Fiction & Literature Book Reviews

THE BIGNESS OF THE WORLD by Lori Ostlund
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"An achingly beautiful collection as unpredictable and resonant as life itself."
The world is both terrifyingly huge and unbelievably small for the cast of characters in this debut collection from Ostlund (After the Parade, 2015). Read full book review >
TENDER by Belinda McKeon
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"McKeon regards the characters in her keenly wrought love story—for all their flaws and fragility—with insight, sensitivity, and a compassion that proves contagious."
In McKeon's exquisite second novel, two Dublin young people—poet and student Catherine and aspiring art photographer James—tumble into a friendship that, though its lines shift and blur, ultimately helps bring their identities into focus. Read full book review >

FORTY ROOMS by Olga Grushin
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"Honest, tender, and exquisitely crafted. A novel to savor."
The award-winning author of The Dream Life of Sukhanov (2006) and The Line (2010) contemplates the tension between art and domesticity.Read full book review >
AND AFTER MANY DAYS by Jowhor Ile
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"A deeply rewarding novel that heralds the birth of a major new literary talent."
A family reckons with the sudden, inexplicable disappearance of a child in this debut novel from a young Nigerian writer. Read full book review >
THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYONE by Joshilyn Jackson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"A searing yet ultimately uplifting look at broken people who heal themselves and each other through forgiveness, love, and the power of stories."
A tough divorce lawyer with a troubled past is forced to revisit her childhood when she discovers her estranged mother is probably dead and may have left another child behind. Read full book review >

THE SILENCE OF THE SEA by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"The trick of alternating chapters between the present and the very recent past shouldn't work, but it does, producing a tour de force capped by a haunting final scene that will linger in your mind long after the cumbersome explanation of how the trick was worked."
Reykjavík attorney Thóra Gudmundsdóttir's sixth case (Someone to Watch Over Me, 2015, etc.) poses her a puzzle obviously inspired by the real-life 1872 case of the Mary Celeste—and fully worthy of its mysterious original.Read full book review >
WHY THEY RUN THE WAY THEY DO by Susan Perabo
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"These ingenious and lovable stories crack open the world."
Tragedies big and small are faced with indomitable wit in 12 stories. Read full book review >
THANKS FOR THE TROUBLE by Tommy Wallach
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"An absorbing coming-of-age narrative about the power of connection. (Fiction. 14 & up)"
A high school senior who hasn't spoken in five years meets a mysterious girl who claims to be a lot older than possible. Read full book review >
THE BITTER SIDE OF SWEET by Tara  Sullivan
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"A tender, harrowing story of family, friendship, and the pursuit of freedom. (Fiction. 12 & up)"
Forced to labor on an Ivory Coast cacao plantation, Amadou risks everything for freedom. Read full book review >
UNBECOMING by Jenny Downham
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"Exceptional. (Fiction. 14 & up)"
Three generations of a family wrestle with secrets. Read full book review >
13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT A FAT GIRL by Mona Awad
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"Beautifully constructed; a devastating novel but also a deeply empathetic one."
A young woman navigates uneasy relationships with herself, her weight, and the world in Awad's painfully raw—and bitingly funny—debut. Read full book review >
I'M GLAD ABOUT YOU by Theresa Rebeck
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"The snappy dialogue and plot you'd expect from a veteran dramatist plus the rich exploration of character that novels are made for."
A rare honest story about love, ambition, and compromise. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >