop twists and turns, and he delivers another nail-biting story here that’ll leave readers recovering from whiplash upon turning the final page ... his latest offering reverts back to the classic brew of unbearable suspense that he’s so known for producing with his thrillers. If this book doesn’t get your heart racing, you might need to try a new genre ... When it comes to misdirection and catching readers off guard, no one’s better than Harlan Coben, who continues to land unexpected twists and shocking reveals. Fast-paced and helplessly entertaining, Run Away is everything his readers have come to expect and then some, and is sure to stand among the year’s best suspense thrillers.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThough the sheer amount of jaw-dropping plot twists is impressive, some do come across as a bit contrived. Still, the breakneck pacing and audaciously intricate story line will have readers on the edge of their seats.
PanKirkusReaders spoiled by Coben’s long history of triple-barreled thrillers will be turning the pages with bated breath. But the broadly hinted connection, a Maine religious commune to which Dee Dee professes undying loyalty, is more cartoonish than compelling, and the alternating chapters recounting the investigations of Simon and Elena dilute the suspense instead of intensifying it. By the time the double-twist payoff arrives, fans will be torn between dissatisfaction and relief ... In seeking to extend his formidable range, Coben overreaches: the far-flung complications feel forced and schematic rather than nightmarish. Wait till next year.
Joe R Lansdale
MixedKirkusThe book is more relentless than previous outings in the series, with the action moving at a near-constant clip, which has both advantages and drawbacks. Among the former, the headlong pace makes for one vivid set piece after another. Among the latter, a sense of inertia when, inevitably, things have to slow down to provide background for the narrative. Nikki tells Hap and Leonard her story across pages and pages, including more information than we need; it seems like one hell of a marathon gab for someone recovering from having her tongue almost snipped out. Worse is the confrontation with the head bad guy, as verbose and pleased with himself as evil hot shots usually are. There are also the series\' periodic lapses into sentimentality and, much more annoying, Hap\'s twinges of conscience, which will lead him, in the name of avoiding unnecessary violence, to allow some particularly vile species of thug to keep breathing when every shred of common sense should tell him this baddie is going to be trouble very soon down the road. If the series insists on providing Hap with these moments, it should live up to its toughness by making him pay the price for them ... Hap and Leonard remain two of the most likable characters in crime fiction. The writing around them needs to get back to the lean hardness that made the series such a pleasure in the first place.
Joe R Lansdale
MixedPublishers WeeklyRelentlessly paced ... Some readers may wish for more breaks in between action scenes, but Lansdale’s fans will be satisfied.
C J Box
RaveThe Real Book SpyReading Box’s new book each year and following Joe, Marybeth, Nate Romanowski, and others is similar to catching up with old friends you haven’t seen in a while. It’s a real treat, especially for longtime fans of the series. Nobody has ever developed a family the way Box has with the Picketts over the course of nineteen novels. Whereas most series are losing steam and becoming repetitive this deep into their run, Box continues to find brilliant new ways to shake things up. That includes a number of shocking revelations here, all of them too good to spoil in this review, that’ll stun diehard fans who know all too well that Box is capable of landing hard-hitting twists when you least expect them ... C.J. Box’s Joe Pickett franchise is good enough to go toe-to-toe with any other series in print today, regardless of genre ... and Wolf Pack is the most unexpected, relentless, and action-packed novel he’s ever written.
C J Box
RavePublishers WeeklyExcellent ... The action-packed final quarter of the book ranks among Joe and Nate’s best and bloodiest confrontations. Box is the king of contemporary crime fiction set in the West.
C J Box
PositiveKirkusIt’s obvious where all this is going, but Box gets you there, in one of most tightly wound tales, with more thrills than a snowy road on a steep mountain and more authority than the governor of Wyoming.
RaveKirkusA newsman’s truism insists that readers love articles that include real people, so the author introduces us to four. All illustrate the good and bad features of modern immunotherapy, but the courses of their diseases are too bizarre to be typical ... Richtel illuminates a complex subject so well that even physicians will learn.
PositivePublishers Weekly[An] entertaining survey of the science of immunology. In punchy prose, Richtel covers the history of research into the field ... In the course of examining Richtel creates a hard-to-put-down account of the body’s first line of defense.
RaveThe Real Book SpyGreg Iles and Mississippi go together like meat and potatoes. Those worried that the setting will tire after his work with the Natchez Burning trilogy need not worry—as Iles does a wonderful job keeping things fresh and exciting in a number of ways. While the bulk of the running themes—power, greed, love, deception—are things he’s touched on before, they’re just as compelling as ever here, and Marshall, who is well-developed and relatable, is more than capable of carrying the story, which does feel like it may be a bit too long, but still reads incredibly fast ... Greg Iles does it again, offering up a compelling, double-dose of southern crime ... Cemetery Road is a must-read for anyone calling themselves a fan of the genre.
RavePublishers WeeklyCompulsively readable ... Iles once again delivers a sweeping tale of family dysfunction, sexually charged secrets, and the power of wealth, with an overlay of violence and Southern sensibility. Despite the novel’s length, it all goes by in a flash.
MixedKirkusOverlong but engaging ... Iles’ story is more workaday than all that and often by the numbers: The bad guys are really bad, the molls inviting, the politicians spectacularly corrupt, the cluelessly cuckolded—well, clueless and cuckolded, though not without resources for revenge ... In the end, everyone gets just deserts, though with a few postmodernly ironic twists ... Formulaic but fun.
PositiveKirkusAs usual the mystery takes a back seat to Leon\'s beautiful writing and the pleasure of spending time with Brunetti and company ... Leon says Venetians are \'accustomed to swimming in the swirling froth of information and misinformation that flowed through so much of daily life,\' and readers can trust her to guide them safely to dry land.
PositivePublishers WeeklyItaly’s inheritance laws figure prominently in bestseller Leon’s sobering 28th Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery ... Leon provides a sad reflection on the devastating impact of selfish desires on innumerable lives.
PositiveKirkus[Burns] is a devilishly sharp writer who achieves a masterful balance of psychological excavation and sumptuous description ... However, when it comes to her mother, she rarely moves beyond her image of her as a \'goddess\' ... the most affecting aspect of this memoir is how the author is liberated by confronting her idealized perception of her parent while remaining tender to her memory ... A profound, searching remembrance that explores a complex family bond.
RaveKirkusFor a long time, the novel seems as aimless as Ben, but slowly, with her characteristic cool precision, Beattie reveals a man who, for an array of complex reasons linked to Bailey and his childhood, has drawn from life the conclusion that \'everybody leaves everybody\' ... Obvious is one thing Beattie never is. Her elegantly sculpted tale is both wrenchingly sad and ultimately enigmatic: as usual.
MixedPublishers WeeklyDiscursive, unfocused ... Beattie’s depiction of the aimless and largely unremarkable Ben is overshadowed by the detail lavished on scores of vivid minor characters who pass briefly through his life. LaVerdere, whose interactions with Ben frame the novel, is also unsatisfying: pretentiously cerebral and verbose, he feels implausible as either a defining influence in his students’ lives or the dramatically problematic man who emerges at the novel’s close. As always, Beattie offers sharp psychological insights and well-crafted prose, but the novel lacks the power and emotional depth of her best work.
PositivePublishers WeeklyBiskupic goes light on Roberts’s personal life and mundane day-to-day details, focusing instead on his work in the George H.W. Bush Justice Department, his time on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, his 2005 appointment and confirmation to the Supreme Court, and his role in the back-and-forth of the justices’ decision making ... At times Biskupic is openly critical of Roberts; she raises doubts about his claim that the Court’s recent decisions on voting rights, religion, and campaign finance were neutral decision making rather than the work of a political institution. In these pages, Roberts comes across as a dyed-in-the-wool conservative whose views have remained remarkably unchanging over time. Biskupic’s analysis will be closely read by Court watchers on both the Right and Left.
PositiveKirkusAs the author demonstrates in her incisive analysis, the 5-4 \'conservative-liberal fault line\' has prevailed—e.g., in the upholding of Donald Trump’s Muslim ban ... A thorough, albeit somewhat premature, biographical portrait.
Laurie Halse Anderson
RavePublishers WeeklyPowerful ... In language alternately raw and lyrical, [Anderson] traces the years from her childhood to the start of her writing career, describing how the memory of her rape finally spurred her to write the truth and to become an activist against censorship and rape culture, which are both addressed in the book along with confusing social messages surrounding sexuality ... Her potent words and willingness to shout her message are proof of the soundness of that advice.
Laurie Halse Anderson
RaveKirkusThe verse flows like powerful music, and Anderson\'s narrative voice is steady and direct ... Readers new to Anderson will find this accessible. It’s a strong example of how lived experience shapes art and an important book for the #MeToo movement ... Necessary for every home, school, and public library.
RavePublishers WeeklyThere are moments of grace and humor (she cries with a grieving daughter; plays along with an ailing man who jokes that his swollen belly is a pregnancy). In talking with families and patients, Puri comes to realize the vital importance of discussing difficult topics before a crisis arises, and making decisions based upon what best serves the patient’s dignity and quality of life. Communication, she concludes, is the basis of the doctor-patient relationship, perhaps especially so in the final days of life. This is a powerful memoir, which Puri narrates with honesty, poise, and empathy.
RaveKirkusPuri hits the ground running with an impressive debut ... Using often heart-rending examples, the author emphasizes that the best treatment of advanced cancer may not be more toxic chemotherapy ... A profound meditation on a problem many of us will face; worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal (2014).
RavePublishers WeeklyQuietly devastating ... [a] measured, well-researched account. Despite the pain he and his wife endure sifting through the ashes, Fies goes light on sentimentality, instead focusing on the realities of surviving the crisis and rebuilding literally from the ground up. Moving beyond his own experience, Fies shares the \'fire stories\' of other Sonomans, illustrating \'the comfort and horror of realizing you’re not alone.\' It’s the small details that give the telling weight: the black puddles of liquefied trash cans; the remains of Christmas decorations; how Fies has to tell his car insurer that he no longer has a license plate because the car melted; the search and rescue teams checking bedsprings for human bones. The clean, simple art, tinted in bright spot colors, gives the material breathing room and makes the characters relatable. Without pleading or preaching, this affecting record guides readers through the experience of enormous loss, then out through the other side.
RaveKirkusA vividly journalistic graphic narrative of resilience in the face of tragedy, an account of recent history that seems timely as ever ... The matter-of-fact tone of the reportage makes some of the flights of creative imagination seem more extraordinary ... Yet the stories that dominate the narrative are those of the survivors, who were part of the community and would be part of whatever community would be built to take its place across the charred landscape ... Drawings, words, and a few photos combine to convey the depth of a tragedy that would leave most people dumbstruck.
PositivePublishers WeeklyA swashbuckling spy adventure ... Everett’s family melodrama and a romance plot are also included, but the real draw is Lloyd’s excellent historical detail.
PositiveThe EconomistCompelling ... That community matters might seem a banal observation to non-economists. But it sits inconveniently alongside many aspects of an economist’s worldview ... Promising solutions are hard to come by. Still, Mr Rajan offers reasonable recommendations.
PositiveKirkusRajan is sometimes repetitive, but his emphases seem well-placed, especially because we can see so much of his argument playing out in daily life, with private interests ascendant and the public good untended ... A welcome survey of a big-picture problem: Rajan proposes a rebalancing to be brought about by decentralized politics, diverse immigration, and other measures that, though controversial, certainly merit discussion.
MixedPublishers WeeklyAmbitious but flawed ... Rajan impressively builds the foundation for his view of society in a fleet history of economic development that tracks the development of mostly Western economies from the earliest prohibitions on usury to the development of the 20th-century Progressive movement. The historic survey and analysis are the strengths of Rajan’s work. The book falters when presenting potential paths to reasserting communities’ role as equal player alongside markets and the state, including a dramatic rethinking of educational systems and the decentralizing of governmental power. Rajan focuses on the benefits of change and does not seriously address the obstacles to implementing the changes he recommends. Though Rajan’s writing can stray into the academic, it is at times pithy ... and he makes complex economic principles more accessible in brief end-of-chapter summaries. Rajan’s view of community makes sense, but the book undermines its arguments by failing to acknowledge that communities are not always willing to collectively act in their own best interest. This work may be imperfect, but it’s insightful and thought-provoking.
RaveKirkusThroughout this highly readable history, Strong carefully plucks out not just the most memorable, but the most momentous events in each era ... The author is excellent at uncovering goodness and noteworthy effects on history by even the least likable kings ... Every student of English history will enjoy this story, which is delightfully easy to read and remarkable for what it leaves to the side as well as for its insights into the deepest consequences of individual actions.
PositivePublishers WeeklyAmbitiously conceived and executed ... richly detailed ... Sir Roy, a former director of London\'s Victoria and Albert Museum, is a competent and lively guide; his brisk pace comfortably accommodates the general reader. More than 300 color illustrations enhance the text, though the absence of maps is puzzling.
PositivePublishers WeeklyKhanna’s assertion of a common thread of \'Asianness\' connecting a continent with countries as disparate as Israel, Iran, Mongolia, and Australia sometimes feels strained, but he usefully highlights some limited commonalities, especially a growing popular preference for competent technocracy over contentious American-style democracy. There’s not much new, but Khanna’s wealth of statistics, deep knowledge, and lucid prose make for a stimulating overview of the rising colossus.
PositiveKirkusKhanna begins with a dazzling distillation of the history of the world from an Asian perspective ... Western readers with a strong devotion to individual liberties may be turned off, but Khanna is thorough and clear, offering abundant food for thought.
PositiveKirkusFor the first time since his debut novel, Foulds has turned his keen attention to the present day, and the result is a book whose “thriller” label comes less from plot and more from the deepening unsettlement as Foulds turns the lights up on the derangements, both mundane and catastrophic, that drive both Henry and Kristin. As always with Foulds, though, the real star here is the writing, a delight at the smallest levels and the larger, pinning down with a kind of otherworldly skill at observation the lengths to which people will go for acceptance ... An incisive and disquieting look at the consequences of fame.
PositivePublishers Weekly[A] darkly funny exploration of mourning and Canadian identity, containing a touch of the surreal ... invokes biting satire as they visit small Ontario towns where black inhabitants communicate only through sign language, residents celebrate heritage by burning historically accurate homes, and an attempt to honor indigenous peoples in a parade flounders over white people’s attempts to be politically correct ... This imaginative travelogue will amuse readers even as it raises weightier issues.
MixedKirkusOver the course of Alfred\'s journey, the book reveals itself to be a critique of Canada\'s white supremacist underpinnings ... This book feels like a wave of associative detail which Alexis uses to satirize a racial history that is stranger than fiction. As the novel drags on, though, it begins to feel rudderless; the search for Skennen comes to feel like a thin premise on which to hang a string of surrealist gags. By the time Alfred and Bruno approach a mystical fate in Feversham, the reader has lost any investment in them or their journey ... Funny but thin.
RavePublishers WeeklyThe characters in this stellar collection from Ha, her American debut, live at the edge of normalcy, flirting with the strange and unsettling while going about their everyday routines ... Ha sets many of her narratives in the unbearable heat of spring and summer, which adds to the environment and engages the senses ... This impressive collection reveals Ha’s close attention to the eccentricities of life, and is sure to earn her a legion of new admirers.
PositiveKirkusHa has a gift for infusing elements of the fantastic into her tales of unremarkable people ... Like those of the American auteur David Lynch, Ha’s characters seem to exist in another dimension ... Even though this is a book of short stories, it’s definitely a page-turner, as readers encounter one strange, unsettling saga after another, always wondering, \'What can possibly happen now?\' ... If you\'re looking for a book that will make you gasp out loud, you’ve found it.
RavePublishers WeeklyPowerful ... The novel depicts characters who are individually treated differently because of his or her race, religion, or immigration histories, but its focus is the sense of alienation all of them share. In a narrative that succeeds as mystery and love story, family and character study, Lalami captures the complex ways humans can be strangers not just outside their \'tribes\' but within them, as well as to themselves.
RaveKirkusLalami is in thrilling command of her narrative gifts, reminding readers why The Moor’s Account (2014) was a Pulitzer finalist ... The author, who holds a doctorate in linguistics, is precise with language ... Nuanced characters drive this novel, and each voice gets its variation ... A crime slowly unmasks a small town’s worth of resentment and yearning.
PositivePublishers WeeklyHighly readable and informative ... The book offers an overlong and needlessly detailed look at the complicated fight over the pair’s coauthored play Mule-Bone, which ended their friendship. Nevertheless, Taylor paints a sympathetic but realistic portrait of these two complicated artists and convincingly shows that, together, they changed the course of African-American literature, as the \'first great American writers who implicitly claimed that their work was purely black.\'
PositiveKirkusDrawing on published and archival sources, Taylor creates a perceptive portrait of the bizarre patron and of the Hurston-Hughes friendship ... A fresh look at two important writers of the 1920s.
Edouard Louis, Trans. by Lorin Stein
PositiveKirkusSometimes, the author’s attempts to connect his family’s tragedy to world events go too far, such as when he invokes concentration camps. More relevant are his critiques of French politicians ... Whatever one’s politics, readers of this impassioned work are likely to be moved by the Louis family’s plight and the love, however strained, between the author and his father ... As this poignant book shows, there are still walls—within families, between leaders and citizens—that need to be torn down.
RavePublishers WeeklyA rich, complex saga of three intertwined families over the course of more than a century ... Serpell expertly weaves in a preponderance of themes, issues, and history, including Zambia’s independence, the AIDS epidemic, white supremacy, patriarchy, familial legacy, and the infinite variations of lust and love. Recalling the work of Toni Morrison and Gabriel García Márquez as a sometimes magical, sometimes horrifically real portrait of a place, Serpell’s novel goes into the future of the 2020s, when the various plot threads come together in a startling conclusion. Intricately imagined, brilliantly constructed, and staggering in its scope, this is an astonishing novel.
RaveKirkusThe past, present, and future of an African nation is filtered with humane wit, vibrant rhetoric, and relentless ingenuity through the interweaving sagas of three very different families ... Blending intimate and at times implausible events with real-life history, this first novel by Serpell—a Zambian writer who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, and who\'s won the Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story The Sack—enchants its readers with prose as luxuriant and flowing as Sibilla’s hair ... Comparisons with Gabriel García Márquez are inevitable and likely warranted. But this novel’s generous spirit, sensory richness, and visionary heft make it almost unique among magical realist epics.
Karl Ove Knausgaard
RaveKirkusAlthough a fine primer on Norwegian painter Edvard Munch (1863-1944), this book is more about the experience of wandering into the world of art and being consumed by its confluence of history, narrative, and sublimity ... Fans of the author’s acclaimed autobiographical novels will find this book to be of Rosetta Stone–like importance as he delves into Munch’s exploration of memory and how the artist rendered the past in a way that still feels both intimate and universally relatable ... Knausgaard ... jumps among paintings, biographical fragments, and interviews with other artists with disregard for traditional narrative flow ... This all may seem baggy and misdirected, but it is in fact appropriate when discussing Munch ... Knausgaard’s chaos, too, finds a striking vitality. An immersive, impassioned history that illuminates both subject and author.
Karl Ove Knausgaard
MixedPublishers Weekly...[a] knotty aesthetic-biographical study ... The results are uneven, by turns illuminating and obscure ... Knausgaard lapses into murky art-crit pensées ... Knausgaard inserts his own droll, hang-dog psychic travails—asked to curate a Munch exhibition, he feels like a failure for showcasing subpar paintings—as a much-needed relief from high-falutin’ theory. Unfortunately, his sometimes turgid and baffling passages on the art exemplify how difficult it is to convey in words the visceral impact of images.
PositiveKirkusThough the plot is nominally about the fight to save Heaven, Subramanian is more interested in episodically filling in the backstories of the five girls and their mothers, in the process tackling some of the most trenchant issues facing Indian women in particular—casteism, arranged marriage, forced sterilization—as well as women all over the world. This is Subramanian’s first novel for adults, although it isn’t fully clear why it isn’t YA. It has the heart-on-its-sleeve melodrama of some of the most successful teen novels and films, though it will likely also appeal to adults wanting to tuck in to a novel which is like the brainy big sister of a Lifetime movie ... A girl power–fueled story that examines some dark social issues with a light, occasionally saccharine, touch.
PositivePublishers WeeklyJumping around in time, the book looks in at pivotal moments in their lives, including their infancy, when their mothers banded together to keep the children healthy, and their adolescence, with dances, temporary teachers, and the rapid evolution of \'a bunch of blue tarps strung up into haphazard tents\' into an urbanized commercial area. Subramanian’s evocative novel weaves together a diverse, dynamic group of girls to create a vibrant tapestry of a community on the brink.
Kate Hope Day
RavePublishers WeeklyCaptivating ... Often, Day seamlessly slips readers in and out of realities with little warning, and the scenes in which characters observe and, at times, interact with, their alternate realities are intimate, eerie, and startling ... Effortlessly meshing the dreamlike and the realistic, Day’s well-crafted mix of literary and speculative fiction is an enthralling meditation on the interconnectedness of all things.
Kate Hope Day
MixedKirkusDay\'s first novel recalls the philosophical headiness of a TV show like Lost and remixes this sensibility with the chronological playfulness of Cloud Atlas or Atonement. But, until the story really takes off, the emotional stakes of the novel are low—and the prose feels flat and inert, almost like stage directions. There are more affecting moments in the second half of the book ... With all the atmospheric mist crowding out its emotional center, this book\'s heart is difficult to locate—but the occasional glimpses show promise ... A suburban drama built to leap from page to screen.
PositiveKirkusThe book includes whimsical illustrations by the author ... Like all the best postmodern novels, this metafictional investigation of time, memory, and the mutating self is as playful as it is serious.
PositivePublishers Weekly...provocative, experimental ... The many moods and flavors of this brash \'portrait of the artist as a young woman\' constantly reframe and complicate the story, making for a fascinating shape-shifter of a novel.
PositiveLibrary JournalThe journey brings sometimes painful truths ... in this emotionally compelling, information-rich story. Very nicely done.
RaveKirkusCole conveys the ways Janeta’s and Daniel’s layered identities pose challenges while affording them strengths of insight and character. Cole weaves a tense and gripping plot into a tapestry of fascinating and authentic historical detail, told from the distinct perspectives of people of color, without skimping on the growing feelings and strong desires that bring two lovers together. Forbidden attraction and the threat of betrayal are the initial hooks for what turns out to be a sumptuously written and meticulously researched tale of a country at war with itself and two damaged people who find themselves in each other’s arms.
