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 6, 2013 The main character in Rebecca Miller's new novel is a pest with a past, and his gnat-like status offers him one great advantage: Those convex eyes allow him to see fully into the hearts of humans, specifically two other characters whose paths intersect with his.
February 28, 2013 Marisa Silver's new novel imagines the meeting of a Depression-era photographer and her now-iconic subject. Giving the characters different names but similar stories to their real-life counterparts, Silver tackles big questions about the morality of art.
February 21, 2013 The author of Swamplandia! has a new collection of short stories called Vampires in the Lemon Grove. Critic Maureen Corrigan says the stories are daring and devastating, and with them Russell establishes herself as one of the great American writers of our young century.
February 21, 2013 Chris Morgan Jones' The Jackal's Share finesses the fundamentals of the spy novel with admirable economy. The clever premise has our detective investigating his own client in order to certify his sterling character. Naturally, complications arise.
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.
January 17, 2013 The National Book Critics Circle has announced that two feminist literary scholars, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, will receive a lifetime achievement award. Critic Maureen Corrigan says their groundbreaking 1979 book, The Madwoman in the Attic, changed the way we read.
January 15, 2013 At the beginning of January, the cover story of The New York Times Magazine declared: "George Saunders Has Written The Best Book You'll Read This Year." The stories in the author's latest collection, The Tenth of December, prove that The Times may well be right.
January 4, 2013 A new mystery by novelist Zygmunt Miloszewski explores Poland's relationship to its anti-Semitic past. Teodor Szacki, the likably washed-up hero, must sprint all over town interrogating suspects, including so-called Polish "patriots" — extremists who bombard him with their anti-Semitic rants.
December 19, 2012 Femmes fatales and their crafty female creators dominate this year's mystery and thriller picks. Critic Maureen Corrigan wonders whether it takes a woman to capture the evil that can hide behind a lip-glossed smile and pair of shining eyes.
December 13, 2012 An unemployed couple prepares to divorce in order to protect what little assets they have, and a 15-year-old suffers the fallout of his parents' bank heist. Many of Corrigan's top 2012 reads tell stories — imagined and real — about people who felt like they didn't know what hit them.
December 13, 2012 2012 was a very jittery year — what with the presidential election, extreme weather events and the looming "fiscal cliff." Fresh Air critic Maureen Corrigan found that her favorite fiction and nonfiction this year directly confronted the atmospheric uncertainty of the age.