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The Magician's Land: A Novel

A huge part of the pleasure of this trilogy in general and this volume in particular is that, even as we consume the story just to find out what happens to Quentin, we know that we are collaborating in our own versions of its creation, its animation. The reader gets to be a magician, too.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage: A novel

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki has a strong storyline and sharply drawn characters whose motives are ambiguous: a perfect introduction to Murakami’s world, where questions of guilt and motivation abound, and the future is an open question.

A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

This is the latest of a series of Macintyre’s superb reconstructions of classic tales about British intelligence.

Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War

Thorpe avoids editorializing, but she subtly constructs a body of often-incriminating evidence around hot-button topics such as gender discrimination and sexual assault in the military and American intervention.

The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan

The camera is brutally honest and unforgiving in Perlstein’s hands. Expect no balance from this author, who never attempts to hide his liberal bias.

In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

An accomplished historian with a storyteller’s soul, Hampton Sides is at the top of his game with his latest book, In the Kingdom of Ice.

Your Face in Mine: A Novel

There’s some Jonathan Lethem in Mr. Row’s street-level awareness of culture, popular and otherwise. There’s some Saul Bellow in his needling intelligence.

In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

“In the Kingdom of Ice” is a harrowing story well told, but it is more than just that.


By writing this affecting book, however, Lucinda Franks has made their love story permanent.

Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local - And Helped Save an American Town

In this, her first book, Macy’s passion and enthusiasm are palpable on every page, but more judicious editing would have given the tale greater clarity and narrative power, and made the heroes and villains more alive on the page.

Last Stories and Other Stories

I don’t really believe this is Vollmann’s last book. But if it were, it would be a happy ending to a phenomenal body of work.

Before, During, After

If “Before, During, After” is a literary rendition of “Can this marriage be saved?” it’s also an elegantly constructed novel in which the catastrophic destruction of two monumental structures provides the backdrop to the fracture and crumbling of smaller couples.

Wayfaring Stranger: A Novel

In some ways, “Wayfaring Stranger” feels almost too big for a novel as big as Texas, too portentous, too invested in its own mythic significance. But in other crucial ways, it feels exactly the right size.

One Kick

“One Kick” is well engineered and fast-paced, and its troubling subject matter is suggested rather than spelled out, avoiding gratuitous horror.

Everything I Never Told You: A Novel

This is, in the end, a novel about the burden of being the first of your kind — a burden you do not always survive.

How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky

Netzer’s fans are likely to be quite entertained by this second charmingly weird novel of hers that grapples with big questions.

Life Drawing

Provocative, filled with glimpses of the nastiness that makes us human and the power of losing someone with whom it seems the conversation, however difficult, however punishing, should never end.

Panic in a Suitcase: A Novel

“Panic in a Suitcase” is a rewarding biography of displacement, where those left behind are often as disconnected as those who flee for an elusive better life elsewhere.

I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You
The New York Times : The Cheat (August 15, 2014)

“I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You” is less a study of a marriage dissolving, or even of a man dissolving, than a lament for what is damaged possibly beyond repair.

Season to Taste

A mordant tale of cannibalism as a double act of revenge and repurposing, relayed in terms so grotesquely clinical as to make “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” seem like, well, a Broadway musical.