The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman. (Plume) At the outset of Grossman’s novel, a satisfying end to his Magicians trilogy, Quentin Coldwater has been exiled from Fillory, the enchanted land he once helped rule, and dismissed from his teaching post at Brakebills College, where he first learned magic. Charting Quentin’s growth as both a magician and a man, the book “considers complex questions about identity and selfhood as profound as they are entertaining,” reviewer Edan Lepucki wrote.
Savage Harvest: A Tale Of Cannibals, Colonialism, And Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest by Carl Hoffman. (Morrow/HarperCollins) In 1961, shortly after graduating from Harvard, Rockefeller set out on an art-collecting expedition to Dutch New Guinea. Soon after arrival, his catamaran capsized, and his body was never recovered. The official cause of death was presumed drowning, but in this account, Hoffman advances a widely circulated, and gruesome, explanation: that Rockefeller was captured and killed by Asmat headhunters.
American Innovations by Rivka Galchen. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) Women beset with obsession narrate Galchen’s stories, which juxtapose the surreal with the ordinary and, on one level, respond to canonical works of fiction. In the title story, the narrator inexplicably develops a third breast on her back. In another, “Wild Berry Blue,” a woman reflects on the intense romantic feelings she developed as a child for a heroin addict.
Duty: Memoirs Of A Secretary At War by Robert M. Gates. (Vintage) As secretary of defense for both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Gates held a Pentagon tenure that spanned many of the country’s most agonizing recent conflicts. Here, he offers insider anecdotes and rich historical context, including a particular focus on the profound emotional impact of his role in sending soldiers into overseas combat.
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All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews. (McSweeney’s) Elf, a successful pianist, is intent on killing herself, though she seems to have everything her younger sister, Yoli, lacks: professional acclaim, financial security, a devoted partner. Determined to protect her sister, Yoli is, as Curtis Sittenfeld wrote in The Times, “bracingly alive” and energizes Toews’ perceptive, often bitingly funny novel.
This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein. (Simon & Schuster) In her latest book, Klein shows how climate change has been accelerated by capitalism. Her approach is hopeful, and she argues that the magnitude of the crisis also creates an opportunity to remedy many of humanity’s greatest ills: economic inequality, a floundering agricultural system and the global economy’s reliance on large, corrupt corporations.
Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta. (Back Bay/Little, Brown) Jace, 14 years old and the sole witness to a grisly murder by two creative and sadistic killers, becomes their next target.
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