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.
February 25, 2013 Fiction is reality and reality fiction in Revenge, Yoko Ogawa's absorbing cycle of interlinked, eerie tales. Readers may detect the shadows of Murakami, Borges and Poe, but, says critic Alan Cheuse, Ogawa's delicious tales cast their own singular spell.
February 19, 2013 Journalist Jess Bravin's new book details the secretive system of military tribunals used to try terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay. Reviewer Jason Farago says the book reads like a thriller — but the violation of American values inherent in the tribunals is a true tragedy.
February 20, 2013 Laura Kasischke offers her signature blend of the mundane and the uncanny in her first story collection, If a Stranger Approaches You. In these tight, dark stories, unease and impotence lurk behind tidy suburban facades.
February 20, 2013 The novel by Herman Koch is structured around a five-course meal shared by two couples. But it's not all fun and food. What's really going on at this meal is much more gruesome. Reviewer Rosecrans Baldwin says the novel offers a fresh, modern take on basic moral questions.