Louise Penny photographed by Sigrid Estrada
Since my end-of-summer vacation, I am officially addicted to Armand Gamache. Chief Inspector for homicide at the Sûreté du Québec, Gamache is the hero—and I don’t use that word lightly—of Louise Penny’s mystery series, which began in 2006 with Still Life and expands every year, most recently this August with The Long Way Home. Unlike many mysteries, Penny’s really need to be read in order, because in addition to the invariably complex and thought-provoking cases featured in each volume, there’s ...
It was controversial then and endures today
Stephen Crane photographed in 1899
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War and the 120th of the publication of a story that, though it seems tame today, was controversial at its birth for its frank portrayal of combat and its journalistic depiction of warriors not as heroes but as mortals subject to confusion, fear, and all the other ordinary human shortcomings.
Published in 1895, just a couple of years before Stephen Crane witnessed battle for himself in Cuba, The ...
Sloane Crosley photographed by Caitlin Mitchell
Sloane Crosley’s debut novel, The Clasp, is the result of a momentous leap of faith. “I fell backwards in a trust fall that worked, as opposed to landing on the gymnasium floor,” the author muses of the fateful juncture in her life.
Just shy of five years ago, Crosley numbered among that rare species of young adults in Manhattan who truly love their jobs, serving as the Associate Director of Publicity at Vintage/Anchor. “I really genuinely loved ...
Geraldine Brooks photographed by Randi Baird.
When Geraldine Brooks’ son was nine, he asked her if he could learn the harp.
“I was surprised—that’s not the normal choice for a little boy,” says Brooks, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of People of the Book and March. “He got a harp and started lessons and his teacher had a magnificent concert. I started to think about the other boy harpist.”
That harpist is the Goliath-vanquishing King David, the biblical legend at the center of Brooks’ absorbing ...
Héctor Aguilar Camín
In late 2013, the Mexican Congress approved privatization of the national oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), effectively ending the 75-year history of the industrial behemoth’s run as a symbol of national self-sufficiency and, for many, pride. The cultural and economic significance of the shift cannot be understated: a sizable portion of all government revenue comes from taxes collected on Pemex, and the vast billions of dollars in crude oil produced by the company every year make it—and Mexico—a heavyweight on ...
Claire Vaye Watkins photographed by Heike Steinweg
Born in the Owens Valley, an arid region east of the Sierra Nevada that was notoriously tapped for water by William Mulholland in the early 1900s to build the Los Angeles Aqueduct, Claire Vaye Watkins recognized one glaring hole with her portrayal of the West in her critically acclaimed debut collection of stories. “When I finished Battleborn, I had this nagging feeling that I hadn’t actually written about the American West at all because I hadn’t written about water,” ...
Julia Elliott photographed by JS Dennis
We live in a world in which the technological and the human increasingly merge, whether bioenhancements for athletic performance or high-tech replacements for worn body parts. We’re becoming baggy monsters, of a sort, 21st century Frankensteins.
Julia Elliott’s debut novel, The New and Improved Romie Futch, is its own baggy monster—with a literal biohazard monster, Hogzilla, at its carefully plotted core. But for all the postmodern genre-busting elements Elliott throws into her novel, at its center is the ...
Our preview of books first published overseas
The Man Who Spoke Snakish
Trans. by Moseley, Christopher
U.S.: Nov. 3, 2015 | Black Cat
Estonia: 2007 | Eesti Keele Sihtasutus
Forest dwellers speak Snakish to command the animals in this highly readable and humorous fantasy portrayal of medieval Estonia. Leemet is one of the last speakers of this ancient, sibilant language as hunter-gatherers leave the forest in droves to build villages, till fields, eat tasteless bread, and worship Jesus. When a giant louse takes a swim in ...