Fiction & Literature Book Reviews

Death By Arbitrage or Live Low Die High by Urno Barthel
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 27, 2015

"An extremely clever thriller that dazzles on every level."
This third volume in a series of techno-thrillers pits Chester and Urno's (Death by Tech, 2014, etc.) scientist/sleuth against murderous inside traders. Read full book review >
A WINDOW OPENS by Elisabeth Egan
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 25, 2015

"Women may not be able to have it all, but this novel can."
What happens when a book lover gets caught up in the tech world? Read full book review >

THE NATURE OF THE BEAST by Louise Penny
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 25, 2015

"Penny is an expert at pulling away the surface of her characters to expose their deeper—and often ugly—layers, always doing so with a direct but compassionate hand."
In Inspector Gamache's 11th outing, the sheltering forest around his small village of Three Pines is revealed to be a hiding place for unexpected evil. Read full book review >
BEST BOY by Eli Gottlieb
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 24, 2015

"Gottlieb merits praise for both the endearing eloquence of Todd's voice and a deeply sympathetic parable that speaks to a time when rising autism rates and long-lived elders force many to weigh tough options."
After more than 40 years in an institution, an autistic man acts on his yearning to see his childhood home in this eloquent, sensitive rendering of a marginalized life. Read full book review >
A MANUAL FOR CLEANING WOMEN by Lucia Berlin
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 18, 2015

"A testament to a writer whose explorations of society's rougher corners deserve wider attention."
A posthumous collection of stories, almost uniformly narrated by hard-living women, that makes a case for the author as a major talent. Read full book review >

LAST BUS TO WISDOM by Ivan Doig
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 18, 2015

"A marvelous picaresque showing off the late Doig's ready empathy for all kinds of people and his perennial gift for spinning a great yarn. He will be missed."
Two long-distance bus trips give an 11-year-old new horizons and run a lively gamut through mid-20th-century American life. Read full book review >
FORTUNE SMILES by Adam Johnson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 18, 2015

"Bittersweet, elegant, full of hard-won wisdom: this is no ordinary book, either."
A half-dozen sometimes Carver-esque yarns that find more-or-less ordinary people facing extraordinary challenges and somehow holding up. Read full book review >
THE AUTOMOBILE CLUB OF EGYPT by Alaa Al Aswany
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 18, 2015

"Whatever political freight Al Aswany intends, he remains a charming, earthy, resourceful storyteller—albeit with a weakness for cliffhangers—who might seduce even readers closer to Times Square than to Tahrir Square."
In post-World War II Cairo, one family offers a lens on royal corruption, the British occupation, and the economic struggles of urban Egyptians in this rich political fable. Read full book review >
CATERVA by Juan Filloy
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 18, 2015

"Filloy, as translator Riley notes, is scarcely known in Latin America, much less the English-speaking world. This beguiling yarn merits him many new readers."
Obscure in its native Argentina, a grand modernist novel finds new life in a vigorous translation. Read full book review >
SEA LOVERS by Valerie Martin
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 18, 2015

"Varied, engaging, and often shocking."
A career-spanning collection of short stories that illustrates the writer's preoccupation with animals, artists, and the fantastical. Read full book review >
THE GIRL FROM THE GARDEN by Parnaz Foroutan
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 18, 2015

"There's little joy to be found in this tale of a doomed family, flavored with myth and fairy tale, yet the poetic narration overlays the suffering with surprising beauty."
Reminiscing in her Los Angeles garden, an elderly woman pieces together the tragedy of her ancestors' Iranian Jewish household, in which the actions of two brothers "who would sacrifice anything for one another" result in sorrow for three wives. Read full book review >
THE INCARNATIONS by Susan Barker
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 18, 2015

"Effortlessly blends the past with the present, dark humor with profound sadness. A deeply human masterpiece."
A letter from a mysterious stalker upends the life of a Beijing taxi driver in Barker's (The Orientalist and the Ghost, 2009, etc.) stunning epic, which spans a thousand years of Chinese history and six lifetimes of betrayal.Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Vanessa Diffenbaugh
September 1, 2015

Vanessa Diffenbaugh is the New York Timesbestselling author of The Language of Flowers; her new novel, We Never Asked for Wings, is about young love, hard choices, and hope against all odds. For 14 years, Letty Espinosa has worked three jobs around San Francisco to make ends meet while her mother raised her children—Alex, now 15, and Luna, six—in their tiny apartment on a forgotten spit of wetlands near the bay. But now Letty’s parents are returning to Mexico, and Letty must step up and become a mother for the first time in her life. “Diffenbaugh’s latest confirms her gift for creating shrewd, sympathetic charmers,” our reviewer writes. View video >