Fiction & Literature Book Reviews

NELLY DEAN by Alison Case
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 15, 2016

"Although its obvious audience is Brontë lovers, this well-written historical novel brings enough depth and new material to stand on its own."
Housekeeper Nelly Dean tells a multigenerational saga of wild weather and impossible love at Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. Wait, didn't Emily Brontë already write that book? Read full book review >
THE PASSENGER by F.R. Tallis
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 15, 2016

"Elegant prose stylist Tallis (The Voices, 2014, etc.) evokes both the eerie loneliness of life aboard a submarine and the pernicious creep of paranormal forces."
A German submarine is mysteriously invaded by paranormal forces. Read full book review >

FLIGHT OF DREAMS by Ariel Lawhon
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"A clever, dramatic presentation of a tragic historical event. Suspenseful and fun."
An Agatha Christie-style page-turner exploring the unsolved mystery of the 1937 Hindenburg explosion.Read full book review >
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 >
WE'VE ALREADY GONE THIS FAR by Patrick Dacey
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"A fine debut collection from a storyteller who improves as the stakes get higher."
Stories of tough times in working-class Massachusetts, where the sons head off to war while the grown-ups left behind confront their aging, impatient selves. Read full book review >

A DOUBTER'S ALMANAC by Ethan Canin
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"Book clubs may dig into the many interesting veins here—family, ambition, addiction, lust—but Mean Dad was the motherlode, and it's not clear that Canin's easing of the darkness makes for a better novel."
This complex portrait of a troubled math genius and the effect his gift has on those close to him combines a strong narrative and bumper crop of themes. Read full book review >
LOVECRAFT COUNTRY by Matt Ruff
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"If nothing else, you have to giggle over how this novel's namesake, who held vicious white supremacist opinions, must be doing triple axels in his grave at the way his imagination has been so impudently shaken and stirred."
Some very nice, very smart African-Americans are plunged into netherworlds of malevolent sorcery in the waning days of Jim Crow—as if Jim Crow alone wasn't enough of a curse to begin with. Read full book review >
TRY NOT TO BREATHE by Holly Seddon
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"Great plotting, but the author's oddball imagery proves distracting."
Two unlikely friends—a woman left unresponsive by an attack when she was a teen and a divorced alcoholic—intersect in Seddon's psychological thriller. Read full book review >
WHAT LIES BETWEEN US by Nayomi Munaweera
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"The melodramatic framing device only distracts from the crystalline precision with which Munaweera (Island of a Thousand Mirrors, 2014) renders the richness of the immigrant experience as well as her character's singular longings, fears, joys, and demons."
This family tragedy begins in a prison cell, where the unnamed narrator wants to explain her (also unnamed) crime by telling her life story, from birth and childhood in Sri Lanka to adolescence and young adulthood in California. Read full book review >
THE BLUE HOUR by Douglas Kennedy
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"Kennedy has a knack for portraying characters readers love to hate."
A dream Moroccan vacation turns into a series of progressively more disastrous misadventures for an accountant from Buffalo. 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 >
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 >