April 2, 2013 Patricia Volk's new memoir, Shocked, chronicles her complex relationship with her beautiful, exacting mother. She finds a useful contrast to her mother's stifled life in a memoir by avant-garde designer Elsa Schiaparelli. Reviewer Heller McAlpin calls the book a "stylish coming-of-age tale."
April 3, 2013 Elizabeth Strout is best known for her short story collection Olive Kitteridge, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2009. Her new book is a novel, and critic Maureen Corrigan says it's a different type of winner.
March 29, 2013 Elizabeth Strout won the Pulitzer Prize for her last novel, Olive Kitteridge. Her follow-up, The Burgess Boys, is a sure-handed meditation on a family fractured by tragedy. Reviewer Lizzie Skurnick says Skurnick's "deft touch" comes through in the subtle betrayals of her characters.
March 27, 2013 Amid a literary landscape rife with metafictional and postmodern high jinks, Jill McCorkle has dared to write a heartwarmer set largely in a retirement home. Her Life After Life celebrates late-life epiphanies and old-fashioned kindness.
March 27, 2013 The rich and good-looking get a taste of life among the 99 percent in Jonathan Dee's novels. In A Thousand Pardons, his protagonist, Helen Armstead, finds a secret talent for getting powerful men to apologize after her marriage falls apart and she is forced to enter the working world.
March 26, 2013 Kristopher Jansma's hyper-inventive debut novel The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards explores the blurred boundary between truth and lies in a writer's life. Reviewer Heller McAlpin says the book "reaches a dizzying complexity that borders on the tiresome."
March 21, 2013 Nalo Hopkinson's latest, Sister Mine, mixes urban fantasy and family tension in a story about semi-divine twin sisters struggling to come to terms with each other and avert a magical disaster. Reviewer Genevieve Valentine calls it a "suitably imperfect and vibrant story of family."
March 20, 2013 Jean-Marie Blas de Robles' novel Where Tigers Are at Home won France's 2008 Prix Medicis. It's now out in English, and reviewer Alan Cheuse says it will appeal to readers who like the complexity of Umberto Eco, with "an adventure plot straight out of Michael Crichton."
March 19, 2013 Emily Rapp lived every parent's nightmare when her infant son was diagnosed with a fatal disease. The Still Point of the Turning World is not only a powerful memoir of a mother's endurance but also a meditation on how our mortality should inspire us all to live life ferociously in the present.
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."