Category Archives: Contemporary

Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry

At first glance, there’s nothing to tip readers off to the fact that this book is anything other than an auction catalog. The cover includes an auction date (Saturday, 14 February 2009) and the name of the auction house (Strachan … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | 6 Comments

Fates and Furies

I didn’t expect much from this book. I wasn’t a fan of Groff’s first book, The Monsters of Templeton, and there was nothing much in this book’s premise—rich white New Yorkers with marriage problems—that appealed to me enough to make me set aside … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | 12 Comments

Broken Harbor

This is the fourth of Tana French’s loosely-linked mysteries that I’ve read, and I have to say that I’ve enjoyed each of them more than the last. Broken Harbor is no exception. In it, French explores love, mental illness, the … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction, Mysteries | 7 Comments

The Dinner

Two sets of parents have decided to meet at a high-end restaurant in Amsterdam in order to discuss a terrible crime committed by their children, and what their next steps should be: Serge and Babette; Paul and Claire. This, at … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | 12 Comments

The Accidental

The title of Ali Smith’s The Accidental lets us in on what she’s doing. The plot is not a new one: a stranger breaks in on a dysfunctional family, works her mysterious magic, and leaves them completely different. You’ll have … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | 4 Comments

The Wolf Border

I didn’t realize how much I cared about the characters in Sarah Hall’s latest novel until I got to a major plot point near the end of my lunch break a few days ago. That afternoon at work was long. … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | 13 Comments

Single, Carefree, Mellow

I first read about Katherine Heiny’s Single, Carefree, Mellow, on Swistle’s blog. Swistle made me curious: so many people don’t enjoy short stories, and (or) don’t like reading about affairs, but here is a book of short stories, almost all … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction, Short Stories/Essays | 4 Comments

Sleeping on Jupiter

Participating in the (Wo)Man Booker Shadow Panel requires me to stack books up against one another, something I’m not always inclined to do but which can be a revealing exercise. In some respects, comparisons are impossible because all books are … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | 9 Comments

Did You Ever Have a Family

My fellow Shadow (Wo)Man Booker panelists and I have noted that this year’s long list seems heavy on family stories, this debut novel by Bill Clegg included. But Did You Ever Have a Family is about a community as much … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | 9 Comments

Oblivion

A couple of months ago, I reviewed David Foster Wallace’s book of essays, Consider the Lobster. I read that book with increasing pleasure (and perhaps a tinge of surprise), and in the end was really blown pretty much flat by … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction, Short Stories/Essays | 3 Comments