Category Archives: Contemporary

There There

One of the characters in Tommy Orange’s debut novel, There There, is a filmmaker named Dene Ozendene who is taking over a project started by his uncle Lucas before his death. In an interview for a grant, he describes the work this … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | 8 Comments

The Golden State

Daphne, the narrator of Lydia Kiesling’s debut novel, is exhausted and frustrated and in terrible need of a break. She’s been raising her daughter, Honey, on her own since her husband, Engin, was barred from entry to the United States … Continue reading

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Speak No Evil

Uzodinma Iweala’s Speak No Evil is the story of two best friends, Niro and Meredith, both high school seniors in Washington, DC. Niro, who carries most of the narrative, is a track star bound for Harvard, but his future starts to be … Continue reading

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So Lucky

“You scared? You should be. It’s aiming to kill you. And I doubt you’ll stop it.” Those are the words Mara Tagarelli hears during her first support group for people with multiple sclerosis. Mara was diagnosed in the same week that … Continue reading

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A River of Stars

When Scarlett Chen became pregnant, the baby’s father, a wealthy (and married) factory owner and Scarlett’s employer, sent her from China to Los Angeles so that his son would be born on American soil. After so many daughters, this baby … Continue reading

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Winter

The second book in Ali Smith’s seasonal quartet is, like Autumn, a novel that is more contemplative than plotty. There is a story, a somewhat more eventful one than in Autumn, but the novel is mostly about how the characters are coping with … Continue reading

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In the Woods

I’ve been slow to read Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad books, not because I didn’t think I’d enjoy them but because I really didn’t want a new series to read. But since I’ve finished the Patrick O’Brian books, that’s less … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction, Mysteries/Crime | 15 Comments

Signs of Life

Ten years ago, in her twenties, Rachel was in a long-term relationship: “no ruptures, no wrinkles, we were happy.” Then she had an affair with a man at work, someone rougher and more dangerous than her boyfriend Johnny, and it … Continue reading

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Goodbye, Vitamin

 As this novel by Rachel Khong begins, it’s Christmas, and Ruth is spending her first Christmas in years with her family. Her fiancé has recently dumped her for another woman, and she’s been bouncing from one relationship to another. And … Continue reading

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Her Body and Other Parties

It’s hard for me to describe how much I enjoyed this book — how much this book was completely and totally up my alley — because the alley is kind of… specific. Does it bother authors when they get compared … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 6 Comments