The first thing that is immediately apparent about Hanya Yanagihara’s second novel, A Little Life, is that it has been incorrectly named: There is nothing little about this novel—not the lives depicted within it or the size of its author’s ambitions and talents. And not the page count, either. It is a hulking doorstop of a book, perfect for the reader who likes to burrow into a book for weeks at a time.
There’s something irresistible about a boarding school novel: the picturesque grounds; the tight-knit community of teachers and students and staff; the routine of seminars, lacrosse games and chapel; the inevitable romances that bud in such an insular world. In The Half Brother, her second novel after 2010’s sensual The Swimming Pool, Holly LeCraw has created an appealing setting in the Abbott School, a campus at the top of a ridge in north Massachusetts where azaleas and cherry blossoms surround the stone and clapboard buildings, and the grass almost shimmers with mist.
In the summer of 1976, 19-year-old David Barwise takes a job at a holiday resort in the seaside town of Skegness, England, hoping to avoid spending the summer with his mother and stepfather. But there is something more sinister underlying David’s reasoning: The beach resort is where his biological father died 15 years earlier, and David feels strangely drawn to the area, despite the tension it causes within his family.
If the dystopian coming-of-age novel has been the inspiration for many a Hollywood blockbuster in recent years, the increasingly ubiquitous genre more closely resembles literary fiction in critically acclaimed author Chris Bohjalian’s Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands.
Robotics engineer Daniel H. Wilson’s 2011 debut, Robopocalypse, blurred the line between man and machine in a world on the brink of human extermination. In the second act, the line threatens to disappear altogether.
BookPage Fiction Top Pick, February 2014
“The first time I saw a sleeper, I was nine years old.” Best-selling author Jennifer McMahon (Promise Not to Tell) opens her new novel, The Winter People, with a sentence that offers a tantalizing glimpse of the horrors to come in this marvelously creepy page-turner.
From the gritty, hardscrabble streets of early 19th-century Manhattan, to the brazen brothels and barrooms of Gold Rush-era San Francisco, readers will find author Phillip Margulies’ rollicking debut novel Belle Cora as exquisitely seductive as its enigmatic heroine. Disguised as a memoir, Belle Cora is actually an ornately constructed family saga tucked within a framework of...
Jonathan Lethem has treaded the sidewalks of his childhood neighborhood in New York in several of his novels, including Motherless Brooklyn and The Fortress of Solitude. With the epic Dissident Gardens, Lethem remains within the realm of New York borough fiction, but turns his merciless humor and judgment to the fall of American Communism and the search for the “new” American...
Every so often, you come across a book so spectacular that from the moment your eyes fall upon its first sentence the rest of the world ceases to exist. E-mails go unanswered, family members and household chores are neglected—everything is put on hold until you have seen your affair with this book through. Novels like these are reminders not only of why we read, but also of just how vital...
Take a deep breath before you start reading The Rathbones, and renew regularly. You’ll need it to navigate the story itself, which is mesmerizing, but also for the unexplainable bits: the attempted rape which probably wasn’t, the silent fate of unnumbered baby sisters lost in a family that prizes sons, and the powerful spiritual bond between whales and their pursuers. If that sounds confusing, rest assured that putting these pieces together turned out to be far easier than trying to put the book down—and was an enthralling exercise all the way.