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 >
FUTURE HOME OF THE LIVING GOD by Louise Erdrich
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"There is much to rue in this novel about our world but also hope for salvation: 'I think we have survived because we love beauty and because we find each other beautiful,' as the novel's protagonist puts it. 'I think it may be our strongest quality.'"
The idea that evolution could suddenly move backward may seem like an incredible fantasy, but in this dreamlike, suspenseful novel, it's a fitting analogue for the environmental degradation we already experience. Read full book review >

IMPROVEMENT by Joan Silber
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"There is something so refreshing and genuine about this book, coming partly from the bumpy weave of its unpredictable story and partly from its sharply turned yet refreshingly unmannered prose. A winner."
Love and profit, fear and orneriness, intention and accident…all present and accounted for in this study of why our lives turn out the way they do. Read full book review >
A BEAUTIFUL YOUNG WOMAN by Julián  López
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"It's been said that memory is a poet—if so, this novel represents some of its most gorgeous and incandescent work."
The son of one of Argentina's thousands of dissidents who vanished and were presumed murdered during the so-called Dirty War uses his fertile memory to bring his lost mother back to life. Read full book review >
THE CITY OF BRASS by S.A.  Chakraborty
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"Highly impressive and exceptionally promising."
A rich Middle Eastern fantasy, the first of a trilogy: Chakraborty's intriguing debut. Read full book review >

ICE by Anna Kavan
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 14, 2017

"A gripping and uniquely strange work of science fiction."
This 50th-anniversary edition of a novel about a surreal pursuit through an apocalyptic world should bring new attention to Kavan (1901-1968; Who Are You, 1963, etc.), a writer of intense imagination. Read full book review >
PARTING SHOT  by Linwood Barclay
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 7, 2017

"Barclay's latest small-town thriller is one of his best."
In the dark aftermath of mass killings in their (fictional) upstate New York town of Promise Falls, police detective Barry Duckworth and PI Cal Weaver find themselves on parallel tracks while investigating the targeting of two local young men by vigilantes. Read full book review >
FREYA by Anthony Quinn
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 7, 2017

"With its busy plot, its drinking and smoking, its crisp wit and contemporary soundtrack (Peggy Lee, 'Winter Weather,' etc.), Quinn's novel delivers evocative, high-quality entertainment that may well leave readers hoping for a sequel."
In 1950s England, an unconventional young woman develops her reputation as a bold journalist while cherishing—and sometimes forfeiting—a profound female friendship. Read full book review >
MRS. OSMOND by John Banville
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 7, 2017

"A sequel that honors James and his singular heroine while showing Banville to be both an uncanny mimic and, as always, a captivating writer."
A sequel to The Portrait of a Lady that may well delight fans of that Henry James masterpiece and leave other readers bemused by the contemporary work's 19th-century sensibility. Read full book review >
THE OVERNEATH by Peter S. Beagle
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 7, 2017

"A masterful collection from a short story master—a must-read for Beagle fans."
Beagle's latest collection of short stories includes 13 fantasy gems and features many previously uncollected and never-before-published works. Read full book review >
THE KINGDOM OF THIS WORLD by Alejo Carpentier
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 7, 2017

"A stirring, surrealistic, and blood-soaked journey into a dark historical moment."
A coruscating and influential tale of the brutal aftermath of Haiti's liberation. Read full book review >
HEAVEN'S CROOKED FINGER by Hank  Early
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 7, 2017

"You won't put down this powerful and painful tale, the first in a planned series, until you've seen its unlikely hero explore all the avenues of love, hate, deception, and faith and unravel a gripping mystery."
A man whose whole life has been colored by the excesses of his father's execrable ministry tries to come to terms with his past. 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 >