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Land of Love and Drowning: A Novel

Yanique wrestles throughout the novel with ideas of identity, property, home and inevitably - sadly - the too-meager rights of the indigenous.

The Kills

I found that at the sentence level the narrative was flat, and dull, and in imaginative terms more of a riff on a single theme than a full-blooded, full-fleshed response to what went on in Iraq over the many years of our occupation.

The Spark and the Drive

This is a novel about a vanishing way of life, the world of the muscle cars and the world of childhood.

Take This Man: A Memoir

“Take This Man” doesn’t tell a story of change. It speaks of a failure to change. Readers who believe in the healing power of self-awareness may be in for a shock.

Big Little Lies

“Big Little Lies” isn’t likely to attract much of a male readership, aside from the demographic of guys who enjoy being demonized. But it champions its women with a handy, all-purpose rationale: Sometimes doing the wrong thing is also right.

The Stories of Jane Gardam

Gardam’s sly and bighearted stories will give Americans another welcome opportunity to become familiar with her varied body of work.

The Dog

With “The Dog,” Mr. Livings has made an incisive — and highly impressive — debut.

Reagan at Reykjavik

What really animates “Reagan at Reykjavik” is a desire to explain how the gathering could be so significant despite the fact that Adelman and many of his colleagues found their boss’s key declarations there somewhere between inane and insane.

What We See When We Read

Peter Mendelsund’s “What We See When We Read” is friendly and shyly philosophical, filled with news you can almost use.

The Emperor Far Away: Travels at the Edge of China

Mr. Eimer is very much aware that he is providing an antidote to that official Chinese view, even giving one chapter the sarcastic heading of “Shiny Happy Minorities.”

Colliding Worlds: How Cutting-Edge Science Is Redefining Contemporary Art

A good approach, I found, is to browse the book as if it were a Who’s Who of science-driven artists — marveling at a profusion of art that is, just as the author warns, “sometimes beautiful, sometimes disturbing, sometimes subversive, sometimes downright crazy, but always interesting.”

Panic in a Suitcase: A Novel

This sparkling debut, though it stays close to home, suggests she can roam wherever she’d like.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Mr. Shafer has written a bright, brash entertainment, one that errs, when it errs at all, on the side of generosity, narrative and otherwise. It tips you, geekily and humanely, through the looking glass.

The Magician's Land: A Novel

Mr. Grossman is usually a subtle, sophisticated writer, though, for some reason, he seems to have altered his tone in parts of “The Magician’s Land,” using too much narration with too much broish language.

Becoming Freud: The Making of a Psychoanalyst

The repetitions provide texture; texture provides clarity; clarity appreciation. Phillips’s own love of the beauty and power of psychoanalysis here serves both him and the reader wonderfully well.

Arts & Entertainments

As “Arts & Entertainments” ably and wittily demonstrates, our appetite for absurdity may be replacing our hunger for the divine.

Lucky Us: A Novel

Bloom, who knows redemption as well as anyone, brings her far-flung characters together in a moving final tableau, reminding a loyal reader of her finest work.

The Rush: America's Fevered Quest for Fortune, 1848-1853

Dolnick has also succeeded admirably in putting a decidedly personal face on these general characteristics and in the process he has produced a highly readable and graphic account of an episode that changed America.

Remember Me Like This

It’s not a thriller, and it’s not even really a mystery, unless it’s an unsolved one, the exquisitely moral mystery of how we struggle to accept and love the people we call family, even when we can’t fully know them.