Richard Bausch, Malcolm Brooks, Jules Feiffer, Richard Flanagan, Elizabeth Green, Daniel J. Levitin| Barbara’s Picks, Aug. 2014, Pt. 1

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Bausch, Richard. Before, During, After. Knopf. Aug. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780307266262. $26.95. LITERARY FICTION Winner of everything from a PEN/Malamud Award to the Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Bausch offers a 20th work of fiction that blends private and public trauma to devastating effect. Disaffected Congressional aide Natasha and faith-challenged […]

Summer Heart Warmers (Harbison, McCullough) & Sexy Reads (Hoover, McHugh) | Fiction Previews, Aug. 2014, Pt. 1

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Bertino, Marie-Helene. 2 a.m. at The Cat’s Pajamas. Crown. Aug. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9780804140232. $25. CD:Penguin Random Audio. LITERARY On the day before Christmas, spunky nine-year-old Madeline Altimari goes hunting for the famed Philly jazz club, The Cat’s Pajamas, hoping to make her debut, even as Madeline’s divorced teacher hunts for love and Cat’s Pajamas […]

From Samuel Beckett to James Carroll to Jacqueline Winspear in Historical Fiction Mode | Barbara’s Picks, Jul. 2014, Pt. 2

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Beckett, Samuel. Echo’s Bones. Grove. Jul. 2014. 128p. ISBN 9780802120458. $24; ebk. ISBN 9780802194077. LITERARY FICTION In 1933, Chatto & Windus agreed to issue Beckett’s first published work of fiction, a collection of ten linked stories called More Pricks Than Kicks. The editor asked Beckett to write a final piece, which was then rejected as […]

From Sally Beauman & Robert Hellenga to Jude Deveraux & Danielle Steel | Fiction Previews, Jul. 2014, Pt. 2

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Beauman, Sally. The Visitors. Harper. Jul. 2014. 544p. ISBN 9780062302687. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062302717. LITERARY/HISTORICAL This isn’t simply the story of the friendship between delicate Lucy, sent from England to recover from typhus in sun-glazed Egypt, and a girl she meets there, the daughter of an American archaeologist. It’s also the story of the hunt […]

Barbara’s Picks, Jul. 2014, Pt. 1: Chris Bohjalian, Deborah Harkness, Sam Kean, Liane Moriarty, & More

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Bohjalian, Chris. Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands. Doubleday. Jul. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780385534833. $25.95. CD: Penguin Random Audio. POP FICTION Emily Shepard is hiding out in a shelter made of ice and trash bags after a nightmarish meltdown at a nuclear plant in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom that left her parents dead. Since the meltdown might […]

Fiction Previews, Jul. 2014, Pt. 1: Upcoming Authors from Robin Black to Tiphanie Yanique

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Black, Robin. Life Drawing. Random. Jul. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9781400068562. $25. LITERARY/PSYCHOLOGICAL Having grabbed out attention with the story collection If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This, Black returns with a debut novel about a couple living the good, creative life in the country—she’s a painter, he’s a writer—when an alluring British woman […]

Barbara’s Picks, Jun. 2014, Pt. 2: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Alan Furst, Sue Miller, & More

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Betts, Dwayne. The Circumference of a Prison: Youth, Race, and the Failures of the American Justice System. Avery. Jun. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781583334751. $27. LAW A distinguished poet, Yale law student, and NAACP Image award winner, Betts received a Soros Justice Fellowship to support the writing of this book, which addresses the inequities of a […]

Keep Those First Novels Coming: The Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize

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“We write about our shared past to understand our shared present,” declared Margaret Wrinkle when she was awarded the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize by the Center for Fiction on December 11 at New York’s Union League Club. Wrinkle’s award winner, Wash, darkly illuminates the treatment of slaves in America; as a white woman born in […]

Damien Echols, Stephen King, Larry McMurtry, Lisa See, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Jun. 2014, Pt. 1

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Allen, Danielle. Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality. Liveright: Norton. Jun. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780871406903. $27.95. HISTORY A political philosopher who looms large in the scholarly community (she is a professor of social science at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton and on the board of the […]

Fiction To Watch from David Guterson, Cristina Henríquez, Lisa O’Donnell, & More | Fiction Previews, Jun. 2014, Pt. 1

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Conn, Andrew Lewis. O, Africa! Hogarth: Crown. Jun. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780804138284. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780804138291. LITERARY/HISTORICAL Conn, whose devilishly over-the-top debut novel, P., got mostly strong reviews, would seem to be delivering on that sly promise. Micah and Izzy Grand, twin brothers from a Jewish immigrant family, are successfully producing slapstick comedies in 1920s […]

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