Some people would have you believe that short stories are the literary equivalent of baseball’s minor leagues, a place to hone your skills until you’re ready for a bigger and more prestigious stage. But as masters such as Alice Munro have proven, a great short story is no less of an achievement than a great novel. These four collections demonstrate that a new generation of authors is happy to experiment with the possibilities of the short form.
Life looks bleak for Mattie Wallace. Penniless and three months pregnant, she has just walked out on her deadbeat boyfriend with six trash bags in the trunk of her ’78 Malibu.
Tom Piazza’s new novel is a crisply told tale of race relations in Philadelphia a few years before the Civil War, one that brings into sharp relief the tensions that beset Northern society even as it was about to go to war to rid the nation of slavery.
If someone were to recommend a funny novel about the London Blitz, you might think either that the person was joking or that such a book could only be tasteless and disrespectful. In some cases you’d be right, but in the case of Crooked Heart, British author Lissa Evans’ American debut, you’d be in for a pleasant surprise. Evans has written an amusing tale about morally compromised characters that, in the midst of its comedy, asks whether morally wrong actions are justified in a time of unspeakable horror.
It’s one of America’s most iconic pieces of literature, and now, 55 years after its publication, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee has a companion.
Three novels explore the hardships, complexities and a few triumphs within families, from the 1920s homestead to present-day Europe, make for great group discussion this month.
Inspect Europe today, and you would struggle to believe that its greatest scuffles were once about anything other than bailouts and shared currency, or Eurovision and football. Yet 2015 marks the bicentennial of a battle that stands as a summation of that continent's centuries of bloody wars, particularly those of the 20th: Waterloo. Two new books take different approaches to remembering this conflict.
English audiologist-turned-author S.J. Watson made a big splash with his debut thriller, Before I Go to Sleep, in 2011. The book chronicled the struggles of a woman who suffers from an acute form of amnesia, and has to reconstruct the details of her life every day when she wakes up. Nicole Kidman starred in the much-anticipated (though tepidly received) big-screen version of Watson’s book, which was translated into over 40 languages.
In his second novel, Christopher Bollen brings a fresh perspective to the tale of a small town that hides secrets beneath its sleepy facade. With Orient, Bollen takes a real place—the North Fork of Long Island—and weaves a mesmerizing fictional web of characters and mysteries into a story that is as viscerally thrilling as it is intellectually precise.
In Where They Found Her, former lawyer Kimberly McCreight tells the story of a small town that’s rocked by an unthinkable crime. We asked McCreight, who hit the bestseller list with her debut, Reconstructing Amelia, a few questions about this shocking and suspenseful second novel.