March 19, 2016 Dana Spiotta's ambitious new novel follows two women, friends and filmmakers, through decades of conversations about art, film and life — and a dangerous final documentary project.
March 3, 2016 Paul Goldberg's audacious new novel trades in rumor and anecdote, conjuring a time of anti-Semitism and violence in 1950s Moscow.
Thirteen Ways of Looking
October 16, 2015 Colum McCann's new story collection plays with images of surveillance — traffic cams, nanny cams — to capture a complex picture of love, loss, pain and the way our lives so swiftly pass away.
October 11, 2015 Bonnie Jo Campbell's confessional, unforgettable new story collection gives a voice to mothers and daughters, struggling to get by, desperate to be heard, but despairing of an audience.
September 9, 2015 Young Liliane reads Bonjour Tristesse with her father in Italy, Peyton Place with her mother in Maine — and author Lily Tuck builds the disparate pieces of her life into a compelling portrait.
January 29, 2015 Samantha Shannon's richly detailed follow-up to The Bone Season picks up with clairvoyant heroine Paige on the run after leading a revolt against the alien oppressors of her far-future England.
November 13, 2014 Family Furnishings collects 24 of short story master Alice Munro's best works. Reviewer Jane Ciabattari calls it a superb introduction to Munro, and a reminder that she's a writer to be cherished.
September 21, 2014 The characters in Monica McFawn's short stories range from a gambling nanny to a butterfly-selling mathematician. Each story is full of carefully observed human detail and flashes of brilliance.
August 7, 2014 Richard House's 1,048-page thriller is a series of interlocking novels within novels about a British contractor who flees Iraq after being framed for the loss of $53 million in development money.
June 5, 2014 Lily King's new novel was inspired by a real-life moment in 1933, when the lives of anthropologist Margaret Mead and two of her husbands intersected on an expedition to the Sepik River in New Guinea.
May 15, 2014 In Norman Lock's new novel, Huck and Jim set out on their raft in 1835, but are swept up and along through three wrenching centuries: slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow and onward.
Susan Minot's previous books include Rapture and Folly.
February 12, 2014 Susan Minot's new novel is a departure from her usual minimalist explorations of upper-crust love. Based on her own journalism, it's a gripping fictionalized account of the 1996 abduction of 139 Ugandan schoolgirls by militant guerrillas. Reviewer Jane Ciabattari says Thirty Girls is "panoramic" and "poetic" in its descriptions.
January 14, 2014 Rachel Urquhart's debut novel, The Visionist, is based in real life: the Visionists were young Shaker girls who began to suffer mysterious fits one day in August 1837. Reviewer Jane Ciabattari says The Visionist is a "surprisingly dark tale," but lyrically written, and offering a fresh look at Shaker life.
December 31, 2013 Olivia Laing illuminates the complex relationships between writers and alcohol in The Trip to Echo Spring — Echo Spring being, of course, the euphemism Tennessee Williams used for the liquor cabinet in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Reviewer Jane Ciabattari says the book is "beautifully written, haunting, tragic and instructive in the best sense."
November 9, 2013 Amy Tan's fans will find familiar themes in her new novel, The Valley of Amazement: mothers and daughters, multi-generational secrets, Chinese-American identity. But Jane Ciabattari says the new work, which centers on an American madam in Shanghai and her courtesan daughter, is more sophisticated than Tan's previous novels.
Stephane Michaka is a French writer.
Elisa Pone/Random House
August 21, 2013 Stephane Michaka's novel Scissors fictionalizes the last 10 years in the life of short story master Raymond Carver and Carver's difficult relationship with his legendary editor Gordon Lish. Reviewer Jane Ciabattari says Scissors is an "empathetic exploration of an author's soul."
August 18, 2013 The Bone Season kicks off a new fantasy series about a clairvoyant girl in a future dystopia. Author Samantha Shannon was a student when she started writing — now, she's being touted as the next J. K. Rowling. And reviewer Jane Ciabattari says her work lives up to the hype.
April 25, 2013 Claire Messud's new novel, The Woman Upstairs, delves into the inner life of the quiet, friendly — and secretly furious — woman upstairs, a frustrated artist named Nora who becomes obsessed with a glamorous immigrant family.
April 10, 2013 Fiona Maazel's new novel, Woke Up Lonely, is a deliriously inventive tale of love and spycraft. Utopian cult leader Thurlow pines for his ex-wife Esme. She uses her CIA connections to keep him safe under her surveillance in a story layered with espionage, sex and jokes about Kim Jong Il.
March 14, 2013 In her new story collection, This Close, Jessica Francis Kane depicts a group of women who are worn down, overwhelmed by love and loss, yet familiar as old friends. Reviewer Jane Ciabattari says they are "our family, our friends and neighbors. They are us, at our most vulnerable."
November 26, 2012 Author Hortense Calisher once called the short story "an apocalypse in a teacup." Critic Jane Ciabattari presents her favorite mini-apocalypses of 2012, from veteran authors like Sherman Alexie to newcomer Claire Vaye Watkins, who combines a unique voice and a shadowed family history in her debut collection.
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August 23, 2012 Amanda Coplin's first novel follows Talmadge, the titular orchardist, who doesn't stray far from his fruit trees — but trouble comes to him in the form of two pregnant teenage runaways. The book, by turns lyrical and gritty, is a glimpse into the massive changes in the American West at the end of the 19th century.
June 27, 2012 Dozens of journalists have been killed on the job in the past decade. Joshua Henkin's new novel follows the family of a man killed while reporting from Iraq as it copes with his loss, and the various secrets each family member is keeping from the others.
February 22, 2011 T.C. Boyle's new novel, When The Killing's Done, follows prescient environmental quarrels in Santa Barbara between an environmentalist and a biologist — but the bureaucratic bickering pales in comparison to the ferocious powers of nature.