Frans de Waal
RaveKirkusHighly illuminating ... Most of the author’s observations involve the spontaneous behavior of chimpanzees, bonobos, and other primates, but readers will also be rewarded with tales of birds, dogs, horses, elephants, and rats. As he has shown in nearly all of his books, de Waal is a skilled storyteller, and his love for animals always shines through. His examples of the actions of certain humans—e.g., Donald Trump, Sean Spicer—lend color to his argument, and the simple drawings that illustrate behaviors and facial expressions are exceptionally clear and effective ... De Waal turns his years of research into a delightful and illuminating read for nonscientists, a book that will surely make readers want to grab someone’s arm and exclaim, \'Listen to this!\'
Frans de Waal
RavePublishers WeeklyIn this illuminating—and remarkably moving—treatise on animal empathy, de Waal delivers some of his most damaging, and joyous, blows yet to human exceptionalism ... de Waal’s masterful work of evolutionary psychology will leave both fellow academics and intellectually curious layreaders with much food for thought.
RavePublishers WeeklyBreathtaking yet devastating ... Butler weaves questions surrounding faith, regret, and whether it’s possible to love unconditionally into every page of this potent book. Secondary plots, including Lyle’s friend Hoot’s slow decline from cancer, Shiloh’s adoption story, and Peg and Lyle’s early courtship, are brief but equally resonant. This is storytelling at its finest.
PositiveKirkusThe novel is like a favorite flannel shirt, relaxed and comfortable, well-crafted even as it deals with issues of life and death, faith and doubt that Lyle somehow takes in stride ... Though the plot builds toward a dramatic climax, it ends with more of a quiet epiphany ... The novelist loves this land and these characters, with their enduring values amid a way of life that seems to be dying.
RaveKirkusRidker meticulously peels away the scabs that have grown over the wounds of the surviving Alters, laying bare, with compassion and piercing wit, the long-simmering antagonisms that haunt both father and children. At the same time, he gently hints at a way forward for this decidedly imperfect, but oddly appealing, family. A painfully honest, but tender, examination of how love goes awry in the places it should flourish.
RavePublishers WeeklyRidker’s smashing debut follows the travails of the middle-class Jewish Alter family in their quest to discover how to be moral ... Ridker tells his tale with humor, insight, and depth, making this a novel that will resonate with readers.
RaveKirkusA remarkable tale of the woman who drove the fight for women’s suffrage ... This book should be required reading until Alice Paul becomes a household name. She not only fought for voting rights and the 19th Amendment; she kept fighting for another 50 years.
PositiveKirkusDebut author Winn narrates a moving memoir of identities lost and found along England’s wind-swept South West Coast Path ... The saga opens with a tinge of melodrama (understandably), and Winn displays a mercurial prose style that takes a while to settle down and achieve simplicity and clarity of observation. The author’s descriptive passages show a keen appreciation for coastal ecologies and the enchantment of moments in the wild. If some vignettes strain credulity, readers will quickly forget as they come to genuinely admire the couple’s fortitude and resiliency. The book is not without humor or healthy portions of irony and self-doubt. Throughout, readers are immersed in a grueling and transformative adventure. Like the Winns, one feels \'salted\' by the experience, however vicariously, drawn to the edge in defiance of fate and in search of a new life. They found it as well as a measure of acceptance, and their story is indelibly told.
PositiveKirkusSwanson is at his best in exploring the kinship—or what some see as the kinship—between artist and killer, one of the themes of Swanson\'s great model and forebear, Patricia Highsmith. Swanson isn\'t quite up to Highsmith\'s lofty mark, and he succumbs toward the end to a soap opera–like plot-twist-too-far...but for the most part, this novel delivers. A dark, quick-moving, suspenseful story stuffed full of psychological quirk and involution.
PositivePublishers Weekly...exceptional ... traumatic childhood adds emotional heft to the narrative. Surprising twists help keep the suspense high to the end.
PanPublishers Weekly...subpar ... [with] an irrelevant subplot ... A murder eventually occurs, but the vast majority of the action is either eating or baking, with recipes taking up much of the book. This one’s strictly for series fans who will appreciate the many unexplained references to past incidents and people.
Michele W. Miller
MixedKirkusMiller populates her novel with truly dynamic female characters ... The suspense increases as villains target the heroic trio, and Lauren gets a chance to display her lawyering skills when Jessica and Emily’s investigations gets them in legal trouble. Intermittent flashbacks, centered on Brian, prove superfluous, as readers already know what he’s done—and witnessing his questionable behavior firsthand adds nothing new to the story. A tense novel with three remarkable main characters.
Michele W. Miller
PanPublishers Weekly...overly ambitious ... A surfeit of subplots touch on such matters as weapons smuggling, money laundering, internet gambling, the Mafia, sex and drug addiction, and a corrupt congressman. Readers will struggle to stay interested in the fates of the book’s stock characters.
RaveKirkusO’Toole...gives background and context to the efforts of those who have attempted to challenge one of business’s oldest axioms that it is \'hard to be good\' ... O’Toole writes that his method in performing this social review is simple storytelling, and it works; the book serves as an informative road map for leaders who dare to break the mold. A tapestry of remarkable characters, high drama, and entertaining story arcs for leaders of businesses large and small.
PositivePublishers WeeklyO’Toole...makes a meticulous and captivating study of business leaders throughout history ... This comprehensive and thoughtful study of the often troubled relationship between business and benevolence will provide readers unexpected food for thought.
RaveKirkusLeung looks for ways to bridge the gaps between what characters say and what they mean, what they admit to themselves and what they won\'t utter aloud, ultimately painting a picture of deep social and racial divides ... Most heartbreaking, though, are the stories that address the fear and shame children internalize when they encounter racial and gendered violence ... Written in the tradition of Alice Munro and Jhumpa Lahiri, Leung\'s debut story collection marks the career of a writer to watch.
PositivePublishers WeeklyCrystalline prose, sharp storytelling, and pitch-perfect narration enhance Leung’s accessible and affecting depiction of how cruelty undermines and kindness fortifies people’s sense of community.
Helene Tursten Trans. by Paul Norlen
RaveCrime by the BookIn many ways a classic detective novel; its moody atmosphere, measured pacing, and down-to-earth plotting will make it a perfect fit for readers of traditional procedurals. However, thanks to its stellar protagonist, Hunting Game feels decidedly modern as well ... an excellent read from first to last, and the start of a series I will look forward to following ... Much like Embla is a down-to-earth example of a police officer, so too is Hunting Game a down-to-earth mystery ... a nothing-but-the-facts story told with precise, crisp prose ... launches a new series from Tursten, and if Book 1 is any indication, it’s one I will be following closely for many series installments to come.
Helene Tursten Trans. by Paul Norlen
RavePublishers Weekly[An] outstanding series launch ... Embla is a refreshingly capable lead, whose situational ethics means that she doesn’t feel she must do everything by the book.
PositiveKirkus...[A wedding in the novel is] an exquisite, transporting scene of small intimacies spanning two chapters in which Kleypas...is at the top of her game. Readers will enjoy revisiting beloved characters from both the Wallflowers series and from earlier installments of the Ravenels, although West’s protestations of low worth ring hollow when surrounded by happily married friends and relatives with similarly debauched pasts. A widow emerges from mourning with the help of a reformed rake in a truly romantic tale that stands well on its own.
RavePublishers Weekly\"... masterly ... This exhaustively researched novel elucidates not just the situation in Mexico but the consequences of our own disastrous 40-year \'war on drugs.\'\
PanKirkus\"Winslow, whose crime novels set in the surfing world... had a casual ease, seems to have written each word of this very long book in granite. Sadly, that seriousness has provided mostly clichés ... Like its hero, this novel hovers between two styles—pulp fiction and literary seriousness—which, taken together, render the genre formulas leaden.\
Tehlor Kay Mejia
RaveKirkusAn action-packed third-person narrative, smart dialogue, and lush descriptions offer readers a fresh and steely heroine in a contemporary coming-of-age story. This well-crafted fantasy offers a mirror that reflects themes in our own difficult world, namely privilege, immigration, and individualism versus the common good. A queer subplot with sensual tenderness adds rich complexity to the story. Thrilling and timely.
Tehlor Kay Mejia
RavePublishers WeeklyIn this debut starring Latina teens, Mejia spins a complicated tale of love, intrigue, moral compromise, and action, with a prescient sensibility that echoes current headlines and political issues ... The first in a duology, this fierce, feminist novel throws memorable characters into a provocative set of circumstances, and the constant twists will leave readers yearning for the conclusion.
PositiveKirkusThe action is almost nonstop, with nice twists right to the end. There are also small doses of humor, as when tough guy Zack Hightower whines about his CIA code name, Romantic. The characters are by and large plucked from central casting, but they suit the story’s needs well enough. This is good, Clancy-esque entertainment.
RavePublishers Weekly...exciting ... many intense scenes with even higher high body counts ... Greaney knows what military action fans want and delivers in spades.
PositiveKirkus\"Contributing to this [screwball] effect are another houseguest, a drunk, pill-popping lout who pretends to be a screenwriter, and their gardener, Marvelous Matthews. The latter is a longtime disciple of Gracie Sloane who is about to see his own Vision Board really come through. Never a dull moment.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"James’s debut blends saucy wit with a fresh voice as it outlines a summer with a family that’s so neurotic they’re almost normal ... The dynamic characters will satisfy many tastes, and it’s with a writerly sleight-of-hand that the peculiar humor and quirky truths of family, friendship, and love are revealed.\
Marcus Malte, Trans. by Emma Ramadan and Tom Roberge
PanKirkus\"Malte’s satire of bourgeois society and warmongering picks reasonable (if easy) targets, like a callow medical officer who calls war \'the highest degree of civilization.\' But leaving Felix speechless only cedes the floor to Malte’s overworked prose and dispiriting portrait of Emma, who’s introduced as an intellectual spitfire but degrades into a purveyor of melodramatic love letters. Pacifism and sexual freedom both deserve better. Another reminder that war is hell, in exceedingly florid prose.\
Marcus Malte, Trans. by Emma Ramadan and Tom Roberge
PositivePublishers Weekly\"Early on, the prose reads like staccato bullet-points... and as the story goes on, it becomes elegant, passionate, and forceful, mirroring the boy’s intellectual development as he leaves the hamlet and enters the war. Malte’s descriptions of the war are particularly striking ... delivered in massive paragraphs that force the reader to viscerally experience the chaos of the battlefield. Malte’s outwardly simple tale of romance and war ends up being a profound meditation on wisdom.\
MixedKirkus\"A sensitive portrait of life among Houston\'s struggling working class ... For all of this, however, there\'s something airy about this book. Despite its aspiration to represent a city, its prose often feels maddeningly abstract ... The collection sometimes feels more like a collection of modern fables than the hard-nosed, realist stories it wants to be. Still, Washington writes with an assurance that signals the arrival of an important literary voice. A promising, and at times powerful, debut that explores the nuances of race, class, and sexuality with considerable aplomb.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"... a stellar collection ... Washington captures the dual severity and tenderness of the world for young people. Washington is a dynamic writer with a sharp eye for character, voice, and setting. This is a remarkable collection from a writer to watch.\
RaveKirkusCentral to Fishman’s insightful, absorbing memoir is hunger ... The trauma of cultural loss, shared by many immigrants, was assuaged by his grandfather’s home health aide, whose recipes for potato latkes, stuffed cabbage, braised rabbit, liver pie, and scores more make the memoir a succulent treat ... A graceful memoir recounting a family’s stories with candor and sensitivity.
RavePublishers WeeklyThis delightful, recipe-filled memoir from novelist Fishman (A Replacement Life) follows his Jewish family—and their richly-described dinner tables—across three generations ... There’s a large web of characters and anecdotes, but Fishman grounds the narrative with his witty prose and well-translated family recipes ... Fishman’s sprawling immigrant saga masterfully evokes a family that survives, united by food.
G Willow Wilson
RaveTor.comDespite its enchanting otherworldly trappings, it is primarily a novel of ideas. It grapples with who we are, how we love, why we worship, and why a world of co-existence—perhaps even of Convivencia—seems so far beyond our reach ... prose so vivid and original that one can only read it with envy.
G Willow Wilson
RaveKirkusA lovely fable ... The worldbuilding is well-constructed but is primarily a support for Wilson’s chief focus on character, specifically on Fatima’s growing understanding of the nature of freedom and responsibility. Wilson also delicately explores the nature of a love outside the physical through the complex and very genuine relationship shared by Fatima and Hassan. And she has some interesting things to imply about the nature of evil ... A thoughtful and beautiful balance between the real and the fantastic.
G Willow Wilson
PositivePublishers WeeklyThough marketed as literary fiction, this book is pure fantasy, and teen readers especially will relish suspending their disbelief as Fatima and Hassam careen from one violent fray to the next.
MixedPublishers WeeklyShannon...satisfyingly fills this massive standalone epic fantasy with court intrigue, travel through dangerous lands, fantastical religions, blood, love, and rhetoric ... Unfortunately, so much time and effort are expended on setting up the world and the principal conflicts that the denouement gets rather short shrift. The difference in tempo is very noticeable and hampers (although it does not destroy) the emotional effectiveness of an otherwise well-planned and well-executed ending. Nonetheless, this is a very capable epic fantasy.
PositiveKirkusShannon’s depth of imagination and worldbuilding are impressive, as this 800-pager is filled not only with legend, but also with satisfying twists that turn legend on its head ... Shannon chooses a more traditional view of magic [than in her previous work], where light fights against dark, earth against sky, and fire against water. Through these classic pairings, an entirely fresh and addicting tale is born. Shannon may favor detailed explication over keeping a steady pace, but the epic converging of plotlines at the end is enough to forgive. A celebration of fantasy that melds modern ideology with classic tropes. More of these dragons, please.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThis terrific series launch ... keeps all...plot points delicately balanced and at the same time creates sympathetic heroes, depraved villains, and nail-biting action. Readers will eagerly await [Cameron\'s] next.
RaveKirkusYeung shares the illuminating and often shocking stories of harassment against low-wage, at-risk workers deemed vulnerable due to the nature of their immigration status and their dependence on their employment in order to support a family ... These compelling examples of exploitation and dehumanization represent a pattern of abuse and a silent epidemic affecting (mainly) female immigrant workers across the country ... A timely, intensely intimate, and relevant exposé on a greatly disregarded sector of the American workforce.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThe author mitigates the difficult material by bringing humanity, empathy, and hope to each page ... Moments of indignation in Yeung’s writing feel completely justifiable ... The book concludes with guardedly hopeful descriptions of workplace training programs, government regulation, and union advocacy. Even more moving, however, is the sense of a reporter deeply committed to her sources and her material.
PositivePublishers WeeklyIn Thriller Award winner Gardner’s nail-biting ninth novel featuring Boston PD Sgt. Det. D.D. Warren ... Gardner questions how well anyone can truly know spouses and families. The conclusion may not come as a shock, but Gardner’s commendable storytelling will keep fans eagerly waiting for the next outing for D.D. and Flora.
RavePublishers Weekly...[a] spellbinding, adrenaline-fueled debut ... Throughout the book, though, it is the language as much as the experience that drives the action, creating taut, almost terrifying suspense. Mackin’s masterful prose is both poetic and aggressive ... unforgettable.
PositiveKirkus\"... one wonders why Williams distanced himself from [this novel], though the narrative power of later novels like Stoner and especially Butcher’s Crossing is only hinted at here. An affecting but sometimes tentative portrait of mental illness, with some memorable moments.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"Hunt tackles questions of morality and family loyalty along the way to the exciting finale, and Shane is a truly terrifying villain. Readers who don’t mind some predictable action will find plenty to enjoy.\
PositiveKirkus\"The pared-down style and global themes that Eggers has embraced since A Hologram for the King (2012)—he may be the only living American writer for whom the term \'Hemingway-esque\' meaningfully applies—have restricted him to writing two kinds of novels. Eggers the Compassionate Realist focuses on men and women forced to adapt to economic shifting sands (Hologram; Heroes of the Frontier, 2016); Eggers the Dour Lecturer focuses on social justice concerns in ways that smother his characters (The Circle, 2013). This short novel showcases the virtues of the former, though there\'s a whiff of pedagogy in the prose ... The closing paragraphs of this short novel take an abrupt turn into Dour Lecturer territory, but the shift is earned; Eggers is determined to counter the notion that social and economic improvement work hand in hand, and Four and Nine ultimately resonate as characters as much as archetypes. An unassuming but deceptively complex morality play, as Eggers distills his ongoing concerns into ever tighter prose.\
PanPublishers Weekly\"The repetitive narrative, sparse prose, and overall vagueness lend this an allegorical feel, and because the reader spends the whole book waiting for the hammer to drop, when it finally does (on the last page), it lands with more a thud than a wallop. There’s nothing particularly bad about this, but it comes across as more an exercise than a full-blooded novel.\
RaveKirkusThe extent of Miller’s research is impressive and includes her visit to the scene of Landon’s death. The author seems to have read everything even marginally relevant, and she maintains a strong auctorial presence, noting—bluntly and accurately—the era’s male literary dominance and the grotesque double standard of private behavior. Libidinous men suffered few consequences: Jerdan himself moved on to another teenager after he tired of Landon ... A thorough, engaging, and even loving restoration of a woman writer whose story needed to be told and whose works required fresh, attentive eyes.
PositivePublishers WeeklyLively ... Miller reads Landon’s work generously and well, finding \'bitter and cynical depths\' in \'seemingly naïve sentimentalism.\' However, Miller displays ambivalence toward her subject, a \'split personality\' unhealthily attached to the predatory \'Svengali\' Jerdan, which eventually destroyed her reputation ... Still, with its textured background and lively voice, Miller’s biography vividly restores a forgotten author and her faded world, that of the \'strange pause\' between the Romantics and the Victorians.
PositiveThe Economist\"Ms Miller is excellent on social and literary London: the Romantic rage for sex-and-suicide; the nabobs of Empire; the bluestocking ladies and Garrick Club gentlemen; the Grub Street scribblers and Punch magazine’s social-climbing Mr and Mrs Spangle Lacquer. Her reading of Landon’s poems is less convincing ... Nevertheless, this book is a fascinating portrait of a woman and her times and a heartbreaking song of the fickleness of love and fame.\
PositiveKirkusSee did extensive research with primary sources to detail not only the haenyeo traditions, but the mass murders on Jeju beginning in 1948, which were covered up for decades by the South Korean government ... The tangled web of politics and tyranny, not to mention the inaction of U.N. and American occupiers leading up to the massacres, deserves its own work, perhaps nonfiction. In the context of such horrors, the novel’s main source of suspense, whether Young-sook can forgive Mi-ja, seems beside the point ... Although this novel’s reach exceeds its grasp, it is a necessary book.
PositivePublishers WeeklyJumping between the WWII era and 2008, See perceptively depicts challenges faced by Koreans over the course of the 20th century, particularly homing in on the ways the haenyeo have struggled to maintain their way of life. Exposing the depths of human cruelty and resilience, See’s lush tale is a wonderful ode to a truly singular group of women.
RavePublishers WeeklyMcGraw’s fourth collection proves she’s a master of the form. Across these 53 brief stories, it is astonishing what she is able to conjure up in the span of a few pages ... McGraw is wise and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny, with a seventh sense for the perfect turn of phrase ... This quintessential collection of stories serves as an homage to the form while showcasing McGraw’s stunning talent and deep empathy for the idiosyncrasies, small joys, and despairs of human nature.
RaveKirkusDeals with the profound, the dire, the mundane, and the ridiculous, paying particular attention to relationships between parents and children, siblings, spouses, criminals and their victims. While some stories are meant purely to amuse, many are intense and beautiful ... Fifty-three gems that demonstrate all the things a short story can do. Wow.
Niklas Natt Och Dag
RavePublishers WeeklyMasterly ... The book’s structure, which includes flashbacks and multiple perspectives, will remind many of Iain Pears’s An Instance of the Fingerpost, and Natt och Dag uses this structure to heighten suspense and deepen characterizations. The Swedish Academy of Crime Writers named this the best debut novel of 2017, and U.S. readers will be likewise impressed.
Niklas Natt Och Dag
RaveKirkusNatt och Dag writes sensory, horror-inducing descriptions of the lives and deaths of the poor inhabitants of Stockholm. At the same time, his characters almost spring off the page, they are so human and so fully realized. Natt och Dag doesn’t apologize for human nature, nor does he excuse our crimes and basest cruelties, but his deep dive into the dark corners of our psyches, as well as this harsh time in history, is both chilling and thought-provoking ... Relentless, well-written, and nearly impossible to put down.
RaveKirkusCaptivating ... In alternating chapters, the author traces their careers and shares lively stories of their personal journeys. The narrative is enhanced by richly detailed descriptions of that period, as the author offers fresh insights into the studio system and many of the key players. Much has been previously written about Capra as well as studio moguls such as Harry Cohn; Riskin provides further nuance and context for how these and other industry talents operated ... In this engrossing tribute to her parents, the author provides a thoughtfully documented portrait of early Hollywood. A must-read for fans of this era of film history.
PositivePublishers WeeklyHeartfelt ... Riskin writes with thoughtful reflection about her mother and father’s strong bond: particularly powerfully conveyed is Wray’s courage in single-handedly supporting the family after Riskin’s debilitating stroke in 1950. But the most intriguing chapters are about Wray and Riskin’s separate prenuptial lives ... This nostalgic and reverent—if somewhat dryly written—remembrance of Riskin’s famous parents and their Golden Age Hollywood milieu will appeal to classic movie fans.
PositiveKirkus\"Snippets and subdivisions of thought, critiques, and inspired scenarios abound as the author’s entertaining musings range from confessional to examinations of oddities and taboo aspects of sexuality ... Entertaining and contemplative, Shields offers focused philosophy and effervescent wisdom on some of society’s knottiest topics. A sharp-eyed collection of bits and pieces that will appeal, at least in part, to readers on both hot and cold sides of the intimacy spectrum.\
PositiveKirkus\"Useful reading for students of contemporary geopolitics, in which Iran has proven a constant, often destabilizing presence.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"a critical but not unsympathetic perspective on the \'unique and multi-dimensional, and at times tragic, theopolitical story\' of Iran ... Saikal’s convincing bottom line is that open confrontation with Iran is unwise and unlikely to be productive, whereas a policy of careful engagement, while risky, could enable progress on the margins. The author’s careful, analytic approach privileges trade statistics and governmental communiqués over stories of human interest; as such, this is for readers who seek an understanding of strategic considerations, rather than a sense of what daily life is like for the Iranian population.\
Mitchell S. Jackson
RaveKirkus\"A dynamic, impressive debut memoir ... The narrative hits its peak when Jackson motions beyond the tenuous spectacle of a moment to understand what came before it and to hope about what deliverance might come after it even while admitting, sometimes ashamedly so, that he is still wrestling with it all. A potent book that revels in the author’s truthful experiences while maintaining the jagged-grain, keeping-it-a-100, natural storytelling that made The Residue Years a modern must-read.\
Mitchell S. Jackson
RavePublishers Weekly\"The prose is a stunning mix of second-person observations of various unnamed males in his family and historical and religious references that he incorporates to tell his story ... Thanks to Jackson’s fresh voice, this powerful autobiography shines an important light on the generational problems of America’s oft-forgotten urban communities.\
RavePublishers Weekly...15 characteristically bold, disconcerting, knockout stories ... The volume ends with the remarkable 62-page \'Cloudland,\' a visually rich, heart-wrenching portrait of a Florida caregiver ... In stories that can be funny, brutal, poetic, blunt, elusive, or all of the above, this accomplished collection highlights Hempel\'s signature style with its condensed prose, quirky narrators, and touching, disturbing, transcendent moments.
