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.
May 16, 2013 A dirty deed and official cover-up drive the plot in John le Carre's A Delicate Truth. The novel sets its sights on old-boy corruption and corporate criminality at the heart of the "Deep State," but critic Alan Cheuse finds this latest effort lacks the tension of le Carre's Cold War novels.
May 15, 2013 Some novels you read to find out what happens next, and some you read to linger in the moment. In Tom Drury's Pacific, plot takes a back seat to sharp observation and deadpan wit. The book juxtaposes scenes of teenaged Micah as he moves to Hollywood, with stories set in Micah's heartland hometown.
May 14, 2013 Benjamin Percy's new literary werewolf novel, Red Moon, is packed with vivid, gory-lush description and heavy allegory about a world where "lycans" are a persecuted minority. But reviewer Nick Mancusi says the book gives short shrift to character development.
May 9, 2013 Lucas Mann's Class A combines baseball and sociology in this chronicle of a farm team from a fading Iowa factory town. Reviewer Heller McAlpin says Mann "uses the full tool kit of literary nonfiction" in a book that "encompasses nostalgia, hope and failure."
May 6, 2013 The latest novel from three-time National Book Award finalist Gail Godwin takes inspiration from Henry James' The Turn of the Screw. Both stories take place in isolated old houses, and both revolve around mental contests between a governess character and her young charge.