A powerful read from an impressive new voice, Freedom’s Child is an intricate portrait of a crass, swears-like-a-sailor woman who has lost everything and is fueled by an unabated fervor to find her daughter.
Brenda Bowen’s Enchanted August opens with two women spotting a battered index card on a bulletin board promising a summer of spring water, blueberries and sea glass on Little Lost Island, Maine. If this sounds familiar, it may be because of the similarity to the opening of Enchanted April, Elizabeth von Arnim’s beloved 1922 novel of four women whose lives are transformed by a summer in an Italian castle. Bowen has refashioned the classic, relocating the action but keeping the character names and the spirit of lives reinvented by new surroundings.
For the irrepressible 12-year-old heroine of The Truth According to Us, growing up in the sleepy West Virginia mill town of Macedonia at the height of the Great Depression proves to be anything but depressing.
Kate Walbert has always been a keen transmitter of women’s voices, from conforming suburban wives in the 1950s to British suffragettes during World War I. In her most recent novel, The Sunken Cathedral, Walbert tunes in to a complex chorus of female characters in contemporary Manhattan, a city recently altered by climate change, tragedy and new wealth.
There is a scene in Stephanie Kallos’ new novel in which protagonist Charles Marlow is describing all the clichés associated with an archetypal film on autism. It feels like a wink at the reader, as this book contains many of these same clichés. Yet Language Arts takes enough of a fresh approach to its subject to make it a riveting read.
If there’s a life before this one where people are allowed to pick their parents, the two young protagonists of Rebecca Dinerstein’s debut novel came up snake eyes, or nearly so.
Every professional thrown in contact with the public has at least one client who’s, to put it charitably, challenging. But the husband-and-wife attorney team of Joe and Lisa Stone managed to land an international gold medal champion in The Jezebel Remedy, the fourth novel from Virginia Circuit Court Judge Martin Clark.
Mazie Phillips-Gordon was a real person. Born in 1897, she ran the ticket booth at New York’s Venice Theater from 1916 to 1938. You may not think that’s such a big achievement, but then you probably haven’t read the Joseph Mitchell New Yorker essay about her that inspired Jami Attenberg’s entertaining new novel, Saint Mazie.
Legendary book editor Jonathan Galassi has been at Farrar, Straus and Giroux since 1986 and is now its president and publisher. So why is his rambunctious, captivating first novel, Muse, being published by a rival?
The final chapter in Lev Grossman's Magicians Trilogy, a suspenseful historic account of a perilous voyage and a National Book Award finalist make for great reading this month.