RaveKirkusHempel packs a lot into her narrow spaces: nuance, longing, love, and loss ... The brilliance of the writing, however, resides in the way Hempel manages to tell us everything in spite of her narrator’s reticence, teaching us to read between the lines ... Hempel’s great gift is that her indirection only leads us further inward, toward the place where her characters must finally reckon with themselves.
PositivePublishers WeeklyManji’s plea for unity is laudable and well-articulated. Those seeking a level-headed approach to reaching common ground will find Manji and Lily’s conversation instructive.
PositivePublishers WeeklyArmstrong illuminatingly surveys research into aging’s biological mechanisms ... she profiles a number of fascinating people, leavening the somewhat dense science with human interest, such as leading Alzheimer’s researchers Caleb Finch and Eric Davidson and their time spent collecting traditional music from Appalachia for the Library of Congress ... Without suggesting death can actually be stopped, Armstrong’s work shows that quality of life before the inevitable might very well be significantly improved.
PositiveKirkusAn exploration of aging that answers all readers’ questions except how they might reverse it ... Armstrong’s sensible review of anti-aging science concludes that its goal is achievable—but not yet.
RavePublishers Weekly[An] excellent exploration of the immigrant experience ... In beautiful and emotionally perceptive prose, Reyn probes the intimate ways cultures clash within individuals, forcing them to knit together disparate truths to make sense of the world, and provides a tender depiction of how mother-daughter bonds morph over time and space.
PositiveKirkusReyn deftly spins a web of heartache and memory around Nadia’s daily life. As she tries to handle the outrageous behavior of American toddlers and elderly Russian men with access to Viagra, her thoughts continually turn to her homeland ... A compassionate portrait of a mother aching with regrets yet brave enough to fight for her family.
RaveKirkusTracing the history of ideas beginning in the Enlightenment, the author transcends the familiar dichotomy of educated/uneducated, urban/rural, cosmopolitan/tribal that has come to explain combative political debate and elections that resulted in Brexit and Donald Trump’s presidency ... A fresh, astute examination of current events and urgent challenges.
MixedPublishers WeeklyWide-ranging, sometimes tenuously argued ... Intricately but not tightly argued, Davies’s book shoehorns everything from the opioid epidemic to transhumanism into his analysis, which will appeal most to those concerned about technology, put off by claims of objectivity, and interested in insights about the role of emotion in politics.
PositiveKirkusStylistically, Couto’s writing is poker-faced, neither rejecting nor outright embracing the more surrealistic events he describes, though he does enjoy wordplay: Translator Becker ably preserves Couto\'s affinity for neologisms with puns like \'timidiminutive,\' \'mistified nights,\' \'intirrigated,\' \'airsfixiated.\' Not every coinage works, nor does every story, but the prevailing effect is, to quote one of his portmanteaus, \'splendolorous\': conveying a sense of profound loss flecked with a measure of optimism about life after the bloodshed is over ... An impressionistic flash-fiction trek through the wreckage of war.
PositivePublishers Weekly[A] strong sequel ... Rice combines bloody violence, complex characters, and high tech in a dark tale that will leave readers wanting to see more of Charley.
MixedKirkusReaders may roll their eyes at the tired scenario of Charley posing as a prostitute in order to get taken by a killer (who, of course, skins his female victims), and, adding insult to injury, she gets set on fire at the culmination of the mission. Don’t worry, though, because Zypraxon ensures full healing. Yep, Charley is a bona fide superhero, but readers hoping for more missions that see Charley taking down serial killers may be disappointed, because Luke and Charley uncover a possible terrorist plot that threatens the town, and for Charley, the danger hits very close to home ... Rice has something to say about the devastating effects of childhood trauma and what makes a monster, but much of it gets lost in an overstuffed narrative that relies heavily on expository dialogue and over-the-top action scenes built for maximum shock value ... The Burning Girl is losing her spark.
MixedPublishers WeeklyMiddling ... Political machinations surrounding the wealth gained by trading narcotic obat in the Laut Basar region realistically bring together a variety of cultures recognizably based on those found in China and India, among others. Some incidents of gratuitous sexual violence are off-putting, but Macallan provides steady plot momentum and thrilling battles that pull the reader through to the satisfying conclusion.
Timothy P. Carney
PositiveKirkusThough occasionally repetitive and dry, the author presents a sophisticated analysis that defies easy summary, using an informal style and illustrative stories about individuals and towns to draw readers along. Unfortunately, he concludes that civic alienation cannot be reversed by central government, which is often guilty of crowding out the very local institutions that are needed; it can only be cured from the grassroots up ... An approachable and incisive yet discouraging analysis with wide applicability to contemporary political and social challenges.
T Kira Madden
PositiveKirkusThough the author’s aching emotional rawness sometimes makes for difficult reading, this is a deeply courageous work that chronicles one artist’s jagged—and surprisingly beautiful—path to wholeness. Affecting, fearless, and unsparingly honest.
T Kira Madden
RaveAutostraddle...this tale is a gritty glittering treat, composed of sentences and essays that will surprise you with their form as much as their content ... What every single essay in the book has in common is the earnestness and cynicism of a child who often had to parent the grown ups in her life, cultivated from an early age. There is also a sense of urgency and a hint of danger within each individual sentence ... I was not prepared for the way her words could crack open a life, a heart, and then – carefully, purposefully – put it back together ... One of the things that stands out most in Long Live is T Kira’s incredible generosity; almost everyone gets a shade of nuance, a gesture that shows us their humanity ... a must-read for all humans who enjoy good storytelling, careful renderings of the characters that make up a life, and blunt candor about what it can mean to be a girl. I think it is a particular must-read for queer humans.
RavePublishers Weekly...idiosyncratically brilliant ... Oyeyemi excels at making the truly astounding believable and turning even the most familiar tales into something strange and new. This fantastic and fantastical romp is a wonderful addition to her formidable canon.
RaveKirkusOyeyemi takes the familiar contours of a children\'s tale and twists it into something completely new, unsettling, and uncanny ... Readers familiar with Oyeyemi\'s work will not be surprised to learn that her latest plot sets off in one direction and immediately takes a hairpin curve in another (and another, and still another). The effect is heady, surreal, and disarming—you have to be willing to surrender to Oyeyemi\'s vision and the delicious twists and turns of her prose. Oyeyemi fans will likely be charmed.
RavePublishers Weekly14 remarkable stories ... In these stories, a straight-faced absurdity often simmers just below the surface ... Every story in this collection from Novakovich begins with a straightforward statement of premise ... yet his prose is so balanced and apt, with not a superfluous clause or descriptor, that it always lands artfully. This is a haunting, accomplished collection.
PositiveKirkusSurprises abound in Novakovich’s latest collection, which covers the lives of people in Eastern Europe grappling with authoritarianism, internal conflicts, and the pressures within their own communities. These are familiar themes, but Novakovich keeps things unpredictable from the outset: The title story, about a beekeeper living in the midst of a war zone, ends on a frenzied, surreal note that hints at the author\'s ability to both channel realism and, when the occasion demands, undermine it entirely ... Novakovich expertly probes the minds of the virtuous, the menacing, and the self-deluded in equal measure ... These stories manage the impressive feat of blending gritty realism with more surreal strands, making for a gripping read.
RaveKirkusThe story’s voice is a curious but compelling mix of first and second person ... It is a common fantasy trope to suggest gods gain strength through faith and worshipers and that they can employ that strength to bend reality. But few authors have really explored all the implications of what happens when multiple beings with that power come into conflict. There is so much story and careful thought packed into this short volume ... Sharp, many layered, and, as always for Leckie, deeply intelligent.
RavePublishers Weekly...complex ... Leckie’s tale takes on a mythic, metafictional quality; the Strength and Eolo truly inhabit their roles, and the story’s elements weave into a stunning conclusion. This impressive piece of craftsmanship cements Leckie’s place as a powerful voice in both SF and fantasy.
PanPublishers WeeklyDense and discomfiting ... The original tale’s abusive subtext becomes unpleasant text in this version: men habitually call stalking \'courtship,\' women romanticize Isabeau’s abduction, and Isabeau—never developed past blond hair and compulsive caretaking—is desperately depressed. Julien’s occasional moments of self-awareness swiftly yield to selfishness and violence. What results is a skin-crawling, obsessive quest to manipulate love from a kidnapped woman. Shallcross’s lush imagery cannot redeem a plot mired in self-pitying, romanticized abuse.
RaveKirkusA timely novella with a powerful thematic punch ... Powered by a relentless sense of tension and an undertone of psychological horror throughout, readers will find themselves living vicariously through Jalil and struggling with every gut-wrenching decision ... Obvious political commentary aside, the questions Neuvel asks readers are simple yet profound: What does it mean to be human? Is one person’s life less valuable than another’s because of ethnic, religious, or socio-economic differences? Is the true nature of humankind fear and hate or love and acceptance? ... Thought-provoking and disturbing. A cautionary tale illuminated with dark enlightenment.
MixedKirkusBehind the welcome Victorian detail lies a so-so debut mystery. But readers who hunger for more portraits of independent women determined to make their ways in a stultifying society will take the heroine to heart.
PositiveKirkusThe author is refreshingly skeptical throughout, and she turns in some observations along the way that go against received wisdom and practice but, again, have science behind them ... a good guide for those contemplating adding recovery to their routines ... A smart, engaging book.
PositivePublishers WeeklyInquisitive and informative ... Despite the many products and techniques appraised, Aschwanden leaves athletes with a simple message—that, at least for some, less can be more when it comes to the vital step of recovery.
PositivePublishers Weekly...a stirring portrait ... His description of the bars and cafes he frequented in order to \'live intently\' bring to life the city that shaped him ... This is a wonderfully raw story of city boy’s transformation into a writer.
MixedKirkusA familiar coming-of-age memoir about a young New Yorker who dreams of literary success ... Tuten pairs this relatable naiveté with too many tales of girlfriends and sexual exploits, but this is appropriate from an author who once considered Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer to be \'a manifesto for my liberty.\' The author’s intellectual ambitions, while compelling and at times inspirational, are not particularly unique. The memoir’s perfunctory finish reveals the lack of any substantive arc ... An unabashed reminiscence that never fully coheres.
Jenny Rogneby, Trans. by Agnes Broomé
PositiveKirkusAs a character, Leona asks a lot of the reader. She is savvy, decisive, and resourceful, in many ways admirable, but she is also relentlessly selfish, willing to inflict pain and misery to get what she wants. Her goal, which is a sort of socially dissociated island paradise, seems petty and ignoble. She differs from typical noir antiheroes—she\'s not a disappointed idealist but rather an amoral pragmatist. But never mind. This installment is more completely plotted and more involving than the first, and if Leona seems a little inhuman, well that\'s Leona being Leona.
Jenny Rogneby, Trans. by Agnes Broomé
MixedPublishers Weekly...edgy if flawed ... Rogneby draws effectively on her background in criminology and experience as a Stockholm police detective, but plot inconsistencies and a multitude of sentence fragments will leave some readers dissatisfied.
Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Trans. by Victoria Cribb
RaveCrime by the BookPicking up where her 2018 release The Legacy left off, Sigurdardottir’s newest crime novel delivers a gritty, layered procedural exploring the longstanding implications of childhood trauma ... Living up to her work’s well-earned reputation as crime fiction that borders on horror, Sigurdardottir’s The Reckoning is guaranteed to give you goosebumps. In a story both gruesome and heart-wrenching, Sigurdardottir weaves a masterful mystery that belongs on the bookshelf of every Scandinavian crime fiction reader ... At the heart of any great crime novel is strong plotting and rich character development, and readers can expect both from The Reckoning ... [Sigurdardottir\'s] books consistently deliver some of the darkest and most compelling stories of the Nordic Noir genre, and I am already eagerly anticipating the next book in this outstanding series.
Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Trans. by Victoria Cribb
RaveBooklistSigurdardóttir offsets sharp procedural elements and gruesome crimes with masterful character development and social commentary, creating a riveting, affecting thriller.
Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Trans. by Victoria Cribb
RaveKirkusVeterans of Sigurdardóttir’s peerlessly grim procedurals...will share the hero’s irrational conviction that all these dire portents are indeed related, and it’s not giving too much away to say that they’ll be proved shockingly correct. More evidence of the author’s gift for establishing a web so dark and deep-laid that it hardly matters which particular spider wove it. You’re left agog at the detective’s concluding observation: \'Sometimes violent instincts had to be given their head.\'
Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Trans. by Victoria Cribb
RavePublishers WeeklySigurdardóttir just keeps getting better and better ... The spiky romantic tension between Huldar and Freyja, who’s furious with him because he once slept with her under false pretenses, provides relief from the grim story line. This is must-reading for Scandinavian crime fans.
PositivePublishers WeeklyCharming, relatable, and wise essays ... Taken as a group, these personal narratives argue that aging is a process of shedding the inconsequential and acquiring a laser focus on the truly essential. Without a hint of preachiness, this is a practical guide to navigating life for anyone who has passed the milestone of 40.
PositiveKirkusAlthough the editor underscores the \'divergent voices\' in the collection, the majority of the contributors are white, middle-class, successful writers ... Candid, often charming revelations from a host of articulate women.
PositiveKirkusA long but readable history ... Gibson soundly concludes that the history of the Spanish \'is central to how the United States has developed and will continue to develop,\' lending further utility to her work. Though much of this history is well-documented in the scholarly literature, it’s undeniably useful to have it in a single survey volume for general readers.
PositivePublishers WeeklyHistorian Gibson...provides a sweeping and accessible survey of the Hispanic history of the U.S. that illuminates the integral impact of the Spanish and their descendants on the U.S.’s social and cultural development ... Though it doesn’t present new research, this unusual and insightful work provides a welcome and thought-provoking angle on the country’s history, and should be widely appreciated.
Nishta J. Mehra
RavePublishers WeeklyThoughtful ... Mehra brings [her] now-5-year-old child, Shiv, to vivid life in affectionately rendered details ... looks at experience in a measured, nuanced way, empathizing with both marginalized people and the dismayed parents of gay kids who have just come out, and notably with her father, who wanted her to have long hair and marry a man. This insightful, searching book will appeal to anyone contemplating race, family, or growing into oneself.
Nishta J. Mehra
PositiveKirkusThe essays feature a mostly smooth, engaging mix of pride, passion, frustration, and anger. Numerous times Mehra has been unnecessarily questioned about her life. With this book, she makes a strong statement about the importance of moving beyond gender and racial barriers toward a more inclusive view of family life ... Full of a wide range of insights and emotions, these essays effectively show the difficulties of being a mixed-race, same-sex family in America.
RavePublishers WeeklyGloss twines just enough intellectual fiber around the sleek cord of a great adventure story to offer up a truly satisfying read ... While Gloss generates heat and humor from the friction between early 20th-century and early 21st-century attitudes, her prose is most satisfying when she describes Charlotte\'s housekeeper ironing or Charlotte\'s patient suitor batting a homemade baseball ... the writing is gorgeous, the characters real and vivid, and the story transforming.
PositivePublishers Weekly... illuminating and challenging ... Although revisionist in scope, Howe’s drama taps emotional undercurrents that course imperceptibly through conventional historical narratives ... Readers will be intrigued by the light this work shines on incidents behind the scenes of history.
PositivePublishers Weekly... illuminating and challenging ... Although revisionist in scope, Howe’s drama taps emotional undercurrents that course imperceptibly through conventional historical narratives ... Readers will be intrigued by the light this work shines on incidents behind the scenes of history.
RavePublishers WeeklyIn this thoughtful and fascinating debut ... Feltman slices directly to the core of heartbreak’s ugliest moments ... She evocatively captures the tension between aching to move on and not give up, and how the shattering of one relationship fractures others. Feltman stays away from happy ending conventions and skillfully weaves glimmers of hope and healing throughout, making for a keenly perceptive novel.
PositiveKirkusWriting in alternating first-person chapters, Feltman renders each perspective with moving fidelity to her characters and their interior lives ... The result is a deep and intimate portrait of two queer women in their mid-20s who come of age in New York while navigating—or refusing to navigate—their relationships to privilege, family, identity, and faith. What could be a novel about an intense attraction that falls apart is, in Feltman\'s hands, a bigger story about how people change us—and how we welcome or resist that change. A moving glimpse into 21st-century queer womanhood.
RavePublishers WeeklyThis lush collection artfully gathers together many of World Fantasy Award winner Goss’s fairy tale–themed poems and short fiction ... a beautiful, sensitive reminder that storybook love is not all it’s cracked up to be. This toothsome collection is best read in one go.
RaveKirkusWhile the comparisons to Patrick Rothfuss’ The Kingkiller Chronicle will be unavoidable—in terms of story structure and general narrative content—the potential of this projected five-book saga may be even greater. Although a cast of well-developed characters and an impressively intricate storyline power this novel, it’s Lyons’ audacious worldbuilding that makes for such an unforgettable read. In a sprawling, magic-filled world populated by gods, dragons, krakens, witches, demons, ghosts, shape-shifters, zombies, and so much more, Lyons ties it all together seamlessly to create literary magic. Epic fantasy fans looking for a virtually un-put-down-able read should look no further.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThough the hero’s journey structure and classical fantasy elements are familiar, the complex mysteries and revelations feel novel and offer plenty of room for rereading and analysis. There’s more mystery than action in this tightly plotted tome, and its lore and memorable characters will leave epic fantasy fans eager for the second volume.
PositiveKirkusCapacious, informative ... A richly detailed investigation of burgeoning creativity in a decade marked by both hope and dread.
MixedPublishers WeeklyIn this account of how U.S. literature and culture reacted to the crises of the 1940s, Hutchinson overreaches. Had Hutchinson focused even more narrowly on the literature, where his strength clearly lies, the book would have benefitted. Hutchinson is on firmest ground when closely reading the texts ... The definition of culture, in this context, is fuzzy, however, and Hutchinson’s forays into other art forms, such as music and painting, are incomplete ... For those who wish to begin exploring the literature of this tumultuous period, Hutchinson’s study might well be a good introduction, but for a wider perspective on the true breadth of American culture during the ’40s, one should look further afield.
Andrea Camilleri, Trans. by Stephen Sartarelli
PositivePublishers WeeklyThe aging detective’s insights into the darker side of human nature allow him to cut through the red herrings as the action builds to a crisp, decisive ending. The Sicilian dialect of the police station’s switchboard operator, as rendered in Sartarelli’s adept translation, provides comic relief. Camilleri fans are in for a treat.
Andrea Camilleri, Trans. by Stephen Sartarelli
PositiveKirkus...twisty ... with both murder and a mummy on the Montalbano menu. Another wry, amiable procedural from the prolific Camilleri...whose unflappably put-upon hero soldiers on no matter how absurd the crime or aggravating the situation.
PositivePublishers WeeklyHardy gives an informative if highly specialized account ... Hardy is an understated but affectionate (if occasionally self-conscious) narrator, clearly devoted to Berlin but not unaware of the great man’s flaws and idiosyncrasies ... This volume will appeal mostly to specialists already familiar with Berlin, as it is not the best introduction to his work and ideas. Nevertheless, the new perspective on an important intellectual figure is of great value.
RavePublishers Weekly...thoughtful essays geared toward facilitating difficult conversations about race ... She’s insightful and trenchant but not preachy, and her advice is valid. For some it may be eye-opening. It’s a topical book in a time when racial tensions are on the rise.
PositiveKirkusStraight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism ... feisty ... A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.
Marc Mauer and Ashley Nellis
RaveKirkus...this book is convincingly and meticulously researched while also balanced in its acknowledgement that the issue remains complex and highly controversial. Mauer and Nellis not only build a compelling argument for ending life imprisonment; they also provide strategic public-policy groundwork for enacting a maximum 20-year sentence ... Readers on both sides of the argument will surely find this book fodder for inspired debate and proactive discussion. A riveting, passionate case against lifetime incarceration and a plea for criminal justice reform.
Marc Mauer and Ashley Nellis
PositivePublishers WeeklyMauer...and Nellis expose the problematic consequences of life sentencing in this well-argued collaboration ... The authors make a strong case for abolishing life sentencing in this trenchant and urgent book.
Ed. by Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman
RavePublishers Weekly...[a] revealing follow-up to the 2015 British edition ... The strength of this collection is in its diversity—of gender, sexuality, privilege, experience, and writing style. A gift for anyone who understands or wants to learn about the breadth of experience among immigrants to the U.S., this collection showcases the joy, empathy, and fierceness needed to adopt the country as one’s own.
Ed. by Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman
PositiveKirkus...affecting personal essays ... many readers will agree that the first, Porochista Khakpour’s \'How to Write Iranian-America, or the Last Essay,\' qualifies as both the most inventively written and most memorable ... the fear spawned by the hatred of Trump and the Republican Party is palpable throughout ... the quality varies, but there are no weak links in this well-curated book.
PositiveKirkusWell-researched and vivid segments are interspersed detailing Nina’s backstory as one of Russia’s sizable force of female combat pilots (dubbed The Night Witches by the Germans), establishing her as a fierce yet vulnerable antecedent to Lisbeth Salander. Quinn’s language is evocative of the period, and her characters are good literary company ... With any luck, the Nazi hunting will go on for a sequel or two.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThough it’s longer than it needs to be, this exciting thriller vividly reveals how people face adversity and sacrifice while chasing justice and retribution.
RaveThe Maine EdgeA common bond that these stories share – a very important one – is that they are excellent ... each one of these pieces is thorough and thoughtful, presenting complex narratives that defy simple synopsis. Individually, they shine. Taken together, they paint an emotionally impactful picture packed with dark jokes and glimmers of hope … only the jokes can hurt and the glimmers are sometimes extinguished ... Mayer has a distinct authorial voice that permeates the work; too often, collections like this one feel too uniform in their sound. That’s far from the case here – even the stories that seems as though there might be overlap are distinct. The characters that populate these pages are challenging and flawed, driven by desire and as subject to poor decision-making as the rest of us ... renders the weird mundane and the mundane weird, finding commonality in strangeness while accentuating the bizarreness of the everyday. In that way, it truly does evoke the circus – it’s three rings of the unknown reflecting the personal truths we keep buried within.
PositiveKirkusQuirky, intricate stories ... Mayer’s skill is unquestionable, and his range is astounding; he can render absurdist parables about the internet right next to historical fiction about the Jewish experience in the Soviet Union during the fall of the Iron Curtain. His strength lies in his subtle realist mode, when his focus on the inner lives of his characters allows the unconventionality of his style and his narrative decision-making to shine through. Stories written in Mayer’s surrealist mode sometimes feel so self-referential and lost in their own calculus that they don’t come together as well. Mayer’s prose is so compressed and exact that its dedication to strangeness sometimes undercuts the story it is telling, but historical frameworks provide Mayer with enough structure to make the twists and turns of his writing additive where elsewhere they subtracted from the tale. Unfortunately, the collection’s dedication to having the stories cohere around the circus theme feels forced and coerces the stories in a direction they wouldn’t have otherwise gone—their thematic interconnectedness is too often a stretch. In the end, Mayer’s debut effort is a somewhat flawed but memorable book ... An ambitious collection of short stories that heralds the coming of a new voice in American fiction.
