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It shows a talented writer unwilling to settle for what she already does well and eager to give herself new challenges; her ambition is laudable, even if the result isn't perfect.

China Dolls

See presents a sweeping, turbulent tale of passion, friendship, good fortune, bad fortune, perfidy and the hope of reconciliation.

The Director: A Novel

This is the kind of Smiley novel le Carré would probably write if he were 20 years younger, if he knew the CIA as well as he knows the British security services

Night Heron

This is Brookes’s first novel, and one hopes it won’t be his last. “Night Heron” already places him near the first rank of today’s spy novelists.

The Vacationers: A Novel

“The Vacationers” is formulaic enough to insist that everyone emerge from its machinations as a better person, or at least a braver one.


“Carsick” functions partly as a close examination of modest fame at work in immodest America.

What Is Visible: A Novel

“What Is Visible” contemplates the bare requisites of being human, more fundamentally than most meditations on haves and have-nots.

Thunderstruck & Other Stories

The beauty of McCracken’s bold ­excursions into these vivid lives is that her wisdom and wit have a moral dimension that deepens our sympathy for her straying souls, encouraging us to picture ourselves in even their most improbable predicaments.

I'll Be Right There

Even though the novel holds more dialogue and diegesis than plot revelations, it’s somehow still a page-turner, such is Shin’s gift for storytelling, as well as her careful cultivation of motifs.

The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones

Loh is such an engaging writer she manages to make this extremely difficult time hilarious.


The book is rife with such visceral imagery and pungent with the stink of disease, foul breath and unwashed bodies.

The Other Language

The best stories in this collection have the confidence of subtlety, and a touch of the unexpected.

Beasts: What Animals Can Teach Us About the Origins of Good and Evil

Disappointment with our behavior is justifiable. But we are also wired for optimism. And without a twinkle of hopefulness, we’re doomed for sure.

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair: A Novel

It’s this light touch and engaging voice — impeccably translated from the French — that make the writing so infectious, and will probably make it a best seller here as well.

Degrees of Inequality: How the Politics of Higher Education Sabotaged the American Dream

“Degrees of Inequality” is not an easy book to get through. That’s not just ­because the material is depressing but because the author hasn’t animated her story with people, preferring instead to advance her arguments through numbers and charts.


It’s the sort of novel you say you’ll read for only 10 more minutes because it’s already way past your bedtime. Two hours later, your light is still on.

American Romantic

It has all the qualities Just’s regular readers look forward to, yet it’s an equally good place to be introduced to his work.

Summer House with Swimming Pool

“The Dinner” had a multicourse structure: It was coarse and simple-minded but tough. “Summer House With Swimming Pool” is weaker and unhurried, rambling along with no particular destination.

Night Heron

Maybe Brookes was in as much of a panic about ending this otherwise completely convincing novel as Mangan was to escape from a hostile China.

The Antiquarian

“The Antiquarian” is steeped in alienation, shame, mourning and disgust. It is intelligently conceived and well executed.