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An Abbreviated Life

It is about understanding and recovery, and about looking back in order to take the first step forward.


The Veins of the Ocean: A Novel

“The Veins of the Ocean” is its own willing plunge into deeper, darker realms.


Pond

“Pond” makes the case for Bennett as an innovative writer of real talent.


How to Set a Fire and Why: A Novel

It may be Ball’s deliberate strategy to make us watch his story drift away into a fog of vague language, but it also fails to bring out what is most memorable about one of his most vivid and engaging characters, Lucia Stanton.


Miss Jane: A Novel

The complexity and drama of Watson’s gorgeous work here is life’s as well: Sometimes physical realities expand us, sometimes trap; sometimes heroism lies in combating our helplessness, sometimes in accepting it.


Chronicle of a Last Summer: A Novel of Egypt

El Rashidi offers a sharply perceptive and judiciously accurate portrait of Egypt’s complex culture.


The Latter Days: A Memoir

“The Latter Days” is clean, strong and deep, a raging river of a story that its author carried until she couldn’t hold it back. It is an arrow straight from Mormon country, from the Mountain West and from the heart.


Heroes of the Frontier

In the abrupt end, Eggers stops us short, giving us a shaggy dog story that starts to give you its paw and then seems to think the better of it.


Pond

She’s diffused our often confusing and chaotic world into something more manageable, yet all the while making itty-bitty molehills into mountains.


Losing It: A Novel

Rathbone’s accuracy is what makes her so funny; it’s her grace as a writer that elevates this book from a series of comedic one-liners to art.


Brazillionaires: Wealth, Power, Decadence, and Hope in an American Country

Brazillionaires is a welcome addition to the very sparse canon of good books about Brazil.