10 of 10
The Light Between Oceans
345 pages; Scribner
The heart-stopping vistas of the coast of Western Australia provide the backdrop for the baby drama at the center of The Light Between Oceans, out September 2 (Alicia Vikander) and Tom (Michael Fassbender) play a childless couple who discovers an infant in a rowboat that's washed ashore. Director Derek Cianfrance's adaptation highlights the painful tension between the couple and woman (Rachel Weisz) who arrives to claim the adopted child, but Stedman's best-seller triumphs both as a war novel and as a domestic drama, delivering an unflinching portrait of Tom's PTSD, as he tries to shake his memories of World War I and the battlefields filled with "men whose legs trailed by a hank of sinews, or whose guts cascaded from their casing like slithering eels."
— Mark Athitakis