The Elegant Bigotry of Michel HouellebecqHis new novel treats Islam, and women, so badly that it’s hard not to wonder where the character’s views end and the author’s begin.
Why Do-Gooders Make the Rest of Us UncomfortableLarissa MacFarquhar explores unchecked idealism in Strangers Drowning.
Chocky, the Kindly Body SnatcherJohn Wyndham’s last sci-fi novel, Chocky, is more domestic comedy than allegorical catastrophe.
Escaping the Poisonous Womb of HomeThe real heart of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels is the economic striving that drives their heroine throughout her life.
The Oregon Trail, IRLA strange new book tells us exactly what it’s like to head West by covered wagon today. (You might fall in love with your mules.)
If I Could Talk to the AnimalsTwo new books make the case for what animals feel—and what we lose when we discount their emotions.
The Death of the California DreamClaire Vaye Watkins’ debut novel takes place in a Golden State turned endless desert.
Strange BedfellowsHow Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies brings two very different people—and novels—together.
“Dickens + MP3 ÷ Balzac + JPEG”Valeria Luiselli produced her novel The Story of My Teeth under peculiar stars.
My Brilliant MotherWhat I learned about literature and family when I got my mom to translate the fourth Neapolitan novel for both of us to read together.
Jonathan Franzen Is Having More Fun Than His CriticsPurity is the writer’s most limber, enjoyable novel yet.
A Tightrope Walk Over the AbyssKaren Russell talks to Helen Phillips about her weird, beautiful debut novel.
From Tapestries to Texting BubblesMatthew Battles’ Palimpsest is a “history of the written word” that misunderstands exactly how our relationship to the written word has changed.