Category: novel

Last Night at the Lobster, by Stewart O’Nan

It’s not surprising to me that I loved Steward O’Nan’s Last Night at the Lobster; he’s one of my favorite writers, after all, and this books stands out for me among the many books of his I love. It’s not only a book with a lot of heart; it’s also a book that is timely–as 2009 is said to be the year that many … Read More Last Night at the Lobster, by Stewart O’Nan

The Gathering, by Anne Enright

I read Anne Enright’s The Gathering (Man Booker Prize) slowly. I had to. If I had not, the pain would have been insurmountable. Even so, the pain was there, a dull throb. If you have ever grieved (which we nearly all have or will at some point in our lives), then this book will speak to you. Directly, honestly. If you have ever grieved a … Read More The Gathering, by Anne Enright

The Silver Linings Playbook, by Matthew Quick

Philadelphia is not only the home of the quintessentially American Liberty Bell, cheese steak, and Rocky, but now Philadelphia offers us another American original: Pat Peoples, the neurologically-damaged, ex-wife pining, mother-loving, uber Eagles fan protagonist of Matthew Quick’s dazzling debut novel The Silver Linings Playbook. You might think that a book about a guy who has lost so much–his wife, his home, his job, … Read More The Silver Linings Playbook, by Matthew Quick

The Smart One, by Ellen Meister

My mother always told me, “Friends may come and go, but a sister is forever.” She had six sisters, so she knew what she was talking about. My father had four sisters and I have three. I grew up in a world of sisters and feel like I have a pretty good handle on sisterhood, and so does Ellen Meister. At the core of … Read More The Smart One, by Ellen Meister

Edinburgh, by Alexander Chee

Alexander Chee’s Edinburgh is necessary, is timely, and is downright gorgeous despite it’s sometimes ugly subject matter. This is the story of Fee–how his life ended up the way it did, on a beach, deciding to live instead of die. It is also “a fox story. Of how a fox can be a boy. And so it is also the story of a fire.” … Read More Edinburgh, by Alexander Chee

"I was gripped by a form of literary bad faith"

Great interview with Charles Baxter in the latest issue of The Missouri Review in which he discusses his new novel (The Soul Thief) and writing and the writing life. I loved, especially, what he had to say about writing novels vs writing stories–what you learn (or don’t learn) from each: The novel is a very forgiving form. I spent years of my life writing … Read More "I was gripped by a form of literary bad faith"

The Understory, by Pamela Erens

Jack Gorse/Ronan the protagonist of Pamela Erens’s smashing debut novel, The Understory, is a man obsessed: with twins, with vegetation, with books, with his routine, and with a kind-hearted architect named Patrick. He is also searching, it seems, for that other part of himself—the other half of himself. At one point, he hopes he will find that other within Patrick, but really that other … Read More The Understory, by Pamela Erens

The Silver Linings Playbook, by Matthew M. Quick

You are so going to want to order yourself a copy of The Silver Linings Playbook: A Novel by Matthew M. Quick. The book is not released until September 2nd, but it is already racking up much-deserved praise. Matthew and I have never met in person, but for a few years now have been friends via email. You couldn’t find a more charming and … Read More The Silver Linings Playbook, by Matthew M. Quick

The Leper Compound, by Paula Nangle

Paula Nangle’s debut novel, The Leper Compound, is a book I won’t soon forget. I’m tempted to call it a novel-in-stories as each chapter is perfectly self-contained and yet the whole does provide one full narrative. Regardless, it is a brilliant effort. The book starts out with Colleen as a motherless child ill with Malaria and ends with the death of her father and … Read More The Leper Compound, by Paula Nangle

Isabella Moon, by Laura Benedict

Any of you city slickers who imagine small-town life is dull ought to read Laura Benedict’s suspenseful, sexy, and haunting debut novel, Isabella Moon, as this book set in Carystown, Kentucky, proves otherwise. It’s a page turner that is just as much about character as it is about plot. In fact, the characters are richly, artfully drawn with Benedict’s deft hand. And just who … Read More Isabella Moon, by Laura Benedict

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