PositiveBooklist\"Many of us have been on the receiving end of those humble/bragging holiday letters. Violet Baumgartner’s letters are the humble/braggiest, detailing the accomplishments of her distinguished scientist-husband, Ed, and their brilliant daughter, Cerise, not to mention her own work on behalf of Faithful Redeemer Lutheran Church. Her perfect life all comes crashing down—literally—at Ed’s retirement party, when the discovery that Cerise is expecting causes her to faint ... Anthony’s debut gently pokes fun at her characters while affirming the supreme importance of family, whatever form that family might take.
Simon Van Booy
PositiveBooklist\"Van Booy’s latest collection is full of surprises, starting with the settings, which range from small-town Ireland to New York City’s Chinatown. Some stories are grounded in realism, but others contain elements of magic.
PositiveBooklistThe fifth guest is Tobias, the commitment-averse photographer with whom Sabrina has been smitten since college. Chapters detailing their on-again, off-again relationship, intense but also fractious and ultimately devastating, alternate with chapters in which the dinner guests eat their meal, converse, work out why they are there, and help Sabrina move on with her life. Themes of love, loss, and forgiveness weave through this intriguing mix of the real and the fanciful.
Esther Gerritsen, Trans. by Michele Hutchison
PositiveBooklist\"The handful of characters, circumscribed setting, and spare prose style effectively highlight the complexities of a mother-daughter incompatibility that is never quite resolved. Award-winner Gerrsiten’s first novel to be translated into English from the Dutch will appeal to readers interested in exploring world literature.\
Frances De Pontes Peebles
PositiveBooklist\"De Pontes Peebles does a marvelous job of evoking the world of samba, which forms the backdrop to the complicated relationship the two women share. Readers who are not daunted by the novel’s length will be rewarded with complex characters and a well-realized setting.\
MixedBooklistAs she did with the Barbizon Hotel in The Dollhouse (2016) and the Dakota in The Address (2017), Davis uses an iconic NYC building as the backdrop for the story of two women whose lives intersect across time ... Davis is a maximalist when it comes to plot elements, and not everything convinces, but the use she makes of New York history is always interesting.
PositiveBooklist OnlineAlex Cohen is being groomed to take over the family business, the Tiger Step Shoe Factory, in Foshan, China. The factory has relied on cheap labor to manufacture \'casuals for the masses\' back in the U.S., but sales are starting to flag, and Alex has his own ideas about taking the business in a new direction ... Wise’s debut offers a fascinating look at contemporary China, but its greatest strength is the struggle between a hard-to-please father bent on preserving what he has worked so hard to build and a son who is trying to find his own way.
Carla Guelfenbein, Trans. by John Cullen
RaveBooklistVera herself remains elusive, but the effect she has on the other characters is profound. This luminous and eloquent novel will appeal in particular to readers with an interest in Latin American literature.
Grace Dane Mazur
PositiveBooklistThe descriptions of the garden are lush, and Mazur (Trespass, 2002) does a fine job of evoking a summer evening as well as juggling her many characters. Give this to readers who enjoy a comedy of manners and won’t mind the leisurely pace.
PositiveBooklist\"Emer has a dreamy side, compounded by a benign brain tumor, that makes her, and the reader, wonder whether she is hallucinating or if her reality keeps changing as she wages a battle for her right to love. Duchovny’s humor and fondness for New York City enliven every page. Give this to readers willing to go on a wild ride.\
PositiveBooklistHistorical context is provided by the chunks of exposition that are folded into the personal stories, which are compellingly told. Amid the many accounts of Jews who did not survive the Holocaust, this novel stands out in its depiction of one lucky family who, miraculously, did.
PositiveBooklistThe narrative unfolds in a fluid way, with most of the action taking place in 1945, when the women struggle through the harrowing last days of the war, and 1950, when they adjust to new, postwar realities. The reader is fully immersed in the experiences of these women, the choices they make, and the burdens they carry. Shattuck has crafted a rich, potent, fluently written tale of endurance and survival.