I read all of Fierce Kingdom with my heart in my throat, but it isn't simply a perfect thriller; it's also a beautifully written, entirely realistic meditation on motherhood. I dare anyone to read it in more than one sitting.
Serena is one of those rare books that stunned me so completely that I'll always remember exactly where I was when I read it. Set in the North Carolina mountains of the 1920s, this is gripping historical fiction at its finest. You will never forget Serena. (P.S. It was made into a movie -- skip the film and just read the book!)
HUM IF YOU DON'T KNOW THE WORDS is a marvel. Set in South Africa in 1978, this is the story of Robin, a white child, and Beauty, a black mother, both of whom experience immense loss after the Soweto student uprising. Bianca Marais has written a book about apartheid -- a book about tragedy, injustice, grief, and survival -- that manages to sparkle with wit, warmth, and charming secondary characters. Readers will love this rare and rewarding gem.
I've thought of Turtle Alveston regularly since I finished reading My Absolute Darling. I felt for her the same kind of intense concern that I felt for The Goldfinch's Theo, A Little Life's Jude, and All the Ugly and Wonderful Things' Wavy. This is a book for the ages.
See Gabriel Tallent in the store on June 28th.
Is there anything better than an engrossing family drama, a sibling story that spans decades and deals with all our biggest questions of how we live and die? No, there really isn't, and The Immortalists is proof. Just as the four Gold siblings are changed when they, as children, visit a fortune teller who tells them the date of their deaths, I was changed by reading their stories. Each sibling's section could stand alone as a brilliant novella; together they make up what is sure to be one of 2018's best books. Simon, Klara, Daniel,and Varya will stay with me
Tara Westover is barely thirty; could she really write a necessary and timely memoir already? Absolutely. Raised largely "off the grid" in rural Idaho -- without school, doctor visits, a birth certificate, or even a family consensus on the date of her birth -- Tara nevertheless decides she wants to go to college. This is a story in two parts -- first, Tara's childhood working in a dangerous scrap yard alongside her six siblings, her survivalist father, and her mother, a conflicted but talented midwife and healer, fearing Y2K and the influence of the secular world; then, her departure from her mountain home to receive an education. Both halves of her story are equally fascinating. Educated is a testament to Tara's brilliance and tenacity, a bittersweet rendering of how family relationships can be cruel or life-saving, and a truly great read from the first page to the last.
Uzodinma Iweala’s Speak No Evil is a bracing new addition to the literary canon about the Nigerian-American experience and what it means to grow up in America as the child of immigrant parents. It’s about the ensuing cultural struggles and so much more — adolescent friendship, burgeoning sexuality, coming-of-age and potentially coming out — and ultimately it takes the reader somewhere we never imagined it would go, to a conclusion readers won’t soon forget.
Francisco Cantu's The Line Becomes a River represents the best of what both memoir and narrative non-fiction have to offer. Cantu's years in the border patrol provide a new perspective on immigration: this is at once a look at the border, those who cross it, those who seek to stop them, and one man's place in the struggle. It is objective, scholarly, compassionate, and compelling -- essential reading for 2018.