PositivePublishers WeeklyMayer wittily subverts reader expectations with stories told in a realistic manner about characters or situations that all share a slightly surreal bent, resulting in a clever collection.
RavePublishers WeeklyOutstanding and disturbing ... [Meijer,\'s] fragmented writing style produces an intense and distilled view of isolated moments—or, conversely, makes the outrageous or aberrant seem ordinary. The use of short declarative sentences, sparse adjectives, and lack of quotation marks furthers this splintered effect ... Though reminiscent of Mary Gaitskill, Jean Rhys, and Muriel Spark, these 14 stories bear a powerful style that is Meijer’s own.
RaveKirkusWhile at times her narrators can seem almost excessively cruel, Meijer\'s stories are an indictment of the indignities women—and other men—face every day as they dodge or appease the dangerous impulses and appetites of misogyny ... A rich, beautiful, and utterly terrifying book.
MixedPublishers WeeklyEngrossing ... Readers expecting a host of suspects and wild plot twists will be disappointed. Those who enjoy methodical police procedurals that build to a logical, satisfying conclusion will be amply rewarded.
MixedKirkusEminently logical and all too depressing. And if the solution depends on good luck and good timing rather than mental prowess, that’s business as usual for Robinson’s all-too-human coppers.
RaveKirkusA closely argued look at what may be a turning point in human existence ... Wallace-Wells rightly muses over the fact that, for all our devotion to end-of-the-world scenarios in science-fiction books and films, too many of us continue to believe that the scientists warning of these dire matters are \'simply crying wolf\' ... If you weren’t alarmed already, Wallace-Wells sounds the tocsin of toxicity. An urgent, necessary book.
RaveThe Economist\"... The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells, is unabashedly pornographic. It is also riveting ... In the hands of a lesser writer, this litany of woe might have degenerated into one of the dry treatises on which he draws. But whereas his chapters—on the impacts of extreme weather, sea levels, human health, economic consequences and so on—echo reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, his elegant, accessible prose does not ... [Wallace-Wells] has a point when he says that exercising caution over warning signs is tantamount to complacency. Occasionally, however, he could exercise a bit more of it himself ... [Wallace-Wells] nevertheless gets the big things right.\
PositiveKirkusThe collection reveals a man who claims he’s old and getting older, has worked odd jobs here and there, had sex with many women, and written a lot .. a sad and depressing portrait of a talented man in self-destruct mode ... Despite the collection’s inevitable repetition, it provides another necessary, unsettling window into alcohol and art.
MixedPublishers WeeklyBy turns amusing, tiresome, charming, repellant and moving, the collection seems an appropriate tribute to a writer who provokes similarly equivocal feelings. Bukowski might have appreciated, or at least respected, the frankness of many of the contributors ... Most contributions are thankfully brief and, like their subject, direct. And yet, one can\'t help wondering if the consistently sympathetic evocations of Bukowski as a thorny individual who suffered deeply from childhood rejection by classmates because of his bad skin, while perhaps providing closure for fans and intimates, might clash with his proclivity for vulgarity and disrespect.
RaveKirkusTsabari examines the cultural and personal forces that result in alienation and \'self-inflicted exile\' ... Linked essays cohere into a tender, moving memoir.
PositivePublishers WeeklyInsightful and kaleidoscopic ... By the book’s end, Tsabari seems contented and her prose feels lighter as she describes how, in her 30s, she met and married a sailor named Sean. Readers will be moved by Tsabari’s colorful, intimate memoir.
PositiveKirkusThe authors ably capture the vastness of the cobbled-together nation, the extremes encompassed within that vastness, and how the history of trying to tame the wildly divergent population spread out massive distances from Moscow is melding with current efforts to do the same ... A breathtaking and occasionally exhausting journey, with candid accounts reported from each stop along the route.
MixedPublishers WeeklyReads like a travel guide, with descriptions of historical monuments and anecdotal brushes with border guards, but little deeper substance. Readers accustomed to the Western press portraying Putin as a dictator might find it illuminating to learn that Russians say positive things about him—for example, that he has decreased unemployment, bolstered pensions, and revitalized the nation—which the authors receive with skepticism. Readers looking for a comprehensive understanding of the country will be disappointed, but the authors’ observations on Russian provincial culture are undoubtedly entertaining.
PositiveKirkusStern’s brittle comedy of highfalutin intellectual theories evolves into a feeling portrait of a gifted man coming face to face with his limitations.
MixedPublishers WeeklyTaut, brainy ... Stern’s intellectually teeming prose makes for a thought-provoking novel, though it’s more successful asking questions such as, \'Can voles experience heartbreak?\' than depicting people breaking each other’s hearts.
RavePublishers WeeklyLyrical and novelistic ... Taken together, the affectionate and reverent reconstructions add up to a picture of black urban women’s courage, their attempts to carve out freedom, love, autonomy, power, and pleasure in socially constrained circumstances ... This passionate, poetic retrieval of women from the footnotes of history is a superb literary achievement.
PositiveKirkusSometimes Hartman’s rhetoric becomes a touch too high-flown, as if swept up in the exuberance of the fight for freedom, and interrogatives sometimes threaten to overwhelm declarative sentences. However, close attention to \'beautiful experiments\' and \'the sexual geography of the black belt,\' as two section titles have it, yield new insight into the truth of a central proposition: \'No modern intelligent person was content merely existing. Sometimes it was good to take a chance\' ... Lucid and original—of considerable interest to students of the African-American diaspora and American social and cultural history.
PositiveThe Real Book SpyHannah does a good job spinning things initially, forcing readers to consider every imaginable scenario as to why Tibbeck received a book in the first place, but the big reveal is one that veteran readers of the genre will likely see coming. That said, the buildup is quite fun, and her smooth writing style provides an easy and fun reading experience.
PositiveKirkusHannah strews clues and complications with such prodigal abandon that even readers who rub their eyes in disbelief at her solution will be impressed by the range and weight of her impassioned plotting.
MixedPublishers WeeklyUnderwhelming ... The unsatisfying ultimate reveal will only add to the disappointment of fans of Hannah’s much better efforts. Those looking for an offbeat, comic police procedural will do better with Lynne Truss’s A Shot in the Dark.
PositivePublishers WeeklyExcellent ... In Verble’s hands, this tale of a mother’s love and her gritty resolve in a shameful era of false promises and broken treaties makes for a rich, propulsive novel.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThe impressive diversity of voices adds depth to the bleakness of these lives trapped on the brink of survival. This powerful collection will move readers with its focus on despairing people battered by forces beyond their control.
MixedKirkusAll four of the tales here examine themes of exploitation, class conflict, and deep discontent, suggesting that life in 21st-century Greece is far more dystopian than idyllic ... A grim set of stories in which characters feel imprisoned and current social conditions don’t allow much room for hope.
RaveKirkus\"Lucent, lyrical prose evokes Macfarlane’s aesthetic, ethical, and powerfully tactile response to nature’s enchantments.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"... beautifully written ... Macfarlane bemoans the gradual disappearance of these colorful descriptors from modern usage, resulting in a \'blandscape\' of general terms. It would be fabulous if his wish in writing this exceptional compilation—for these words to \'re-wild\' contemporary speech—comes true.\
Andrew G McCabe
PositivePublishers Weekly[A] polished combination career retrospective, manifesto about the FBI\'s value, and rebuttal to Donald Trump\'s smears ... laced with sharp, amusing characterizations and pleasingly idiosyncratic turns of phrase. McCabe comes off as levelheaded and principled; while his views about the \'danger\' posed by digital privacy protections may put off some readers, fans of police procedurals will love his descriptions of FBI culture, and critics of the current administration will find his denouncements satisfying. This is one of the better Trump-related tell-alls.
PositiveKirkusLévy makes a compelling case ... An erudite and impassioned call for the West to retake the lead in championing liberty.
MixedPublishers WeeklyStriking but flawed ...Surprisingly, after much buildup of the threat, the last chapter concludes that it would be difficult for any of the kingdoms to truly become an empire, and the book’s premise falls flat. Though Lévy’s analysis of the internet landscape and its impact on truth is deeply insightful, those who don’t share his belief in the West’s exceptionality and his despair at its loss of power will not connect with the analysis he constructs atop them.
PositiveLibrary JournalHoffman’s work on Hecht is assiduously researched and delightfully entertaining; a solid acquisition for all performing arts and modern Judaica collections.
PositiveKirkusHoffman rescues him from historical obscurity in a lively, well-researched addition to the Yale Jewish Lives series ... A cleareyed portrait of an impetuous and multitalented man.
Paul Buhle, Steve Max, Noah Van Sciver, and Dave Nance
MixedPublishers Weekly\"This ragged polemic is worth reading mostly because of the dense and slightly grotesque art of Van Sciver ... The choppy story is marked by individuals spitting rhetoric instead of dialogue, and characters that are introduced quickly and then dropped at a maddening pace. Van Sciver humanizes Debs with sensitive character design and a knack for depicting the gritty details of the past; the socialist hero comes across as passionate but physically frail. But with the work’s focus split among biography, history, and political tract, it’s not successful as any of these things.\
PositiveKirkusAn absorbing look at the early Shaker communities, whose very lifestyle set them up for eventual failure, through the eyes of an imperfect man doing his best for his family.
PositivePublishers WeeklyAuthentic period detail and nuanced characterizations ... Kuhns makes the most of the cloistered Shaker community setting in this top-notch outing.
MixedCrime Fiction LoverThe charm of the story resides in the deductive process rather than in action scenes, although there are a few suspenseful moments. For example, at one point a young man suspects that a malevolent person is stalking his family and has broken into his house. The author plays scrupulously fair with the readers, allowing us to puzzle things out for ourselves, giving us plenty of clues, yet still keeping it entertaining. The contemporary mystery relating to the kidnapping is solved a little too quickly and relies too much on coincidence, but it has more moments of tension than the historical case, so it provides Rupture with some pace ... The noirish feel is present in the storyline, reminiscent of the much darker Agatha Christie adaptation recently shown on the BBC ... Although both cases are ultimately solved, there is little satisfaction to be had from revealing the perpetrators. With the lightest of descriptive touches and a melancholy colour scheme, Ragnar Jonasson leaves us with some open questions about the nature of justice and the power of redemption.
PositivePublishers WeeklyJónasson manages to resolve the plot lines plausibly, and is as strong as ever at combining fair-play with psychological depth.
MixedKirkusReaders disappointed in the present-day subplots, which are wound up with remarkable dispatch, will be rewarded by the even more disturbing revelations from half a century ago.
RavePublishers Weekly...a heady and unsparing examination of pain and how it allows us to understand others, and ourselves ... Jamison is ever-probing and always sensitive ... friction shatters the clichés about suffering that create distance between people, resulting in a more honest—and empathetic—way of seeing.
RaveKirkusThroughout, Jamison exhibits at once a journalist’s courage to bear witness to acts and conditions that test human limits—incarceration, laboring in a silver mine, ultramarathoning, the loss of a child, devastating heartbreak, suffering from an unacknowledged illness—and a poet’s skepticism at her own motives for doing so. It is this level of scrutiny that lends these provocative explorations both earthy authenticity and moving urgency. A fierce, razor-sharp, heartwarming nonfiction debut.
RavePublishers WeeklyEpp’s observations (such as those about how the women physically react or respond when someone shares a divisive suggestion) are astute, and through him readers are able to see how carefully and intentionally the women think through their life-changing decision—critically discussing their roles in society, their love for their families and religion, and their hopes and desires for the future. This is an inspiring and unforgettable novel.
RaveKirkusAn exquisite critique of patriarchal culture ... it is riveting and revelatory ... [with] vividly compelling characters ... Stunningly original and altogether arresting.
MixedPublishers WeeklyServiceable ... While the streets of Parks’s Glasgow are certainly mean, [Parks] offers little that hard-boiled fans haven’t seen before.
PositiveKirkusDrawing on rich sources, including diaries, letters, account ledgers, paintings, and religious sermons as well as data gleaned by climate historians and scientists, journalist and translator Blom creates a vivid picture of the European landscape during the Little Ice Age and of social, political, and cultural changes that may have been accelerated by climate change ... Blom’s epilogue addresses contemporary global warming, which, unlike the Little Ice Age, will not spontaneously rectify itself; caused by humans, it requires dramatic, clearsighted human intervention ... An absorbing and revealing portrait of profound natural disaster.
MixedPublishers WeeklyWeakly argued ... Blom’s arguments are intriguing but often tenuous, especially when he asserts a causative connection between the weather and particular ideas. While the arguments may not be airtight, this wide-ranging and affectionate portrait of 17th-century Europe has a poetic appeal.
William K Klingaman
PositiveKirkusThe author is good at teasing out small but telling details ... He also delivers entertaining anecdotes along the way ... Yet Klingaman’s narrative is marked by dark moments and the birth of trends, some of which persist today, such as the militarization of society and a rightward turn in politics ... A welcome study of an aspect of wartime history that is little known among those too young to have experienced it.
PositivePublishers WeeklyFfunny and perceptive ... Severgnini’s observations keep the narrative going ... This is a not-to-be-missed book for railroad fans or travelers of any mode.
PanKirkusUnfortunately, readers will manage barely a chuckle, and there isn’t much detail on what makes the journey remarkable. The book is essentially an extended journal. Severgnini dismisses each day of the trip with little more than a few paragraphs, and he compresses his accounts of the other excursions to a page or two of matter-of-fact encounters and experiences ... Some of the author’s excursions included a video crew, and these pieces read like program notes ... Reading like notes toward a more in-depth book on train travel, the narrative requires fuller-fleshed characters and experiences.
PositivePublishers WeeklySinise continually emphasizes his humility, next to actual military personnel, as someone famous \'merely for playing a part in a movie,\' yet his self-effacing words belie the evident depth of his commitment to helping them, which marks this winningly earnest and unabashedly patriotic story.
Aeham Ahmad, Trans. by Emanuel Bergmann
PositiveKirkusThe moving story of a Palestinian musician and his family suddenly thrust into the perilous vortex of the Syrian civil war ... Well-rendered and affecting, this is a fine delineation of the plight of an unwitting protagonist in the Syrian conflagration.
Aeham Ahmad, Trans. by Emanuel Bergmann
RavePublishers WeeklyPianist Ahmad shares a powerful account of his escape from Syria and the music that ultimately saved him ... This is a deeply moving account of one man’s struggle to survive while bringing hope to thousands through his music.
RavePublishers WeeklyThe tension, death, and courage that were everyday experiences for American tankers fill the pages of Makos’s book. This moving story of bravery and comradeship is an important contribution to WWII history that will inform and fascinate both the general reader and the military historian.
PositiveKirkusThrough alternating firsthand accounts by Smoyer and a German tank crewman, Makos reveals much about the German determination to thwart the Allies during the final Battle of the Bulge as well as the weary civilian population’s quick turn to fraternization once the game was over ... A compelling, exciting adventure of a hard-driving American force, \'the first Allied unit to punch through the West Wall and to also capture a German town.\'
PositiveUSA Today\"... a detailed, gripping account that leaves B-grade images behind ... [a] remarkable story ... It’s hard not to be fascinated with these multi-ton war vehicles, but Makos wisely avoids focusing solely on the machines ... Most importantly, Spearhead takes pains to humanize the comrades of Smoyer and Schaefer ... a compelling story of men at war...\
James Carl Nelson
PositiveKirkusNelson has turned up enough journals, letters, newspaper accounts, and memoirs to give an intimate, blow-by-blow description of a nasty campaign fought under unspeakable conditions against the Red Army, an initially ragtag unit that grew increasingly competent. The author reminds readers that these Americans were citizen soldiers, not professionals, yet they continued to obey orders after the war ended and during the Arctic winter, when temperatures dipped far below zero ... A vivid, well-researched history of one of America’s many misguided military expeditions.
James Carl Nelson
PositivePublishers WeeklyNelson narrates the expedition’s sung and unsung heroes, horrors, and other events, such as a minor but exaggeratedly reported mutiny that left one company’s reputation forever tarnished. Nelson’s engrossing narrative will engage military historians, political buffs, and general readers alike.
PositiveThe Real Book SpyRiveting ... Though there are small inconsistencies and a few issues worth pointing out ... Tyce’s story is strong. Additionally, the plot is unique and moves along at a brisk clip, never providing a down moment for readers to comfortably set the book down ... scores extra points for its originality ... Incredibly well-written and hopelessly addictive, Blood Orange is a top contender for best debut novel of the year, and Harriet Tyce is someone to keep an eye on moving forward.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThis gritty psychological thriller has a predictable twist, bit it’s still a page-turner that drives to a shocking and satisfying ending. Readers will eagerly await Tyce’s next.
PanKirkusSome late-breaking revelations almost make Alison slightly sympathetic, but not in time to overcome how dislikable she is. The rushed ending isn\'t entirely credible or satisfying, as Alison\'s unethical choices enable her to easily resolve all her problems ... Readers who enjoy wallowing in other people\'s misery will relish this disturbing story.
RavePublishers Weekly...engrossing ... Letts expertly illuminates the true story behind the tale beloved by so many readers through history, but best of all is the wonderful depiction of Maud herself. This is a crowd-pleasing, thoroughly satisfying novel.
PositiveKirkusThe Hollywood part is more entertaining even if some of it feels implausible ... Much is made in these pages about the power of make-believe, and while the book falls short of magical, it’s still an absorbing read.
PositiveBooklistWeisgarber...makes effective use of early Mormon history to explore moral choice, and compression in language, setting, number of characters, and chronology lends this tale an unusual force.
RavePublishers Weekly...marvelous ... This is a rich, powerful, and wholly immersive tale grounded in Utah and Mormon history.
MixedKirkusSynthesizing[,] sensitive and soapy ... The deftness of Gornick’s talent is visible in the hints and glimpses of the past that puncture the rather more rote accounts of the passing generations. The family secret, when finally revealed, is less a surprise than a confirmation of what has been suggested and tidily connects the foundational dots ...Finely observed and ultimately redemptive, but the gloom and reticence are overwhelming in this old-fashioned, rather too visibly predetermined family drama.
PositivePublishers Weekly...vivid ... Gornick’s prose is strong throughout; this is an intricately threaded story of family, secrets, loss, and closure.
RavePublishers WeeklyThe dialogue is clipped and astute, threaded neatly into delicately steely art by Sturm, whose naturalism is so pronounced that it takes only a few pages to forget that he has drawn all the characters as dogs ... This finely wrought, politically agitated graphic fiction recalls Raymond Carver, and speaks almost too painfully to the personal strife in today’s political climate.
W. Thomas Boyce
PositivePublishers WeeklyDrawing on 25 years of medical practice, along with the sad story of his orchid sister’s mental health struggles, Boyce weaves a fascinating story of discovery out of his experiments ... While the parenting advice is familiar and the prose too ornate in parts, the book shines when Boyce explains the results of his and others’ experiments in rich, elegant detail. His impassioned treatise makes a strong case, not just for Boyce’s view of child psychology, but for the policy reforms—family leave, state-supported childcare, early childhood development programs, and measures against income inequality—that would allow all children to flower into their full potential, and lead \'satisfying and meaningful adult lives.\'
W. Thomas Boyce
PositiveKirkusCiting exhaustive research studies conducted throughout his career, Boyce paints a compelling picture of how early childhood development and genetic makeup impact human life. Naturally, the book is full of medicalese, but for every set of data, the author backs up his work with conversational anecdotes, and his natural storytelling ability helps guide the book through the complex scientific sections. Though the book occasionally feels like a piece for a medical journal, the author’s findings are absorbing enough to keep readers engaged.
RavePublishers WeeklyGlass’s fierce and mesmerizing debut straddles the line between fable and novel ... surprisingly tender moments...offer respite from an otherwise challenging story as it leads up to its unforgettable twist ending. Making full use of metaphor, alliteration, and wordplay, Glass’s remarkable prose stretches the boundaries of storytelling throughout, adding depth and strange beauty to this vital novel.
RaveKirkusGlass’ stylized writing owes a clear debt to James Joyce’s experimental prose, something she acknowledges in a note at the end of the book. Although that\'s a difficult effect to sustain across even a volume as slender as this one, Glass’ prose is capable of breathtaking deftness. And the writing is much more than a gimmick: the clipped sentences and obsessive repetitions provide a terrifying window into a freshly traumatized psyche. With paragraphs that read like poems, this is a memorably crafted entry into the canon of revenge narratives.
PositiveKirkusLescroart plots so cleverly that he has you believing his split-level thriller is really a single foreshortened novel. The perfect read for those who agree that \'it’s only trouble if somebody’s shooting at you.\'
PositivePublishers Weekly...enthralling ... Sharp dialogue and a timely plot help make this entry a winner.
Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman
RaveKirkusAs the author connects the dots among American gullibility over fake weapons of mass destruction, chain restaurants offering faux authenticity, and her own psychological breakdown, the emotional honesty of her narrative permits no doubt ... Like the most discerning members of the audiences for whom Hindman played, readers may be left wondering what’s really real—and how it matters. A tricky, unnerving, consistently fascinating memoir.
PositiveCrime Fiction LoverCara Hunter may be a new crime author but she is already making a name for herself in the land of police procedurals. Her books are almost documentary in style, the action interspersed with news items, notes from police interviews and other meaty information, hitting the spot perfectly with its meld of clinical detail and depth of characters ... The investigation is painstaking and realistic in its pace, but things never drag because of the way you are treated to glimpses of the main characters’ personal lives. Hunter is adept at misdirection and you’ll be hard pressed to guess at how this one will turn out ... Although the final few chapters feel a little rushed after all the fine build up, it might be advisable to set aside a few quiet minutes to sit back and work out that’s just transpired. More Adam Fawley please!
RavePublishers WeeklyArresting, unnerving ... The painstaking work of Fawley’s highly diverse team emerges in transcripts of interrogations, emails, witness interviews, BBC scripts, and other documents that enhance authenticity. Hunter exposes human frailties such as social and governmental missteps and policemen’s personal mess-ups while celebrating the essential humanity of those sworn to serve and protect. Readers will eagerly await Fawley’s next outing.
RavePublishers Weekly[An] outstanding collection ... With no weak selections and several strikingly prescient ones, this collection shows its author as a master of narrative nonfiction.
PositiveKirkusA master of the craft offers up sprightly and fervent essays ... Intelligent, savvy, and stylish literary journalism.
