May 16, 2013 A dirty deed and official cover-up drive the plot in John le Carre's A Delicate Truth. The novel sets its sights on old-boy corruption and corporate criminality at the heart of the "Deep State," but critic Alan Cheuse finds this latest effort lacks the tension of le Carre's Cold War novels.
May 15, 2013 Some novels you read to find out what happens next, and some you read to linger in the moment. In Tom Drury's Pacific, plot takes a back seat to sharp observation and deadpan wit. The book juxtaposes scenes of teenaged Micah as he moves to Hollywood, with stories set in Micah's heartland hometown.
May 14, 2013 Benjamin Percy's new literary werewolf novel, Red Moon, is packed with vivid, gory-lush description and heavy allegory about a world where "lycans" are a persecuted minority. But reviewer Nick Mancusi says the book gives short shrift to character development.
May 9, 2013 Lucas Mann's Class A combines baseball and sociology in this chronicle of a farm team from a fading Iowa factory town. Reviewer Heller McAlpin says Mann "uses the full tool kit of literary nonfiction" in a book that "encompasses nostalgia, hope and failure."
May 6, 2013 The latest novel from three-time National Book Award finalist Gail Godwin takes inspiration from Henry James' The Turn of the Screw. Both stories take place in isolated old houses, and both revolve around mental contests between a governess character and her young charge.
May 2, 2013 A girl with the soul of a bird finds her wings in Audrey Niffenegger's haunting Raven Girl. The author of The Time Traveler's Wife illustrates this slight volume with her own moody etchings.
May 1, 2013 Irish novelist Edna O'Brien looks back on eight tumultuous decades in a new memoir, Country Girl. Reviewer Heller McAlpin says the book is "a generous gift to readers" but too circumspect about O'Brien's personal life — which included encounters with Samuel Beckett, Richard Burton and Paul McCartney.
April 30, 2013 How do creative geniuses do what they do? Daily Rituals, which assembles the working regimens of 161 artists and thinkers into a lean, engaging volume, makes one thing clear: There's no such thing as the way to create good work, but all the greats have their way — and some are spectacularly weird.
April 25, 2013 Claire Messud's new novel, The Woman Upstairs, delves into the inner life of the quiet, friendly — and secretly furious — woman upstairs, a frustrated artist named Nora who becomes obsessed with a glamorous immigrant family.
April 24, 2013 At 19, the heroine of Isabel Allende's florid, frenzied Maya's Notebook is in a tailspin of drugs, prostitution and crime. Sent by her grandmother to hide out with an old friend on an island off Chile, she finds love and redemption. Reviewer Mary Pols doesn't buy it.