Fiction Reviews


Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing is an amazingly ambitious novel, a bold and accomplished debut from a promising young talent. The book's real ambition stems from its structure—in alternating chapters, Gyasi follows the descendants of two children of the same African mystery woman, a family tree starting with two sisters that don't know of each other at all. One branch of the tree stays in Africa, and the other goes to America through slavery.

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Homegoing Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101947135
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Published: Knopf Publishing Group - June 7th, 2016

Winner of the NBCC's John Leonard First Book Prize
A New York Times 2016 Notable Book
One of Oprah's 10 Favorite Books of 2016
NPR's Debut Novel of the Year
One of Buzzfeed's Best Fiction Books Of 2016
One of Time's Top 10 Novels of 2016

"Homegoing is an inspiration." --Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Natural Way of Things

Charlotte Wood’s The Natural Way of Things is a blistering, intense, often violent page-turner depicting a colony of 10 women imprisoned inside an electric fence in the Australian Outback. Each woman was central to some kind of notorious sex scandal, and is punished by being drugged and sent to this desolate encampment. The Natural Way of Things, Wood’s first novel available in America, is the feminist One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: a brutal allegory, a searing feminist critique, a scathing satire. Yes, The Natural Way of Things may keep you up at night.

The Natural Way of Things Cover Image
ISBN: 9781609453626
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Published: Europa Editions - June 28th, 2016

"A Handmaid's Tale for the 21st century" (Prism Magazine), Wood's dystopian tale about a group of young women held prisoner in the Australian desert is a prescient feminist fable for our times. As the Guardian writes, "contemporary feminism may have found its masterpiece of horror."

The Girls

Emma Cline's The Girls is a gripping, thrilling coming-of-age story with a lot to say about gender and growing up. Set in a heady 1969 Bay Area, it follows Evie as she falls in and out with a cult deeply reminiscent of the Manson Family. It's a page-turner with a brain, a meditative book with a strongly argued point that nevertheless manages to thrill and titillate like a good summer read should. Recommended by Danny

The Girls Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812998603
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Published: Random House - June 14th, 2016

THE INSTANT BESTSELLER - An indelible portrait of girls, the women they become, and that moment in life when everything can go horribly wrong

Desert Boys

Chris McCormick’s Desert Boys is a remarkable collection of linked short stories (really, we can call it a novel) set in the desert north of Los Angeles. McCormick’s sense of place and landscape is completely immersive, and his characters are equally well-formed. Through humor, cleverness, pathos, and a bit of formal experimentation, Desert Boys effectively explores questions of leaving, coming home, and the pull of the big city.

Desert Boys: Fiction Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250075505
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Published: Picador USA - May 3rd, 2016

Winner of the Stonewall Book Award/Barbara Gittings Literature Award

Finalist for the Binghamton University's John Gardner Fiction Book Award

Finalist for the Saroyan Prize for Fiction

Longlisted for the Chautauqua Prize

"Hilarious, Devious, Original, and Unforgettable."--Karen Russell

The Coroner's Lunch

Dr. Siri, the Communist-appointed coroner of Laos, provides a glimpse into the corruption that rattles his country. As a member of the revolution himself, he fights for the rights of his people, both living and dead. Truly funny and fierce, 72-year-old Dr. Siri reminds me of my Nonno, my highly opinionated Italian grandfather. He is kind to those deserving, quick to stand strong in opposition, and boldly offends proudly. Laos is a country we know little about, yet it has such a colorful history.

The Coroner's Lunch (Dr. Siri Paiboun Mystery #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616956493
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Published: Soho Crime - April 7th, 2015

Laos, 1978: Dr. Siri Paiboun, a 72-year-old medical doctor, has unwillingly been appointed the national coroner of the new socialist Laos. His lab is underfunded, his boss is incompetent, and his support staff is quirky, to say the least. But Siri's sense of humor gets him through his often frustrating days.

LaRose by Louise Erdrich

LaRose by Louise Erdrich is terrific, and it reminded me all over again why I adore Erdich so much. The book starts with a tragic accident which forces a family to consider a devastating yet traditional apology (to give too much of the plot away will decrease your ability to slide entirely into Erdrich’s well-crafted universe).

LaRose: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062277022
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Published: Harper - May 10th, 2016

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction

Finalist for the 2017 PEN Faulkner Award

Mickey Bolitar Series by Harlen Coben

Harlan Coben, a talented writer of mysteries for adults, whose main character is Myron Bolitar, has written a trio of young adult books, starring Mickey Bolitar, Myron’s nephew. The same intense pace is there, and Mickey has the gift of basketball, just like his uncle.

Shelter (Book One): A Mickey Bolitar Novel (Mickey Bolitar Novels #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780142422038
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Published: Speak - August 21st, 2012

From internationally bestselling author Harlan Coben comes this first action-packed installment of his bestselling Mickey Bolitar series.

Our Souls at Night

Not surprisingly, Our Souls at Night, Kent Haruf's last before he passed away in 2014, is a quiet, beautiful book. The premise: 70-year-old widow Addie asks her widower neighbor, Louis, who lives two doors down, to come to her house each night and sleep with her–not for sex, but for pillow talk and as an antidote to crushing loneliness. Their unconventional agreement births not only town gossip but also a love and trust neither has before experienced. Recommended by Kelly

Our Souls at Night Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101875896
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Published: Knopf Publishing Group - May 26th, 2015

A spare yet eloquent, bittersweet yet inspiring story of a man and a woman who, in advanced age, come together to wrestle with the events of their lives and their hopes for the imminent future.

My Name Is Lucy Barton

Elizabeth Strout’s My Name Is Lucy Barton is an brisk, intimate, and searing exploration of the troubled relationship between the title character and her mother. Lucy is in the hospital for many weeks with a mysterious illness when her estranged mother appears out of nowhere. Through their hospital bedside conversations, they make sense of their shared past, all while keeping troubling secrets buried. It’s a brilliant take on the silences of families and the process of making sense out of a difficult past.

My Name Is Lucy Barton Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400067695
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Published: Random House - January 12th, 2016

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - A simple hospital visit becomes a portal to the tender relationship between mother and daughter in this extraordinary novel by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge and The Burgess Boys.

The Door

Magda Szabo’s novel The Door­—available and popular in her native Hungary since 1987—is long overdue to arrive on our shores. The devastating novel tells the story of the fraught and mysterious friendship between the narrator, also an author named Magda, and her housekeeper Emerence. Emerence, who won’t let anyone past her front door, is a true force of nature. Her relationship with Magda sizzles and cracks as it leads to the book’s Greek-tragic ending. At times brutal, the book examines friendship, betrayal, and aging with honesty and clear eyes. Savor this book; let it break your heart.

The Door (Nyrb Classics) Cover Image
By Magda Szabo, Len Rix (Translator), Ali Smith (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781590177716
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Published: New York Review of Books - January 27th, 2015

One of The New York Times Book Review's "10 Best Books of 2015"

An NYRB Classics Original