January 24, 2013 Ali Smith's new book, Artful, began as a series of lectures on comparative literature, given at Oxford last year. The lectures have been given a fictional shell, the story of an unnamed narrator finding a cache of essays in the study of her dead lover. Reviewer John Wilwol calls Artful "superb."
January 28, 2013 As the classic novel celebrates its bicentennial, Paula Byrne's The Real Jane Austen examines some of the key objects in Austen's life and how they reveal a much more cosmopolitan awareness of the world than is commonly credited to her.
January 29, 2013 A new biography of the Prophet Muhammad attempts to find the real man inside the mythology. Reviewer Drew Toal says the book describes the prophet as "a mostly reasonable, marginalized man beset by extraordinary circumstances."
January 31, 2013 When a psychic tells her that her biological father is still alive, Portland, Ore., comic-book artist Nicole Georges begins a quest of self discovery. Critic Carmen Gimenez Smith calls Georges' graphic memoir "a beautiful and innovative portrait" of an artist's journey.
February 6, 2013 Reporter-turned-novelist Gene Kerrigan sets his story in Ireland after the 2008 financial crisis. The Rage is a boundlessly readable portrait of a country in which ordinary citizens have been hit the hardest and all the old certainties have vanished.
February 9, 2013 Margot Berwin's new novel Scent of Darkness follows a young woman rendered irresistible by a magical perfume. Reviewer Mary Bly says the problem isn't the magical-realism aspects of the story, but the dull and complacent heroine.
February 12, 2013 Swamplandia! author Karen Russell has a new story collection, Vampires in the Lemon Grove. Reviewer Michael Schaub says Russell puts the lie to the popular misconception that literary fiction must be boring and realistic, and fans of George Saunders will be right at home in these stories.
February 12, 2013 In a new memoir, James Lasdun describes how a former-student-turned-friend stalked and slandered him online. Give Me Everything You Have is a meditation on what it means to control your reputation on the Internet — and the book is Lasdun's attempt to fight back.
February 13, 2013 The confounding title of the self-referential novel Percival Everett by Virgil Russell signals its method, which seeks to erase lines between author and subject, reality and fiction. For Alan Cheuse, Percival Everett's (or is that Percival Everett's?) postmodern mind games spoil what might have been a fine novel.
February 14, 2013 By the time Wendy Plump learned that her husband had a longtime mistress and an 8-month-old son, their union already bore the scars of adultery — both his and hers. Plump's marital post-mortem, Vow, is a frank, intelligent inquiry into the thrills and anguish of infidelity.