News  / Book Reviews

Written by Jan Kline four years ago

Your Face in Mine, by Jess Row

It’s hard to believe that this book came out almost a year before the Rachel Dolezal controversy. In what novelist Karen Russell calls “a postcard from the near future,” Jess Row has written a riveting novel about “racial reassignment surgery,”

Written by Jan Kline four years ago

The Harder They Come, by T.C. Boyle

T.C. Boyle is usually merciless towards his characters, giving a variety of viewpoints an equal opportunity skewering. This time out, I felt he betrayed a little twinge of empathy in his description of some admittedly extreme characters. He doesn’t idealize

Written by Jan Kline four years ago

Big Brother, by Lionel Shriver

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 four years ago

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

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 four years ago

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, by Joshua Ferris

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 four years ago

The Burgess Boys, by Elizabeth Strout

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 four years ago

The Children Act, by Ian McEwan

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

Written by Jan Kline four years ago

Admission, by Jean Hanff Korelitz

After careening through her latest novel, You Should Have Known, I was excited to learn that Jean Hanff Korelitz had quite a few earlier books. Admission appealed to me immediately because of its setting — academia — and the fact

Written by Jan Kline five years ago

Us, by David Nicholls

Sad and funny is one of my favorite combinations in a novel, and this one has the perfect balance.

Written by Jan Kline five years ago

Two books, two marriages, two psychopaths: You Should Have Known, and Gone Girl

These two books could put you off marriage altogether. Every married person has the occasional “who ARE you??” moment with their spouse, but both of these books take it to extremes.