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The Veins of the Ocean: A Novel

“The Veins of the Ocean” is its own willing plunge into deeper, darker realms.


Pond

“Pond” makes the case for Bennett as an innovative writer of real talent.


How to Set a Fire and Why: A Novel

It may be Ball’s deliberate strategy to make us watch his story drift away into a fog of vague language, but it also fails to bring out what is most memorable about one of his most vivid and engaging characters, Lucia Stanton.


Miss Jane: A Novel

The complexity and drama of Watson’s gorgeous work here is life’s as well: Sometimes physical realities expand us, sometimes trap; sometimes heroism lies in combating our helplessness, sometimes in accepting it.


Chronicle of a Last Summer: A Novel of Egypt

El Rashidi offers a sharply perceptive and judiciously accurate portrait of Egypt’s complex culture.


Pond

She’s diffused our often confusing and chaotic world into something more manageable, yet all the while making itty-bitty molehills into mountains.


Losing It: A Novel

Rathbone’s accuracy is what makes her so funny; it’s her grace as a writer that elevates this book from a series of comedic one-liners to art.


Wintering: A novel

Geye is a skillful, daring writer with talent to burn. Simultaneously epic in scope and deeply personal, “Wintering” is a remarkable portrait of the role that one’s environment — and neighbors — can play in shaping character and destiny.


Monterey Bay

With intelligent, painterly prose, Hatton adds the story of Margot to the cast of characters who inhabited Cannery Row, suggesting that it is love that ultimately best connects past to present.


The Bones of Grace

Anam’s novel is a seductive, lively end to the trilogy. It is also wordy at times — more than 100 pages longer than each of the previous books — perhaps because Anam is naturally most captivated by the concerns of her own generation.


She Poured Out Her Heart

A little too much of the writing and not quite enough of the subtext that ought to lurk beneath.


Pond

Ms. Bennett’s sensibility here feels like the tip of a deep iceberg, and I’ll be in line to read whatever she publishes next. Her witty misanthropy is here to ward off mental scurvy.


The Sunlight Pilgrims: A Novel

Fagan is a poet as well as a novelist, and many of her images of this unbidden winter are shot through with lyric beauty.


Smoke: A Novel

Smoke is a powerful portrait of a society in which this logic is toxically manifest. Rather like our own world, in fact.


Break in Case of Emergency: A novel

Break in Case of Emergency is a high-quality tribute to ordinary experience, which makes it an extraordinary debut.


Here Comes the Sun: A Novel

Here Comes The Sun ultimately becomes a meditation on the perversion of love, and the unscrupulous means to attain it.


Daredevils

Vestal conjures up the necessary claustrophobia and privation to great effect, this sense of slow emotional suffocation expertly mirrored in the barren, hot desert landscape.