Book Reviews Archive

The Third Hotel by Laura van den Berg

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Buoyed by van den Berg's sinuous, marvelous sentences, the novel is a deep dive into memory, love, and loss as filtered through film theory, metaphysics, and the humid, sunstroked cityscape of Havana.

The Incendiaries by R. O. Kwon

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The book generates considerable momentum through its short chapters and often gorgeous language, and through the always present search for understanding. It is a difficult book to put down, one whose images and ideas remain long after the read.

The Secret Habit of Sorrow by Victoria Patterson

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Each story is short yet encompassing, and while the plots don't connect, the collection coheres thematically. Nearly all of the protagonists and those characters eddying around them feel this secret habit of sorrow.

From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan

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Ryan’s fourth novel clocks in at just under two hundred pages, and for most writers, telling the story of multiple characters in such a small space would be a challenge. But this book contains worlds. The reader is always searching for those connections, the echoes and strands that insist

Nevada Days by Bernardo Atxaga

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The new, harsh landscape has an immediate effect on the narrator. Reno, to him, is a place with no peace where he exists in a state of permanent jet lag.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

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In Moshfegh’s no-bullshit approach, female friendship is scrutinized not to find genuine affection but to recognize how different personalities can embolden one’s ability to give into their emotional addictions.

The Promise of Failure by John McNally

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McNally is a kind companion who mines his own seasons of discouragement to offer others reasons to persist.

Good Trouble by Joseph O’Neill

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The eleven stories in O'Neill's collection read like a string of understated poems that progress, implode, and digress. They are compelling not only because of his memorable characters but also because of his density and diction.

Kudos by Rachel Cusk

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Cusk's latest novel, the last installment of her much-talked about trilogy, has a deceptively celebratory title.

Mirror, Shoulder, Signal by Dorthe Nors

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Reminiscent of Lydia Davis, Nors sifts through large concepts with concise language, wry humor, and a contained plot.