NPR stories about Book Reviews
March 14, 2013 In her new story collection, This Close, Jessica Francis Kane depicts a group of women who are worn down, overwhelmed by love and loss, yet familiar as old friends. Reviewer Jane Ciabattari says they are "our family, our friends and neighbors. They are us, at our most vulnerable."
March 13, 2013 William H. Gass' fiction has been a secret handshake among brainy readers for years. Critics universally adored The Tunnel, his 1995 opus, even though it was nearly impossible to read. With Middle C, Gass has given us another dense, suffocating novel about language and the self.
March 12, 2013 Comics veteran Ben Katchor's new book, Hand-Drying in America, examines the spaces we live and work in, and the ways we build and navigate through them. Critic Glen Weldon says Katchor's panels "celebrate the mundane world around us by revealing it to be anything but."
March 10, 2013 Derek Raymond has been called the father of British noir. But author A.L. Kennedy says He Died With His Eyes Open is a crime novel so far beyond noir that there isn't even a word for that kind of darkness. Is there a book you find deeply disturbing but still love? Tell us in the comments.
March 7, 2013 Alaya Dawn Johnson's new young-adult novel, The Summer Prince, follows three friends in a far-future Brazilian city as they deal with questions of art, love and technology. Reviewer Petra Mayer says Johnson "walks the line between literary lyricism and good old-fashioned science fiction storytelling."
March 7, 2013 Marisa Silver's new novel, Mary Coin, is a fictionalized look at a famous Depression-era photograph: Dorothea Lange's iconic "Migrant Mother." Reviewer Heller McAlpin says Silver skilfully weaves together different eras and narratives, creating "quietly heroic yet very human characters."
March 6, 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 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 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.
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.