Capturing New York during its Giuliani inflection point, beautifully juxtaposing the atmosphere and protagonist to illuminate the character's evolution out of adolescence. The book's clarity, humor and energy are all so distinctly of that time and perfectly rendered that its effect for any reader who lived in New York City as it teetered at the precipice of becoming a capitalist amusement park will be left viscerally shaken.
What makes a masterpiece? In a career as prolific, eclectic and adventurous as Percival Everett's, his body of work the very definition of singularity, it may even be foolish to hint one book is superior to another. And while it might be brazen to assert So Much Blue may be that magnum opus, it is an accusation i gleefully declare. A blissfully precise pen firmly draws the reader into the life of Kevin Pace in his quest for absolution and closure and the novel's three timelines kept deftly aloft by Everett's signature humor and nuanced storytelling.
This is the novel I wanted The Girls to be. What Buntin's novel lacks in flair and fanaticism it makes up for in its shrewd and sympathetic examination of the arrogance and exaggerated angst that makes adolescence such an electrifying study.
Each story here feels like it is dressed in a color that doesn't exist in nature. They feel familiar, somehow, but with an effect of feeling slightly left of center, rattling your expectations.
As the stories progress, they feel increasingly tighter with a strengthening emotional punch that will leave the reader breathless.
Harsh but funny and, ultimately, strangely moving, Sorry to Disrupt the Peace is an unputdownable underdog's journey.
Helen might be schizophrenic; she may just be a little fed up and batty from years of being frustratingly dismissed by everyone she encounters. Though it's probably the former, the book never feels exploitative, as Cottrell's ability to keep the pitch-black humor tempered with compassion is wildly impressive.
Greenwell's first novel is rhapsodic - a sophisticated tale that peers into the contiguous relationship between our desires and our loneliness. Like James Baldwin or the best of Edmund White, the novel's tone is astoundingly elegant, its urbanity and quietude brought sharply into focus when considering how gratuitous the narrative could seem in the hands of a less refined writer.
Multi-generational sagas don't get better than this beautiful story of one poor Korean family that moves to Japan. Spanning the years 1910 to 1989, this book describes the immigrant's experience in a way that is completely relevant today. Min Jin Lee has found the perfect image, the pachinko board, to represent the uncertainties in life. I haven't read a novel with such emotion since Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance.
Sweet and unassuming, This Is How It Always Is explores the strength of familial bonds with tender love and sharp wit. I fell in love with the eccentric Walsh-Adams clan (particularly Poppy) and felt my heart break over the hardships that plagued them as the result of having a "non-traditional" family. A heartwarmingly empathetic debut.
A hypnotic, witchy tale of a woman's desultory search for her estranged husband who has gone missing in Greece, A Separation is an enigmatically seductive narrative whose gauzy embrace draws easy comparisons to DeLillo (or his innumerable acolytes).
It is a powerfully engrossing quagmire and its misty atmosphere of isolation and emotional riddles are truly haunting.
With just three books, Moshfegh has established herself as the beating heart of contemporary American literature. But be warned – it is a dark heart. Tonally eccentric, morally dubious and emotionally swampy each story exists inside its own filmy, insidious macro cosmos. Ottessa Moshfegh is derseving of her own cult and, once her day of ascension arrives, I will be the first to don a robe and begin chanting.