Hot Reads: Kings of the Road, Equilateral, The Pink Hotel, My Bright Abyss

This week’s Hot Reads feature a pink hotel, a red planet, a bright abyss, and a giant burning triangle.   Also, men in very short shorts.  Splendid books all around.  Visit The Daily Beast for the full reviews.

Revenge

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Head over to Words Without Borders for my review of Yoko Ogawa’s Revenge

If an enterprising reader were to map the through-lines linking the quiet, twisted (and subtly interconnected) tales of eccentric strangers and mysterious deaths in Yoko Ogawa’s new collection, Revenge, the resulting diagram would likely look something like a spider-web: Delicate, spindled, and perfectly designed for entrapment. The experience of reading Revenge is like getting caught in a beautiful, lethal web—or maybe, like wandering through a labyrinthine haunted mansion. These stories’ charm lies in their treacherous unpredictability. In each tale, it’s impossible to anticipate just what particular nightmarish turn the plot will take, or to guess what shadowy character or tiny detail from an entirely separate tale will reappear (a dead hamster left in a trashcan, a brace designed to make the wearer taller, a three-digit number used in a report). There is a spooky fun-house quality to this collection.

Hot Reads: The New Mind of the South, Honor, Between Man and Beast, A Tale for the Time Being, On the Ropes

Picture 1This week’s Hot Reads feature Japanese tsunami flotsam, “the ‘two-ness’ of Southerners,” an honor killing in 1970s London, and gorillas.

Hot Reads: Middle Men, A Week in Winter, An Armenian Sketchbook, The Teleportation Accident, The Searchers

Picture 1Featuring a John Wayne western, teleportation experiments, indigestion in Armenia, and the highways of Los Angeles.  The full reviews here.

Hot Reads: The Love Song of Jonny Valentine, The Last Girlfriend of Earth, See Now Then, City of Devi

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This week’s Hot Reads are all about looking for love — on stage, through a collapsed marriage, under the threat of nuclear destruction and even in the Gowanus Canal.  The full reviews are here.

The Girl in the Photograph

A delicious read.  14433706

Despite its title, Lygia Fagundes Telles’s The Girl in The Photograph is really about three young women. They are Lia, Ana Clara, and Lorena—college girls who live in a Catholic boarding house somewhere in Brazil. The trio is bound by an intense friendship. Although Lia, Ana Clara, and Lorena can’t help thinking uncharitable things about one another from time to time, when they’re together, their connection is electric. They borrow each other’s handkerchiefs, cars, and money. They share jokes, verbal tics (“money,” is always “yenom”—Lorena thinks saying it backwards brings luck), clothes, and intimacies. They even tuck in each other’s shirttails.

Head over to Words Without Borders for the full review.

Hot Reads: Climates, Nature Wars, She Loves Me Not, The Amistad Rebellion, Selected Letters of William Styron

This week I found a “manic pixie dream girl” in a 1928 French novel, tried to get in the head of Walter Berglund, and learned that William Styron called Dorothy Parker “my little crumpet.” Full reviews here.

Hot Reads: Several Ways to Die in Mexico City, Try the Morgue, the Middlesteins, A Free Man, The Greatcoat

Let me tell you about this week’s Daily Beast/Newsweek Hot ReadsThe Greatcoat was a fine way to spend a rainy afternoon. Several Ways to Die in Mexico City stumbled into my lap and changed the way I think about what I eat and drink. The Middlesteins is the book I happily read in one sitting.  Try the Morgue is the book I haven’t been able to stop talking about. A Free Man is the book I wish I’d written that I think everyone should read.

Hot Reads: Winter Journal, Summer Lies, Falling in Love with Joseph Smith, One Last Thing Before I Go, Penelope

Get them while they’re hot! I reviewed new books from Paul Auster, Bernhard Schlink, and Jonathan Tropper this week, as well as a wonderful debut novel from Rebecca Harrington and an unconventional memoir about Mormonism by Jane Barnes for Newsweek/The Daily Beast.