Anthony Marra's debut novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, takes place in war-torn Chechnya — a world of perpetual violence, fear and exploding land mines. But reviewer Meg Wolitzer says the characters are so vivid and the language so brilliant you want to stay there.
The latest novel from three-time National Book Award finalist Gail Godwin takes inspiration from Henry James' The Turn of the Screw. Both stories take place in isolated old houses, and both revolve around mental contests between a governess character and her young charge.
Ken Kalfus' new novel about an astronomer obsessed with attracting the attention of Martians appears at first to be an homage to the scientific romances of H.G. Wells and the lost-world sagas of H. Rider Haggard. As the novel develops, however, its unique social commentaries emerge.
Elizabeth Strout is best known for her short story collection Olive Kitteridge, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2009. Her new book is a novel, and critic Maureen Corrigan says it's a different type of winner.
The rich and good-looking get a taste of life among the 99 percent in Jonathan Dee's novels. In A Thousand Pardons, his protagonist, Helen Armstead, finds a secret talent for getting powerful men to apologize after her marriage falls apart and she is forced to enter the working world.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has drawn a lot of attention with her "sort of a feminist manifesto" Lean In. Critic Maureen Corrigan finds that much of the book is bland, but toward the end, Sandberg's intellectual charisma breaks through.
Marisa Silver's new novel imagines the meeting of a Depression-era photographer and her now-iconic subject. Giving the characters different names but similar stories to their real-life counterparts, Silver tackles big questions about the morality of art.
Fiction is reality and reality fiction in Revenge, Yoko Ogawa's absorbing cycle of interlinked, eerie tales. Readers may detect the shadows of Murakami, Borges and Poe, but, says critic Alan Cheuse, Ogawa's delicious tales cast their own singular spell.
The author of Swamplandia! has a new collection of short stories called Vampires in the Lemon Grove. Critic Maureen Corrigan says the stories are daring and devastating, and with them Russell establishes herself as one of the great American writers of our young century.