RaveThe National Book Review\"... powerful, deeply reported ... With the same keen empathy [as in his previous book, Columbine], Cullen focuses on the extraordinary tale of how students in the city of Parkland metabolized their rage and grief into the powerful March for Our Lives movement and its ambition...\
RavePublishers WeeklyVivid, extensively researched ... Cinematically written, this powerful tragedy of racial injustice and urban dysfunction will make readers question the idea that America can promise \'justice for all.\'
PositiveKirkusCompelling and heartfelt, the author’s cinematic chronicle moves swiftly through these events, and embedded in this tale of gross criminal injustice is the frustrating history and scarred legacy of Cleveland... Through in-person interviews and extensive, diligent research, Swenson brings this travesty of justice into impressive, necessary focus ... In this sharply written, emotionally resonant rendering, the author makes crystal-clear the heartbreaking realities of wrongful imprisonment, race, and the many flaws of the American criminal justice system.
PositivePublishers WeeklyBusch’s exploration of her subject is free-associative, wide-ranging, and poetic in its own right. Her description of visiting New York City’s Grand Central Terminal is particularly striking ... Busch offers a path to quiet dignity that is rich and enlightening.
PositiveKirkusWith a tone that is more evocative than provocative, Busch meaningfully celebrates value where it goes unseen by others.
PositivePublishers WeeklyStirring, thought-provoking ... Throughout, Gay presents himself as fallibly human rather than authoritative, capable of profundity and banality alike. One’s reception of his work will depend on personal temperament; readers may be convinced of Gay’s delight without necessarily sharing it. Nonetheless, he is a remarkable expositor of the positive, and his writings serve as reminders \'of something deeply good in us.\'
PositiveKirkusEngaging ... this is not a saccharine kind of delight-making but instead an exercise in extracting the good from the difficult and ugly. Sometimes this is a touch obvious ... An altogether charming and, yes, delightful book.
PositiveThe Real Book SpyWhile some of Cumming’s readers will be disappointed that this book isn’t part of his popular Thomas Kell series, his latest standalone is nonetheless a solid, twisting thriller. After a bit of a slower opening, Cumming dials it up a notch, kicking off a blazing-fast second half that makes up for the leisurely start. While it’s fair to wonder how much of Kit Carradine is actually Cumming himself, the (real) author does a good job developing him enough that readers will care about the outcome, and the same goes for Miss Bartok, who’s a real scene-stealer throughout ... a wild, twisting, and fun ride from start to finish.
MixedKirkusThere is an odd pace to Cumming\'s novel; the early scenes unfold with an almost old-fashioned slowness, full of allusions to Casablanca and Cary Grant, that lends a romantic haze to the very 21st-century spy games ... But once Kit finds Lara, the pace rachets to a rather dizzying speed, and the climax comes and goes so swiftly there’s hardly time to absorb the action ... Seduces with its romantic settings and tantalizing touches of modern-day conspiracy.
MixedPublishers WeeklyUneven ... Cumming is a terrific stylist with a great sense of place, but the convoluted plot becomes tiresome. Readers will struggle to care about Carradine, a romantic dreaming of glory, who’s more sad sack than hero.
RaveKirkus[Luxenberg] carries it off in style ... Luxenberg brilliantly tackles a difficult task, presenting his solidly researched work clearly and with a restrained objectivity. The racial conflicts and conundrums emerge organically from the colorful stories of each of the principals, with the tragic ending always in view ... An engaging and sensitive exploration of America\'s detour from the promise of equal protection.
MixedPublishers WeeklyIn lucid prose, Luxenberg lays out the history of racialized segregation in the North and South of the United States and offers vivid portraits of main actors in this civil rights struggle ... Some readers may find this exhaustively researched account excessively wordy and too detailed, but Luxenberg provides a useful take on one of the Supreme Court’s most influential decisions.
MixedKirkusWith detailed descriptions and uneven pacing, the book sometimes feels overstuffed. Camille has a slow-burn romance with a biracial French/Indian balloonist, and race and racism are lightly touched upon. Camille’s first friend at court is gay, and here too homophobia is implied but is not explored in depth. Camille and other main characters are white ... Somewhat like its protagonist, Trelease’s debut at times falls a little flat despite its ideal trappings and never rises to extraordinaire.
MixedPublishers WeeklyWhile debut author Trelease’s twist on the Cinderella story offers some diversity with gay and biracial characters—Camille’s love interest is an aeronaut of French and Indian descent—too much attention is given to the minutiae and intrigue of court life, leaving themes of diversity under-explored. Nevertheless, Camille’s desire to be a voice of change for the oppressed will resonate.
PositivePublishers WeeklyLipman’s satisfying latest is a worthy addition to her long lineup of smart, witty novels ... In a lesser writer’s hands, the plot could have devolved into a soapy mess, but Lipman ably turns it into a charming romantic comedy. Lipman complements Daphne, Tom, and Geneva with a stellar cast of supporting characters (especially Jeremy, the sexy actor across the hall) and intelligent and lyrical prose, making this novel a delightful treat readers will want to savor.
PositiveKirkusIt\'s pretty silly, and very contrived, but this author has a black belt in silly contrivance and a faithful horde of fans who are looking for just that. Au courant elements like an investigative podcast serial, the television show Riverdale, and online courses for becoming a chocolatier add a fresh twist to the proceedings ... Lipman\'s narrative brio keeps things moving at a good clip.
MixedKirkus...readers are advised just to hang on for the ride and not to sweat the small stuff, like who killed whom and how come ... An irresistible premise and a fast-moving plot carry Housewright’s latest along for a miraculously extended flight before it sinks under the weight of its complications somewhere in the third act.
PositivePublishers Weekly...gripping ... Housewright draws the Twin Cities with lovingly detailed strokes. This tightly plotted installment with its many twists will satisfy both series fans and newcomers.
RaveKirkusThroughout her complex, consistently stimulating narrative, the author blends biography, cultural criticism, and journalism to forge elegant connections: Dickinson feeds in to Carson, who looks back to Mitchell, who looks forward to Popova herself, and with plenty of milestones along the way: Kepler, Goethe, Pauli, Henry James, Nathaniel Hawthorne ... A lyrical work of intellectual history, one that Popova’s many followers will await eagerly and that deserves to win her many more.
C J Tudor
RaveCrime by the BookSmall-town noir meets dread-inducing horror—a sharp, gritty story that draws readers into a community with an almost unthinkable secret at its core ... C.J. Tudor has proven herself once again to be one of the most exciting, genuinely unique talents at work in the genre ... From page one, Tudor’s devilishly clever and seriously unsettling crime novel grabs the reader by the throat, never relenting until the very last page has been turned… and maybe not even then ... a riveting, compulsively readable suspense novel from one of the best crime writers in the game.
C J Tudor
RaveKirkusWith Joe, Tudor avoids going the way of the unreliable narrator: He doesn’t lie to readers, even if he lies to others, and he has a snarky sense of humor that adds levity. Tudor maintains a tone of creeping dread throughout the book, of something lingering always in the background, coyly hiding its face while whispering promises of very bad things to come. In the last quarter, however, she goes for broke with outright horror, giving readers an effective jolt of adrenaline that will carry them all the way to the terrifying conclusion. Readers won’t know what hit them ... Tudor came out swinging with Chalk Man (2018), but this one puts her firmly on the map. Not to be missed.
C J Tudor
PositivePublishers WeeklySharply drawn characters illustrate the cyclical natures of violence and victimhood. Joe’s dark humor may balance the grim plot, but the epilogue is the stuff of nightmares. Tudor casts a searing light on the long-term damage wrought by grief, guilt, and regret.
MixedThe EconomistMr Clavin, whose previous book explored the legend of Dodge City, takes a swipe at an earlier Hickok biography as a \'somewhat mind-numbing saga of facts and disclaimers and rebuttals\'. Inevitably, though, in telling \'the true story\' of Hickok’s life, he resorts to disclaimers and rebuttals himself. Hickok may or may not have been mauled by a bear. He was said to have founded the Pony Express (he didn’t); he may or may not have had an affair with the besotted Libbie Custer. As the author says, the truth about some of these claims will never be known ... In Mr Clavin’s formulaic prose, men \'wet their whistles\' and prospectors are \'busy as beavers\'. Still, when Hickok becomes marshal in the cow town of Abilene, Kansas, the pace tightens. The stage is set for his stumbling descent into early-morning drinking, gambling losses and cruelly deteriorating eyesight.
PositiveKirkusClavin writes fluently and often entertainingly of a man shrouded in legend while being all too human ... The author also ably picks apart what is likely or actual from what is invented, including a whole tangle of tales involving a certain Calamity Jane and penny-dreadful stories that were circulating about him even while Hickok was still alive ... Good history accessibly and ably told.
MixedPublishers WeeklyRollicking but vaguely sourced ... The absence of detailed source citations and Clavin’s acknowledgment that many writings about Hickok are embellished or unverifiable suggest that this is less a sober work of history than an entertaining tale of the man and the legend.
RavePublishers WeeklyStellar ... The reveal of the stalker’s identity is a genuine gut-punch, albeit fairly clued. Kepler does a masterly job of elevating the serial killer thriller beyond genre clichés and tropes.
MixedKirkusKepler’s story is skillfully laid out, but it doesn’t stand alone as well as the preceding four volumes; the reader will want to catch up with them before attempting this one, with its unexpected villain and its depiction of a Sweden that, though tidy and with good health care and progressive prisons, seems to be a pretty dangerous place to find oneself ... Longtime fans won’t be disappointed—but only those longtime fans are likely to catch all the nuances in Kepler’s whodunit.
PositivePublishers WeeklyGrippando keeps the narrative moving forward at a steady clip, expertly interweaving each character’s point of view into the plot. He brings to life the fear undocumented immigrants face every day, as well as the complicated legalities they confront when arrested. Still, he never forgets that this is a thriller, and Jorge’s ruthless momentum keeps the tension building to a heart-racing climax.
MixedKirkusGrippando is equally skillful at ratcheting up the tension and plucking at your heartstrings. Only the ending, which acknowledges just how intractable the plight of undocumented immigrants has become, is a letdown.
RavePublishers WeeklyAs witnessed in this third collection, blackness cannot be confined to a simple definition. Parker writes of the black experience not as an antidote or opposite to whiteness, but a culture and community where irreplicable nuances are created in spite of, not because of, pain and trauma ... Parker uses personal narratives to deconstruct societal stereotypes of black womanhood.
RaveKirkusAs the works here quickly demonstrate, [it is] a mastery that transcends form ... The fragments from Collins’ actual life—first the diary entries and then the letters—are as arrestingly clear as the fiction, small and expansive at once ... Reading Collins work the same themes over again and again across mediums is a rare pleasure—as close as most of us will ever come to her spectacular mind.
PositiveLibrary JournalThose who read circus fiction will find some enjoyment here; for readers seeking novels about 18th-century porcelain; a fun holiday read for any contemporary romance fan; overall this is an entertaining and enchanting read—thoroughly delightful; recommended only for fans of Parker’s previous books
PositiveSmall Press Picks...entertaining and deeply affecting ... Allen takes us into the heart of...relationships, and into the interior lives of individual characters, creating an illuminating and satisfying experience for readers ... I came to care deeply about Antoinette and Sauer, and so many other characters in Tonic and Balm, which...is wonderfully strange and haunts the imagination long after the players have exited the stage.
PositiveKirkus\"... the best of these essays... provide textbook examples of the craft ... Most collections of previously published essays are necessarily uneven. This one is no exception, but the best pieces are worthy of inclusion in the Best American Essays series.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"Crenshaw’s evocative descriptions of place... balances well with his confessional style. Throughout this fine collection, Crenshaw proves a deeply self-reflective narrator, able to expose his innermost worries while remaining keenly aware of the world around him.\
RavePublishers Weekly\"What results is a riveting and emotional story line with parallels to the author’s life, which relies on plain spoken diction, repetition, and small moments of romantic desire to anchor its larger political themes. Moments of brilliance shine through... though some readers may feel that the story would be better suited to the stage.\
Philip K Howard
PositiveKirkusCiting everyone from Alexander Hamilton and James Madison to Winston Churchill, Tocqueville, and Studs Terkel, the author optimistically lays out a no-nonsense playbook for sustainable government and an American future driven by accountability and personal and political responsibility. However, this will only occur if the people demand an overhaul and if leaders are willing to initiate it ... With provocative arguments and convincing solutions, Howard offers a fresh, nonpartisan approach that will appeal to anyone frustrated with government’s ongoing failures.
PanKirkusSensationalized ... McCarten is largely dismissive of Benedict as anything aside from an academic ... Though the author is obviously more aligned with Pope Francis’ progressiveness, he does not spare the newest pope from scrutiny. He provides a disconcerting report of Francis’ career in Argentina, strongly suggesting that he was complicit, even if only through silence, with the brutality his nation faced in the late 20th century. Ultimately, though intermittently intriguing, this book is just another average addition to the well-saturated genre of Vatican intrigue works. Since the author fails to provide much new information or analysis, serious readers will want to look elsewhere ... Only slightly better than a tabloid look at papal controversies.
RavePublishers WeeklyOutstanding ... By juxtaposing past and present, the author keeps the tension high. The impatient may be tempted to skip ahead, but they shouldn’t. Thriller fans will want to savor every crumb of evidence and catch every clue. White is definitely a writer to watch.
PanKirkusAmong the too-many plot threads are members of a snake-handling fundamentalist church and guilt about what several characters did or didn’t do. In this debut, the author tries to build tension, but everything from lazy writing (one person “chortled”—who ever chortles?) to the constant back-and-forth chapters defeats that goal ... By the end of all the melodramatic twists, readers will have a hard time sustaining any interest in the protagonist, her relations, or her revelations.
RavePublishers WeeklyThe war on drugs is powerfully dramatized in Winslow\'s ambitious, dense and gritty latest ... Winslow\'s depth of research and unflagging attention to detail give the story both heft and immediacy, and his staccato, present-tense prose shifts easily among wildly disparate settings and multiple points of view. A complex plot, well-drawn characters and plenty of double-crossing make this a thinking person\'s narco-thriller.
PositiveKirkusA sprawling, old-fashioned saga ... you’ll need a scorecard to keep track of the quick and the dead. Winslow’s most ambitious yet, though its irony and pathos work better in individual episodes than across the whole broad historical canvas.
RavePublishers WeeklyFrom the 1936 Olympics to WWII Japan\'s most brutal POW camps, Hillenbrand\'s heart-wrenching new book is thousands of miles and a world away from the racing circuit of her bestselling Seabiscuit. But it\'s just as much a page-turner, and its hero, Louie Zamperini, is just as loveable ... Hillenbrand\'s triumph is that in telling Louie\'s story...she tells the stories of thousands whose suffering has been mostly forgotten. She restores to our collective memory this tale of heroism, cruelty, life, death, joy, suffering, remorselessness, and redemption.
RaveKirkus...another dynamic, well-researched story of guts overcoming odds ... Alternately stomach-wrenching, anger-arousing and spirit-lifting—and always gripping.
PositiveThe Christian Science MonitorThis is an intellectually waggish labor of literary love! ... Obscure anecdotes and metaphors abound; it’s wholehearted fandom of the written word.
PositivePublishers WeeklyBrief but insightful ... In the pieces about Chabon’s own work, he is especially strong in reflecting on his writing process ... Chabon’s range of interests, though it includes room for a cookbook, will chiefly appeal to his fans and to readers fascinated by superheroes and fantasy. Some of the intros reproduced could use introductions of their own, as it is disorienting trying to find a foothold into books one has never heard of (and few readers will be familiar with every single book). Nevertheless, the essays are intelligent and entertaining, and being none too long, can be read easily and quickly.
PositiveKirkusJoyous ... a common theme in this collection: Chabon, the fan, urging readers to read these stories ... Eclectic, exuberant fandom from Chabon.
RavePublishers WeeklyMorrison’s lyricism infuses the shifting voices of her characters as they describe a brutal society being forged in the wilderness. Morrison’s unflinching narrative is all the more powerful for its relative brevity; it takes hold of the reader and doesn’t let go until the wrenching final-page crescendo.
PositiveKirkusGorgeous language and powerful understanding of the darkest regions in the human heart compensate for the slightly schematic nature of the characters and the plot. Better seen as a lengthy prose poem than a novel, this allusive, elusive little gem adds its own shadowy luster to the Nobel laureate’s shimmering body of work.
Joshua S Goldstein
MixedKirkusA rational if somewhat unlikely strategy to reverse global warming using current technology and without self-denial ... the facts are certainly on their side ... Despite an avalanche of facts and statistics, the authors are taking a \'pro\' position on a debate they largely lost 30 years ago ... A reasonable argument directed at a lay audience, many of whom have already made up their minds.
MixedPublishers WeeklyMusing on xenophobia, forced migration, and fear of the other, this debut from Chess too often goes off track ... Chess has constructed a good premise, and part of the story has a satisfactory conclusion; however, the narrative frequently loses momentum. This confused debut will leave readers with more questions than answers.
MixedKirkusAn ambitious debut ... Chess’ fantastic worldbuilding is convincing; this depiction of mundane human psychology and behavior is not. Flawed but still impressive. Chess is a writer to watch.
PositiveKirkusStrom paints a portrait of small-town life that is sure to make readers shiver. He sets up a narrative space in which a young boy is looking for his mother and quickly swerves, giving us death, alcohol, addiction, drugs, sex, bigotry, all wrapped up in the neat package that makes up Holm. Shane is heartbreaking, and readers will have a hard time parting with him after the book is over. A powerful depiction of the currency of intolerance and addiction in one small town.
PositivePublishers WeeklyStrom’s insightful navigation of family trauma, sexual identity, and small-town despair blends with his chilling depictions of drug abuse. This bleak, unsentimental novel will resonate with readers who like gritty coming-of-age tales.
W. K. Stratton
PositivePublishers WeeklyThe process of making a great film is often as fascinating as the film itself, a point amply illustrated by Stratton ... Stratton’s thorough research yields a fascinating perspective on how Peckinpah created a western of unparalleled realism and intensity.
W. K. Stratton
PositiveKirkusMuscular study of Sam Peckinpah’s groundbreaking 1969 film ... Essential reading for fans of the epochal (and reportedly soon to be remade) movie as well as movie-history and Western buffs generally.
RavePublishers WeeklyAn outstanding collection written by 25 heavy hitters of speculative fiction, offering dazzling and often chilling glimpses of an uncertain future in which America teeters on the brink ... Each story builds a plausible extrapolation of the current world, and each character is well drawn. This bold collection is full of hope, strength, and courage, and will be welcomed by readers looking for emotional sustenance and validation of their experiences in a challenging time.
MixedKirkusDespite all the big names, there are great stories and not-so-great ones ... Overall, readers may find the collection to be a sort of inkblot test; those who feel optimistic about the future may find stories of fighting against oppression uplifting, but for those who already feel anxious, reading how bad things could get may be a bit nauseating ... A mixed bag of topical, speculative tales.
RaveThe Maine Edge\"A People’s Future of the United States: Speculative Fiction from 25 Extraordinary Writers... offers numerous examples of just how good that very best can be ... It’s rare for any collection, let alone one of this size, to be completely devoid of duds; most of these sorts of assemblages have at least a couple of pieces that don’t quite measure up. However, that does not seem to be the case here ... The end result is a rock-solid collection whose quality never wavers – every story is a standalone reward ... This kind of provocative and passionate writing illustrates just how valuable and powerful speculative fiction can be; these stories help show who we are by looking toward who we might become.\
Jonathan De Shalit
MixedPublishers Weekly...middling ... In between some exciting moments, readers will find themselves waiting around for something to happen. Those expecting to glean much inside knowledge of espionage from de Shalit, \'a former high-ranking member of the Israeli Intelligence Community,2 will be disappointed.
Jonathan De Shalit
PositiveKirkus...for all its narrative strains, the book is less driven by plot than the intricacies and inadequacies of relationships. In this, it is very much in the mode of John le Carré (whose books are discussed by two characters), though not as enticing or compelling as the master\'s best work. Equally committed to love and violence, Ya\'ara is such a strong character—a filmmaker when she\'s not involved in espionage—that one hopes she will return in a sequel that dives even deeper into her divided personality. A different kind of spy novel...a bit short on suspense but hums with drama and authenticity.
Boris Akunin, Trans. by Andrew Bromfield
RavePublishers WeeklyExcellent ... Akunin keeps the action fast-paced, and the logical twists head-spinning, without sacrificing humor or depth of characterization.
Boris Akunin, Trans. by Andrew Bromfield
RaveKirkusJust when you think you know what’s coming next, Akunin, the most audacious author of historical mysteries in the business, shows that he’s way ahead of you. Like-minded readers who can get past all those royal patronymics are in for a treat.
PositiveKirkusKoch is fond of arty flourishes but careful on matters of causation, noting that something like Kristallnacht would have happened anyway. Throughout, he places seemingly minor events against a much larger backdrop that takes in the murderous intent of the Hitler regime, the devotion of servants such as Joseph Goebbels to Nazism’s \'Big Lie\' and the ultimate fate of the Jews of Europe ... A footnote but one that will appeal to careful readers of modern European history.
Devi S Laskar
RavePublishers Weekly\"Laskar’s stunning debut skillfully tackles hefty topics such as bullying, racism, and terrorism in a mosaic, life-flashing-before-one’s-eyes narrative ... Laskar touchingly shows how Mother just wants to have a normal life with her family and rise above prejudice. Elevated by its roaming structure, this is a striking depiction of a single life.\
Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson
RavePublishers Weekly...[an] arresting and contrarian look at the planet’s demographic future ... Lucid, trenchant, and very readable, the authors’ arguments upend consensus ideas about everything from the environment to immigration; the result is a stimulating challenge to conventional wisdom.
Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson
PositiveKirkusA lively exploration ... Warnings of catastrophic world overpopulation have filled the media since the 1960s, so this expert, well-researched explanation that it’s not happening will surprise many readers ... A delightfully stimulating and not terribly controversial overview of human demographics.
PositivePublishers Weekly...[a] rollicking and occasionally rambling history ... Edgers has little to say about the faded rockers beyond the battles between the \'Toxic Twins\'—Tyler and Perry—and about the band’s declining popularity and mounting money troubles ... Edgers’s take on the rise of Run-DMC, \'smart-ass kids\' from Queens, meanwhile, is told more passionately ... Edgers, however, focuses less on the song’s broader cultural implications than the entertaining awkwardness of the recording, as when an MTV interviewer asked each group how they felt about the other’s music and received mostly blank stares. Nevertheless, this is a vivid snapshot of a unique moment in cultural history.
RaveKirkus...a powerful exploration ... Dube also offers insights into the trials of love and of middle age. His account of the end of a long-term relationship—with its pitch-perfect description of two people who still love each other who can’t admit they are breaking up—will resonate with many readers. A gripping memoir about a gay man with feet in India and the U.S. as well as a book about how to put together a life.
PositiveKirkusIn this open, honest tale, the author shares the intimate thoughts and feelings that led to her decision to adopt, to leave Peter, and to let Grace’s parents into their lives. The conversational tone makes the reader feel like a trusted friend as the author meanders through her thoughts on motherhood and the memories of her parents and childhood and of the men she was involved with prior to Peter. She offers interesting insight into the lives of those who adopt and those who give up a child for adoption, as well as the personal angst that goes along with such a decision. An expressive and love-filled tale of a unique adoption scenario.
