Litstack Rec: The Goldfinch & Doctor Sleep

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The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt The reception Donna Tartt garnered for her third novel—it washer first in twelve years—was called a phenomenon and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2014 (among other honors). The story centers on the childhood and youth of Theo Decker, an ordinary boy living in New York City with his mother, until [….]

LitStack Rec – The Marriage Plot & Leviathan Wakes

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The Marriage Plot, by Jeffery Eugenides “Heartbreak is funny to everyone but the heartbroken.” That ironic reflection comes early the Jeffrey Eugenides’ lively 2011 novel. The observation is made by Madeleine Hanna, one of three central characters, all of whom are students at Brown University. We meet them on the morning of graduation in 1982, [….]

LitStack Rec: Cutting Teeth & The Dead Lands

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Cutting Teeth, by Julia Fierro For those who have young children, there’s a lovely innocence to summer—its sprinklers and days at the beach, its long days and late evenings. Julia Fierro’s debut novel, Cutting Teeth, captures that sense of fleeting summer pleasure, as well as the pleasures and the challenges of navigating parenthood. On a [….]

Litstack Rec: An Unnecessary Woman & Extraordinary Adventures

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An Unnecessary Woman, by Rabih Alameddine “I like outsiders,” Aaliya Sohbi tells us, “phantoms wandering the cobwebbed halls of the doomed castle where life must be lived.” The narrator of Rabih Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman, is herself an outsider, a reclusive, seventy-two year old bibliophile who lives alone in the Beirut apartment she’s inhabited since [….]

LitStack Rec: The Good Soldier & Pride’s Spell

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The Good Soldier, by Ford Madox Ford If this novel had been published under the title the author selected, The Saddest Story, contemporary readers might have had a difficult time locating a copy. Fortunately, Ford Madox Ford agreed to his publisher’s title suggestion of The Good Soldier, and with that, the now-classic post-World War I [….]

LitStack Rec: Desperate Characters & The Last Days of Magic

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Desperate Characters, by Paula Fox This classic of literary fiction, first published in 1970, serves too as a classic example of a novel that was lost to readers, then found. In 1999, when this—and all Paula Fox’s adult novels—fell out of print, interest in the author and her work was almost single-handedly revived by Jonathan [….]

LitStack Rec: Commonwealth & All the Birds in the Sky

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Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett Of divorce, Nicole Krauss wrote, “One of us held on to the ambition of the one idea far longer than was reasonable, whereas the other, passing a garbage can one night, had casually thrown it away.” That’s how ending a marriage can feel, especially for the spouse who’s left behind, an [….]

LitStack Rec: The Portable Veblen & Wait Till Next Year

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The Portable Veblen, by Elizabeth McKenzie By way of Anne Lamott, we know the novelist Ethan Canin once remarked, “Nothing holds a story together better than a likable narrator.” Lamott went further (in the slim but influential memoir of writing, Bird by Bird), that a likable narrator is comparable to someone you love spending time [….]

LitStack Rec: Stoner & Cradle to the Stage

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Stoner, by John Williams John Williams’ 1965 novel went out of print after selling only 2,000 copies, but since its re-release by Vintage in 1995, this novel of a Midwestern academic’s insular life has appeared on bestseller lists in Europe and Israel, and has since sold over 100,000 copies. Stoner seems at first an unlikely [….]

LitStack Rec: Bridge & The Ballad of Black Tom

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Bridge, by Robert Thomas “Welcome to the prayer-strewn pews of my brain,” Alice, the narrator of Bridge tells us, and quickly, we understand that this intellectually gifted young woman sees the world, and herself, in unconventional and often dangerous ways. Robert Thomas’s powerful debut novel, published last year by BOA Edition, takes place in fifty-six [….]