Out Loud  / fiction

Written by Jan Kline a few weeks ago

Big Brother, by Lionel Shriver

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Lionel Shriver’s fiction has a major streak of darkness running through it. Some of the subjects she’s covered in her past novels include teenage mass murderers, terminal illness, and European terrorism. But she usually manages to insert some (admittedly very

Written by Jan Kline a few weeks ago

My Sister’s Keeper? All My Puny Sorrows, by Miriam Toews

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Hearing the set-up for this novel made me wonder if I was made of stern enough stuff to get through it. Yoli, a divorced woman in her forties, with plenty of her own problems, has to repeatedly try to talk

Written by Jan Kline two months ago

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, by Joshua Ferris

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Offhand, the practice of preventative dentistry doesn’t seem like a portal into discussions of religion and death. And discussions of religion and death don’t seem like apt gateways to comedy, either. Leave it to Joshua Ferris (author of Then We

Written by Jan Kline three months ago

The Burgess Boys, by Elizabeth Strout

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This is one dysfunctional family, though it’s not hard to see how they ended up this way. Growing up in small-town Maine, three small children are left unattended in the family car; one of them releases the parking brake, allowing

Written by Jan Kline three months ago

The Children Act, by Ian McEwan

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For a book only slightly over 200 pages, The Children Act packs a substantial wallop.

Written by Jan Kline eight months ago

Amy Falls Down, by Jincy Willett

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Amy Gallup is a crotchety, misanthropic 60-year-old author and writing teacher who would strongly prefer to be left alone. At home. With her basset hound, Alphonse. (Her mantra, in Willett’s prequel, The Writing Class: Kill Me Now).

Written by Jan Kline nine months ago

The Antagonist, by Lynn Coady

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The novel made up entirely of letters isn’t a new form. But the email novel is a newer development — not that there aren’t already enough examples of them out there to make writing one a potentially slippery slope ending

Written by Jan Kline ten months ago

The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt

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It took eight months of waiting, but finally the library copy of The Goldfinch stayed on the shelf long enough for me to get my mitts on it. As it was, I had to jerk it out of my sister’s

Written by Jan Kline eleven months ago

Casebook, by Mona Simpson

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It’s a coincidence that just after re-reading a childhood favorite of mine, Harriet the Spy, I should pick up an adult novel that also features kids spying on adults.

Written by Jan Kline one year ago

The Unknowns, by Gabriel Roth

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By now, I would have thought that the chance of coming up with a non-cliché male geek misfit character would be very slim. But Gabriel Roth has beaten the odds.

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