You know from the start that this friendship between two teenage girls in rural Michigan is doomed. Both girls have been neglected by their parents. Marlena will die, helped along by drugs, and Cat will be permanently altered by the relationship that was forged between the two. This is a sad yet lovely coming of age story that you will remember.
These poignant and beautifully written stories come from the Pulitzer prize winning author of The Sympathizer. They tell the experiences of refugees, new to this country, most having left Vietnam during the fall of Saigon in the mid seventies. They are often broken down by war, alienated, and dealing with the quiet and not so quiet ghosts of memory. A timely book, indeed.
This is a brutal, yet compelling story of a violent event in India told from the perspective of the victims, the terrorists and the survivors. Beautifully written, this novel is timely and disturbing. It has been on many "best of 2016" lists -- deservedly so.
The feel of the 1960's is perfectly evoked in this novel, complete with all of its exhilarating newness -- from music to fashion, from the philosophy of sex to the proliferation of drugs. Focusing on the singular neediness of a girl waiting to be loved, all paths in this book lead to a volatile relationship and a subsequent act of violence.
This beautifully written, multigenerational novel follows the descendants of two brave sisters from the beginnings of the slave trade on the Gold Coast of Africa in the eighteenth century to the American South and, finally, to Harlem in the 60's. Throughout, the author brilliantly shows the spirit of their ancestors, telling a story filled with the yearning for freedom and the search for humanity.
A family inheritance - referred to as "the nest" - is at the crux of this endearing story of four adult siblings grappling with myriad circumstances, issues, and conflicts. With a great cast of characters as well as smart and witty dialogue, this is an impressive first novel and a great read.
This is the love story of two artists in Denmark during the 1920's. Greta, the portrait artist is married to Einar, the landscape artist. And there is Lili. The woman that Einar believes he was meant to be. Their story of love and identity and his journey to have the first transgender surgery is fascinating and moving. Soon to be a movie starring Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne.
This is a great collection of connected short stories. Though they take place in the wealthy suburbs of Connecticut, there is always a twist, and always more than just meets the eye. There is a hint of the bizarre running through this Cheever country. The characters bump into each other in unlikely ways from story to story, making each one more enjoyable than the next.
Abandoned in Boston as an infant, Joy's life has been a series of foster homes, group homes and lonely apartments. When the "sickness" starts she is sent to the Hospital in Kansas. Part apocalypse, part coming-of-age, Joy's story of survival is haunting and strange and beautiful.
Isaac is a young black man caught up in the African revolution in Uganda in the early '70's. Helen is a white social worker in a small Midwestern college town who helps Isaac when he leaves his country behind. Their relationship is a beautifully told story of identity, and loss and past secrets.
I wait for this to come out every fall. Some years are definitely better than others. So far this seems like a knockout! Lauren Groff's story of a boy growing up among reptiles in a home without much love is heart-stopping and simply stellar. Laura Van den Berg's Antarctica tells of a woman retrieving her brother's bones, but much more than that in her tale of grief. I look forward to savoring the rest.
My first graphic novel! This has it all: mothers and daughters, murder, detectives, gangsters, family secrets, Hollywood, war, sex, deception, mystery, revenge, redemption. And oh yeah, those amazing drawings!
This debut novel is a beautifully rendered account of Mireille, a wealthy Haitian woman kidnapped for ransom by men rebelling against the poverty in their country. She spends thirteen days in captivity while her father refuses to pay ransom money on principle. Her harrowing story starts as a fairy tale and then is told in two halves, the Before and the After. Eerily timely, in light of the Nigerian kidnappings, this is a riveting read you won't soon forget.
This is a terrific collection of stories with locales from America, to Israel, to the Soviet Union. There is historical context to most of the stories, yet they are made personal and current, showing humanity, humor, and love. In "Retrospective" Molly Antopol most brilliantly tells the story of three generations of women on three continents. Molly Antopol was deservedly named one of he National Book Foundation's "5 Under 35" writers
I read this in one big gulp. A coming of age story. A scientific experiment gone awry. A heartwarming and heartbreaking and provocative look at the relationship we have with animals. Just read it!
This is the story of Marie, a daughter of Irish immigrants growing up on the front stoops of Brooklyn. It's a quiet and brief family saga, that in all of its simplicity shows her life in its most ordinary, yet beautiful detail.
This is a wonderful collection of "human" stories focusing on families struggling with trauma of some kind, and the connections we make with one another in these familiar and not so familiar situations. They are dark, comic and touching.
Three sets of real life stories are intertwined in this beautiful novel. Pilots on an transatlantic flight to Ireland just after World War 1, the antislavery activist Frederick Douglas, and George Mitchell negotiating the 1998 Good Friday peace accord in Ireland all bump into each other. Colum McCann's amazing use of language is what makes this so transcendent.
During the heat of the financial crisis in London, the people living on Pepys Road are all thinking of money - how to get it, how to keep it. We are introduced to these residents and those surrounding them - the wealthy banker and his shopaholic wife, the Polish construction worker, the Hungarian nanny, the African meter maid, the Kenyan soccer player, the lovely old lady and her conceptual artist grandson, and the Pakistani news seller and his family. The vignettes of these people form a morality tale that is so well done, and so well written that it is a joy to read.
