The Book of Life

Photo: Lara Robby/Studio D

5 of 16
The Book of Life
256 pages; Reagan Arthur/Back Bay Books
Stuart Nadler's The Book of Life (Reagan Arthur/Back Bay) is that rare thing: a collection of short stories that are not technically "linked" but together define a whole world as deliciously as any novel. Set among upper-middle-class Jews in contemporary New England, these tales—an arrogant 50-ish man begins an affair with his business partner's daughter; a teenager is dragged to visit the grandfather he'd always been told was dead; a husband seems to accept his wife's affair—are funny and tragic and old-fashioned and brand-spanking-new, all at once.
— Sara Nelson