novel

Books

A Spool of Blue Thread, by Anne Tyler

Spring books

Anne Tyler's 20th novel is, like her previous 19, about a mildly dysfunctional Baltimore family of loyal yet infuriating people who love one another, but not always helpfully.

Books

God Help the Child, by Toni Morrison

Spring books

In her 11th novel Toni Morrison returns to the foundation of most of her fiction: childhood and its traumatic effects.

Books

Accidents of Providence, by Stacia M. Brown

Paul Elie has lamented the absence of serious engagement with Christianity in contemporary fiction. He should read Stacia Brown.

Books

The preacher’s wife

In a crucial scene of Marilynne Robinson’s new novel, Lila spends the morning thinking, has lunch, then thinks some more. Why isn’t this boring?

Books

All My Puny Sorrows, by Miriam Toews

Fall books

This is a book about deep, protracted, unrelenting sadness, and it knows it.

Books

The Childhood of Jesus, by J. M. Coetzee

J. M. Coetzee reportedly wanted readers to discover the title of The Childhood of Jesus after reading it. I thought of this often as I read it.

Books

Dust, by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

Owuor's novel wrestles with Kenya's bitter remnants of colonialism. Yet it suggests that the future can be shaped by people who are willing to incorporate the past with honesty and integrity.

Books

Paul: A Novel, by Walter Wangerin Jr.

The uneasy genre of biblical fiction often includes what Flannery O’Connor called the “shoddy religious novel,” filled with shallow characters and plot structures as clichéd and melodramatic as 1950s biblical films.

Books

Why Read Moby-Dick? by Nathaniel Philbrick

The title of Nathaniel Philbrick’s slim new meditation foregrounds the questions at the heart of every assignment made by every English teacher: Why read this book? Or that book? For that matter, why do we assign reading in the first place?