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After the Parade: A Novel

Ultimately, though, “After the Parade” rarely feels as canny or on-target as Ostlund’s best short stories.

M Train

While it is perhaps a cliche to call such a book “dream-like,” “M Train” truly moves with the logic of dreams, and Smith gives equal consideration to her dreams as she does to her waking experience.

Tangled Vines

It’s a moment of triumph for this permeable, vulnerable substance, fallen defenseless many times to the force of natural disasters and malicious human manipulation. Dinkelspiel’s great-great-grandfather’s wine, she realizes, “is going to outlive us.”

Gold Fame Citrus: A Novel

It's an urgent, frequently merciless book, as unrelenting as it is brilliant.

Gold Fame Citrus: A Novel

Gold Fame Citrus is a dreamy story with a mystical streak and a core of juvenile irresponsibility that does not go unpunished.

The Heart Goes Last: A Novel

This book began as a four-part story for e-publisher Byliner.com, and the idea may have been more successfully realised in the shorter form. As a novel, it’s painfully overextended.

The Heart Goes Last: A Novel

If you are expecting the snappy and snarky humor we have grown used to on internet media, you won’t find that either, but you will find an amalgam of brilliant satirical takes on modern life in America with hints of Philip K Dick and nods to Franz Kafka.

The Secrets She Keeps: A Novel

While it made for an amusing read, it is not a novel that will stick with me.

South Toward Home: Travels in Southern Literature

This reviewer would happily read a sequel. After all, the list of Southern voices and places unwinds like the two-lane blacktops leading into Monroeville, where one hopes Harper Lee is able to enjoy the flap over news that Atticus Finch had feet of clay.

Dream Things True

I also appreciate that readers can read this book and not connect it in any way to Shakespeare’s famous tragedy; nothing is lost if a reader isn’t familiar with the story.

The State We're In: Maine Stories

We constantly choose what we find special and toss away things that we don’t. Ms. Beattie masterfully shows us this in this collection. How she makes it look so easy is what makes it so special.

Sorcerer to the Crown

This has been an incredible year for reading so far. Sorcerer to the Crown is another favourite and a strong top 10 contender.

Cracked Up to Be

While not Ms. Summers’ strongest novel, she still manages to tackle tough situations and present them with delicacy and forthrightness that promotes discussion.

The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World

Despite some reiteration, her book is readable, thoughtful and widely researched, and informed by German sources richer than the English canon.

This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!: A Novel

The result is a book that speaks to all of us, whether we’re young enough to check Facebook 50 times a day, or old enough to have only a vague idea what the Internet is.

The Blue Guitar: A novel

If his story is set upon a sabotaged narrative scaffolding, the chiming beauty of all these sentences competes with another sound, an underscore of persistent wooden thunk.

The Heart Goes Last: A Novel

“The Heart Goes Last,” her 15th novel, inevitably suffers in comparison with previous books, including the remarkable, recently concluded MaddAddam trilogy, with its sheer inventive beauty and stunning emotional resonance.

The Clasp

All at once there is nothing funny, but something all too sad and true, in this highly comic, highly affecting novel.

Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story

The book could have used more Maraniss. Because it has no central character, and no clear through-line other than the calendar, you want less ephemera and more of his controlling intelligence.


What makes this novel so fresh are the unexpected turns the story takes and the vividness, urgency and idiosyncratic panache of Ms. Unsworth’s writing.