We Are Not Ourselves, Matthew Thomas’ epic first novel, was 10 years in the making and, upon completion, the subject of a vigorous publishers’ bidding war. Readers will understand why.
With daily news headlines detailing the tragedies that can unfold when a battle-weary soldier returns home from war, Las Vegas author Laura McBride’s first novel, We Are Called to Rise, is hauntingly timely.
Writer Kaui Hart Hemmings had a lot to live up to with her second novel: Her best-selling, polished debut, The Descendants, was made into an Oscar-winning film starring George Clooney. With The Possibilities, she delivers on her early promise while making a striking departure setting-wise, moving from the tropical islands of her native Hawaii to the snowy mountains of Colorado.
Justin Go’s ambitious, sprawling and compelling debut novel, The Steady Running of the Hour, lurches from America to England, France, Sweden Germany and Iceland—even stretching to the Himalayas—switching back and forth in time from pre-WWI England to the present.
It’s good to know that a female protagonist doesn’t have to be “nice” in order to be compelling. In Cara Hoffman’s latest novel, Be Safe I Love You, returning Iraqi war vet Lauren Clay is anything but nice. Indeed, the reader might be tempted, at first, to call her hateful. But as you read on, it dawns on you that the Lauren who enlisted as a soldier because of the fat signing bonus that would keep the wolves away from the door of her impoverished family isn’t the Lauren who has returned. The word that kept going through this reviewer’s head was “revenant.”
If you’re very observant and know a little something about the wilder shores of human genetics, then you may be able to figure out the big mystery of Carol Cassella’s new novel by, oh, page 260 or so. Oh yes, the title also gives one a hint as to what’s going on with one of the book’s well-drawn characters. But we should start at the beginning.
America is anomalous, as insular as its two oceans suggest. Consider the game known stateside as soccer and elsewhere as football. An American would struggle to name a global soccer star, despite their commanding astronomical salaries and divine admiration. The Sun and Other Stars, by Chicago author Brigid Pasulka, offers a glimpse into the glamour and goofiness of the so-called "beautiful game.”
Genetics professor Don Tillman is a man of science. His days are meticulously scheduled, his weekly meals pre-planned for maximum nutritional value and his choices made in logical consideration of best possible outcomes. So when he decides it’s time to find a suitable life partner, he does what any rational scientist would do—he creates an extensive dating questionnaire and embarks...
Paul Yoon’s 2009 story collection, Once the Shore, won numerous accolades, including being named Best Book of the Year by the L.A. Times and Publishers Weekly. Expectations were high for his debut novel—and with Snow Hunters, he has fulfilled them.The plot of Snow Hunters is a spare one; it follows the journey of Yohan, a young North Korean and former prisoner of war who, after the...
How often do we contemplate what it is that makes us human? Caught up in the daily minutiae of our lives, many of us lose sight of the true miracle that is our existence. This is the sentiment explored by British author Matt Haig in his novel The Humans, which takes a hackneyed premise (the observation of Earthlings by a visitor from another galaxy) and turns it into a surprisingly touching and...