Joseph Boyden, Rivka Galchen, Tom Rachman, Phyllis Rose, Colson Whitehead | Barbara’s Picks, May 2014, Pt. 5

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Boyden, Joseph. The Orenda. Knopf. May 2014. 448p. ISBN 9780385350730. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385350747. LITERARY/HISTORICAL FICTION Canadian Boyden has a shelf full of awards for his first two novels, and from what I’ve seen of this arrestingly written new work, soon he’ll have more. When his guides flee the rampaging Iroquois, Jesuit missionary Christophe finds […]

New Fiction from Award Winners Appelfeld, Mosley, Norman, & More | Fiction Previews, May 2014, Pt. 5

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Appelfeld, Aharon. Suddenly, Love. Schocken. May 2014. 240p. ISBN 9780805242959. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780805243154. LITERARY Gruff and moody Ernst, a 70-year-old Red Army veteran born in the Ukraine, has lived in Israel since World War II; he lost his first wife and child to the German invaders and his second wife to divorce. He’s tended […]

Cunningham, Doerr, Hemmings, Kendal, Levitt/Dubner, McCullough Jr. | Barbara’s Picks, May 2014, Pt. 2

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Cunningham, Michael. The Snow Queen. Farrar. May 2014. 272p. ISBN 9780374266325. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780374710347. CD: Macmillan Audio. LITERARY FICTION Lovelorn yet again, Barrett Meeks looks to the sky as he wanders through New York’s Central Park and is transfixed by a luminous white light that beams down on him angelically, inducing a religious conversion […]

Mystery from Crombie, History from Dunmore, & a Steinbeck Anniversary Edition | Fiction Previews, Apr. 2014, Pt. 4

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Crombie, Deborah. To Dwell in Darkness. Morrow. Apr. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780062271600. $25.99. lrg. prnt. MYSTERY In the latest Duncan Kincaid–Gemma James outing, Duncan is investigating a lethal bombing in famed St. Pancras Station after having just been transferred to the London borough of Camden from Scotland Yard headquarters. Gemma’s assistant saw it all, but […]

Maeve Binchy, Lydia Davis, Julia Glass, Mo Hayder, Laura Kasischke | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Apr. 2014, Pt. 3

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Binchy, Maeve. Chestnut Street. Knopf. Apr. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780385351850. $26.95. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. POP FICTION Following Binchy’s untimely death in July 2012, this set of previously unpublished linked short stories will warm the hearts of fans everywhere. Binchy wrote these pieces intermittently while producing her big novels and Irish Times columns, hoping someday to […]

Doyle, Figes, McCracken, Simpson, Vaill, Wilson | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2014, Pt. 2

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Doyle, Brian. The Plover. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. Apr. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781250034779. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250034786. LITERARY FICTION Editor of Portland Magazine, Doyle has written 13 books of fiction, poetry, and essays but came to my attention only with the original and wittily lyrical 2010 novel Mink River—which actually caught the attention of plenty […]

Top Literary Fiction from Tomorrow’s Household Names | Fiction Previews, Apr. 2014, Pt. 2

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Bacharach, Jacob. The Bend of the World. Liveright: Norton. Apr. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780871406828. $25.95. LITERARY No quite 30 and drifting amiably along in Pittsburgh, Peter Morrison suddenly finds himself drawn to the somewhat ominous couple Mark and Helen while also tolerating addicted friend Johnny’s obsession with conspiracy theories—except that people really are spotting UFOs. […]

Carla Buckley, Sophie Hannah, Mai Jia, B.J. Novak, & More | Fiction Previews, Feb. 2014, Pt. 4

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Adrian, Lara. Crave the Night: A Midnight Breed Novel. Delacorte. Feb. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780345532633. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780345532640. Downloadable: Random Audio. PARANORMAL ROMANCE Edge of Dawn, latest in a hugely popular series that broke into hardcover last year, pushed up Adrian’s Midnight Breed story by 20 years. Continuing in that time frame, this volume […]

History from Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte to Kennan’s Diaries | Nonfiction Previews, Feb. 2014, Pt. 3

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Berkin, Carol. Wondrous Beauty: The Life and Adventures of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte. Knopf. Feb. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780307592781. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385351621. BIOGRAPHY How many readers know that Napoleon’s youngest brother, Jerome, married a Baltimore beauty named Elizabeth Patterson, which so angered Napoleon that he insisted Jerome renounce her or lose all his powers? As […]

Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Feb. 2014, Pt. 1: Four Essential Literature Titles, Including Susan Cheever on e.e. cummings

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Cheever, Susan. E.E. Cummings: A Life. Pantheon. Feb. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780307379979. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780307908674. LITERATURE Though Edmund Wilson called his poetry hideous, Malcolm Cowley proclaimed e.e. cummings unsurpassed in his field, and when he died in 1962, he was the most read poet in this country after Robert Frost. There’s still plenty of […]

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