CC recommends

Russo is an old-fashioned teller of tales who can make you burst out laughing. But don’t expect literary comfort food: he delights also in making readers deliciously uncomfortable. As his late-middle-aged protagonist reconsiders family life, there’s plenty of occasion to squirm. (See the full-length review in this issue.)

A short-story star of the 1990s, Moore ends a long silence with this novel. The September 11 references seem forced, but the wry, self-aware characters are her specialty. At its best, this story has some trenchant things to say about race and class.

Powers is known as a cerebral writer. Here he shows his spiritual curiosity. An Algerian refugee who has seen real horrors somehow maintains unshakable happiness. This brings her celebrity—the greatest danger yet.

 

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