Fiction & Literature Book Reviews

WAR OF THE ENCYCLOPAEDISTS by Christopher Robinson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 19, 2015

"That two different writers are at work is sometimes apparent but not bothersome given that two distinctive characters are in play, and the overall narrative's smart and entertaining."
Two "twentysomethings of early-millennium Seattle" take different paths to maturity in this likable, highly readable, double-bylined coming-of-age first novel. Read full book review >
ENGLAND AND OTHER STORIES by Graham Swift
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 19, 2015

"The stories recall different eras stylistically as well, bearing echoes of Cheever, touches of O. Henry, and, in one chilling case, of Shirley Jackson's 'The Lottery.' With few weak spots and more than a few killers, it's a potent gathering."
The British author of Waterland crams enough life into these vignettes and full-blown stories to be justified in slyly giving his third collection a country's name.Read full book review >

CONVICTION by Kelly Loy Gilbert
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 19, 2015

"Both hopeful and devastatingly real. (Fiction. 14 & up)"
When 16-year-old Braden Raynor's father is arrested for a hit-and-run accident that leaves a police officer dead, every hidden secret is dragged into the light. Read full book review >
THE MAINTENANCE OF HEADWAY by Magnus Mills
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 19, 2015

"Nearly flawless in its own unassuming way."
Set within the bureaucracy of the London bus system, Mills' slim novel fuses whimsy with warped logic. Read full book review >
HURRY PLEASE I WANT TO KNOW by Paul Griner
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 15, 2015

"Although relatively simple in narrative structure, Griner's stories shine a glaring light on the complexities of human personality and family relationships."
Twenty-two stories ranging in length from a few paragraphs to 20 or so pages and in style from the freakishly absurd to the heartbreakingly realistic. Read full book review >

THE BLACK SNOW by Paul Lynch
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 12, 2015

"Lynch evokes so many shades of guilt, pride, innocence, righteousness, and punishment that the book might help found a religion or maybe restore one's faith in a deity that could make a fine writer with one hand even if he unmade the Kanes with the other."
Life turns brutally cruel for a farming family of three in 1940s Ireland in this sad, haunting novel from a writer with a gift for language and character. Read full book review >
OUR TOWN by Kevin McEnroe
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 12, 2015

"The novel often evokes the twilight graces of a classic pop ballad, each lyric evoked with care in a cocktail lounge by a soft, sultry voice etched with pain."
If Ernest Hemingway had chosen to write about late-20th-century Hollywood while wearing Tennessee Williams' sunglasses, the result might read very much like this. Read full book review >
ONE RAINY DAY IN MAY by Mark Z. Danielewski
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 12, 2015

"And as for all the loose ends? No worries—there are 26 volumes to come in which to tie them up."
Fabulist and avant-gardist Danielewski (House of Leaves, 2000, etc.) embarks upon a long-promised 27-volume fantasia with this sprawling, continent-hopping potpourri.Read full book review >
THE BOOK OF ARON by Jim Shepard
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 12, 2015

"Ordinary people reveal dimensions that are extraordinarily cruel or kind."
An understated and devastating novel of the Warsaw ghetto during the Nazi occupation, as seen through the eyes of a street-wise boy. Read full book review >
FELL OF DARK by Patrick Downes
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 12, 2015

"A stunning debut novel that offers sophisticated readers a glimpse into the psychological disintegrations of two distinct characters. (Fiction. 14 & up)"
Teenagers Erik and Thorn are descending into madness on converging paths, heading toward a ruinous first encounter with each other. Read full book review >
RED CAVALRY by Isaac Babel
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 12, 2015

"Short but emotionally deep studies of life during wartime."
A classic series of wartime sketches in a translation that emphasizes their lyricism and dark comedy. Read full book review >
ONLY THE STRONG by Jabari Asim
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 12, 2015

"You will rarely find a historical novel that's as panoramic yet also as lean, mean, and moving as this."
An epic saga of 1970s African-American life in a Midwestern city is neatly, deftly, and evocatively compressed into three tales with overlapping characters—and destinies. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer
authors of OFF THE PAGE
May 19, 2015

Meet Oliver, a prince literally taken from the pages of a fairy tale and transported into the real world. Meet Delilah, the girl who wished Oliver into being. In bestseller Jodi Picoult and her daughter Samantha van Leer’s new young adult novel, Off the Page, it’s a miracle that seems perfect at first—but there are complications. To exist in Delilah’s world, Oliver must take the place of a regular boy. Enter Edgar, who agrees to play Oliver’s role in the pages of Delilah’s favorite book. But just when it seems that the plan will work, everything gets turned upside down. We talk to the mother-daughter team on Kirkus TV. View video >