Prize-Worthy Aboulela, Screen-Worthy Cornwell & Endo, Thatcher’s Continuing Biography, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2015, Pt. 4


Aboulela, Leila. The Kindness of Enemies. Grove. Jan. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9780802124487. $26. LITERARY FICTION Sudanese-born, Scotland-based, and relentlessly prize-worthy, Aboulela grabbed the Caine Prize for African Writing with a story from the collection Coloured Lights and the Scottish Book Award for her most recent novel, Lyrics Alley; that novel and her two others, The […]

National Book Award Winner McCann, Nobel Prize Winner Oe, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Oct. 2015, Pt. 4


McCann, Colum. Thirteen Ways of Looking: A Novella and Three Stories. Random. Oct. 2015. 272p. ISBN 9780812996722. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780812996739. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. SHORT STORIES This is the first story collection in 12 years from McCann, whose multiple awards include the National Book Award (for Let the Great World Spin) and the International Dublin […]

Best Seller Diffenbaugh, Nobel Prize Winner Modiano, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Sept. 2015, Pt. 4


Diffenbaugh, Vanessa. We Never Asked for Wings. Ballantine. Aug. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780553392319. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780553392326. CD: Random Audio. LITERARY/FAMILY LIFE Everyone who loves Diffenbaugh’s The Language of Flowers—and that’s plenty of people, as it was a New York Times best seller—knows that she grapples forthrightly with social issues. Here, Letty Espinosa lives in […]

Last of the September Pop Fiction, from Paula Daly to Kim Harrison & More | Fiction Previews, Sept. 2015, Pt. 4


Block, Sandra. The Girl Without a Name. Grand Central. Sept. 2015. 368p. ISBN 9781455583775. pap. $15. THRILLER Block scored a hit with her debut, Little Black Lies, featuring energized psychiatrist Zoe Goldman. Now the good doctor is back, dealing with an African American girl whose identity is unknown. She’s suffering from amnesia, and evidently wants […]

Gaiman, Klaussmann, Kumin, Scottoline/Serritella, Wascom, & Karjel’s Hot New Swedish Thriller | Barbara’s Picks, Jul. 2015, Pt. 2


Gaiman, Neil. Neverwhere: The Author’s Preferred Edition. Morrow. Jul. 2015. 368p. ISBN 9780062371058. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780061793059. FANTASY You know Neverwhere, Gaiman’s first book, the career launcher that told the story of perfectly pleasant London businessman Richard Mayhew’s sudden drop through a crack in reality to the Neverwhere, a shadowy place under siege by some […]

Chess at Auschwitz, Balkans War, & Friendship Via Wikipedia | Eleven Big Fiction Debuts, May 2015, Pt.


Acampora, Lauren. The Wonder Garden. Grove. May 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780802123558. $24. SHORT STORIES A real estate agent contemplates yet another tackily enlarged house. A group of suburban women gather to reveal themselves briefly to one another and condescend to the rest of the world. A father-to-be abandons a successful career at the urging of […]

Saul Bellow, Scott Ellsworth, Caryl Phillips, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2015, Pt. 4


Bellow, Saul. There Is Simply Too Much To Think About: Collected Nonfiction. Viking. Mar. 2015. 608p. ed. by Benjamin Taylor. ISBN 9780670016693. $35. LITERATURE Issued in time for the centenary of Bellow’s birth and the tenth anniversary of his death, this work collects the Nobel laureate’s nonfiction, including criticism, interviews, speeches, and other pieces ranging […]

Howard Jacobson, Elif Shafak, Yan Lianke, & More | Key Literary Fiction Previews, Mar. 2015, Pt. 4


Hunter, Aislinn. The World Before Us. Hogarth: Crown. Mar. 2015. 432p. ISBN 9780553418521. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780553418538. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY In a wooded area near a crumbling estate and a Victorian asylum, a little girl named Lily vanishes, leaving her family and 15-year-old babysitter Jane Standen devastated. Two decades later, as an archivist at […]

Cornwell, Greenberg, Harrison, Leovy, Simsion | Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2015, Pt. 4


Cornwell, Bernard. The Empty Throne. Harper. Jan. 2015. 336p. ISBN 9780062250711. $27.99. HISTORICAL FICTION It’s hard going for Uhtred in this eighth entry in the popular “Saxon Tales” series by New York Times best-selling author Cornwell. First, to heal from wounds he has received in battle, he must find the sword that did the damage. […]

Literary Gems (e.g., Nancy Huston, Brian Morton) and Some Major Debuts | Fiction Previews, Sept. 2014, Pt. 5


Adcock, Siobhan. The Barter. Dutton. Sept. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780525954224. $26.95. LITERARY In present-day Texas, Bridget feels a certain emptiness after giving up her career as an attorney to raise her daughter—and a certain anxiousness because she alone senses that an alien presence has entered the house. A century before, a bride from the city […]