There is pleasure to be had in reading Julia Phillips’ debut novel, even in the midst of such grief and despair. Phillips is a beautiful, assured writer, one who knows how to create fully-developed characters, a marvelous sense of place, and a constant forward momentum.
To read a book by Ali Smith is to know that she will ask you to do some work, though that work will always be a pleasure and a bit of a game.
Yiyun Li’s new novel uses conversation as the mode to better explore her narrator’s grief.
D. Wystan Owen’s beautiful debut collection is a book to treasure. The ten quiet stories are linked by place, but they are also linked by Owen’s great fascination with understanding the weight of the past on the present.
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.
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
There’s something so gentle about Berg, in his awareness of the world and the people around him. He cares. He has a sense of humor. He wants to turn his life around.
Excerpt: William Trevor almost always describes a character early in the story, using only a sentence or two, but getting at the essence of the character in a way that feels intimate and true. The descriptions are highly visual, often focusing on the face, but always gesturing towards characterization.
In A Lucky Man, Jamel Brinkley’s stunning debut collection, the stories are not formally linked, and yet they are, implicitly, by their beautiful prose, by their intimate gaze at character, by their focus on black men, by their setting in New York City.
The Female Persuasion never disappoints: there are twists and turns that keep us guessing, new voices to take on the storytelling task, and heartbreak as friends and lovers disappoint, deceive, and part ways.