RaveBooklistA masterful, wise, moving, and ultimately uplifting meditation on human existence.
PositiveBooklist... uproarious, tender, and wise ... Swiv’s understanding of Elvira’s past is a mythologized story that matches her grandmother’s outsized, fighting spirit. The hilarious situations in which she and Elvira find themselves are testimonials to embracing life, and Swiv’s youthful pronouncements on life, death, and love hit the mark ... Toews’ multigenerational family story of this trio of women barrels to a slapstick, touching, cycle-of-life ending. Elvira espouses an uplifting legacy: the wisdom that we’re born with a light inside of us; that our job is to not let it go out; and that our ancestors are ahead of us to light the path.
Amy Belding Brown
PositiveBooklist[An] intimate, tender story ... Brown’s sensitive, intuitive, immersing prose is supremely apt for this gentle, compelling story. Dickinson fans will especially savor this novel.
PositiveBooklistFreud follows the three women for another 30 years, subtly and often viscerally capturing the complex human emotions that course below the surface of a society where attitudes about sex, sin, secrets, silence, and shame spread damage and loss to all. With poignant symbolism and heartbreaking empathy, Freud lays bare the fraught relationships between men and women, parents and children, and the holy bond between mother and child.
PositiveBooklist... one cringe-inducing encounter after another ... With beautiful subtlety, McClorey conveys warping loneliness as Amy anthropomorphizes the world around her, seeing raspberries and deli packages as companions. Long out of touch with her concerned father and brother and having burnt all her bridges, her options are narrowing. At the darkest hour, when the all-knowing certainty of youth gives way to the full mystery of living, self-forgiveness opens and Amy hatches a plan with hopes for a better self.
RaveBooklistMaynard portrays Eleanor, her family, and their precious home through three tumultuous American decades, setting their story amidst seminal events and to a soundtrack featuring the music of each era. Sensitively plumbing the complexity of human emotions, of love and forgiveness, she draws readers into a deep, aching attachment to her characters, creating an ultimately hopeful tale just right for this moment.
PositiveBooklist... [a] delightfully absurd plot ... Johnson gently but deftly skewers everyone as they scheme for financial gain and languorously search for meaning and happiness. Can Lorna find both by restarting her life and career in an early Obama-era America she hardly recognizes and that compares unfavorably to the bucolic existence she’s left behind in France?
PositiveBooklistIn this inventive, visceral novel, Fine...creates a dark fairy tale about a woman whose career plans are sidelined by pregnancy and the birth of her daughter ... Within this enveloping story of harrowing hallucinations, Fine depicts the devastation of postpartum depression, all too often shrouded in shame and blame, and offers hope.
PositiveBooklistIn spare, incisive prose, Conley captures the beauty and might of nature, a mother’s awesome drive to protect her children, and the fraught trial and error inherent in navigating the complexities of multigenerational family relationships.
PositiveBooklist[A] delightfully sly comedy of manners ...Readers will take in décor of the one-percent, jealous riffs on famous writers, and caricatured liberals and conservatives with voyeuristic glee.
PositiveBooklistButler’s inventive mind-game is a dire warning about our numbing obsession with entertainment, our degradation of the planet, how we measure the value of art and creativity, and our unanswered hunger for meaning and belief ... Alice struggles to understand who she is—like most humans, but times 10—and what is real. Butler uses this complex dystopian puzzle to explore age-old existential questions made new and newly alarming by scientific advances and late-stage capitalism.
RaveBooklist... a powerful evocation of loss and yearning ... With masterful skill, McCorkle weaves among time periods and points of view ... McCorkle offers a poignant meditation on the timeless question: is there existence beyond the grave? Her metaphors expand her reach beyond the simple clichés that our lives are a blink in time, and her tale dramatizes how attaining meaningful understanding has always been the true challenge between wife and husband, parent and child. McCorkle testifies to the ageless nobility of human beings who want the next generation to do better. A deeply moving and insightful triumph.
RaveBooklistO’Neill’s...occasionally off-kilter sentences are metonymic experiences, creating an immersion in the confusing swirl of information which spies navigate with life-and-death consequences. This challenging, slow-burning, yet suspenseful tale is a frame for O’Neill’s powerful and chilling warning to consider the choices we are making. With an astounding grasp of the issues confronting our age, an assured depiction of a multitude of diverse characters, and a distinctive style all her own, she ranges from movingly sensual descriptions to sharp observations, from wordplay to gut punches. In sum, this is a poignant lament for our time’s lost generation, which may be all of us.
PositiveBooklistIn her poetic first novel, Matalone probes the meaning of home and family ... These vivid characters revisit their pasts and make plans to build a place \'where happiness can bloom.\' ... The layers of meaning Matalone evokes provide a rich trove for discussion.
RaveBooklistEnright’s indelible images of the primal love between mother and daughter that ebbs, flows, and ultimately abides will stick with readers ... Enright portrays her characters in precise, vivid detail and composes their interior architecture with inspired insight into all of humanity. In this powerfully poetic, psychologically and philosophically astute, and ultimately uplifting novel, the difficulty of truly knowing someone, even your own self, given the tricks of remembering and misremembering, is a dominant theme. The ups and downs of the artist’s life, the dynamic between those who create and those who can’t, the cost of fame, and the timely topic of how two generations of women confront, in different ways, the imperious power of men add to the depth and brilliance of this artful work.
Marie Renee Lavoie
PositiveBooklistReaders who themselves may have come to the end of their own \'forever,\' can walk a vicarious mile in Diane’s shoes—actually, an overpriced pair of stunning blue Italian boots, a rebound-purchase funded by selling her wedding ring. In scenes sometimes poignant, sometimes funny, Diane survives this searing journey to dance to her own beat.