The Gold Eaters. By Ronald Wright. Riverhead, $28.95 (9781594634628).
In this multifaceted, richly detailed historical novel about Spanish conquistadors in
Peru, Wright tells the story of the fall of Incan
civilization through the coming-of-age adventures of an Incan boy called Waman.
Honeydew. By Edith Pearlman. Little,
Brown, $25 (9780316297226).
Incidents of lustful surveillance and magical
solace occur throughout this covertly cosmic
and piquantly exhilarating collection by heralded short story master Pearlman, who writes
with bewitching clarity about what makes our
lives unexpectedly wondrous.
A Little Life. By Hana Yanagihara. Doubleday, $30 (9780385539258).
Yanagihara follows the lives of four college
men from postgraduate days in New York
through much of their adult lives and backward to their childhoods. This wrenching yet
beautiful novel is about pain and compulsion,
sexuality and loss, but, above all, about the
rigors of friendship.
Love Love. By Sung J. Woo. Soft Skull,
Their father’s medical crisis reveals shocking
lies and fractures in the lives of siblings Judy
Lee, a 38-year-old temp who once dreamed of
being an artist, and former tennis pro Kevin
in Woo’s sharp, astute, and stunning novel of
aging, loss, and disillusion.
Marvel and a Wonder. By Joe Meno.
Akashic, $29.95 (9781617753930).
In this high-stakes, mordantly incisive,
compassionate drama, Quentin, a mixed-race teen, is spending the summer with Jim,
his white grandfather, when a magnificent
white racehorse is inexplicably delivered to
Jim’s Indiana farm.
Mothers, Tell Your Daughters. By
Bonnie Jo Campbell. Norton, $25.95
In Campbell’s pitch-perfect collection of
hard-hitting tales about the hidden truths
of women’s lives, she strides into the swamp
of sexual conflicts and trauma and portrays
working-class mothers and daughters of emotional complexity and grit. (Top of the List
My Sunshine Away. By M. O. Walsh. Putnam, $26.95 (9780399169526).
After a girl in a seemingly safe Baton Rouge
suburb is raped, the teenage boy next door,
who worships her, tries to solve the crime (for
which he is a suspect) in Walsh’s suspenseful,
sensitive, and absorbing debut
Outline. By Rachel Cusk. Farrar, $26
Cusk’s message about love, loss, and femi-
nine identity in the modern world is evident
not only in her story but also in its delivery in
this expertly crafted portrait that asks readers
to look deeply into the text for discovery.
Prudence. By David Treuer. Riverhead,
Set during WWII on a Minnesota resort
owned by a Chicago family, Treuer’s trenchant, compassionate, and original novel
explores uneasy relationships between whites
and Native Americans with fresh historical
detail and scrupulous psychological insight.
Purity. By Jonathan Franzen. Farrar, $28
Franzen brings together a lonely young
woman burdened with massive student debt
and an enigmatic mother, and the charismatic
East German leader of a WikiLeaks-like group
in a far-reaching, darkly comic tale of political
and technological tyranny.
The Secret Chord. By Geraldine Brooks.
Viking, $27.95 (9780670025770).
In her gorgeous, accessible, and timeless
novel of biblical ambition, courage, retribution, and triumph, mega-popular Brooks
imagines the life and character of King David
in all his complexity as a charismatic musician
and fearsome warrior.
A Spool of Blue Thread. By Anne Tyler.
Knopf, $25.95 (9781101874271).
In this charming, funny, and gracefully insightful novel, Tyler tells the stories of several
generations in Abby and Red Whitshank’s
extended family, delving subtly and wisely
into thorny questions of self, social status,
passion, and home.
The Story of a Lost Child. By Elena Ferrante. Tr. by Ann Goldstein. Europa, $18
The fourth and final volume in Ferrante’s
Neapolitan series finds Elena back in Naples
and living just above her childhood friend,
Lila. Lingering questions are finally answered
as Ferrante insightfully plumbs the depths of
a complex friendship.
The Sympathizer. By Viet Thanh Nguyen.
Grove, $26 (9780802123459).
In the course of being tortured by the very
revolutionaries he helped make victorious
in Saigon, the narrator of this compelling
and profoundly unsettling novel relives his
turbulent life, exposing in the process the
hidden costs in both countries of America’s
tragic Asian misadventure.
The Tsar of Love and Techno. By Anthony
Marra. Hogarth, $25 (9780770436438).
Marra, in between bursts of acidic humor,
summons the terror, polluted landscapes, and
diminished hopes of generations of Russians
in a tragic and haunting short story collection.
Twain and Stanley Enter Paradise. By
Oscar Hijuelos. Grand Central, $28
(9781455561490); e-book, $14.99
In his deeply researched, fluently inventive
final novel, Hijuelos chronicles with psychological depth the friendship between the
Welsh-born explorer Henry Morton Stanley
and the beloved American raconteur Samuel
Clemens (aka Mark Twain).
The Visiting Privilege: New and Collected Stories. By Joy Williams. Knopf, $30
It’s the odd details that get you in Williams’ acerbically dark and tonic short stories
of misfits and outlaws, mental breakdowns,
alienation, and disasters personal and planetary. Thirteen scorching new stories appear
with 33 gems from past collections.
TOP OF THE LIST WINNER
There has to be a calm, reasonable way to express to your daughter why she should
resist showing her body the way she has been
doing, without seeming overprotective or crazy or even jealous. You can’t deny how thrilled
you were at the way your body got attention
when you were her age. You would have bared
your breasts for cute boys on a dare, no doubt.
From Mothers, Tell Your Daughters, by Bonnie Jo Campbell