Weekly updates and mini reviews of fiction shortlisted for the National Book Award: Jamel Brinkley’s A Lucky Man, Sigrid Nunez’s The Friend, Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights, and Domenico Starnone’s Trick.
Expansive and engaging, the stories of Florida explore the lives of women who feel trapped in the eerie landscape of the Sunshine State.
Until recently, I always had avoided audiobooks. While some doubt that listening to books counts as reading, that line of thinking never has appealed to me: I just had no interest in the format, since I associated it with the monotonous books on tape that my childhood library hoarded in its cloistered back room.
Set in a village on the outskirts of Norway, Hanne Ørstavik’s Love tracks the lonesome paths a single mother and her young son take over the course of a single winter’s night.
Empathy isn’t just something that happens to us—a meteor shower of synapses firing across the brain—it’s also a choice we make: to pay attention, to extend ourselves.
—Leslie Jamison, “The Empathy Exams”
I first came across Marguerite Duras during my first year of undergrad, in a comp lit course centering on global coming-of-age narratives dealing with trauma. The class was one of my favorites, and Duras was one of the first writers I came across in college whose work I actually enjoyed reading.
The books I’m reading over the weekend, all on the NBA shortlists, range from a collection of short stories set in Florida to a novella about a single mom who recently has moved to a quiet village in northern Norway.