Category Archives: Fiction

How It Went Down

This novel by Kekla Magoon begins with a brief description of the incident: The known facts about the shooting death of sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson are few. On the evening of June 2, at approximately 5:30 P.M., Johnson sustained two nine-millimeter … Continue reading

Posted in Children's / YA Lit, Contemporary, Fiction | 1 Comment

The Truelove/Clarissa Oakes

Captain Jack Aubrey has never much liked having women on his ships, and in the 15th book in Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series, we can see why. Titled The Truelove in the U.S. and Clarissa Oakes overseas, this book follows the HMS Surprise through … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Historical Fiction | Leave a comment


This 19th-century novel by Ivan Goncharov spends its first hundred and fifty pages establishing its main character, Oblomov. Who is this man, and why is he the way he is? It seemed to me at first an excruciatingly slow way … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 14 Comments

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Rosemary Cooke grew up in a farmhouse with her brother, sister, parents, and a whole team of graduate students. But when she was five years old, everything changed. She went away to her grandparents and came back to a different … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction | 5 Comments

Tales of Burning Love

Over the past few years, I’ve been slowly reading Louise Erdrich’s novels, beginning with the first and going chronologically. Most of her books take place in and around the same town, Argus, North Dakota, and its nearby reservation. Her characters … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction | 5 Comments


I’ve read several of Elizabeth Gaskell’s novels, and thought all of them were quite spectacularly good (North and South, Wives and Daughters, Cranford.) So I was expecting a pleasure when I picked up Ruth, her second novel. Was I ever … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 7 Comments

The Essex Serpent

I’ve been very much looking forward to the U.S. release of this novel by Sarah Perry. It has a Victorian lady naturalist, a minister, and a mysterious sea monster. What could be better? And the reviews from the U.K. have … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Historical Fiction | 18 Comments

Fever Dream

The entirely of this novel by Samanta Schweblin and translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell takes place in a single hospital room, over the course of an hour or two—basically the time it takes to read the book. A woman … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction | 2 Comments

The Turn of the Screw

Lately, my husband has been reading The Ambassadors by Henry James. I haven’t read James almost at all (The Golden Bowl, but many years ago) and I thought I would renew my acquaintance with his most famous ghost story, The … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 13 Comments

The Gustav Sonata

Gustav Perle and Anton Zweibel first became friends in kindergarten. New to their small Swiss town, Anton cried on his first day at school, and Gustav was the only one who could cheer him up. Their friendship was complicated at … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Historical Fiction | 14 Comments