PositiveBooklist... a dark caricature of America’s financial institutions ... While this can feel overplotted, Wilson delights with his pop-culture savvy, crisp prose, and unapologetic observations of revolutionary aspirations.
RaveBooklist... a hilariously terrifying future that challenges assumptions about sexuality, mental health, death, and identity both personal and national ... Bold, captivating, and deeply relevant, Baker’s imaginative stories offer approachable, optimistic perspectives on morally ambiguous topics facing Americans, including what it means to be one nation.
PositiveBooklistSpanning decades of class wars and racial tension, Lindsey’s novel is nothing short of the South’s social history in miniature, a tangled but moving portrait of restoration.
RaveBooklist... challenges the boundaries between activism and insurrection, fiction and reality ... Leo’s story is fitfully revealed by Andres, an American journalist whose editor demands a salacious profile that paints Leo as a lifelong radical. But the deeper Andres delves into Leo’s story, the more he questions her cause, not to mention his faith in American ideals. Altschul’s ambitious and culturally aware novel is a captivating depiction of passion, disenchantment, and hope gone violently awry.
PositiveBooklistHandler, adored by younger readers for his Lemony Snicket titles, is a prolific jack-of-all-trades who also pens quirky, postmodern love stories mostly set in present-day San Francisco. His seventh novel for adults reaches deep into those modes for a drunkenly humorous blend of alcohol, entrepreneurial ambitions, and a dash of cheating ... Handler’s clever, highly stylized prose demands alertness in his readers, who may feel tipsy trying to follow the knotted story line. Nonetheless, his quick-witted, timely characters and offbeat but perceptive one-liners make for an intoxicating delight.
PositiveBooklist...a soulful debut novel about love and restoring hope ... In prose by turns lyrical and mesmerizing, Pavlić taps deeply into what it means to be Black in America, tossing in some surprising narrative tricks along the way.
RaveBooklistWith punchy prose that evokes Jessup’s fight to sidestep his family’s shadow, Zentner expertly and entertainingly distills America’s longstanding divisions over race, religion, and class.
Ma Jian, trans. by Flora Drew
RaveBooklistHis latest novel presents his sharpest and most intimate vision yet ... In his startling and irreverent parody, Ma finds compassion amid the sex and violence that shape a history of injustice and a nation’s vulnerability.
Ngugi Wa Thiong'o
RaveBooklistSubversive and insightful, this masterful, long-overdue, yet timely collection introduces Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong’o’s fiction to American readers.
RaveBooklist\"... wistful ... The funniest and most illuminating thread traces Iyer’s blossoming ping-pong skills, as he competes against spry septuagenarians and witnesses the more passionate side of traditionally stoical Japanese men. With his trademark blend of amiability, lighthearted humor, and profound observations, Iyer celebrates emotional connection and personal expression, and he upholds death as an affirmation of life and all its seasons.\
RaveBooklist\"...affirms his position as one the best story writers of his generation. His sinewy, digressive prose moves seamlessly in and out of dreams, memories, and anticipation, defying time and forming riveting meditations on longing and regret ... As in his previous work, Means’ protagonists have a lot to confess. But what might feel like rambling or ranting reveals an abundance of hope and heartache in the stories people tell themselves in order to survive.\
RaveBooklistIn his return to the short form, Vietnam veteran Mort...delivers 13 stories about everyday Americans looking for love, acceptance, and a place to call home ... Mort’s understated, funny, and deeply moving collection illustrates the entangled decisions behind escaping or embracing small-town life in the South—a world of guns, big storms, and living off the land.
Yukiko Motoya, trans. by Asa Yoneda
PositiveBooklist\"Motoya spots deviant situations everywhere and creates unexpected situations that unfold like a slapstick cartoon. As silly as Motoya’s stories can get, they are great fun.\
RaveBooklist\"...Jones’ struggling characters, often driven by machismo, drugs, or dreams of easy living, include soldiers, boxers, and the mentally ill as well as a disgraced doctor, a 40-year-old living with his parents, a delusional Casanova, and a free-wheeling but impoverished innovator. For many, the line between poor judgment and bad luck is unnervingly thin ... Jones’ style is characterized by compassion, surprising humor, and his characters and their determination to survive. This superb volume, richly introduced by Amy Bloom, will renew appreciation of Jones’ literary power.
