A Dry SoulJ.M. Coetzee’s new novel pits reason and passion against each other. It would be a lot sexier if reason didn’t win.
The Cost of ProgressWhat’s missing from Jonathan Chait’s new book on Obama’s legacy is what’s missing from Obama’s worldview: a sense of tragedy.
“This Is My Town”How rapacious capitalism transformed one Ohio city from the American dream to a nightmare.
Rachel Cusk’s Anti-NarrativeTransit is less a novel than a kind of tone poem about what it means to physically expose oneself through writing.
Naïveté is the New RealismTom Friedman’s oracular pretensions have never felt more ridiculous than they do in his latest best-seller.
Why This Norwegian Novelist Should Be the Next Elena FerranteIn praise of Sigrid Undset’s bewitching female-driven trilogy.
You Can Write a Best-Seller and Still Go BrokeWhy is it so hard for writers to talk candidly about how much money they make?
Some Boys Rise, Some Boys FallA Mumbai father dreams of cricket superstardom for his two sons in Aravind Adiga’s Selection Day.
“Inexplicable, Terrible, and Capricious”A history of scurvy, the mysterious disease that haunted the age of exploration.
Our Minds Are IntricateKathleen Collins’ remarkable stories feel like peeking through a keyhole at the inner lives of black women in another era.
The Beautiful WorldGeorge Saunders’ first novel is lovely, moving, and fundamentally the wrong book for this moment in history.
Age of AngerWhat America’s violent transition to modernity has in common with the rise of Islamic extremism.
Letters to a Young MuslimI grew up as a devout Muslim, and these essays about the dangers of radicalism hit very close to home.
A Woman Looking at A Woman Looking at Men Looking at WomenSiri Hustvedt’s preening essays take their author’s own brilliance as their main subject.
Mind of the OppressedAdapted as a comic book, Octavia Butler’s Kindred is an even more powerful statement on black Americans’ relationship with history.
The Novel as Math ProblemAs a formal exercise, Paul Auster’s 4321 is impeccable. As a story, it’s curiously cold.
The Return of the Cartoonist Studio PrizeThis spring, two cartoonists will follow in the footsteps of Chris Ware, Noelle Stevenson, and Carol Tyler.
CannibalismThis history of species eating their own kind is so captivating that you’ll want to devour it with a nice Chianti.
The Gerund That Tore a Literary Friendship ApartThe sad, silly tale of Vladimir Nabokov and Edmund Wilson’s Feud.
Idiot EmperorThis oral history of The Daily Show was clearly intended to land in a very different political landscape. But it’s still eerily relevant now.
Lost in TranslationAn American tries to connect in rural Japan in the conclusion of Lars Martinson’s ambitious, beautiful Tonoharu trilogy.
The Fuzzy In-Betweenness of EverythingIn Paul Muldoon’s curiously timely poetry, identities are always fluid and allegiances always partial.
The Best Book Jackets of 2016From Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed to Han Kang’s The Vegetarian, the most eye-catching and imaginative cover art of the year.