Starred Review

Mercury Pictures Presents

by Anthony Marra

Mercury Pictures Presents is the outstanding third work of fiction from Anthony Marra (A Constellation of Vital Phenomena; The Tsar of Love & Techno). Although Marra may have panned away from the distressed Chechen settings of his first two books, instead choosing to focus on grandiose Hollywood backdrops for this novel, the treacheries of war and propaganda continue to emerge as a profound theme in his work.

Maria Lagana is an Italian émigré who works for Mercury Pictures, a B-grade

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The Last White Man

by Mohsin Hamid

It happens to a lot of authors: sooner or later, they try Kafka on for size, as Mohsin Hamid has done (sort of) in The Last White Man. The opening is--it's impossible to avoid the word--Kafkaesque: "One morning Anders, a white man, woke up to find he had turned a deep and undeniable brown." Yet Anders, a trainer at an essentially all-white gym, isn't the only person in the unnamed town whose skin suddenly darkens. His transformation affects not only himself but also other white people in his life, including

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To Change a Planet

by Christina Soontornvat, illus. by Rahele Jomepour Bell

"One person seems small, quiet, and insignificant," but two-time Newbery Honoree Christina Soontornvat (The Last Mapmaker; All Thirteen) gracefully illuminates how "when one person, and one person... become many" they "can change a planet." Soontornvat's sparse text packs a powerful punch and allows Rahele Jomepour Bell (Our Favorite Day of the Year) the space to construct sublime illustrations that deliver an equally effective blow. Author and illustrator tag team on their collaboration--in much the same

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Only the Cat Knows

by Ruyan Meng

Through the first half of her spare, intricate novella Only the Cat Knows--recipient of the 2020 Red Hen Press Novella Award--Ruyan Meng brilliantly builds a mounting sense of claustrophobia. A factory worker labors hard every day but is unable to sustain his family. His wife can't work because their two younger children are seriously ill; meanwhile, their older daughter seethes with resentment. He already owes his younger sister more than he can repay, a fact she uses to berate him even as she relies on him

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The Witchery

by S. Isabelle

The Witchery is a delightfully dark take on magic and boarding school tropes, wherein a coven of student witches feels compelled to end a bloody, annually recurring curse that's destroying their adopted hometown.

Sixteen-year-old blonde and "pale"-skinned Logan Wyatt is still new to Mesmortes Coven Academy in the "fiendish little witchtown" of Haelsford, Fla., when the Red Three invite her to join their circle. "Sociable and ambitious" Jailah Simmons, greenwitch Thalia Blackwood and deathwitch Iris Keaton-Foster

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Shelf Discovery

The Wild Hunt

by Emma Seckel

On a remote Scottish island, villagers battle the sluagh--crows said to host the souls of the dead--and the aftermath of World War II, and one young woman reckons with the ghosts of her own past.

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A Tidy Ending

by Joanna Cannon

Questions build in this suspenseful novel as an unreliable narrator describes a series of murders in her Scottish village.

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A Simple Choice

by David Pepper

What is best for humanity becomes skewered by backstabbing and questionable morality in this brilliantly written thriller.

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Mika in Real Life

by Emiko Jean

Emiko Jean makes her adult fiction debut with a captivating novel about mothers and daughters--and the ties that bind but sometimes break.

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Beating Heart Baby

by Lio Min

Two tween soulmates on screen are serendipitously--albeit unknowingly--reunited as real-life teens in Lio Min's lyrical debut about music, art and chosen family.

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As the Wicked Watch

by Tamron Hall

In this well-paced and tightly plotted mystery, a broadcast journalist probes questions of race and representation following the murder of a teenage Black girl.

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The Therapist

by B.A. Paris

In this engrossing psychological thriller, an anxiety-ridden woman tries to find out what happened to the woman murdered in the home she and her boyfriend bought.

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Out of Mesopotamia

by Salar Abdoh

Out of Mesopotamia defies all formulaic constructions, offering an unconventional and unblinking look at the realities of war and the impossibility of ever leaving war behind.

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The Book Eaters

by Sunyi Dean

The Book Eaters wields a vividly imagined society of ancient, book-consuming creatures to contemplate the importance of narrative in finding one's own identity.

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Basic Books: What We Owe the Future by William MacAskill

Media Heat

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Fresh Air: Dana Milbank, author of The Destructionists: The Twenty-Five Year Crack-Up of the Republican Party (Doubleday, $30, 9780385548137).
CBS Mornings: Sen. Tim Scott, author of America, a Redemption Story: Choosing Hope, Creating Unity (Thomas Nelson, $28.99, 9781400236497).

Good Morning America: Jennette McCurdy, author of I'm Glad My Mom Died (Simon & Schuster, $27.99, 9781982185824).

Monday, August 8, 2022

Good Morning America: Emiko Jean, author of Mika in Real Life: A Novel (Morrow, $27.99, 9780063215689).

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Fresh Air: Will Bunch, author of After the Ivory Tower Falls: How College Broke the American Dream and Blew Up Our Politics--and How to Fix It (Morrow, $28.99, 9780063076990).
Good Morning America: Bola Sokunbi, author of Choosing to Prosper: Triumphing Over Adversity, Breaking Out of Comfort Zones, Achieving Your Life and Money Dreams (Wiley, $26.95, 9781119827368).

CBS Mornings: Michelle Tea, author of Knocking Myself Up: A Memoir of My (In)Fertility (Dey Street, $27.99, 9780063210622).

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Fresh Air: Scott Higham, co-author of American Cartel: Inside the Battle to Bring Down the Opioid Industry (Twelve, $30, 9781538737200).
Good Morning America: Marianne Wiggins, author of Properties of Thirst (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781416571261).

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Laurie Gelman, author of Smells Like Tween Spirit: A Novel (Holt, $26.99, 9781250777591).
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