This Week's Top Picks

  • The Deepest South of All jacket
  • Piranesi jacket
  • The Bell in the Lake jacket
  • Leave the World Behind jacket
  • The Thursday Murder Club jacket
  • The Dazzling Truth jacket

Review

The Deepest South of All

Author Richard Grant frequently uses his wanderlust to explore diverse stories that create a complex sense of place. Certainly Natchez, Mississippi proves worthy of close examination given its grim legacy of slavery on its once expansive cotton plantations. In The Deepest South of All, Grant reveals...

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Beyond the Book

The Parchman Ordeal

Richard Grant's The Deepest South of All examines the aftermath of slavery in the Deep South through the lens of Natchez, Mississippi. One clear inference that can be made from his Natchezian narratives is that the past must be confronted before it can lay dormant in its grave. Unfortunately, ...

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Review

Piranesi

Our First Impressions readers were delighted with this speculative novel by Susanna Clarke, her first since the bestselling Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell in 2004.

What it's about:

Piranesi lives in a world enclosed by walls confining an ocean, a vast labyrinthine structure that he calls ...

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Beyond the Book

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778)

In Susannah Clarke's novel Piranesi, the titular character lives in a fantastical, labyrinthine home filled with endless hallways, rooms, statues and even an ocean. It's a remarkably inventive setting, and, as our savvy First Impressions reader Lorraine D. noticed, the protagonist's name is a ...

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Review

The Bell in the Lake

A legend from Lars Mytting's Norwegian hometown tells of two centuries-old church bells that, like conjoined twins, were never meant to be separated. Inspired by that story and by the real-life move of a stave church from Norway to what is now Poland (see Beyond the Book), he embarked on a set of ...

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Beyond the Book

Stave Churches

It's no secret that Lars Mytting loves trees. He wrote a novel titled The Sixteen Trees of the Somme (2017), and is known for his international bestseller Norwegian Wood (2015), a nonfiction guide to sources of firewood that gives instructions on how to chop, stack and cure wood for burning. ...

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Review

Leave the World Behind

Amanda, Clay and their two teenage children have rented a remote vacation home in Long Island to escape the stresses of daily life. In the dead of night, the spell is broken by a knock at the door. It heralds the arrival of Ruth and G.H., an older Black couple who claim to own the property. They ...

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Beyond the Book

When Dystopia Meets Mystery

With his novel Leave the World Behind, Rumaan Alam explores how a group of isolated strangers react to an unspecified threat that is sweeping across New York. By hinting at the disaster's cause and effect, but depriving both his characters and his readers of concrete answers, he is able to tap into ...

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Review

The Thursday Murder Club

They say life begins at 40, but after reading The Thursday Murder Club, I'd say there's a strong argument that life actually begins after 65. Richard Osman's debut mystery novel centers around an upscale retirement community called Coopers Chase in the English county of Kent and the members of the "...

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Beyond the Book

A Brief History of Trade Unions in the U.K.

In Richard Osman's The Thursday Murder Club, the residents of the Coopers Chase retirement community are, in some ways, very much like any other group of retirees. They fawn over their grandchildren, they gather to discuss various aches and pains, and they frequently misunderstand technology. And ...

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