PositivePublishers WeeklyMcGrady wrestles with gratitude to Grace’s birth parents, for finally giving her the daughter she’d always dreamed of, and concern for Grace’s (and her own) mental health with Grace’s birth parents living under the same roof for six months. McGrady’s memoir is a touching and honest adoption story.
RaveThe Real Book SpyThe must-read book of the decade ... powerful, raw, and at times, overwhelmingly heartbreaking ... Much like his fictional character, Winslow has spent a substantial part of his life following the drug wars. Known for his unprecedented research and expert-level understanding of how the cartels operate, Winslow’s knowledge and passion bleed through each and every page as he crafts yet another masterpiece that feels ripped straight from the headlines. In fact, it’s almost eerie how much Winslow’s plot mirrors real life, and even those who oppose his political beliefs will be forced to reconsider their position after taking in this story and seeing the vivid, heart-stopping image he paints for readers ... represents the most epic crime saga of our time, all told in a way that only he could deliver . . . and The Border is his finest work to date. While it’s sad to see this series come to an end, Winslow sends it out with a bang that readers won’t soon forget.
PositiveKirkusThe bad guys begin to drop off in a tale that’s part Tom Clancy, part didactic and ever-so-gritty how-it’s-done asides and part old-school shoot’em-up ... Jack Ryan’s got nothing on Winslow\'s guy. An action-filled, sometimes even instructive look at the world of the narcos and their discontents.
RaveKirkusWhether she is writing about her fraught decision to become pregnant with donated sperm, a friend’s bout with cancer, baking, the collective energy of the Women’s March, or a visit to the Foundling Museum, Hopper’s essays seem like love songs, as well: delicate, thoughtful elegies to friendship, compassion, and grace ... A fresh, well-crafted collection.
MixedPublishers WeeklySmart ... cultivates a voice that is sophisticated and analytical, but also earnest and eager, and her strongest essays balance these qualities ... skillfully uses personal anecdote ... Only rarely is she less successful, as in a disappointingly banal piece on \'How to Be Single.\' Much more often, she demonstrates how being deeply personal with the people in one’s life can help one to be critically engaged ... There is some to be passed over in these essays, but there is much more to be discovered.
RaveKirkusMendelsund, by day an art director and book-cover designer at Knopf, has a grand time serving up what would seem to be an extended metaphor for creativity, complete with some useful if sometimes strange pointers that would do Brian Eno proud ... Mendelsund’s novel of ideas makes a neat bookend to Richard Powers’s Galatea 2.2 as a study of creation in the age of the smart machine.
MixedPublishers WeeklyComically disturbing ... Slow to start, occasionally self-indulgent, but ultimately rewarding, this novel is absurdist, uncanny metafiction about the nature of identity, individuality, and authorship in an era of rapid technological advancement.
PanKirkusHere we have a story so common and oft-told it might as well have been pried out of Joseph Campbell’s mitts and summarized down through the ages as \'disaffected dude experiences existential angst\' ... There’s not much to first-person narrator Stanley ... An aimless story about an aimless young man.
PositivePublishers WeeklyEthereal and ruminative ... Enmeshed in precocious Luisa’s inner world, readers follow surreal fantasies and fascinations ... The book functions more like a mood piece than a traditional novel, a fitting choice in rendering Luisa and Tomás’s life as runaways. Brilliant in her ability to get inside the head of her young narrator, Aridjis skillfully renders a slightly zonked-out atmosphere of mystery and the mind of a young romantic, resulting in a strange and hypnotic novel.
PanKirkusWhat Aridjis makes of this surprising story is…rather boring. The book is half over before the heroine embarks on her quest, and nothing we learn in the first half of the story explains why Luisa would do something so capricious. At the same time, it’s hard to care. For a novel in which shipwrecks and the denizens of the ocean floor are recurring metaphors, this book seldom dives into the narrative. Instead of depth, we get a baroque style that doesn’t add much to our enjoyment or understanding ... References to 1980s punk and New Wave will be nostalgic landmarks for many readers, but we learn very little about Luisa beyond her taste in music ... There are eccentric characters and sensational incidents, but we never go below the surface ... A shallow coming-of-age fable.
PositivePublishers WeeklyExcellent and timely ... Throughout, Lichtman expertly infuses his multicontinental narrative with humor and humanity, suggesting the dangers of intolerance while also poking fun at the white savior trope. Jonas may be helping others to make himself feel whole, yet his heartfelt actions stick with the reader in this winning novel.
MixedKirkusThoughtful ... A bit short on narrative drive, but Lichtman’s low-key treatment of two highly charged subjects is refreshing.
RavePublishers WeeklyOutstanding ... Kimber’s complicated personality and unusual family life drive the ever-twisting, surprise-filled plot. Angry and jealous as a child and teenager, and now a cold, prickly adult, Kimber is the epitome of the unreliable narrator. Readers will enjoy vicarious chills in her company.
MixedKirkusReaders may not exactly root for Kimber, but it’s hard not to sympathize with the helplessness and rage she feels at the general unfairness of her home and life being taken over by a smug, smarmy intruder. Benedict also provides a window into Kimber’s combative relationship with her sister and the tragic events leading up to Michelle’s death. Benedict is an able writer, but readers will likely guess who Kimber’s unwanted house guest is quickly, and the big reveals (there are a few) and final confrontation, orchestrated to be shocking, merely expose the frayed ends of this melodramatic tale ... Unconvincing.
RavePublishers WeeklyMasterful ... Strawser’s novel expertly dials up the danger; it works equally well as an airtight thriller and a memorable depiction of an old friendship growing increasingly strained. Fans of well-written suspense are in for a treat.
PositivePublishers WeeklySometimes grim, sometimes exuberant ... juxtaposes suburban banality with grungy punk clubs, Quaaludes and heroin, and furtive men’s-room hookups, in a stew of atmospheric prose ... Oseland’s adolescent sulks sometimes grate, but at his best he presents an engrossing portrait of his emergence from childhood constraints into a frightening, exhilarating adult world.
PositiveSmart Bitches Trashy BooksEverything I ever hoped and dreamed I could find in this subgenre ... Because the book is firmly from Ada’s perspective, there are lulls in the action. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it did create some pauses that were longer than I wanted ... exciting. It’s funny. It’s fan-fucking-tastic. My quibbles are minor in comparison to the joyful Good Book Noises I made while reading this.
PositiveKirkusHigh-tech action, political intrigue, and steamy romance ... Fast-paced space opera, filled with daring rescues and blaster fire, thrown into high gear by the passionate romance between the lead characters.
PanPublishers WeeklyThe opener to Mihalik’s debut trilogy, a simplistic space opera with a side of erotica, starts far too slowly and fails to build dramatic tension even in its most frantic escape scenes, while both character and plot development lean toward the bland and stereotyped ... Mihalik‘s storytelling leaves an impression of having checked off plot requirements and never draws readers into Ada’s world, leaving them bored well before the end.
MixedKirkus\"Barkan’s punchy prose is terrific, but the novel never really crystallizes, shifting amorphously from superhero satire to gritty urban noir, punctuated by first-person chapters that sometimes disrupt the third-person flow. There\'s a dash of Bradbury, a healthy helping of Anthony Burgess, a scary reflection of our Orwellian times, and a bit of kink in Devora, Chase Dimon’s strap-on–wielding dominatrix widow. A funky sci-fi satire with something for everyone, but perhaps not quite what they expected.\
PositivePublishers WeeklyThis sprawling yet astute collection revisits the brutal history that enabled the election of Trump ... McCrae is at pains to show how, in Trump’s America, the mere fact of blackness is often a threat to whiteness ... In McCrae’s timely observations, the American Dream is an illusion that silences its victims.
PositivePublishers Weekly...clever and evocative ... Shapton inventively explores the space between presence and absence, craftily blending images and text to articulate what cannot be explained, only sensed, making for a uniquely haunting and uncanny work.
PositiveKirkus...diffuse and eerie, more often mood than assertion or plot ... Shapton\'s vignettes are at their strongest when she imagines the hidden lives of inanimate objects ... There\'s often a playfulness to her texts, too ... A strange and haunting art project.
PositivePublishers WeeklySweeping yet intimate ... Wright’s nonchronological zipping between characters creates a complex, engaging mosaic leavened with wry humor. Real and imagined scholarly citations provide context, and a subplot about the soda’s secret ingredient offers intrigue. This smart and tragic exploration of American history will make a splash among fans of family sagas.
MixedKirkusThe plot’s discontinuity is aggravated by an insouciant disregard for chronology. An arch, omniscient authorial voice dips into multiple psyches, and here Wright almost succeeds in holding our interest ... Flashbacks and flash-forwards abound, and often, on the verge of a crucial revelation, the action digresses along some anecdotal path, never to return ... Too much exposition is not the problem here—it\'s too little relevant information.
Thomas Christopher Greene
PositivePublishers WeeklyRiveting ...With adroit pacing, Greene reveals the decisions that shaped them both, brought them together, and now jeopardize their future. Shifting perspectives illuminate the gap between how they perceive themselves and how they view each other. Despite a rushed climax, fans of domestic suspense will be well satisfied.
PositivePublishers WeeklyTerrific ... a smartly constructed narrative ... Jenoff allows [the characters\'] distinct personalities to shine. This is a mesmerizing tale full of appealing characters, intrigue, suspense, and romance.
PanKirkusIn any spy thriller clear timelines are essential: Jenoff’s wartime chronology is blurred by overly general date headings (e.g., London, 1944) and confusing continuity. Sparsely punctuated by shocking brutality and defiant bravery, the narrative is, for the most part, flabby and devoid of tension. Overall, this effort seems rushed, and the sloppy language does nothing to dispel that impression ...A sadly slapdash World War II adventure.
Robert Jackson Bennett
MixedKirkusThe satire is barn-door broad, the shots scattered, but Bennett has the trend lines just right, and even if his targets are sometimes too obvious, he can write up a storm ... Turn off the tube and read a book—this book in particular, which promises trouble if you don’t.
RavePublishers WeeklyOutstanding ... Frances, who keeps the suspense high as the action accelerates toward the shattering finale, reinforces her position as a writer to watch.
Deborah E Lipstadt
PositivePublishers WeeklyKeeping her tone measured, unaccusing, and carefully noninflammatory, Lipstadt presents an intelligent, evenhanded explanation of how Jews come under attack today for appearing white and privileged, and the book’s civil conversation might well sway more readers than a ringing denunciation. Informed, historically sound, and deeply rational, Lipstadt’s book offers both convincing reasons for the recent rise of anti-Semitism and apt advice to \'call out and combat\' it.
Deborah E Lipstadt
MixedKirkusThe epistolary structure is unvarying, so some readers may find it artificial and tiresome—but as the information in each piece of correspondence builds on the previous letters, a coherent and frightening narrative begins to take shape ... A didactic tour de force presented approachably.
PositiveKirkusPoignant ... The author’s journey of familial love and fearless motherhood will particularly resonate with parents of transgender children and anyone who has struggled to be loved or accepted ... An emotionally saturated memoir: dynamic, moving, and colorful.
PositivePublishers WeeklyPatterson leaves no emotional stone unturned in her powerful chronicle of her experiences ... Patterson’s raw tour de force illustrates the strength of a loving and determined mother.
RavePublishers WeeklyHeartfelt and thrilling ... Chen’s concept is unique, and Kin’s agony is deeply moving. His choices are often selfish but entirely understandable; he is human, with good intentions and profound flaws. Quick pacing, complex characters, and a fascinating premise make this an unforgettable debut.
PositiveKirkusPlot holes are neatly sidestepped as Kin explains who can time travel, when and how often, what the grandfather paradox is, and why he can\'t bring his daughter with him to 2142. Naturally, it takes time to set out the rules, and the explanations don\'t all make sense, but Kin\'s story isn\'t primarily about time machines or the Museum of the Modern Era that serves fast food as a curiosity in 2142. It\'s about a father who learns the value of being honest and authentic with the daughter he loves because in the end, there is never enough time ... A subtly woven meditation about the fragility of time raises the bar in this smart, fun, and affectionate story.
PositiveCrime Fiction LoverCorry shows skill in juggling all the strands and not getting you tangled up in unnecessary detail. Her style is crisp and her central characters are well rounded, although some of the bit players teeter on the edge of caricature at times. This is a novel that will sweep you along, although the final chapters put on the brakes somewhat and steer a little over that finely-drawn line into the implausible. Those moments aside, this is an enjoyable psychological thriller with some smartly executed twists and turns. If you haven’t encountered her before, it’s time to add Jane Corry to the list of authors to look out for.
PositiveKirkusAn electrifying, page-turning thriller simply begging to be filmed.
MixedPublishers WeeklySlow-building but ultimately gripping ... For those willing to press on through the somewhat deliberate first half, Corry delivers several satisfying plot twists as well as a meditation on the nature of family.
RavePublishers WeeklyStunning ... Incisive character studies, seamless plotting, and a breathtaking final reveal make this a standout.
PositiveKirkusThis is not a mystery, though there is a big twist at the end, nor is it a thriller, though there is much psychological tension. Rather, this is a novel of the #MeToo era; a story about all the jagged fragments that so many women have kept hidden in shame, about the moments they remember from their pasts that make them wonder, \'Did I deserve this? Did I ask for it?\' This book, through Bridget’s story, unequivocally answers, \'No. You are not damaged, you are not unlovable\' ... A slow-paced novel that builds empathy; thought-provoking rather than entertaining.
PositivePublishers Weekly\"Both Eggers\'s fans and those previously resistant to his work will find a spare but moving elegy for the American century.\
RaveKirkus[Eggers] masters the hurry-up-and-wait rhythm of Alan’s visit, accelerating the prose when the king’s arrival seems imminent then slackening it again. If anything, the novel’s flaws seem to be products of too much tightening: An incident involving a death back home feels clipped and some passages are reduced to fablelike simplicity. Even so, Eggers’ fiction has evolved in the past decade. This book is firm proof that social concerns can make for resonant storytelling.\
PositiveKirkus\"... [Whitehead will] likely reach a wider readership with his warmest novel to date. Funniest as well ... the first-person narrator has the novelist’s eye for detail, craft of character development and analytical instincts for sharp social commentary. Not as thematically ambitious as Whitehead’s earlier work, but a whole lot of fun to read.\
RavePublishers Weekly\"Benji\'s funny and touching story progresses leisurely toward Labor Day, but his reflections on what\'s gone before provide a roadmap to what comes later, resolving social conflicts that, at least this year, have yet to explode.\
Amy S Greenberg
RavePublishers WeeklyA stellar biography ... Sarah Polk comes alive in these pages, with Greenberg expertly illuminating the intersections of the public and private, providing readers a refreshing new way to look at 19th-century American political and social history. This is a highly recommended work.
Amy S Greenberg
PositiveKirkusThough she is largely forgotten, this concise but thorough biography brings her back into the light ... An illuminating study of a nontraditional female powerhouse.
RaveKirkusHarper’s masterful narrative places readers right in the middle of a desolate landscape that’s almost as alien as the moon’s surface, where the effects of long-term isolation are always a concern. The mystery of Cam’s death is at the dark heart of an unfolding family drama that will leave readers reeling, and the final reveal is a heartbreaker ... A twisty slow burner by an author at the top of her game.
RaveCrime by the BookThe real impact comes not in flash or drama, but in the quiet, methodical way in which Michaelides lays bare the innermost workings of his characters ... an outstanding debut crime novel that forges its own path, delivering intelligent character study and masterful plotting, all wrapped up in hypnotic writing from which you won’t want to tear yourself away.
RavePublishers WeeklyThis edgy, intricately plotted psychological thriller establishes Michaelides as a major player in the field.
PanKirkusThe narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia\'s diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia\'s diary you\'ll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you\'ve ever seen ... While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud ... Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.
RaveKirkusIn his second book, Boeck...works hard—and mostly successfully—\'to reconcile the bold, uncompromising, and sympathetic Sholokhov…with the vindictive, mean-spirited man described in many accounts of late Soviet history\' ... Boeck displays his wide range of knowledge of the Soviet Union and delivers an insightful, gripping, squirm-inducing portrait of a great author who loyally served his government—perhaps too loyally.
RavePublishers WeeklyBoeck...paints a nuanced portrait in this literary biography of a Nobel Prize–winning Russian novelist and accused (but exonerated) plagiarist ... Boeck vividly relates how Sholokhov, whose fate \'hinged on satisfying a dictator’s literary cravings,\' reached success during a time when other Soviet authors were being censored and imprisoned (and accusing Sholokhov of plagiarism) ... Boeck’s portrayal of his subject’s international ill-fame, habit of hiding his emotions, clashes with Stalin’s successor Khrushchev, and drinking bouts make this a deeply engaging take on an important literary figure.
RaveKirkusThis honest and unflinching story of toil, tears, and triumph is a musical love letter that proves literary lightning does indeed strike twice ... Bri\'s journey is deeply personal: small in scope and edgy in tone. When Bri raps, the prose sings on the page ... Most importantly, the novel gives voice to teens whose lives diverge from middle-class Americana ... The rawness of Bri\'s narrative demonstrates Thomas’ undeniable storytelling prowess as she tells truths that are neither pretty nor necessarily universally relatable. A joyous experience awaits. Read it. Learn it. Love it.
PositiveThe EconomistMs. Inglis untangles...contradictions with gusto, guiding readers from primitive Neolithic experiments with poppies to the modern \'war on drugs.\' Her narrative is propelled by savagery and greed ... Sometimes Milk of Paradise reads like fiction. Occasionally the author overcrowds this narrative with incidental characters; in what is a panoramic survey, she is prone to the odd tendentious claim. Nonetheless, this is a deeply researched and captivating book. The final chapters, in which Ms. Inglis escapes the archives, are especially compelling. Her interviews provide rich insights into the modern heroin trade.
PositiveKirkusA sweeping, panoramic history of opium and its deep roots in a vast array of societies and cultures ... A well-crafted history of civilization seen through the prism of one of the most profitable agricultural products in human history.
Katherine S. Newman
PositiveKirkusA clear presentation of the retirement problem in the United States ... The stories sometimes drag, but the facts are undeniable and well-presented, and the message is clear.
PositivePublishers WeeklyIn this enlightening study, judge and historian Gergel illuminates the far-reaching effects of an individual act of cruelty ... Gergel’s prose is workmanlike, and he narrates this story in greater detail than some readers may desire, but this is an important work on the prehistory of the civil rights struggle and an insightful account of how a single incident can inspire massive social and political changes.
RaveKirkusGergel is both an astute researcher and an engaging writer, bringing this significant story to vivid life. Civil rights history at its most compelling.
MixedPublishers WeeklySometimes puerile but otherwise accessible ... Benford’s blend of hard science, pop culture, and character study is entertaining, but the hypersexualization and commodification of women throughout the book, coupled with Charlie’s own misogynistic outlook, make the story as a whole feel dated and disappointingly immature.
PositiveKirkusA rousing, straight-from-the shoulder call for a new approach to treating depression ... Bullmore’s involvement with a research program at the pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline, an arrangement he is quick to acknowledge, may raise questions about his interest in the development of new anti-inflammatory drugs to treat depression, but his insights into depression and its treatments are impressive and valuable. The black-and-white illustrations vary widely in quality, from woodcuts and engravings to some rather amateurish original drawings ... Aimed at the general public, highly readable, and more than a little provocative.
MixedPublishers Weekly[Bullmore] may raise some eyebrows when he positions himself as an underappreciated maverick struggling against an oblivious medical establishment. However, he stops short of recommending anything other than further research, admitting that his ideas are still unproven, while leaving general readers with a well-informed and cogently argued brief for funding and more investigation in the field.
RavePublishers WeeklyMorrison\'s sparkling narration has a musical quality—her sonorous voice capturing the essence of her characters—and conveys a wide range of emotions, often within a single sentence. Although Morrison doesn\'t create accents or particularly distinct voices for all the characters, her reading is compelling and will make listeners care deeply about her characters and their fragile futures.
RaveKirkusA deceptively rich and cumulatively powerful novel. At the outset, this might seem like minor Morrison ... Ultimately, the latest from the Nobel Prize–winning novelist has something more subtle and shattering to offer than such social polemics. A novel that illuminates truths that its characters may not be capable of articulating.
RavePublishers Weekly\"Oyeyemi wields her words with economy and grace, and she rounds out her story with an inventive plot and memorable characters.\
RaveKirkus\"... riveting, brilliant and emotionally rich ... Dense with fully realized characters, startling images, original observations and revelatory truths, this masterpiece engages the reader’s heart and mind as it captures both the complexities of racial and gender identity in the 20th century and the more intimate complexities of love in all its guises.\
Clayton M Christensen
PositivePublishers WeeklyThe authors thoroughly and accessibly outline the basis for their logic and the potential barriers to innovations in devastated economies, drawing on examples of successful market-creating innovations such as the Ford Model T and the more contemporary example of Tolaram, a Singaporean company that, in order to sell instant noodles in Nigeria, ended up building infrastructure there to support manufacturing and distribution. Not all readers will find the emphasis on economic development over other goods morally appealing, but this book upends the typical ways of thinking and talking about poverty in developing countries.
Clayton M Christensen
PositiveKirkusTheir extensive notes may seem a touch daunting, but they lend a case-study aspect to a book that will be valuable to business readers ... Of considerable interest to investors in emerging economies as well as development specialists and policymakers.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThe varied settings and story lines effectively showcase Hart’s versatility.
RaveKirkusThe whodunit aspect surrounding this death pales against the dark sexual and psychological currents that ripple among the girls (and Coach); the question of who is emotional victim versus who is predator becomes murkier and more disturbing than any detective puzzle. Compelling, claustrophobic and slightly creepy in a can’t-put-it-down way.
PositivePublishers Weekly\"Abbott’s writing in her sixth novel is deliciously slick and dark, matching her characters’ threatening circumstances, and the plot is tight and intense, building a world in which even the perky flip of a cheerleader’s skirt holds menace.\
PositiveKirkuschumann’s is a carefully-constructed novel that skillfully weaves past and present, slowly planting clues that help unlock the narrative’s central mystery while ratcheting up tension. Though the prose is often plain, the fast-moving plot and compelling, layered characters make for an addictive and incredibly timely read ... A page-turner that also speaks to broader questions of sexual abuse, family loyalty, and the mutability of memory.
RaveKirkusScharer sets her viewfinder selectively, focusing on her heroine’s insecurities as much as her accomplishments as an artist; her hunger to be more than \'a neck to hold pearls, a slim waist to show off a belt\' is contrasted with her habit of solving problems by simply leaving. The price for Lee is steep, but it makes for irresistible reading ... Sexy and moving.
RavePublishers WeeklyScharer’s brilliant portrayal of the complicated couple features a page-turning story and thrillingly depicts the artistic process.
