Fiction & Literature Book Reviews

Freaks I've Met by Donald Jans
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 2, 2015

"An engrossing but tongue-in-cheek drama that, even at its most dramatic, will leave readers smiling."
A Spokane college graduate searches for wealth and fame in LA but finds only a string of dead-end jobs and outlandish individuals in Jans' witty debut drama. Read full book review >
TIME AGES IN A HURRY by Antonio Tabucchi
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 4, 2015

"A quibble: The title might have been more idiomatically rendered Time Gets Old in a Hurry, getting at the paradoxes and wordplay that Tabucchi loved. A pleasure all the same for fans of modern European literature."
A pensive, beautifully written meditation on personhood and nationhood in the new age of European unity. Read full book review >

PORTRAIT OF A MAN KNOWN AS IL CONDOTTIERE by Georges Perec
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 6, 2015

"The translation is pleasingly idiomatic, the translator's introduction illuminating. Perec's yarn, though, will largely be of interest to students of postwar French literature and social history, who will find that it makes a nice if not especially memorable puzzle."
"Leonardo is dead, Antonello is dead, and I'm not feeling too well myself." Thus we read in French experimentalist Perec's long-forgotten, rejected debut, now rescued from the dustbin of literary history. Read full book review >
EMMA by Alexander McCall Smith
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 7, 2015

"In less capable hands, it could all seem clunky and crass. Instead, McCall Smith has written a delightfully droll, thoughtful novel that reflects on money's enduring role in relationships as well as on the nature of this meddlesome heroine's long-lived appeal."
In the latest installment of the Austen Project, McCall Smith (The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe, 2014, etc.) catapults snobbish matchmaker Emma Woodhouse into the 21st century.Read full book review >
FALSE TONGUES by Kate Charles
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 7, 2015

"Callie has never been more appealing than in this sensitive exploration of love and loss."
A trip to her old college offers deacon Callie Anson (Deep Waters, 2009, etc.) both challenges and opportunities.Read full book review >

THE SHARK CURTAIN by Chris Scofield
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 7, 2015

"An ambitious, self-conscious muddle. (Historical fiction. 12 & up)"
In her debut novel, Scofield offers readers an insider's view of the unusual mind of Lily Asher.Read full book review >
HOUSE OF ECHOES by Brendan Duffy
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 7, 2015

"A wonderfully tense and heart-wrenching debut."
In an isolated village in upstate New York, a young family finds "[d]emons in the wood and devils at the door." Read full book review >
SISTERS OF HEART AND SNOW by Margaret Dilloway
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 7, 2015

"In this enjoyable novel, imperfect and at times unlikable women become lovable."
In Dilloway's third novel (The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns, 2012, etc.), two estranged sisters wonder what they can learn from a 12th-century female samurai.Read full book review >
ACADEMY STREET by Mary Costello
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 7, 2015

"Costello renders her homely, knowing heroine with craft and compassion in this sad, slim, rich novel."
In this darkly beautiful first novel, a girl finds happiness elusive and short-lived as she comes of age in Ireland and becomes a mother in the U.S. in the last century's latter half. Read full book review >
THE AMERICAN PEOPLE by Larry Kramer
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 7, 2015

"Breathtakingly well-written. And how could one not keep reading, no matter how endless, a book with a line such as 'You don't just drop a penis like Tibby's into the narrative and let it go'?"
Vast opening salvo in a thunderous assault on the prideful prejudice that separates "us" from "them" in the time of AIDS. Read full book review >
ASHES IN MY MOUTH, SAND IN MY SHOES by Per Petterson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 7, 2015

"Arvid's is far from an unhappy childhood, but writing within a child's limited vision, Petterson uses what's unspoken to wrench the reader's heart."
Readers of Petterson's award-winning Out Stealing Horses (2007) will find this translation of the Norwegian author's first published book, scheduled to appear in conjunction with his latest novel, I Refuse, takes a gentler approach to childhood.Read full book review >
I REFUSE by Per Petterson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 7, 2015

"Without pyrotechnics, Petterson brings his characters and working-class Norway vividly, even passionately, to life; days after they finish the novel, readers may still have dreams of ice cracking."
Norwegian Petterson (It's Fine By Me, 2012, etc.) shows his considerable gift for exploring the darker crevices of boyhood in this elegiac story of two long-estranged friends whose lives have not turned out as they expected.Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Frank Bruni
March 31, 2015

Over the last few decades, Americans have turned college admissions into a terrifying and occasionally devastating process, preceded by test prep, tutors, all sorts of stratagems, all kinds of rankings, and a conviction among too many young people that their futures will be determined and their worth established by which schools say yes and which say no. In Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni explains why, giving students and their parents a new perspective on this brutal, deeply flawed competition and a path out of the anxiety that it provokes. “Written in a lively style but carrying a wallop, this is a book that family and educators cannot afford to overlook as they try to navigate the treacherous waters of college admissions,” our reviewer writes. View video >