Fiction & Literature Book Reviews (page 1823)

GRANT'S WAR by Ted Jones
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 1992

An ambitious first novel that attempts to explore the Civil War career of Ulysses S. Grant on two levels: a recounting of actual events during the war years by those who were there, and an interpretation of those events through the eyes of a young scholar attempting to write a book—during 1917-20—about the controversial general. Read full book review >
AT WEDDINGS AND WAKES by Alice McDermott
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 1992

"In translucent prose with rich recognitions, a fine novel of vigorous wisdom and heartbreaking humanity."
Following the author's splendid That Night (1987), this remarkable novel—about the temper and times of an Irish-American family in 1950's Long Island and Brooklyn—firmly establishes McDermott as a writer of major talent. Read full book review >

SHELTER by Wesley Gibson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 1992

"Often depressing when it means to amuse; still, a brave and intriguing debut."
A coy first novel featuring a blue-collar Virginia family whose house is slowly sinking—along with their collective outlook on life. Read full book review >
PRIMITIVE PEOPLE by Francine Prose
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 1992

"Another winner by a writer who has hit her stride."
Prose's seventh novel (Bigfoot Dreams, 1986, etc.) inspires many a giggle as it relates the odd and fascinating adventures of a Haitian au pair in an eccentric upper-class Hudson Valley household—social satire at its slyest and best. Read full book review >
LIFE-SIZE by Jenefer Shute
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 1992

"Shute, telling the story in Josie's voice, limits her scope to the narrow, obsessive thoughts of an anorexic, so her portrait, while harrowing and absorbing, is more a fictional journal than a full-fledged novel."
First-novelist Shute creates a harrowing saga of a woman so afflicted with anorexia nervosa that she almost starves to death, her food crawling with filthy associations and the act of eating itself hallucinatory in its obscenity. Read full book review >

THE PAST LEADS A LIFE OF ITS OWN by Wayne Fields
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 1992

"Mixing pain and uplift, Fields's plain-spoken moral messages seem appropriate to the time and place and sneak handily past the barriers of contemporary cynicism."
Fields (What the River Knows, 1990) now turns to fiction to write about the vanishing world of rural Middle America in a correspondingly old-fashioned way: In these linked stories, manhood has nothing to do with sexuality, everything to do with facing up to work, responsibility, and death. Read full book review >
MARRYING OFF MOTHER by Gerald Durrell
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 1992

"On two legs or four, these improbable creatures offer softened charms and certain satisfactions for old fans and newer enthusiasts."
Beginning with Esmeralda, a champion truffle pig who smells of Joy, this collection of eight stories finds Durrell on a familiar anecdotal high. Read full book review >
BELGRAVE SQUARE by Anne Perry
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 1992

"Fans will love it, but even they might appreciate a little less padding."
Another of the author's leisurely evocations of Victorian London (Highgate Rise, 1991) by way of Police Inspector Thomas Pitt, whose latest case is the murder of moneylender-blackmailer William Weems. Read full book review >
HIDEOUS KINKY by Esther Freud
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 1992

"Best as travelogue: a fluently written inside view of Morocco."
A young English child recounts travels and a lengthy sojourn in North Africa with her freedom-loving mother and security-seeking older sister—in the fiction debut of a London-born actress. Read full book review >
THE MELANCHOLY OF DEPARTURE by Alfred DePew
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 1992

"A voice somewhat too slick for its own brave sympathies."
Winner of this year's Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, DePew has impressive skills at hair-down narration and offhand wisdoms. Read full book review >
VENUS IN COPPER by Lindsey Davis
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 1992

Beatings by the Emperor Vespasian's flunkies; imprisoning on sundry trumped-up charges; surviving the collapse of his new building; tangling with killers, swindlers, and landlords; crossing swords and hearts with Helena Justina, the senator's daughter—in other words, business as usual for Marcus Didius Falco (Silver Pigs, Shadows in Bronze), sometime informer for the emperor, who's hired by the relatives of freedman/real-estate mogul Hortensius Novus to dig up enough dirt to discredit his oft-widowed fiancÇe, Severina Zotica, before she can marry and bury him. Read full book review >
SECRET WORDS by Jonathan Strong
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 1992

In this gentle tale, Strong (Ourselves, 1971) inhabits the mind and body of a working-class Italian-American woman from the slums of Boston to tell of her awakening to the realities of politics, poverty, and child abuse—as well as to the transformative power of love. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Fatima Bhutto
April 14, 2015

Set during the American invasion of Afghanistan, Fatima Bhutto’s debut novel The Shadow of the Crescent Moon begins and ends one rain-swept Friday morning in Mir Ali, a small town in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas close to the Afghan border. Three brothers meet for breakfast. Soon after, the eldest, Aman Erum, recently returned from America, hails a taxi to the local mosque. Sikandar, a doctor, drives to the hospital where he works, but must first stop to collect his troubled wife, who has not joined the family that morning. No one knows where Mina goes these days. But when, later in the morning, the two are taken hostage by members of the Taliban, Mina will prove to be stronger than anyone could have imagined. Our reviewer writes that The Shadow of the Crescent Moon is “a timely, earnest portrait of a family torn apart by the machinations of other people’s war games and desperately trying to survive.” View video >