In this centuries-spanning novel, Siddhartha Deb weaves together four distinct stories each set in pivotal moments in India’s history—British occupation in the 1800s, the partition of India in 1947, and the 1984 industrial disaster in Bhopal—as well as the smog-heavy near future rife with political corruption. Mystical elements and recurring symbols connect these tales, building an epic saga told with strong prose.
-Reviewed by Clement
This one is all about the writing for me. The narrator (Boulder) becomes infatuated with a woman she meets while on shore leave, but the story is about how she gets pulled into a soul-breaking domesticity, from home ownership to child rearing. Shortlisted for the International Booker Prize 2023, this novel promises to live beyond the awards season.
-Reviewed by Brad
When Ingrid Yang uncovers a devastating truth about the poet whose work she’s devoted her academic career to, her whole life is thrown into chaos. Her discovery starts a chain reaction that forces her to grapple with her overarching goals in life, her connection to her race and culture, and the foundation of all of her relationships. It is witty, absurdist, and painfully real.
-Reviewed by Lydia
Alex is a drifter and a grifter, a fleeting guest in the lives of others, burning every bridge along the way. But despite this impulsive and unlikeable main character, I couldn't put The Guest down. This foreboding psychological thriller is like a car crash, you can't look away. For anyone who loves books like My Year of Rest and Relaxation, you need to pick up this book!
-Reviewed by Madison
What would you steal for fame? After witnessing the death of her friend, literary superstar Athena Liu, struggling author June Hayward steals the only copy of Athena’s latest manuscript. What follows is a compulsively readable publishing satire that interrogates ideas of cultural ownership and representation. Kuang is one of the most exciting voices in fantasy and her literary debut is just as riveting a read.
-Reviewed by Bailyn
With the murder of high school student Thalia Keith and the search for her killer as a backdrop, this book explores themes of groupthink, collective memory, the racism in our justice system, and how your role models transform as you grow up and see them for who they truly are. Makkai’s writing makes it a deceptively quick read, but one that is sure to stick with you for a long time.
-Reviewed by Lydia
Ro is a mess. She and her best friend barely talk, her boyfriend is leaving to join the first settlement on Mars, her relationship with her mother is in tatters, her low-key depression is mostly winning—then she learns that Dolores, a mutant giant octopus and the best part of Ro’s dead-end aquarium job, is being sold. Sharply funny, moving, and relatable, Sea Change follows Ro finally learning to take control of her own life.
-Reviewed by Lauren
I don't usually read historical fiction, but the lyrical writing gently and gracefully laid out one of the most tragic stories I have read. I suppose this shouldn't be surprising as the story unfolds against the backdrop of the Chinese Exclusion Act, a period of American history that is regretfully largely untold. If you enjoy historical fiction, great writing, and aren't afraid of a book that will make you cry, you will not regret picking this up.
-Reviewed by Katie
Set in medieval times, Lapvona tells the story of what happens when the son of a shepherd swaps places with the governor’s son. This is a fast-paced tragicomedy where every character falls prey to their personal delusions. There are so many unexpected twists up until the very last page, making this my favorite book by Moshfegh yet.
-Reviewed by Kate
Waking up to witness his own funeral and finding only five people in attendance, death is not what Wallace Price expected. More surprises await him once he meets Hugo, tea shop owner and ferryman who helps people cross over into the afterlife. A story about grief, loss, and love, this quirky fantasy-romance invites you to reflect on what matters most in life.
-Reviewed by Jess
Fans of Parasite will love how the storyboards from the film have been recast as a comic book. I loved how the story boards and commentary along the side give insight into the film that I missed, which made me want to rewatch the film with book in hand. The storyboard mixed with comics style really made me feel like I was rewatching the film through the eyes of the production and creative team.
-Reviewed by Georgia
Sven, a quirky curmudgeon, is a loner yearning for solitude to quiet his mind. After a disfiguring mining accident he escapes to the Arctic Circle to live in isolation as a fur trapper. Though desolate, Sven is not alone, as he finds himself in the company of a wily dog and a memorable cast of characters who enter his life when he needs them the most. We loved this stunning novel of compassion & perseverance!
-Reviewed by Claudia & Stacy
I LOVED this heartwarming story of lost and lonely souls finding family, community and peace in a small coastal community in Washington state. Tova, a 70 year old widow, is not only mourning the death of her husband but also her son. Tova works the night shift at the aquarium, where she bonds with the reluctant resident Marcellus, a Giant Pacific Octopus. Mysteries are solved, families found, and broken hearts are mended.
-Reviewed by Claudia
Following two women in separate and converging timelines, The Alice Network is a book about courage in times full of uncertainty. Eve, a former British spy recruited to France during WWI, must face her past when Charlie, an American college student, barges into her home looking for her missing cousin. Bouncing between 1915 and 1947, The Alice Network follows Eve and Charlie as they struggle to accept their pasts.
-Reviewed by Jess
Kawakami is a master in describing the female experience in intimate detail. In this novel, she gives a voice to the working class women of Japan as we follow three women who are confronting uncertain futures, bodily autonomy, and the effects of poverty in a patriarchal society. Although bleak at times, this novel is ultimately a story of hope.
-Reviewed by Madison
Enjoyed my Táin recommendation and want more stories about Cú Chulainn? This book delivers on that and more! Come and enjoy the war-hound’s birth, love life, heroic feats, and tragedies, as well as other enigmatic heroes. Featuring raiding war-bands, giants, magical transformations, romance, and tragedy, this book will give you a glimpse into the mess that is Irish mythology and Ireland’s fascinating literary tradition.
-Reviewed by Travis
If you haven’t read the book that inspired the Disney adaptation, you can clear that blemish on your life path “right here, right now” as my high school football teammates would say. It’s a meditative novel about life, death, and the constitution of a meaningful existence. Did you know the author was a hunter? Salten demonstrates a deep understanding of and respect for the forest and the life that propagates it.
-Reviewed by Trevor