Charlie Jane Anders
RavePublishers Weekly[A] riveting genre-bender ... Anders’s worldbuilding is intricate, embracing much of what makes a grand adventure: smugglers, revolutionaries, pirates, camaraderie, personal sacrifice, wondrous discovery, and the struggle to find light in the darkness. This breathlessly exciting and thought-provoking tale will capture readers’ imaginations.
Charlie Jane Anders
RaveKirkusWatching Sophie come into her own and gradually (and almost too late) realize that the Bianca she loves doesn’t exist is inevitable, sad, and, eventually, empowering ... Anders contains multitudes; it’s always a fascinating and worthwhile surprise to see what she comes up with next.
RavePublishers WeeklySubstantial ... This insightful, excellent book, with its new perspective on an element of American history that is almost totally excluded from mainstream education and knowledge, should be required reading for those on the mainland.
RaveKirkusRichly detailed, thoroughly researched ... mmerwahr animates the narrative with a lively cast of characters ... A vivid recounting of imperial America’s shameful past.
PositiveKirkusThe second prequel to Finch’s Victorian series, rich in period minutiae, unveils the frightening power of the uppermost classes.
MixedPublishers WeeklyAn intriguing plot redeems in part Finch’s otherwise disappointing 12th Charles Lenox mystery ... Some interludes fall flat, and the characterization isn’t up to the standard of earlier entries in the series. Hopefully, Finch will return to form next time.
RaveKirkusAn unusual and intriguing travel book, into the world beneath the world we know ... Without belaboring the point, Hunt alludes to conjecture that all of life might have started underground, that it retains a revelatory diversity, and that the level below the Earth could be a womb as well as a tomb ... compelling ... A vivid illumination of the dark and an effective evocation of its profound mystery.
PositivePublishers WeeklyAlong the way, Hunt introduces readers to fascinating people obsessed with the underground ... At times, Hunt’s claims for his subject’s importance can be grandiose...but he is always entertaining, and this brisk work, rife with intriguing characters and little-known traditions and communities, will leave many readers wanting to dig deeper into the worlds hiding beneath their feet.
PositiveKirkusEvery racial stereotype about black people comes to boisterous, blistering life in this outrageous first novel--a grand guignol comic book that draws from both racist kitsch and Afro- American high culture ... Totally in-your-face, sexually explicit, postmodern ... here are patches of hilarious doggerel, and bursts of iconographic high jinks. James\'s raucous debut is by far the best novel to emerge from New York\'s Lower East Side literary scene.
MixedPublishers WeeklyThere is imagination and wicked humor in all of this, as well as some piercing insight. But the flow of images is so wild and relentless that it becomes numbing, and its impact is lost. The eschewal of traditional narrative makes the book so filmic that tired readers may deem it unsuited for the page, wishing instead for what would be a spectacular--if technically onerous--movie.
PositivePublishers WeeklySet in James\'s native Jamaica, this dynamic, vernacular debut sings ... With gruesome and sometimes gratuitous descriptions of sex and gore, this isn\'t a tale for the faint of heart, but those eager for fire-and-brimstone lyricism will find this an exciting read.
Roberto Bolaño, Trans. by Natasha Wimmer
RavePublishers Weekly...a truly great writer ... There are copious, and acidly hilarious, references to the Latin American literary scene, and one needn\'t be an insider to get the jokes: they\'re all in Bolaño\'s masterful shifts in tone, captured with precision by Wimmer ... Bolaño fashions an engrossing lost world of youth and utopian ambition, as particular and vivid as it is sad and uncontainable.
Roberto Bolaño, Trans. by Natasha Wimmer
RaveKirkus...[a] blazingly original...masterpiece ... One of the most entertaining books about writers and their discontents since Boswell’s Life of Johnson. A brilliant novel, fully deserving of its high international reputation.
PositiveKirkusSome supporting characters in Maurice’s life are more vividly drawn than others, and his storytelling tends toward the meandering, but, in his defense, the tone never wavers over the course of five fine whisky-and-stout toasts, a credit to the steady thread of melancholy woven throughout ... Griffin’s portrait of an Irish octogenarian provides a stage for the exploration of guilt, regret, and loss, all in the course of one memorable night.
MixedPublishers WeeklySatisfactory ... While the plot hinges heavily on coincidence, and the device of addressing an absent son feels extraneous, Maurice is a likable and complex character with a voice that readers will be drawn to. Maurice’s humor, his keen observations on class and family, and his colloquial language, as well as Griffin’s strong sense of place, create the feeling of a life connected to many others by strands of affection and hatred.
RavePublishers WeeklyDynamic, sprawling, post-postmodern cyberpunk ... Maughan handles it beautifully with maximalist daring and depth; the result is an energetic novel about civilization as it races toward the ultimate overload.
PositiveKirkusYou never know quite what you’re going to get with journalist Maughan’s thoughtful dystopian debut novel, which offers a blush of cyberpunk, a shakerful of Neal Stephenson, and a dash of Cory Doctorow’s speculative fiction ... The story is a bit fractured in structure, but the characters are compelling, and it’s worth reaching the end just to find out how Maughan wraps up this Byzantine puzzle box ... An original and engaging work of kitchen-sink dystopia.
PositivePublishers WeeklyLipsyte’s pitch-black comedy takes aim at marriage, work, parenting, abject failure (the author’s signature soapbox) and a host of subjects you haven’t figured out how to feel bad about yet ... his takes its tone of lucid lament to the devastated white-collar sector; in its merciless assault on the duel between privilege and expectation, it arrives at a rare articulation of empire in decline
RaveKirkusAnother savage, hilarious black comedy from Lipsyte ... Once again, Lipsyte creates a main character whose lacerating, hyper-eloquent wit is directed both outward at the world—sardonic commentary on parenthood, class privilege, sexuality, the working world, education, ideas of Americanness and much more—and inward; Milo spares himself no degradation, no self-loathing, nothing. As it goes on one can’t help noticing, beneath the fevered playfulness, a deeply earnest moral vision akin to that of Joseph Heller or Stanley Elkin. The author’s most ambitious work yet—a brilliant and scabrously entertaining riff on contemporary America.
PositiveKirkusAn engaging and disquieting analysis of America’s recurring choice between \'a humane ethic of social citizenship\' and barbarism.
PositivePublishers WeeklyA deeply polemical work, and should be read as such, but it offers a provocative historical exploration of a contentious current issue.
Yuko Tsushima Trans. by Geraldine Harcourt
RaveKirkusLovely, melancholy ... always has great sympathy and a nuanced respect for her characters. Tsushima’s prose is achingly elegant, well worth lingering over. But there’s also a quiet simplicity, even banality, to her style and what she allows us to see of her narrator’s life: domestic rituals like waking up, washing, shopping for groceries, cooking, and all the rest. Grace hovers above the banal and the transcendent alike ... Each chapter is as elegant and self-contained as a pearl or a perfectly articulated drop of water.
Yuko Tsushima Trans. by Geraldine Harcourt
RavePublishers WeeklyGraceful, eye-opening ... Equal parts brutal and tender, Tsushima’s portrait of the strains and joys of motherhood is captivating.
PositivePublishers WeeklyFashion designer Mizrahi reveals the many layers of his exceptional life in this witty, intelligent memoir ... In luminous prose, Mizrahi chronicles not only the glamour...but also the low points of his life ... Loving descriptions of vintage fabric charm, as do earnest moments, such as meeting his future husband, Arnold ... a must-read for fashion fanatics.
PositiveKirkusWith an amiable, conversational flow, Mizrahi shares anecdotes ranging from childhood public shaming, which heightened his self-awareness, to breakthrough moments when his appreciation of sartorial elegance became a calling ... He writes frankly about necessity, sacrifice, and the struggle between his personal life and his desire to wholly immerse himself in the fashion industry ... The key to the warmth and overall success of the memoir is Mizrahi’s unapologetic, bare-all approach as he shares the best and worst aspects of his life ... A charming and witty memoir; required reading for fashion aficionados.
PositivePublishers WeeklyBrown (The Lilac Bouquet) tugs hard at the heartstrings with an emotional contemporary ... The author does a first-rate job of depicting the devastating stages of grief, provides a simple but appealing plot with a sympathetic hero and heroine and a cast of lovable supporting characters, and wraps it all up with a happily ever after to cheer for.
PositiveHarlequin Junkie...a feel-good story ... What I loved about Tucker and Jolene is that neither of them took crap for the other. They both had demons that haunted them, but they both fought hard to overcome them ... An amazing feel good story with a wonderful happily ever after that will leave you cheering.
RaveKirkusDaily Beast columnist Tomasky (Bill Clinton, 2017, etc.) confirms what we already knew—America is polarized—and masterfully charts how it always has been that way, especially at the beginning ... Refreshingly, Tomasky also offers \'A Fourteen-Point Agenda to Reduce Polarization,\' which includes a host of reasonable ideas ... Read this excellent book; it’s your civic duty.
PositivePublishers WeeklyTomasky proposes reforms to dial back differences to a level of \'manageable polarization.\' Some are feasible, such as replacing a year of college with a service year and working to end partisan gerrymandering, while others, like abolishing or reforming the Electoral College and increasing the size of the House of Representatives would be more likely to provoke new political conflicts. Tomasky’s insightful look at polarization in American life will remind readers it’s nothing new.
RaveKirkusAvoids the temptation to oversell his subject while maintaining a tricky structural balance. He somehow does full justice to the musical achievements of Q-Tip and his crew, to the influence of the musical world on this singular group, and to how deeply the experience permeated the young fan who might not have become a writer without their inspiration ... Even those who know little about the music will learn much of significance here, perhaps learning how to love it in the process.
RaveKirkusThe writing is deeply felt, unflinchingly honest, and openly questioning ... A rare book of healing on multiple levels.
PositivePublishers WeeklyContemplative and compassionate ... Bernard’s voice throughout is personable yet incisive in exploring the lived reality of race ... Bernard’s wisdom and compassion radiate throughout this thoughtful collection.
MixedKirkus\"... Finder works overtime to draw sympathy to a protagonist who creates her own problems with the dumb things she does and the obvious dangers she walks into ... Coming from an author known for his intense plots, Finder\'s latest is a rather mild work of suspense—readable but not all that suspenseful or compelling.\
MixedKirkus\"One can see the narrative gears turning very early, and as a result Clyde\'s decision isn\'t harrowing; by the time its necessary consequences unfold, a reader might be less moved than Adam hopes. It doesn\'t help that many of the characters are sketchily drawn at best ... In the absence of any emotional stakes, the last third of the novel unfolds like a generic thriller. That\'s unfortunate, as Adam has otherwise written an incisive and loving portrait of contemporary Trinidad ... A fascinating novel that fails to stick its landing.\
RavePublishers Weekly\"... excellent ... Throughout this stunning portrait of Trinidad’s multicultural diversity, and one family’s sacrifices, soaring hopes and ultimate despair, Adam weaves a poetic lightness and beauty that will transfix readers.\
RavePublishers WeeklyWells gives depth to a rousing but basically familiar action plot by turning it into the vehicle by which SecUnit engages with its own rigorously denied humanity. The creepy panopticon of SecUnit’s multiple interfaces allows a hybrid first-person/omniscient perspective that contextualizes its experience without ever giving center stage to the humans.
Andrew S. Curran
RaveKirkusLively ... Curran gamely sifts through the mountain of Diderot’s output without for a moment making it feel burdensome. Rather, he ably balances the details of Diderot’s life with thoughtful considerations of the source and depth of his philosophical byways, taking his more peculiar ideas seriously but not literally. Curran’s mission is served by his subject’s wealth of experiences ... An intellectually dense and well-researched yet brisk journey into one of history’s most persuasive dissenters.
Andrew S. Curran
RavePublishers WeeklyMarvelous ... much more than a biography, as Curran renders in vivid detail the social and intellectual life of 18th-century France ... Readers will be left with a new appreciation for Diderot, of his wide-ranging thought, and of his life as an expression of intense intellectual freedom.
PositiveKirkusHeger creates a light, bubbly, heart-filled environment in present-day California that will tickle any reader who has a weakness for mythology ... the worldbuilding takes a while to fully coalesce. The romance is adorable, though ... the cheekiness is positively infectious. An effervescent, pick-me-up romance.
PositivePublishers Weekly...a delightful romp through Greek myth and lore ... Filled with comical happenstance, a hint of mystery, and chapters of groanworthy antics, this promises to be an opus for those who love (and love to hate) love.
RavePublishers WeeklyThis superb new collection covers similar geographic, characterological, and thematic ground, yet finds Means at his most compassionate and mischievous ... stories contain told tales, creating an aura of oral history ... Means spins intricate, highly textured yarns with great artistry, care, and an acute, empathetic eye. Treasures abound.
RaveKirkusMeans’ fifth collection cements his reputation as one of the finest, and most idiosyncratic, practitioners of short fiction in contemporary literature ... Stories, Means is saying, don’t happen to us so much as they grow out of us, which makes them connective in the deepest sense ... magnificent.
PositivePublishers WeeklyA ghoulish question is at the heart of Bradley’s excellent 10th Flavia de Luce novel ... Bradley, who has few peers at combining fair-play clueing with humor and has fun mocking genre conventions, shows no sign of running out of ideas.
PositiveKirkusPerhaps the most consistently hilarious adventure of the alarmingly precocious heroine, who’s capable of confiding in her readers with a perfectly straight face: \'I don’t know if you’ve ever dissected a rat, but to me, there was only one word for it: exhilarating.\'
PositivePublishers WeeklyThis concise, well-reasoned treatise takes as its central question whether governments should make concessions—in particular, ransom payments—when dealing with political kidnappings ... He carefully and clearly presents the central arguments for both sides so that all readers will understand how he reaches his conclusion ... General readers will find the material enlightening, and those professionally involved will find it essential.
PositiveKirkusA well-formed argument against the doctrine of refusing to negotiate with terrorists to gain the release of hostages ... A persuasive argument that deserves to be heard in Foggy Bottom, the Pentagon, and other corridors of power.
Stephen Mack Jones
RavePublishers WeeklyJones effectively dramatizes the Trump administration’s approach to illegal immigration ... Snow, who is of mixed African-American and Mexican heritage, is an uncompromising crusader with a sense of humor reminiscent of Robert Parker’s Spenser. He merits a long literary life.
Kevin A Munoz
MixedPublishers WeeklyViolent, ambitious, and often preachy ... Rife with stomach-wrenching sorties against invading hollow-heads, this novel bitterly explores how a remnant of humanity can abandon its conscience for dark rewards. In ambivalent, constantly self-recriminating, and guilt-ridden Sam, it also traces a stubborn human refusal to abandon one’s post, and the insistence on atoning for losses that can never be regained. Prosaic supporting characters do little to expand this grim tale.
PositiveThe Real Book SpyQuirk’s latest feels like he’s been churning out political thrillers for decades, hitting on a timely plot that starts out fast and only speeds up as the story unfolds. The characters, mainly Peter and Rose, are developed enough that readers will care about and relate to them, adding to the tension and suspense as their fate hangs in the balance throughout. While this novel is a standalone, it does signal a new direction for Quirk, a former journalist, and readers will no doubt hope he leaves the military and action thrillers behind for more politically relevant storylines like this one ... delivers the first high-stakes, nail-biting political thriller of 2019.
MixedPublishers WeeklyUneven ... Quirk keeps the action moving at a cinematic clip. But Peter is too earnest by half, and those expecting nuance will be disappointed. Still, readers looking for a highly contemporary take on relations between the U.S. and Russia will be rewarded.
PanKirkusThough some of the spy stuff is so standard as to be silly, Quirk keeps things moving. But the spark and surprise of his past thrillers, such as Cold Barrel Zero (2016), are largely missing. And though Quirk has never drawn characters with much depth, the paper-thinness of Peter (who disdains the Hardy Boys but frequently seems to be emulating them) and Rose (one of whose main roles is to point out when Peter is bleeding) is disappointing ... Quirk goes for timeliness in imagining the Russians taking control of Washington, but while the book does resonate to a small degree with current events, reality beat fiction to such possibilities as our enemy owning a sitting U.S. president.
MixedKirkusAlpert, who specializes in looking into the dark potential of technological advancement, doesn\'t spare details in rolling out his vision. But that vision is ill-served by one-dimensional characters, an underfed story, and an overly familiar doomsday setting ... boasts a strong whiff of Trump (the corrupt president here suffers from frontotemporal dementia), but any timeliness can\'t make up for the absence of thrills.
PanPublishers WeeklyDisappointing ... Over-the-top developments undermine this as plausible prophetic speculative fiction.
PanPublishers Weekly...[a] scattershot jeremiad ... a disjointed rehash of leftish sociocultural concerns, from the looming robot takeover to the inauthenticity of digital sound compared to vinyl. Rushkoff’s theorizing is more free-associative metaphor than serious analysis ... People seeking a more connected, sustainable future should look for a better game plan than Rushkoff’s screed.
RaveKirkusTo help women navigate these late-life \'turns in the river,\' Pipher...offers practical wisdom based on interviews, research, and her own experiences as a therapist and aging woman ... Eloquently compassionate and sure to appeal to late-life women, Pipher’s book draws from a deep well of insight that is both refreshing and spiritually aware. Thoughtful, wise, and humane.
PositivePublishers Weekly...chock-full of wisdom and consoling messages. Attentive to varying experiences of class, race, gender, health, and marital status, even as she considers the deep \'challenges of aging, including ageism and lookism, caregiving, loss, and loneliness,\' Pipher offers practical, specific advice ... Pipher’s engaging book is an ought-to-read for...daughters and sons as well, as it sets forth the universal message that \'happiness is a choice and a set of skills.\'
MixedKirkusGiven the Whitby kids’ claims to shun their privileged advantages, the frequent references to fancy schools and Martha’s Vineyard vacations wear thin. The Whitbys increasingly come across as spoiled, self-absorbed, and ultimately trivial poor rich kids ... Roosevelt knows her terrain, but it remains unclear if she meant this family portrait to be as unflattering as it is.
MixedPublishers WeeklySolid ... Roger’s three children are not fully formed enough outside of his shadow, and consequently the narrative feels unbalanced on a character level. Roosevelt does a good job handling the twists and turns of an unraveling dynasty, making for a diverting yet frustrating novel.
Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
RaveKirkusFor all the emphasis on contemporary geopolitics, however, Owuor has ultimately written a novel that is about everything the war on terror cannot register: the vastness, complexity, and richness of East Africa\'s cultural world. She represents it as a stunning mélange of Islamic and African cultural traditions that are woven together via the motif of the sea. Pate becomes the epicenter of an ethos and a people who move freely, sailing without regard for cultural and national borders. The novel features an enormous cast of vividly drawn characters, from Chinese businessmen to Wahhabi Islamic fundamentalists. Its heart, however, is the quartet of characters who motivate the novel\'s primary narrative. Rendered in language that is heart-rendingly lyrical (even if it does border on purple at times), Munira, Ayaana, Muhidin, and Ziriyab are unforgettable figures. Owuor\'s language is so lush, and her vision so vibrant, that by the time Ayaana emulates Muhidin and embarks upon her own sea journey, it doesn\'t much matter; the reader is likely sunken down into the pleasure of Owuor\'s sentences. To do so feels like sinking down into the intricacy of East Africa ... A gorgeous novel of Africa\'s entanglement with the wider world.
Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
RavePublishers WeeklySprawling, beautiful ... Brilliantly capturing Ayaana’s sense of loss of her home and her family, as well as her hope for the future, Owuor’s mesmerizing prose lays bare the swirling global currents that Ayaana is trapped within. With a rollicking narrative and exceptional writing, this epic establishes Owuor as a considerable talent.
Maria Gainza, trans. by Thomas Bunstead
PositiveKirkus\"... Gainza writes a lingual picture of a woman who walks the echoing halls of Western cultural history with the intimate familiarity of an initiate while maintaining a sense of astonishment at the wonders of the everyday world ... Erudite and unusual, Gainza’s voice evokes both John Berger and Silvina Ocampo even as she creates something wholly new.\
Maria Gainza, trans. by Thomas Bunstead
RavePublishers Weekly\"Gainza’s phenomenal first work to be translated into English is a nimble yet momentous novel ... With playfulness and startling psychological acuity, Gainza explores the spaces between others, art, and the self, and how what one sees and knows form the ineffable hodgepodge of the human soul. The result is a transcendent work.\
PositivePublishers WeeklyInsightful ... Shortall’s thought-provoking potentialities combined with her perceptive characterizations are certain to keep Grace and Andy in the reader’s mind for a long time.
MixedKirkusGrace (who narrates the bulk of the book) has a straightforward, often droll tone, and Shortall in general focuses on small, daily details over sweeping, dramatic ones. This is a blessing and a curse; it tempers the high drama of the plot into something sweet and (almost) believable. But in the dance between the two she loses sight of the story of grief, which deserves more attention ... Strongest in its depiction of modern Dublin characters and their entertaining interactions, muddled when it comes to the meat of the story.
Edward O Wilson
RaveKirkusWilson [is[ a skilled writer who accessibly addresses lay audiences ... A lucid, concise overview of human evolution that mentions tools and brain power in passing but focuses on the true source of our pre-eminence: the ability to work together.
Edward O Wilson
PositivePublishers WeeklyWhile he does an impressive job in this short text of making the nature of the transitions clear, his explanation of group selection, in which evolution acts on a whole group rather than on individuals, and in particular the concept of eusociality is far too cursory to be fully understandable to the general reader ... leaves readers with a message that is optimistic and worthy of discussion even as it remains debatable.
RaveKirkus\"The writing in Czapnik\'s debut is sparkling throughout; her background as a sports journalist shines in the basketball passages ... Coming-of-age in Manhattan may not have been done this brilliantly since Catcher in the Rye. That comparison has been made before, but this time, it\'s true. Get ready to fall in love.\
PanPublishers Weekly\"... flawed ... Lucy spends most of the book wandering around Manhattan, giving her story a plotless feel. And Lucy and her friends sound way too mature and savvy for their teenage years ... Despite a lived-in sense of place, this coming-of-age novel seems to be about jaded young characters who have already come of age, leaving them—and the reader—with little room for emotional development.\
PositivePublishers Weekly[An] excellent comic dissection of Jewish-American life ... reads like Chaim Potok filtered through the sensibility of Mel Brooks. Englander writes cogently about Jewish-American assimilation, and, in his practiced hands, he makes Shuli’s journey, both outer and inner, a simultaneously humorous and deeply moving one.
MixedKirkusMight seem to be a satire, but it ends up feeling more like a straightforward, almost simplistic parable designed to teach a spiritual lesson, one which takes very seriously Orthodox views of the soul and afterlife. On the other hand, it contains what is certainly one of the weirdest sex scenes ever found in a nice Jewish story ... Again, Englander demonstrates his skill at placing timeless concerns of Judaism in sharply modern circumstances. This one feels oddly preachy, though.
PositiveKirkus...[Grisel\'s] account of her wayward early 20s, chasing one high after another, is harrowing ... Grisel writes clearly and unsparingly about both her experiences and the science of addiction—tobacco and caffeine figure in, as well—making plain that there is still much that remains unknown or mysterious about the brain’s workings ... Illuminating reading for those seeking to understand the whos, hows, and wherefores of getting hooked.
