June 11, 2013 Literary enfant terrible Tao Lin's latest novel, Taipei, follows protagonist Paul — who closely resembles Lin himself — on his drugged wanderings around New York and Taipei. Reviewer Annalisa Quinn says Lin "refuses, almost sadistically, to entertain the reader."
June 7, 2013 Karen Joy Fowler's haunting novel, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, draws on arguments she used to have with her father, a psychology professor, over how closely connected humans and animals really are. Fowler is also the author of the 2004 best-seller The Jane Austen Book Club.
June 6, 2013 In We Need New Names, NoViolet Bulawayo tells the story of Darling and her friends, desperate children who live in a shantytown called Paradise. Although the early chapters are told in a child's voice, there is no whimsy in this novel of a turbulent Zimbabwe.
June 6, 2013 Food porn and pirate adventure are two great tastes that taste great together in Eli Brown's Cinnamon and Gunpowder. When a pirate kidnaps a chef to serve her own gustatory pleasures, his creativity is taxed as he prepares feasts — like a Regency-era Iron Chef — using only shipboard supplies.
June 5, 2013 More bodice unbuttoner than bodice ripper, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, by Anton DiSclafani, is nonetheless an ode to a young girl's sexual awakening. The novel follows Thea, a 1930s teen whose family banishes her to an equestrian boarding school after a mysterious transgression.
June 4, 2013 Lionel Shriver has never shied away from contentious topics. Her latest novel, Big Brother, tackles the hot-button issue of obesity as doll-maker Pandora deals with her brother — washed-up jazz pianist Edison — and his massive weight gain.
May 28, 2013 Philipp Meyer (American Rust) has crafted a multigenerational epic that captures the Lone Star State's contradictions and vast sweep. Critic Michael Schaub calls The Son "one of the most solid, unsparing pieces of American historical fiction to come out this century."
May 23, 2013 A poor father sells his daughter to a wealthy, childless couple, dividing her from her beloved brother and setting a chain of stories in motion in Khaled Hosseini's And the Mountains Echoed. Moving and morally complex, this is the most ambitious book yet from the author of The Kite Runner.
May 22, 2013 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's latest, Americanah, follows the trials and tribulations of Ifemelu, a middle-class Nigerian immigrant to America. Reviewer Jennifer Reese calls Americanah a "rich and gloriously detailed tapestry ... hung on the sturdy scaffolding of a sweet love story."
May 21, 2013 George Packer's The Unwinding explores the social and economic upheavals that have transformed the U.S. over the past 30 years. In a nuanced work of literary journalism, colorful characters from across the class divide tell their own stories of a social contract in tatters.