June 2, 2010 Alasdair Gray's latest novel is a hodgepodge of older material — reworked from newspaper articles, discarded stories and plays. It swings widely through time and space to portray the vulnerabilities of men in power, yet it ultimately holds together as funny, profane, cohesive fiction.
May 26, 2010 Jessa Crispin reviews Hilary Thayer Hamann's debut novel, Anthropology of an American Girl, which Hamann self-published in 2003. Now out in a new edition from a major publisher, the novel retains much of its unedited bloat, but also an amateurish charm.
April 27, 2010 Maggie O'Farrell's novel The Hand That First Held Mine is split between two main characters: an art critic and reporter trying to make her way in the man's world of 1960s London and a contemporary artist who wants desperately to remember life before the traumatic birth of her first child.
March 24, 2010 Marion Meade chronicles the life and times of little-known author Nathanael West and his wife, Eileen McKenney. West was the author of the novels Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust.
February 16, 2010 Dubravka Ugresic's Baba Yaga Laid an Egg explores issues of women and aging through three modern retellings of the story of Baba Yaga, the villainous crone at the heart of many Eastern European folk tales.
February 3, 2010 The main character of Stephen Benatar's 1982 novel Wish Her Safe at Home is a middle-aged London woman who inherits a run-down house from her aunt. The book, now in paperback for the first time, blends bright fantasy with a creeping darkness.
January 18, 2010 The heroines in the early stories of author Mavis Gallant deal with a reality Gallant herself knew — the freedom, and loneliness, of expatriate life. Those stories have been collected in a new book called The Cost of Living.
December 4, 2009 2009's top works of foreign fiction, as picked by critic Jessa Crispin, feature a geography as wide ranging as their topics: genetic research, civil unrest, sibling resentment, and fairy-tale depictions of government corruption.
November 9, 2009 The heroine of Elizabeth Wilson's new mystery novel, War Damage, lives an outwardly respectable life, but a murder threatens to bring the secrets of her past into the light. Watson is also the author of Twilight Hour, published in 2007.
October 12, 2009 Sarah Hall's How to Paint a Dead Man weaves together time-shifted stories of four visual artists, all at crisis points in their lives. The book is clever in structure and sweeping in ambition. Hall's skill makes the journey worth the commitment.
September 16, 2009 David Allen Sibley, the master of bird books, shifts his gaze from fauna to flora with The Sibley Guide to Trees. Graceful illustrations of leaf, twig, flower seed and bark accompany concise, elegant descriptions — enabling us all to finally appreciate both the forest and the trees.
August 25, 2009 In his new book The Wauchula Woods Accord: Toward a New Understanding of Animals, Charles Siebert focuses on the complex — and too often violent and exploitative — relationship between primates who have much in common.
August 4, 2009 Chef Ji-won's life turns sour after she catches her boyfriend with one of her cooking students. Tongue, the English debut of best-selling South Korean author Kyung-ran Jo, is filled with food and restaurant trivia, but it's really about moving on from disappointment.
July 21, 2009 Lady Idina Sackville's five husbands and life of high-society debauchery in colonial Kenya scandalized the Edwardians, inspiring more than one novel. The Bolter, her hard-to-put-down biography, shows us the shadow side of a prim and proper era.
July 14, 2009 From brief essays combining myth and history, Eduardo Galeano assembles a mosaic of global civilization. Though often depicting cruelty and oppression, the lyrical, accessible Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone is tinged with hope.
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