Your source for information on the latest and greatest in reading arts and entertainment!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Booklist Editors' Choice: Adult Fiction 2012

By Brad Hooper
From Booklist, January 1, 2013
AngelmakerAngelmaker. By Nick Harkaway.
In this sublimely intricate and compulsively readable tour de force of Dickensian bravura and genre-blending splendor, Harkaway tells the tale of a mild-mannered London clockmaker faced with saving humanity from extinction.
Arcadia. By Lauren Groff.
This beautifully crafted novel invokes the fragility of community as it follows Bit Stone, the first child to be born in the late 1960s on an upstate New York commune called Arcadia, from childhood through the year 2018.
Astray. By Emma Donoghue.
Inspired by newspaper stories from the last four centuries, Donoghue’s masterful short story collection explores the unexpected in people’s lives in such varied settings as Victorian England, Civil War–era Texas, and early twentieth-century New York City.
The Bartender’s Tale. By Ivan Doig.
Doig’s latest historical novel set in the fictional Two Medicine Country in northern Montana stars an affable bartender and his precocious 12-year-old son, whose coming-of-age takes place in a saloon. Rich in character and detail.
Beautiful Ruins. By Jess Walter.
In 1962, an American movie starlet arrives at a small hotel on the Italian coast, there to recuperate from a disaster on the set of the movie Cleopatra. A sparkling reimagining of history.
The Beginner’s Goodbye. By Anne Tyler.
Tyler’s sparkling, covertly philosophical tale about a man who refuses to be defined by his disability or denied communication with his deceased wife reveals how ill-prepared we are for life’s contrary demands.
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. By Ben Fountain.
Written in a voice that is at once hopeful, cautious, and completely lost yet utterly knowing, Fountain’s novel delivers a brilliant, powerful examination of how modern warfare affects soldiers who have returned home.
Bring Up the Bodies. By Hilary Mantel.
This second volume in the author’s planned trilogy brilliantly reconstructing the life of Henry VIII’s secretary Thomas Cromwell follows Wolf Hall (2009) and tells the story of the fall of Anne Boleyn.
By BloodBy Blood. By Ellen Ullman.
A disgraced professor becomes obsessed with the client of a psychiatrist working next to him. This poetic and mysterious story suggests both Poe and Kafka.
The Cove. By Ron Rash.
In a powerful novel that skillfully overlays its tragic love story with pointed social commentary, Rash effortlessly summons the rugged Appalachian landscape as well as the xenophobia of a country in the grip of patriotic fervor.
Dear Life. By Alice Munro.
Her latest collection advances the widely held conviction that Munro reigns as the best short story writer in English today.
The Dream of the Celt. By Mario Vargas Llosa. Tr. by Edith Grossman.
The ever-creative Peruvian novelist takes as his subject Roger Casement, an Irishman in the British diplomatic service executed for treason during WWI.
Flight Behavior. By Barbara Kingsolver.
In this passionate novel on global warming, feisty, funny Dellarobia Turnbow gains new and galvanizing insight into her life when a fluke of nature draws hordes of reporters, scientists and tourists to her Appalachian town.
Gods without Men. By Hari Kunzru.
Kunzru’s lively, hugely ambitious novel explores humans’ desperate search for meaning—whether it be through drugs, religion, computer programming, or UFOs—within the chaos of life, both modern and ancient.
Home. By Toni Morrison.
With the economical presentation of a short story, the rhythms and cadence of a poem, and the total embrace and resonance of a novel, Morrison writes a cogent story about a black Korean War veteran.
In One Person. By John Irving.
Irving’s charming and audacious novel about the confusing coming-of-age of a bisexual boy in a small Vermont town features a glorious cast of misfit characters, an intricately constructed plot, and a call to celebrate human sexuality.
Lower RiverThe Lower River. By Paul Theroux.
When his marriage and clothing store fail, a sixtysomething man returns to Africa to rekindle the intense feeling of his days in the Peace Corps. A gripping and vital novel that reads like Conrad or Greene. (Top of the List winner—Adult Fiction.)
The Round House. By Louise Erdrich.
Erdrich’s profound intimacy with her characters, beginning with 13-year-old Ojibwe Joe Coutts, electrifies this stunning and wise novel of family bonds, hate crimes, and vengeance set within a web of history, cruel loss, and bracing realizations.
Skagboys. By Irvine Welsh.
Nearly 20 years after Trainspotting, Welsh delivers a stunning prequel that shows how his characters got hooked on heroin. As before, it’s the remarkable characterizations that give this haunting work its devastating impact.
Sutton. By J. R. Moehringer.
Moehringer relays, in electrifying prose, the highs and lows of bank robber Willie Sutton’s dramatic life, from the thrill of the heist to the brutal interrogations by cops and the hell of years spent in solitary confinement.
Sweet Tooth. By Ian McEwan.
McEwan goes back in time to enter the spy world of British intelligence in the early 1970s, and in the book’s heroine, he has created a resonant female character.
Telegraph Avenue. By Michael Chabon.
Chabon’s exuberantly alive novel of two families, one African American, the other Jewish, and a beloved but imperiled used record store is an intricate, funny, and revelatory saga of family and friendship and the soul of American life.
The Testament of Mary. By Colm Tóibín.
Irishman Tóibín delivers a stunning interpretation of the life and role of the mother of Jesus that is as beautiful in its presentation as it is provocative in intention.
That's not a feelingThat’s Not a Feeling. By Dan Josefson.
This remarkable debut novel follows the growing friendship between students at the Roaring Orchards School for Troubled Teens. The matter-of-fact prose, studded with perfectly phrased gems, provides a cool surface to a work that is rich in feeling.
This Is How You Lose Her. By Junot Díaz.
Each tale of unrequited and betrayed love and family crises is electric with passionate observations and off-the-charts emotional and social intelligence as MacArthur fellow Díaz charts the struggles of Yunior, a beleaguered Dominican American.
True Believers. By Kurt Andersen.
A onetime Supreme Court nominee sets out to reveal a deadly truth from her radical past but manages to do much more. An ambitious and remarkable novel, wonderfully voiced, about memory, secrets, guilt, and the dangers of certitude.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. By Rachel Joyce.
Joyce’s debut novel about a new retiree who embarks on a mission of mercy involving a solitary 500-mile walk across the north of England is quirky and charming but also haunting in its examination of love and devotion.

No comments:

Post a Comment