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The Rules of Magic: A Novel

Real events like the Vietnam draft and Stonewall uprising enter the characters' family history as well as a stunning plot twist—delivering everything fans of a much-loved book could hope for in a prequel.


The Rules of Magic: A Novel

The Rules of Magic shows that sometimes the work you do comes back to you threefold — and sometimes you go back to the work you've done, and unfold three times more color from it.


Savage Country: A Novel

These are broad strokes written in strong, precise sentences. It’s a strange book, that way. But why not write a strange book about fire and blood and our past, right now? Never again, each civilization tells itself, when we pause to look back.


Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel

On one level, “Sing, Unburied, Sing” is a righteous command directed at Given, Richie and the other nameless undead characters whose souls literally grace and haunt its pages.


Little Fires Everywhere

If “Little Fires Everywhere” doesn’t give you pause and help you think differently about humanity and this country’s current state of affairs, start over from the beginning and read the book again.


Things That Happened Before the Earthquake: A Novel

The Germans have a tidy word for these stories of artists coming of age: künstlerroman. From the very first page, Barzini probes smeared boundary lines, testing their power to lash back as Eugenia transgresses. The earthquake looms, and though we know that we always rebuild, there’s unavoidable wreckage: Surviving is always a chance, never certainty.


Logical Family

“A day without tolerance is a day without sunshine,” Maupin writes, and “Logical Family” succeeds in reconciling the distance between his heritage and the legacy he leaves to generations of readers. Engaging and revelatory, Maupin’s memoir is a delight, punctuating a distinguished career in letters.


We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy

Perhaps Coates’ response is found in the sharpest and most reverberating question of the entire volume: “How do you defy a power that insists on claiming you?”


An Unkindness of Ghosts

It is an antidote to poison. It is inoculation against pervasive, enduring disease. Like a vaccine, it is briefly painful, leaves a lingering soreness, but armors you from the inside out.


The Taste of Empire: How Britain's Quest for Food Shaped the Modern World

Whether you're a foodie or a history buff, this should be a satisfying read; sometimes the best way to history's heart is through its stomach.


Her Body and Other Parties

Her Body and Other Parties — just announced as a finalist for the National Book Award — is an abrupt, original, and wild collection of stories, full of outlandish myths that somehow catch at familiar, unspoken truths about being women in the world that more straightforward or realist writing wouldn't.


We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy

It is to Coates’s credit, though, that by the time you’re done reading “We Were Eight Years in Power,” you also see what he does — namely, that far too many whites are overlooking what is so plainly staring them in the face, and that America couldn’t have a black president without boomeranging back to its ugliest self.


The Ninth Hour

What McDermott achieves most splendidly is the hyper-realistic portrayal of the grim, often disgusting aspects of illness and death among the poor: the boils and pustules, the grotesquely swollen or missing limbs, the ubiquitous stink of human waste.


Victoria & Abdul (Movie Tie-In): The True Story of the Queen's Closest Confidant

I grew fond of them both as I read this generous and meticulous book, and I write this review now with a sentimental tear in my eye. So what think you, Reader? Am I qualified for the job?


Manhattan Beach: A Novel

This is a novel that deserves to join the canon of New York stories.


What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories

Where Shapiro attempts to do what Pym does, working backward by examining any mention of food that appears in the historical records of the real-life characters she has chosen, she is less successful.


Fresh Complaint

Eugenides has written life-altering books of that sort, and “Fresh Complaint” isn’t one of them. But its charm and insight are real, and formidable.


A Force So Swift: Mao, Truman, and the Birth of Modern China, 1949

The relationship, always a difficult one, once again begs reinvention. However, unlike the world of 1949, so dramatically described by Peraino in his timely book, our current globalized world renders separation not even thinkable.


Her Body and Other Parties

It’s a wild thing, this book, covered in sequins and scales, blazing with the influence of fabulists from Angela Carter to Kelly Link and Helen Oyeyemi, and borrowing from science fiction, queer theory and horror.