Rose is a typist in a New York City police precinct during Prohibition. Her life is changed by her obsession with the mysterious, glamorous Odalie - the "other typist". An unreliable narrator, a little Hitchcock, a little Gatsby makes this a fun read.
This extraordinary first novel tells the story of a young man who wants to become a writer. The story unfolds like a kaleidoscope and each chapter brings another time, place, and point of view. I loved it!
Short stories are all the rage now. I loved these for their simplicity depicting the poignant moments in the lives of people we recognize. Two groups of families are introduced and their familial traumas are explored. These stories are quiet and powerful and beautifully portrayed.
This is another gem from the author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
How someone can tell the life story of an unnamed man in an unnamed Asian country with grace, humor and pathos and do it in the form of a self help book is nothing short of miraculous. I read it in awe and then I wept. Highly recommended.
With vivid imagination and a magical use of words Karen Russell tells these stories which have dazzled me. The title story has me caring about an aging couple who happen to be vampires! And I can't stop thinking of the massage therapist in The New Veterans who tries to heal a veteran of his PSTD by manipulating his graphic tattoo. High school bullying takes a very dark turn in The Graveless Doll of Eric Mutis. All in all this collection is creepy, brilliant, inventive, strange and quite amazing!
This is a lovely collection of stories where ordinary people are doing ordinary things. Yet, Hadley's skillful writing show these contemporary family relationships in fine focus. She does a beautiful job of character description.
Each story in this glorious collection is called "The News From Spain". More than being simply clever, every one is a love story of sorts ranging from a mother and daughter, wedding love, philandering love, and loving the wrong people at the wrong time. Wickersham's words are exquisite.
Minna Losk is a 16 year old Jewish Russian immigrant who agrees to be a mail order bride and is sent to "Sodokota" to live in a one room house with an older Orthodox man at the turn of the century. Life is not as she expected. This story is based on the little known events of actual Jewish pioneers to the American West.
This novel told in stories weaves an emotional narrative with issues of infertility, infidelity, loves lost, and loving a child unconditionally with the family of Phillip, Greta, and their six year old Charlotte as its heart. Molly Ringwald is not just "pretty in pink"- she can write too!
These interconnected stories of girls - women, and mothers, and daughters and wives - are poignant and tragic and uplifting. They are all searching for love or a connection, and often are held back by their own shortcomings. From issues of sexuality, to anorexia and fertility, the stories in his collection each portray someone who may seem very familiar.
This is a beautifully written debut novel about a 15 year old boy who has left his village in an unnamed war-torn Middle Eastern country and is brought to America to live with a family in Pennsylvania. Though he is determined to make his life better, he is bewildered by this new country with its wealth and bigotry. In therapy, as he recalls the American soldier who cared for him, he shows how war has not only affected his life, but all those around him.
There are not enough words of praise for this brilliant collection of stories revolving around Jewish or Israeli themes. I gasped at some point in each one - from an unexpected event, from the grace and depth of the characters, from the sheer beauty of this writing. Not to be missed!
Manhattan, 1938, is the setting for this wonderfully satisfying tale of the rich -- and the not so rich! Amidst the glitter of New York are some unforgettable characters and a story that dazzles and lingers. We couldn't put it down.
This is the story of the residents of Vishram Society's Tower A - an old apartment building in the heart of Mumbai. When a ruthless developer offers money for each of them to leave so he can build a new condo, one of them resists, insisting he maintain his sentimental attachments. The novel moves towards a story of greed and desperation, featuring a great cast of characters, India itself being one of them.
Beautiful, brutal, lyrical, disturbing, powerful, heartbreaking - and more. This is the story of three brothers growing up in a mixed-up, crazy household that you will never forget.
These stories of life on an army base while the men are deployed to war are enlightening, frightening, and at times, heartbreaking. From the story of the returned soldier who hides in the basement to see if his wife is having an affair, to the wife who hacks into her husband's email to find some surprising news, these are stories to savor.
Believe it or not, starting at Cornell in 1919 there were various university "practice houses" where college students learned homemaking and took turns mothering real babies supplied by local orphanages. Henry House was one of those "practice babies" brought up by multiple "mothers". This is his story and how his unusual upbringing affected his later life, unable to make attachments to any one person. It is fascinating - and irresistible!
This is the beautiful and riveting story of Helen Adams, an American photojournalist covering the Vietnam War. Starting in Saigon in 1975 where "only the losers of history" remain and looking back over the 12 years she has spent immersing herself in country and establishing love relationships with first, her photographer mentor and finally with his assistant, Helen's is a fascinating story of how a woman views the war.
After a violent and brutal attack on a Nigerian beach, the lives of Andrew and Sarah, a suburban London couple, and Little Bee, a Nigerian orphan, are forever intertwined. Mesmerizing and beautifully written.
These five interlinked stories of musicians from Italy to Spain to Beverly Hills are bittersweet and witty. Ishiguro's beautiful writing reveals the intricacies of relationships.
This book tells the stories of 4 Londoners whose lives weave together and intersect in the 4 sections. These sections also reference literary works such as Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, Bronte's Jane Eyre and Charles Dickens. It is an intriguing and satisfying way of presenting a great character study. It's like a jigsaw puzzle when the characters come together in the end.