PositiveBooklistRiker’s delightfully heady debut novel is both a metaphysical adventure tale and a primer on the examined life. ... [a] philosophical yet fast-paced tale filled with satisfyingly unexpected turns.
PositiveBooklistThe pieces are often as off-kilter and thought-provoking as his novels and cover a dizzying array of topics, including politics, history, music, literature, and Jewish identity, sometimes all in one essay ... Paradoxically or, perhaps, to prove its point, the book’s central premise may be lost on readers who find the sprawling collection too challenging to keep them interested. But fans of David Foster Wallace and William T. Vollmann will revel in Cohen’s playful erudition, versatility, and dark humor.
In previous novels, Thier (Mr. Eternity, 2016) proved himself to be an imaginative and deeply funny satirist capable of bringing the past, present, and future to life. His latest is rooted in age-old concerns and contemporary issues alike: free will, race, politics, and environmentalism. While these subjects may sound heavy handed, Thier tackles each with sly humor and fully realized, progressive protagonists ... As always, Thier is hilarious and provocative, his worldly insights sagely and frighteningly on the mark.\
RaveBooklistWith the same biting wit that marks Almond’s previous books of social criticism ... he casts equal blame on both the left and the right, bitingly criticizing, for example, liberal comedians such as Jon Stewart and Bill Maher for making light of Trump while basking in their glowing reviews. Almond holds up literature as a guide through America’s age-old moral dilemmas and finds hope for his country in family, forgiveness, and political resistance.
PositiveBooklist...a celebration of fatherhood ... Chabon expertly weaves together past and present events, infusing them with humor, pop culture, and profound observations, lovingly portraying the inspiring individuals some thought might put an end to his brilliant, vital writing career.
RaveBooklist\"Brinkley’s stunning debut depicts urban life in all its lonely, wearying detail ... These characters may be hanging on by frayed threads, but they are very much alive and not so much guarded against whatever hardships may befall them as, rather, looking for a lucky break and welcoming chance with open arms. With this memorable collection, Brinkley emerges as a gifted and empathetic new writer.\
PositiveBooklistIn his emotionally evocative yet easygoing, often-comical debut novel, Irish writer Sheehan tackles friendship, remorse, and personal identity ... Divided between Karl’s contemplative present-day narration and Tom’s harrowing memories of 1990s Bosnia, Sheehan’s novel balances humor with horror, revealing that the past doesn’t have to define one’s character.
John Edgar Wideman
RaveBooklist\"Wideman’s shape-shifting, lyrical narratives offer mesmerizing and challenging perspectives on the creative process and the black experience, decisively affirming his stature as a major voice in American literature.\
RaveBooklistIn his stunning first novel, Boast (Epilogue, 2014) turns the myth of Daphne and Apollo into a modern love story about social anxiety and physical debilitation ... Sharply observant, both of the limits of human longing and of the fear of feeling trapped inside one’s body, Boast’s understated tale is at once tragic and enchanting.
Mauro Javier Cardenas
PositiveLos Angeles Review of Books...a young Ecuadorian writer named Mauro Javier Cardenas has emerged, standing in Bolaño’s shadow. His debut novel, The Revolutionaries Try Again, captures both the starry-eyed vision of a younger generation and the 'tragic and pathetic' results of failing to come to terms with adulthood ...a novel that redefines the Latin American identity in a world characterized by social technology and ever-blurring ethnic boundaries ... novel alternates perspectives, mostly following Antonio, but also hops inside the heads of some of his former classmates ... Gradually, periods are replaced by commas and then hyphens and slashes, until we find ourselves lost (in the best sense of the word) in a splintered stream of consciousness that mimics Antonio’s restlessness and the country’s fractured politics.