PositiveBookPage... a genre-bending series of profiles of the dazzling residents of Black Bottom, the commercial and residential heart of Detroit’s Black community in the era spanning from the Great Depression to the early 1960s ... an intriguing and beguiling look at the storied city at the height of its pomp. Randall shows us a warm, thriving, tightly woven community ... This is a book to read at your leisure, as you might a collection of short stories. Each profile offers fascinating insight into the characters that made Black Bottom a hub for glamour, culture and creativity.
RaveBookPageNo one engages a reader quite like Emma Straub. I was 30 pages into her warmhearted new novel, All Adults Here, before I even realized it. Her writing is witty, informal and deceptively simple, drawing readers in as if they’re having a conversation with a close friend ... Straub imbues the novel with her trademark humor and comic turns of phrase, particularly Porter’s one-liners. Straub has taken on a lot of issues—gender politics, abortion, bullying, sexual predators—and it’s to her credit that the subject matter never seems heavy-handed or detracts from the momentum. The characters are believable, and events unfold naturally.
PositiveBookPageLouise Erdrich’s prolific output has done nothing to water down the quality of her writing. If anything, after three decades of storytelling, she knows her groove and tells her tales in an assured, leisurely fashion. In this way, her latest novel is less a tightly plotted story than a recounting of an episode in American history with character sketches filled in along the way ... Certain themes can be relied upon throughout Erdrich’s body of work, most notably the injustice handed out to Native American tribes by the white powers that be ... The Night Watchman serves as a timely reminder that history seems to have a habit of repeating itself.
PositiveBookPage... Napolitano deftly navigates the psychological and physical trauma of 12-year-old Edward Adler in the aftermath of a plane crash, of which he is the only survivor ... isn’t a page turner with cliffhangers at the end of every chapter. Instead it’s a slow burn that draws you in to Edward’s interior life, the melancholia of his loss and of the fractured lives around him ... It’s hard for a novel to thoroughly capture a reader’s attention while simultaneously meditating on profoundly complex issues. In Dear Edward, Napolitano manages to achieve this. The delicate sparseness of her prose slowly peels back the layers to reveal a warm, fulfilling center that is a true reward for readers.
PositiveBookPage... confirms what we’ve always known: Ann Patchett doesn’t write a bad book. Though the settings may differ, each of Patchett’s books tells a compelling, vivid and imaginative story while offering a deep meditation on human nature ... Patchett’s knack for aging her characters over many decades serves the story well. The Dutch House is a vast, almost preternatural property, and the characters who have, at one point or another, inhabited it are at the heart of this absorbing tale. It’s fitting and inevitable that the home eventually beckons them back.
PositiveBookPageMiddle England’s authenticity lies in its characters...now in late-middle age, with grown children of their own, grappling with a country more divided than ever. Like the previous works in this series, Middle England covers a lot of ground ... At times the novel feels like Coe is cramming in as much action from topical events and somehow weaving it into the plot, but it’s really only a minor complaint. Middle England is a hilarious, nuanced and well-observed novel that keeps the pages turning while leaving a smile on readers’ faces.
PositiveBookPage\"Fortunately, the hype around The Altruists and Ridker, an Iowa Writer’s Workshop alum, is warranted ... [an] often darkly funny, heartfelt tale...\
RaveBookPage\"... dazzling ... Through it all, Vijay’s prose is exquisite—florid and descriptive at times, spare and pared back at others. The story keeps twisting unexpectedly until the end, keeping emotions fraught, questions percolating. It’s a scintillating novel from a truly gifted writer.\
RaveBookPage\"... brilliant ... The quality of Rooney’s writing, particularly in the psychologically wrought sex scenes, cannot be understated as she brilliantly provides a window into her protagonists’ true selves. Ultimately, when life bashes them and there is nowhere to turn, they find they always have each other.\
Frances De Pontes Peebles
RaveBookPageA sweeping, cinematic and thoroughly engrossing tale about an enduring friendship and the story of samba, is a mighty accomplishment—the kind of novel that demands ample time to write ... A sense of melancholy imbues the tale, but [the protagonist] has a compelling and fascinating voice... her strength and singularity propel this unforgettable novel.
Fatima Farheen Mirza
PositiveBookPageImmigrant novels often center on conflict and the juxtaposition between Old World values and modern Western culture. In seeking a better life for their children, Layla and Rafiq must contend with this and the effect it has on their family. A Place for Us resonates at the crossroads of culture, character, storytelling and poignancy.
PositiveBookPageWith its generational clash of cultures, the 1960s have always been fertile ground for fiction. Like The Graduate, The Only Story by British novelist and Man Booker Prize winner Julian Barnes concerns a young man’s affair with an older woman who is suffocating in a loveless, sexless marriage ... The skill in Barnes’ writing is a complete lack of sentimentality, his unflinching depiction the equivalent of slowing down to observe a car crash. You can’t help but stare.
Paolo Cognetti, Trans. by Simon Carnell
RaveBookPageConsidering its wealth of details and the intimacy of its first-person voice, it’s hard to believe that The Eight Mountains by Paolo Cognetti is a work of fiction and not a memoir ... this isn’t so much a page-turner as a novel that draws you in, gets into your soul and never leaves.