MixedPublishers WeeklyWeaving anecdotes of her ordeal—some funny, others embarrassing—with basic brain science, she explains how drugs work, why some are more effective than others, and how addicts differ from nonaddicts ... Concluding that addiction is complicated, she offers some insight but unfortunately, if perhaps necessarily, leaves readers of her thoughtful book with no solutions to the many problems associated with addiction.
Ted Fox and James Otis Smith
RavePublishers WeeklySmith’s exuberant lines ably transmit the book’s dense energy, as though the narrative is at risk of breaking its bounds, but his thin, rough characterizations don’t always do justice to the material. This is a vibrant, exultant, and soulful history.
Ted Fox and James Otis Smith
PositiveKirkusThis graphic treatment adds a new dimension to a music book that was already hailed as a classic ... This collaboration between Fox...and illustrator Smith represents a new experience for readers, one with an immediacy and vitality that text alone might never approach ... Fox and Smith effectively present the progression of entertainment styles from swing and tap dance through bebop, gospel and blues, rhythm & blues, soul, and rock. They provide an entertaining, lively narrative with profiles that match the spirit, drawings that seem as musical as the music described within the text. The renewal of spirit through this striking collaboration reflects the way the Apollo has renewed itself through the decades.
RavePublishers Weekly...stellar ... Newman’s novel expertly marries historical and contemporary, plumbing the rich, all-too-human depths of present-day New York and early modern England, and racing toward a well-executed peak. But it’s the evolution of Kate and Ben’s relationship that serves as the book’s emotional anchor, making for a fantastic, ingenious novel.
PositiveKirkusNewman is known for her bold imagination, and this kaleidoscopic novel is no exception. Like an apocalyptically tinged version of The Time Traveler’s Wife, Kate and Ben’s love story encompasses difficult questions: What is mental illness? Can art, or love, have power? Is humanity doomed? And if it is, then how do we create a life with meaning? And even though the novel’s dream-logic structure is challenging, Newman’s sentences, like the embroidery Kate practices, pull the story along with their intricate beauty. A complex, unmissable work from a writer who deserves wide acclaim.
Melissa Scrivner Love
PositivePublishers WeeklyEdgar finalist Love’s outstanding sequel to 2017’s Lola delves deeper into the complicated persona of Lola Vasquez ... Love crafts a first-rate plot, but this crime thriller’s real strength is the character study of Lola, who eschews preconceived notions of what a drug lord should be
Melissa Scrivner Love
MixedKirkusIt is a complicated story with many twists, and Love spends a lot of time trying to help the reader remember key facts and keep everything straight in a way that gets a bit annoying. You can’t help loving this coldblooded murderer.
PositiveKirkusThe idea that life derives its meaning from death is hardly new, but Horn manages to turn this commonplace notion into a powerful—and occasionally playful—exploration of what it is to be mortal ... This novel is more intimate than sweeping, though ... Some readers are likely to feel there’s not enough explanation [about the immortality], while others might feel that there’s not enough mystery. And there are moments when dialogue, character development, and storytelling are subordinate to the novel\'s conceit. These are difficulties any writer of speculative fiction will understand, of course, and this novel succeeds on so many levels that these are minor complaints. Poignant and thoughtful.
PositivePublishers Weekly...funny and compassionate ... Horn...weaves historical detail and down-to-earth humor into this charming Jewish Groundhog Day spanning two millennia.
Gary P. Pisano
PositivePublishers WeeklyPisano is particularly insightful on dealing with the uncertain initial stage of selecting one particular project to pursue from among different options. He concludes with possibly the trickiest task: creating the right culture for nurturing innovation. Incisive and relevant, Pisano’s primer will give executives much to consider.
Gary P. Pisano
PositiveKirkusDriven by his use of vivid examples, the narrative covers the types of innovation, from routine (ready-to-eat salad) to outside the home court (Honda creates HondaJet) to disruptive business model (Uber vs. traditional taxis); details what goes into them; and urges companies to pursue a balanced portfolio of approaches. Especially valuable is the author’s discussion of problems faced by multidivisional companies whose expertise is dispersed in independent silos that prevent them from bringing ideas together to exploit opportunities ... A useful manual for fostering a sustainable culture of change.
PositiveKirkusA gritty account of street combat against the ruthless fighters of the Islamic State group. In clear, thoughtful prose, Azad presents the experiences of many who responded to the jihadi threat in the Middle East ... A propulsive memoir that captures the grim reality of small-scale conflict and reveals the fragmented politics of the Middle East today.
RavePublishers Weekly...gripping ... While many sniper memoirs focus on the almost spiritual aspects of the craft, Azad takes a humbler, more earthbound stance: \'Any competent soldier can learn the basics of sniping in an hour.\' He is more passionate in discussing the progressive ideals of the YPG and Rojava. His story, elegantly told, will resonate long after the final ISIS fighter falls.
Robert H. Mnookin
PositiveKirkusMnookin offers qualified answers while providing helpful guidelines on such matters as raising interfaith children ... A wide-ranging, wise, and liberal perspective—perhaps enough so to excite controversy.
Ed. by Brad Evans and Natasha Lennard
PositiveKirkusNotable contemporary thinkers and creators give their individual perspectives in this compelling look at violence ... A provocative volume that challenges humanity to correct its runaway course toward an increasingly violent future by learning from its violent past.
PositivePublishers WeeklyAt first, the book’s theme feels forced, a way to connect the author’s unconnected findings and visits ... insights come along slowly, with their own kind of delay, in a book that often seems to take its time, but those who are patient with the author’s meanderings will be rewarded with paradoxical and thought-provoking ideas.
Daniel T. Rodgers
PositivePublishers WeeklyRodgers tracks the text in references across time, with highlights including the novels of Herman Melville, letters from the trenches of WWI, Liberian colonists’ writings, and finally a rejection of the sermon by 21st-century evangelical Protestants ... Through a winding, enthralling timeline, Rodgers successfully illuminates the strange history of \'a text that we think we know so well that we barely know it at all.\'
PositivePublishers WeeklyThis revelatory study by technology ethnographer Rosenblat ... makes clear that, contrary to the ads promoting Uber as a \'pathway to the middle class for anyone who wanted to drive,\' ride-sharing service drivers must struggle to make such work profitable ... This jargon-free and intriguing exposé offers food for thought for anyone interested in worker protections or societal changes driven by technology.
PanPublishers WeeklySprawling, underwhelming ... Although the plot speeds toward this climactic reckoning, the novel suffers from muddled timelines and excess exposition. Charlesworth spends much effort establishing George Benjamin Hill as a symbol of American capitalism run amok but never delves into his psychology or early personal history to make him more than a foil to his children. Charlesworth’s debut has an intriguing concept marred by a hasty, underdeveloped plot.
PositivePublishers WeeklyA well-constructed argument ... Kaufman is admirably careful not to take over the work of women and other marginalized people, focusing on educating and motivating his peers. This is a cogent, unusual call to action.
PositiveKirkusA rousing vision, though it’s hard to see where childless people fit into Kaufman’s otherwise inclusive and timely arguments.
PositiveKirkusA memorable book that is neither easy to classify nor dismiss.
PositiveKirkusRosenblatt...brings considerable scholarly substance to this work, though most of it forms the infrastructure for the accessible text ... There are some true surprises here, too, perhaps most notably the initial liberal opposition to women’s rights and a fondness for eugenics in the late 19th and early 20th centuries ... Fair, balanced, and chockablock with information and surprise.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThough the increasingly dangerous sparring between the pair does, inevitably, take on a somewhat stagy quality, the painful secrets exposed and the tragic linked past that emerges contain enough emotional truth to carry the day.
PositivePublishers WeeklyGrant capably combines a riveting plot and depth of character. His best outing to date, this standalone marks Grant as a rising genre star.
PositiveKirkusAnother solid and entertaining thriller.
PositivePublishers WeeklyMay sound like a tough sell, but Wired columnist Crawford convinces with impeccable journalism and empathetic portraits of rural communities and low-income cities in distress, the ails of which could be much alleviated by a large-scale federal investment in fiber optic connections ... Crawford’s work is both refreshing and potent in how it clinically identifies the problem, and proposes a straightforward, feasible solution.
RaveKirkusEssential reading for digital policymakers—and citizens seeking change in this arena.
W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV
PositivePublishers WeeklyNewcomers will find this a good entry point, and regular readers will be pleased that the authors have avoided the long-winded prose that’s marred recent entries in the series.
PositiveKirkusWrangham closely examines the social behavior of chimpanzees, who are far more disposed to violence than humans, as well as the ways of bonobos and other simians ... Wrangham’s book adds materially to a conversation that includes Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature, Matthieu Ricard’s Altruism, and other recent texts on human behavior.
PositivePublishers WeeklyWrangham...undertakes a thorough and persuasive examination ... Wrangham does not, however, propose that readers passively accept sanctioned violence as a necessary aspect of modern-day societies, concluding his well-argued treatise by rejecting the continued use of capital punishment [.]
PositiveKirkusButtigieg’s memoir/policy manual has all the signs of a book meant to position a candidate nationally, and his easy movement among and membership in many constituencies (gay, military veteran, liberal, first-generation American, etc.) suggests an interesting political future. For the moment, a valuable rejoinder to like-minded books by Daniel Kemmis, Mitch Landrieu, and other progressive city-scale CEOs.
PositivePublishers WeeklyButtigieg, mayor and native of South Bend, Ind., manifests a decent, positive, and reflective presence in this upbeat and readable memoir ... Buttigieg’s memoir is an appealing introduction of its author to a larger potential constituency.
MixedKirkusAmbiguous and infused with both fairy tale and matters more threatening, Brooks’ novel is persuasively descriptive...but doesn’t quite knit together. Deering’s semifarcical lechery, Lorna’s perplexing psychology, and the ends left dangling rob the story of conviction. A committed, stylish mystery better at composing its mood music than pulling all the notes together.
PositivePublishers WeeklyIn her hauntingly gothic debut, Brooks beautifully mixes bittersweet youthfulness with the stinging pain of past memories ... This quietly unsettling tale holds its secrets close, making for a powerful story of loss and longing.
PositivePublishers WeeklyRousing ... Benedict paints a shining portrait of a complicated woman who knows the astonishing power of her beauty but longs to be recognized for her sharp intellect. Readers will be enthralled.
Bridgett M, Davis
RaveKirkusHighly compelling ... Placing her subject in the larger historical contexts of the African-American and urban experiences and the histories of Detroit and of underground entrepreneurship embodied in the Numbers, and framing it within numerous vital postwar trends, the author is especially insightful about how her mother embodied the emergence of a \'blue collar, black-bourgeoisie\' ... This is not a story about capitalizing on degeneracy. It is one of hope and hustling in a world where to have the former almost demanded the latter ... This outstanding book is a tribute to one woman but will surely speak to the experiences of many.
Bridgett M, Davis
PositivePublishers WeeklyLively and heartfelt ... This charming tale of a strong and inspirational woman offers a tantalizing glimpse into the past, savoring the good without sugarcoating the bad.
RaveKirkusA conceptually ambitious and assured debut, successfully bridging memoir and literary criticism ... A work of incisive observation and analysis, exquisite writing, and an attempt to determine if there is \'any revelation that could lessen loss, that could help to make the fact of death okay.\'
RaveKirkusSthers has a fine sense for the way that the tragic, the comic, and the tender become mingled ... Her slim, swiftly moving novel describes the complicated relationships between siblings, a married couple, a man and his rabbi and still has room for a light critique of Israel’s policies toward Palestine. This is a book you can read in an afternoon, but it’ll stick with you for much longer than that ... Comic, moving, and occasionally profound, Sthers’ novel is a delight.
PositivePublishers WeeklySwerves from harshly funny to surprisingly touching ... Caustic and gentle jokes leaven the serious concerns about Israel’s militarized security, Jewish identity, and the dysfunction of Harry’s family. This moving novel manages a delicate balance between humor and tenderness among a family incapable of interacting without rancor.
RaveKirkusLeigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows (2015) and Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code (2003) converge in this dazzling new fantasy ... Readers will be fascinated by each cast member’s unique background and personal motives. Chokshi creatively reimagines history, weaving fantastical elements with symbology and broadening the scope of her narrative by integrating multiethnic worldviews ... An opulent heist adventure that will leave readers voracious for more.
RavePublishers WeeklySpellbinding ... Evocative writing, sumptuous set pieces, and vividly sketched, authentically flawed characters distinguish this immersive tale of found family and star-crossed romance. Kaleidoscopic narration complements the intricate, high-stakes plot and allows Chokshi to showcase numerous aspects of her richly imagined universe all the way to the closing cliff-hanger.
RavePeopleIf you’re not a fan of self-help books but seem to be looking for that spark of inspiration to get the creativity flowing, this book might just be the spark you need ... might be the funniest book you have ever read.
RaveKirkusThroughout this consistently entertaining book, she writes with unflinching honesty—and bald hilarity, especially as she encountered deadpan reality checks from her mother, sisters, and skeptical friends—about the throes of facing her fears, tackling money issues, living in the present, opening herself up to rejection, and getting over her hang-ups with men ... A winner. Bridget Jones meets Buddha in this plucky, heartwarming, comical debut memoir.
PositivePublishers WeeklyFrank, funny, and occasionally heartbreaking ... Already a bestseller in Power’s native England, the book will surely find a welcoming American readership. Power’s total honesty and openness will make readers realize that, at heart, everyone has similar secret fears and insecurities.
Jeremy N. Smith
PanPublishers Weekly...poorly sourced ... Smith, who presents Alien’s story, complete with dialogue and details from decades ago without any documentation, doesn’t even assert that he utilized his subject’s detailed diary or other contemporaneous records, and concedes that he changed certain facts. But even readers who put aside their reservations about the book’s credibility may find it hard to get engaged ... The writing is uneven at best, and neither Alien, who now works in information security, nor the people she interacted with leave much of an impression. This account fails both as a look at a person for whom living \'a normal, boring life… would be the hardest hack of all,\' and as a warning that there is \'no such thing as absolute security in this world.\'
Jeremy N. Smith
PositiveKirkusA novelistic tech tale that puts readers on the front lines of cybersecurity ... a fast-paced cautionary tale ... A page-turning real-life thriller, the sort of book that may leave readers feeling both invigorated and vulnerable.
Jayne Ann Krentz
PositiveLibrary JournalIncorporating emotional electricity, smart dialog, and her trademark soupçon of paranormal glamour, Krentz pens a twisted tale of insane greed and obsession that brings an uncommonly wicked villain to justice and deftly concludes the story begun in When All the Girls Have Gone...and Promise Not To Tell[.]
Jayne Ann Krentz
RaveKirkusKrentz rounds out her Quinton Zane series with a couple to root for, a tiny hint of the supernatural, a page-burning plot, a vanquished villain (of course!), a sexy, heart-warming romance, and a quick series check-in and wrap-up. Krentz never disappoints, and this one hits the sweet spot.
Jayne Ann Krentz
MixedPW...formulaic and lackluster ... Though there is little to set this romantic thriller apart, Krentz’s fans will enjoy the familiar elements and callbacks to previous installments.
RavePublishers WeeklyAn expansive, practical assessment of Aristotle intended to help readers navigate life ... handles weighty, difficult topics such as depression and everyday tasks such as preparing for an important meeting or job interview with the same measured, clear prose ... General readers might struggle with Hall’s level of philosophical discourse; however, for academics or the philosophically inclined, her book is an engaging, thrilling approach to Aristotle’s pragmatic thought. It is a useful introduction to the ideas of one of the most important philosophers in world history.
PositiveKirkus[A] nontechnical but deeply grounded discussion ... Can happiness come from virtue? This lively book makes a good argument in the affirmative.
PositiveKirkusGenerous and intimate ... a riveting account of the bond that saved two brothers from their tortured past while offering lucid glimpses into the meaning of Latino manhood ... A raw, emotionally intense memoir.
MixedKirkusUltimately, this remains more superficially focused on sparking potential romance than creating the same creepy thrills that made Schaffhausen’s debut (The Vanishing Season, 2017) so memorable.
PositivePublishers WeeklyFrequent references to the previous book’s plot may confuse new readers, but Schaffhausen succeeds overall, using emotionally complex characters and a swiftly paced, multifaceted mystery to entertain while exploring the deep and lasting effects of violent crime.
MixedForeword ReviewsThe book is written in crisp present tense, often with the rhythm of a ticking stopwatch. There’s an feeling of paranoia, with the leads constantly looking over their shoulders for spies and hurrying from one bit of business to the next. Setting details condense a lot of cultural context into an easily understood form ... This crime novel does not much turn the screws in on its characters, though. Even when thugs threaten them, they are not too intimidating, and results don’t always feel earned as much as they seem handed to characters. The plot feels constrained, with only a few named individuals playing a significant role ... riveting in its adaptation of historical realities into a thriller atmosphere.
PositiveKirkusFernandez’s prose is tight, and his descriptions of life under a corrupt government might well reflect our own current fractures in society ... A diabolically forceful crime novel that takes all the noir tropes and uses them in foreign territory to great effect.
PositivePublishers WeeklyCaptivating ... with clarity and a bit of awe, Deghan describes Afghanistan’s great geological past and its \'dramatic and largely unappreciated biodiversity\' ... leaves readers with an optimistic message that, in any sphere of life, effective collaboration toward common goals can benefit everyone.
MixedKirkusIntriguing, detailed, frequently unnerving ... however, animals are largely absent in the narrative ... The author vividly describes the rugged lands he and his crew encountered, but maps would have been a big help to those unfamiliar with the geography ... Nature lovers’ expectations may be unfulfilled, but Dehgan’s lessons provide a sort of textbook on the frustrations and complexities of working on conservation in a place where science runs into the snarls of politics and diplomacy—and often loses.
PositiveKirkus[Tomlinson] doesn\'t hold back in his comments about his needs and wants and interjects enough humor to offset the more serious parts of the narrative and keep the pages turning. Readers who are overweight will find encouragement in Tomlinson\'s story, which serves as proof that with determination and the right attitude, anyone can win the battle over food addiction and/or obesity ... An authentic look at a struggle that millions of Americans face every day.
RavePublishers WeeklyIn her elegiac and evocative novel, Cander explores the legacy of loss, the intersections of art and music, and what happens when physical objects assume outsized symbolism ... Reminiscent of Annie Proulx’s Accordion Crimes, Cander’s novel delves into the often unexplainable genesis of artistic inspiration and examines how family legacy—the physical objects people inherit, the genetic traits people carry on, and the generational lore people internalize—can both ignite imagination and limit its scope. Cander brilliantly and convincingly expresses music and visual art in her writing, capturing both within a near-alien but surprisingly stunning landscape.
RaveKirkusCander grabs the reader in her opening pages: a bravura, thickly detailed account of the creation of a Blüthner piano ... Cander expertly parcels out her revelations: Alert readers will likely figure out that Greg is Katya’s son before he admits it on route to Death Valley, but the final plot twist is a satisfying surprise. Clues are carefully planted, however, as Cander builds parallel narratives in alternating chapters ... Deftly plotted and well written, a gentle meditation on the healing power of art—and its limitations.
RavePublishers Weekly\"Heart-wrenching ... Like Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking or Peter Handke’s A Sorrow Beyond Dreams, Li’s novel tries to find a language to reckon with the unspeakable reality of death. The novel succeeds in Li’s approach of skirting the subject in favor of something between the dead’s nostalgia for life and regular small talk. This is a unique, poignant, and tender evocation of life as touched irrevocably by death.\
PositiveKirkusQuiet, unsettling ... A tender, haunting meditation on loss.
PositiveKirkus\"The third adventure for the attractively eccentric duo is a clever and witty follow-up...\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"... exhilarating ... In audacious, decidedly un-Victorian Veronica, Raybourn has created a delightful cross between real-life reporter Nellie Bly and Phryne Fisher.\
Elsa Morante, Trans. by Ann Goldstein
RaveKirkusThis lovely new translation by Goldstein will hopefully go a long way toward re-establishing Morante’s reputation among English-speaking readers. It’s a magnificent novel, breathtaking in its psychological acuity ... there are moments of striking beauty. Arturo’s early ramblings on the island have an unearthly quality, as ethereal as the later sections are grounded and precise. Morante’s style might seem old-fashioned, at first, to contemporary readers, but they’d do well to overcome that initial impression. The book is brimful with insight and with beauty ... By turns devastating and otherworldly, Morante’s novel is a classic, and Goldstein’s new translation should return to it the attention it deserves.
Elsa Morante, Trans. by Ann Goldstein
PositivePublishers WeeklyArresting ... The novel’s relationships are usually triangular, acute rivalries marked by \'marvellous hateful attractions\' and abrupt Dostoyevskian shifts from veneration to malice. Morante’s style is well-suited to the adolescent narrator who, marooned on an island, experiences particularly intense bouts of enchantment and disillusionment, making for a captivating novel.
Eva Hagberg Fisher
PositiveKirkusFisher shares her reflections and insights into these loving relationships—both platonic and sexual—as well as her battles with addiction in a deeply personal yet accessible manner; readers will experience the subtle changes along with her as the narrative progresses ... It is the revelation that love can be unconditional and profound that makes this memoir stand out from many similar ones. Fisher is not just another survivor of a grave illness; she has been transformed by letting another person love her without constraint ... A well-written, emotionally uplifting tale of friendships, extreme illnesses, and understanding what love truly means.
Eva Hagberg Fisher
RavePublishers WeeklyHeart-wrenching ... Fisher’s often-gruesome medical descriptions are juxtaposed by her gentle exploration of love and friendship in this dazzling memoir.
MixedThe Real Book Spy[Barton\'s] latest effort falls a bit short of those lofty expectations. The Suspect is much slower, takes a while to get going, and once it does, some of the characters are a tad shallow. Kate, who takes the lead early, is fleshed out nicely, and Barton does a nice job bringing the setting to life. Still, the lack of development for secondary characters makes it hard to relate to or care about anyone else in the story. And while the setup is solid, the plot ultimately concludes with a predictable ending that might food casual readers, but not big fans of the genre ... Fiona Barton’s fans, who know what they’re getting with one of her thrillers, will eat this one up.
MixedKirkusWhen did all thriller writers begin to fashion themselves as psychologists? There’s a dead giveaway to any possible plot twist—a character whose face or eyes is described as \'blank\' ... once the killer is clearly outed, even though it takes another 100 pages for all the pieces to fall into place, the novel quickly loses steam. Even a final moral conundrum that should immediately freeze the blood of any parent seems overly constructed rather than shocking. By that point, it had become tiresome reading about most of the characters and their shifty relationships to the truth ... This has the potential to be a thoughtful thriller with an interesting setting, but Barton is too willing to cater to expectations—short chapters, familiar clues, and stereotypical villains.
RavePublishers WeeklyA splendid book ... Dreyer’s most effective material comprises his recollections of working with authors ... This work is that rare writing handbook that writers might actually want to read straight through, rather than simply consult.