September 25, 2012 The traditional mother-daughter dynamic turned on its head for New York Times columnist Alex Witchel in the wake of her mother's struggle with dementia. But Witchel's memoir, despite its raw honesty, fails to provide the depth needed to make it a standout in a trendy genre.
September 20, 2012 T.C. Boyle's past work is largely satirical and tough on his characters. In San Miguel, readers will find the same biting tone, but none of the irony. Loosely based on ranchers' memoirs of a grim California island, this chillingly written novel exposes a bleak and savage reality.
September 20, 2012 Author Kij Johnson's first short story collection mixes straightforward realism with lyrical science fiction and fantasy. Reviewer Alan Cheuse says the stories bring to mind the work of Ursula Le Guin, and have the power to highlight the marvelous aspects of everyday life.
September 19, 2012 Susanna Moore tells the saga of an ambitious girl, a family's artistic fortune and a world at war. Young heroine Beatrice Palmer is whisked off to Berlin where she is put to work packing up priceless artwork in a wealthy family's mansion.
September 19, 2012 Tom Reiss places Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, a general in Revolutionary France and the father of the Count of Monte Cristo author, atop a high pedestal. With clear admiration, Reiss explains that the triumphs and travails of the elder Dumas inspired his son's adventure novels.
September 18, 2012 Author Shani Boianjiu's debut novel draws on her own military experience to tell the story of three young women in the Israel Defense Forces. Reviewer Alan Cheuse says the book has a refreshing frankness that's initially very appealing — but its episodic nature wears thin after a while.
September 13, 2012 Atlantic writer Hanna Rosin has expanded her cover story on women's new economic dominance into a full-length book. Reviewer Annalee Newitz says it's a good snapshot of a major cultural shift — but frustratingly contradictory in its approach.
September 13, 2012 Junot Diaz's third book, This Is How You Lose Her, is a collection of stories, many narrated by recurring character Yunior. Diaz's voice-driven prose describes characters who are simultaneously appealing and appalling, says NPR critic Carmen Gimenez Smith.
September 12, 2012 Marco Roth grew up on New York's Upper West Side in the 1980s, where a liberal Jewish culture infused with European tastes was breathing its last gasps. In his memoir, Roth describes how he learned — years after his father died from AIDS — that his father was probably gay.
September 12, 2012 Breed offers a new and horrifying picture of New York's upper echelon, the barren rich, with full wallets and empty cribs. Desperate for a child, one couple find treatment in a sketchy fertility clinic, where they successfully become fertile — and feral.