Several years ago Han Kang, the South Korean author of the beautiful and disquieting new novel The Vegetarian, gave up driving and sold her car. Why? “To be honest,” she writes drolly during an email discussion about her life and her novel, “when I used to drive, it was sometimes dangerous because I had too many thoughts in my head.”
Digging into an old box of mixed tapes leads one direction—toward nostalgia, and most likely into the tricky land of exes. Libby Cudmore's debut, The Big Rewind, is much like that box of mixtapes, with its mystery buried beneath affairs of the heart, wry jokes about hipster Brooklyn and a steady stream of The Smiths, Warren Zevon and Talking Heads.
Idra Novey’s Ways to Disappear is a clever literary mystery involving the disappearance of a Brazilian novelist and the American translator who travels to South America to find her. Novey is a prize-winning poet and translator, who has also taight writing to men and women in prison.
Jed Goodfinch is young, gay, black and trying to make a go of it in West Berlin in the 1980s in Darryl Pinckney’s Black Deutschland. The novel is a provocative exploration of city, sexuality and self, written with the intellectual verve and dry wit that Pinckney is known for.
In Shilpi Somaya Gowda’s compelling second novel, childhood best friends Anil and Leena choose very different life paths.
Janice Y.K. Lee’s 2009 debut, The Piano Teacher, was beloved by readers and critics for its pitch-perfect portrayal of Hong Kong in the years after World War II. In her second novel, The Expatriates, the author—who was born in Hong Kong and educated in the U.S.—explores modern-day Hong Kong through the eyes of three American women who are all struggling to find their roles in a land far from home.
Elizabeth McKenzie’s new novel, The Portable Veblen, is a delightful story about 30-year-old Veblen Amundsen-Hovda, a single woman who makes her own clothes and works as a temp at the Stanford School of Medicine. There, she meets and falls in love with Paul Vreeland, a 34-year-old researcher who has designed a device that will help medics perform emergency craniotomies on the front lines of combat. The book is a humorous, multilayered tale of Veblen and Paul’s engagement, their relationships with their respective families and a pharmaceutical conglomerate of dubious ethics that has expressed interest in the device Paul wants to test.
Sunil Yapa, author of the gripping, profoundly humane first novel Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist, used to hide his laptop in the oven of the beach house he was renting in Chile.
“I'm in a swamp in County Sligo,” Kevin Barry tells me over the phone. The Irish author has lived in at least a dozen places, from his childhood home of Limerick to Spain to Santa Barbara, but he’s settled now in an old police station built in the 1840s, known as the Barracks. Sadly, he says, it doesn’t appear to be haunted.
Hannah Rothschild is an established insider of the London art world. Recently appointed Chair of the National Gallery, she is respected as both connoisseur and patron, and a champion of art education.