Something Red by Jennifer Gilmore

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Something Red
By Jennifer Gilmore
320 pages; Scribner

The Goldsteins may look like your typical Carter-era suburban D.C. couple saddled with familiar bourgeois problems: rebellious children, troublesome in-laws, infidelity, and general middle-aged angst. But don't be deceived—as the Goldsteins are—by appearances. Jennifer Gilmore's Something Red is ambitious and provocative, more Molotov cocktail than standard-issue domestic drama, raising profound questions about loyalty, independence, love of family and of country...Read more

The Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald

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The Irresistible Henry House
By Lisa Grunwald
432 pages; Random House

Given up for adoption as an infant, handsome Henry House is being raised in a so-called practice house, a building where college girls studying home economics take turns acting as his loving mother, changing his diapers, reading to him—and then disappearing when the course ends. Based on a largely forgotten educational practice at such august institutions as Cornell University from around 1920 to the '60s, Lisa Grunwald's imaginatively picaresque and often gut-wrenching novel, The Irresistible Henry House, explores the psychological and social world of these children...Read more

The American Girl by Monika Fagerholm

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The American Girl
By Monika Fagerholm
528 pages; Other Press

A teenager from the United States drowns, her body sucked into the murky water of a marsh in rural Finland. Her distraught lover, a local boy, hangs himself. The couple's constant sidekick goes mute with grief. A tragic but simple story, yes? Of course not. Nothing is obvious in The American Girl, a deliciously complex novel by award-winning Scandinavian writer Monika Fagerholm...Read more

Falling Apart in One Piece by Stacy Morrison

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Falling Apart in One Piece: An Optimist's Journey Through the Hell of Divorce
By Stacy Morrison
256 pages; Simon & Schuster

Breaking up is never easy, but you can think yourself into feeling (at least a little) better. In her wise memoir, Falling Apart in One Piece, Redbook editor in chief Stacy Morrison chronicles her own divorce and arrives at some pithy conclusions...Read more

Alone with You by Marisa Silver

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Alone with You
By Marisa Silver
176 pages; Simon & Schuster

In the eight fierce stories in her second collection, Alone with You, Marisa Silver explores the impact of collateral damage, whether sustained in war or in life. In one story, set in a Los Angeles–area VA hospital, a young nurse's aide refuses to give up on a patient who is "three-quarters gone," because, as the orphan of a junkie mother, she knows that visible injuries are "never the gravest"...Read more

A Ticket to the Circus by Norris Church Mailer

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A Ticket to the Circus
By Norris Church Mailer
432 pages; Random House

Just how irresistible was Norman Mailer? Gloria Steinem said that anybody who would marry him couldn't be "healthy, well-adjusted, conscious, or aware"—but she was friends with him. Ditto the feminist Germaine Greer, close to him around the time Mailer was quoted as saying, "A little bit of rape is good for a man's soul." And then there was New York congresswoman Bella Abzug, who, when she first met Norris, his sixth wife, offered her home phone number in case Norris ever needed to get away from him. Yet Abzug had wholeheartedly supported Mailer in his quixotic bid for New York City mayor in 1969. Go figure...Read more