Fiction & Literature Book Reviews

USING LIFE by Ahmed Naji
Kirkus Star
by Ahmed Naji, illustrated by Ayman Al Zorkany, translated by Benjamin Koerber
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 20, 2017

"A fly-on-the-wall view of an Egypt few outsiders know and one that, in its insistence on unveiled expression, offers hope for a more democratic future."
Alan Moore meets Nahgib Mafouz in this exuberant, subversive novel by Egyptian writer Naji—who was jailed for his troubles. Read full book review >
GYPSIES OF THE ROAD by George L. G.
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 17, 2017

"A story with a well-developed protagonist who becomes more appealing as he overcomes obstacles."
In L.G.'s debut drama, a divorced man finds his calling as a truck driver, as the open road provides an escape from a life that's been defined by failure. Read full book review >

THE EMERALD CIRCUS by Jane Yolen
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 17, 2017

"An impressive overview of the author's breadth and career, this collection will appeal to the author's existing devotees—or to anyone who has ever thought that 'happily ever after' left too many questions."
A collection of short stories, mostly reinventions of fairy tales, by Yolen (Jewish Fairy Tale Feasts, 2017, etc.), whose award-winning body of work stretches from sci-fi/fantasy to children's literature to poetry to cookbooks. Read full book review >
THE GODDESS OF MTWARA AND OTHER STORIES by Lizzy Attree
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 16, 2017

"A wonderful set of 16 stories that covers a lot of ground and features many genres—from myth and folklore to the postmodern and experimental—in a way that will surely satisfy readers."
Short fiction by some of Africa's most talented writers. Read full book review >
THE COLLEGE OF CORN by Kunyang He
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 15, 2017

"An earnest but exceedingly unpolished portrait of expat college life."
A Chinese Ph.D. student strives to make sense of American college culture in general and two women in particular. Read full book review >

THE ESSENTIAL FICTIONS by Isaac Babel
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 15, 2017

"Readers familiar with Babel won't find anything radically different here, but Vinokur's new translation reminds us that when it comes to Babel, too much is never enough."
Does the world need another translation of Isaac Babel? Read full book review >
THE WORLD GOES ON by László Krasznahorkai
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 15, 2017

"Complex and difficult, as are all of Krasznahorkai's works, but worth sticking with."
The world goes on indeed, and it's not pretty: so Hungarian novelist Krasznahorkai (The Last Wolf and Herman, 2016, etc.) instructs in this existentialism-tinged set of linked stories. Read full book review >
THE ANNOTATED AFRICAN AMERICAN FOLKTALES  by Henry Louis Gates Jr.
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"An exhaustive, informative, and entertaining survey of African-American folklore, its centrality to American culture, and the universality of myth."
This anthology of African-American folk tales, edited by Harvard professors Gates (In Search of our Roots: How 19 Extraordinary African Americans Reclaimed Their Pasts, 2017, etc.) and Tatar (Beauty and the Beast: Classic Tales About Animal Brides and Grooms from Around the World, 2017, etc.), gathers more than 100 folk tales from the African diaspora into an exhaustive collection for both academic and casual audiences. Read full book review >
INTO THE DROWNING DEEP by Mira Grant
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"A claustrophobic, deep-sea terror tale that will leave readers glad to be safely on dry land."
Grant (Feedback, 2017, etc.) expands on her novella Rolling in the Deep (2015), about a reality TV show that goes searching for mermaids in the Mariana Trench and finds much more than it bargained for. Read full book review >
SEEDS OF REVENGE by Wendy Tyson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"Tyson's third look at the joys and perils of small-town life features enough engaging characters to offset the transparent mystery."
A chance encounter involves an organic farmer in a case of murder. Read full book review >
LOST, ALMOST by Amy P. Knight
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"A memorable exploration of the consequences of history on both a personal and an intellectual level."
Knight examines the lives of several generations of a family through the lens of its brilliant, mercurial patriarch. Read full book review >
A DARKER SEA by James L. Haley
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"Another real-enough-to-be-true, rollicking tale from the days of sail and sword."
After bringing his hero, Blivet Putnam, home to Connecticut following his navy career's first action (The Shores of Tripoli, 2016, etc.), Haley promotes him to master commandant to captain the USS Tempest and fight the War of 1812. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Katey Sagal
author of GRACE NOTES
April 10, 2017

In her memoir Grace Notes, actress and singer/songwriter Katey Sagal takes you through the highs and lows of her life, from the tragic deaths of her parents to her long years in the Los Angeles rock scene, from being diagnosed with cancer at the age of twenty-eight to getting her big break on the fledgling FOX network as the wise-cracking Peggy Bundy on the beloved sitcom Married…with Children. Sparse and poetic, Grace Notes is an emotionally riveting tale of struggle and success, both professional and personal: Sagal’s path to sobriety; the stillbirth of her first daughter, Ruby; motherhood; the experience of having her third daughter at age 52 with the help of a surrogate; and her lifelong passion for music. “While this book is sure to please the author’s many fans, its thoughtful, no-regrets honesty will no doubt also appeal to readers of Hollywood memoirs seeking substance that goes beyond gossip and name-dropping,” our critic writes. “A candid, reflective memoir.” View video >