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In the Course of Human Events: A Novel

Like the book’s ending, which forces the reader to only imagine the horrifying events to follow, the real challenge is to empathize with someone like Clyde, even when he’s doing the unthinkable, and even when a brilliant author like Harvkey refuses to spell it out for you.


The Dog: A Novel

O’Neill keeps us anxious to the very last. In a story like this, “happy” is far too much to expect, but the fact that X finally makes one decision for himself is perhaps the closest we can hope to get.


2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas

Given how easy it might be to slip into melodrama in the telling of psychologically difficult stories such as these, charging the narrative with exploration that makes the writer into a role player is a smart and memorable choice.


Let Me Be Frank With You

Let Me Be Frank With You might not be the Great American Novel, but Richard Ford is most certainly a great American writer.


Just Call Me Superhero

This book cries sequel and with a title like Just Call me Superhero why the heck shouldn’t there be one.


Station Eleven: A novel

Mandel tells an excellent story but also raises issues such as memories, loss of memories and recovery of memories as well as the issue of how music, Shakespeare and the determination that survival is not enough can help put back together a broken world.


Let Me Be Frank With You

When all’s said and done, it’s still Frank. It’s still Richard Ford. And it’s always a pleasure.


Ugly Girls

This is not a heartwarming tale about the transcendent power of female friendship. It’s a lesson that sometimes the odds are stacked so high against women that their friendship doesn’t stand a chance.


In the Light of What We Know

Zafar’s journey is immense, his voice by turns philosophical, dry, dodgy.


Shark

Go read it now. You'll be simultaneously entertained, mesmerized, intellectually stimulated, baffled — and laugh your ass off.


Let Me Be Frank With You

The stories in Let Me Be Frank with You have led me back into rereading the earlier Bascombe books — an advantage of art over life.


On the Edge

This is a novel to go to when you only want to be amused and distracted by someone terrifically — say terrifyingly — smart.


Before, During, After

Bausch’s tangential approach to the tragic 9/11 attacks suits his story well in that reality and tale artfully complement the emotional impact of each other.


Wolf in White Van

“Wolf in White Van” is a stunning meditation on the power of escape, and on the cat-and-mouse contest the self plays to deflect its own guilt.


Some Luck: A novel

Smiley is so commanding as a novelist and critic that you feel she must have very definite reasons for telling these stories the way she does.


The Laughing Monsters

“The Laughing Monsters” addresses the vanishing present, a giddy trickle-down of global exploitation and hubris — the farcical exploits of cold dudes in a hard land.


Preparation for the Next Life

Atticus Lish’s first novel, “Preparation for the Next Life,” is unlike any American fiction I’ve read recently in its intricate comprehension of, and deep feeling for, life at the margins.


Let Me Be Frank With You

If the trilogy of novels supplied the bangety bangety bangety, “Let Me Be Frank With You” provides the boop.


Miracle Girls

One gets the sense Caschetta offers her readers an idealized version of the Catholic church as a safe-haven for all people, and where strict interpretation of the Bible goes both ways. I'm not sure this utopia is actually attainable, but within the world of Miracle Girls, you can almost believe it.


All My Puny Sorrows

“Sadness is what holds our bones in place,” Yoli thinks. Toews deepens our understanding of the pain found in Coleridge's poetry, which is the source of the book’s title.