NPR stories about Book Reviews
March 6, 2013 The circus is hard to categorize and easy to overlook as an art form. But author Duncan Wall decided to take a closer look at circus history — and maybe learn some clowning skills along the way — in his new book The Ordinary Acrobat.
March 6, 2013 Mohsin Hamid chooses an unusual second-person structure throughout his new novel, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. NPR's Steve Inskeep says that, though largely mute in a narrative told to an unnamed "you," the hero "speaks powerfully through his ambition and his longing."
March 5, 2013 Set at the turn of the century within the grand houses of Princeton, The Accursed is populated with specters, demons and even a vampire. But the real monsters in Joyce Carol Oates' chilling tale are the members of Princeton's elite, who preach from the pulpits and judge without compassion.
March 3, 2013 No one's perfect, especially in literature. Author Julie Wu's favorite protagonists are of sound mind and questionable morals. Do you have a favorite character who lacks, well, character? Tell us in the comments.
February 28, 2013 Marisa Silver's new novel imagines the meeting of a Depression-era photographer and her now-iconic subject. Giving the characters different names but similar stories to their real-life counterparts, Silver tackles big questions about the morality of art.
February 28, 2013 Set in 1930s Berlin, Paris and Los Angeles, The Teleportation Accident is a sci-fi-noir-comedy mashup overstuffed with astute social observations, high-brow literary allusions and vivid prose. Critic Jennifer Reese finds this freewheeling farce both brilliant and exasperating.
March 5, 2013 Mohsin Hamid's How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia presents itself as a how-to manual for success in South Asia. The story of a street urchin's corrupt path to prosperity, the novel puts critic Alan Cheuse in mind of that quintessential American story of an unscrupulous striver, The Great Gatsby.
February 26, 2013 Ariel Djanikian's debut novel, The Office of Mercy, imagines a dystopian future America where government euphemisms mask state-sponsored murder. Reviewer Michael Schaub finds traces of George Orwell in the book, which he calls "an indisputable page turner with a surprising ending."
February 21, 2013 The author of Swamplandia! has a new collection of short stories called Vampires in the Lemon Grove. Critic Maureen Corrigan says the stories are daring and devastating, and with them Russell establishes herself as one of the great American writers of our young century.
February 21, 2013 Chris Morgan Jones' The Jackal's Share finesses the fundamentals of the spy novel with admirable economy. The clever premise has our detective investigating his own client in order to certify his sterling character. Naturally, complications arise.
February 20, 2013 The novel by Herman Koch is structured around a five-course meal shared by two couples. But it's not all fun and food. What's really going on at this meal is much more gruesome. Reviewer Rosecrans Baldwin says the novel offers a fresh, modern take on basic moral questions.
February 20, 2013 There are an increasing number of LGBT characters in mainstream superhero comics — but visibility isn't everything. NPR's comic-book guy Glen Weldon has a roundup of manga and independent graphic novels that offer a deeper and more nuanced portrayal of LGBT life.