Book reviews: Fiction, nonfiction, memoirs, graphic novels and more

Browse our critics' book reviews of literature from established and up-and-coming poets and writers working in every genre

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The Stand Bookstore Photograph: Nadia Chaudhury

Even rabid readers need a little direction sometimes, and Time Out is happy to help with as many book reviews of intriguing, notable fiction and nonfiction as we can muster. Peruse our library for Time Out New York critics' takes on the good and bad in novels, short stories, poetry, graphic works and more.

2014 book reviews

Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle

  • Rated as: 4/5

This puzzle-like book, riddled with pulpy allusions, proves Darnielle’s narrative skill
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10:04 by Ben Lerner

  • Rated as: 5/5

One of contemporary literature’s most stylistically dexterous writers shines in this unique meta-fiction
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Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

  • Rated as: 2/5

The famed author’s latest does not live up to his earlier masterpieces Most popular Book events By Haruki Murakami
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Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique

  • Rated as: 4/5

The author offers an exemplary portrait of Caribbean life
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Cataract City by Craig Davidson

  • Rated as: 4/5

A worthwhile, sharply detailed novel—but not for the faint of heart
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Nobody Is Ever Missing by Catherine Lacey

  • Rated as: 5/5

A memorably wrecked character and unparalleled writing will mesmerize readers.
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Living with a Wild God by Barbara Ehrenreich

  • Rated as: 4/5

The sociologist responsible for influential journalistic tomes including Nickel and Dimed awes with a memoir guided by spiritual introspection.
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A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip by Kevin Brockmeier

  • Rated as: 4/5

In this autobiography that reads like a novel, one gawky adolescent’s prose eventually turns him into a swan By Kevin Brockmeier.
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Blood Will Out by Walter Kirn

  • Rated as: 3/5

Journalist, novelist and critic Kirn writes the straight dope about enigmatic would-be aristocrat Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter.
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Thirty Girls by Susan Minot

  • Rated as: 3/5

In a novel that contains two worlds—that of an abducted Ugandan student and that of an American journalist—one takes away from the other.
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Bark by Lorrie Moore

  • Rated as: 3/5

Humor helps to magnify the troubled characters of Moore's latest story collection, and sometimes steals the show from them.
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Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

  • Rated as: 3/5

Though the prolific Oyeyemi's prose continues to intoxicate, her modern folklore about race in 1950s New England neglects its plot.
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The UnAmericans by Molly Antopol

  • Rated as: 4/5

Religion, politics, language, art and the weight of history play into individuals’ decisions in Antopol's worthy, first collection.
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The Parallel Apartments by Bill Cotter

  • Rated as: 4/5

Strange plot points make way for truths behind confusing, human moments in Cotter's follow-up to Fever Chart.
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Call Me Burroughs by Barry Miles

  • Rated as: 4/5

A biographer renders the writer’s life, from his well-to-do upbringing to his wild days overseas and beyond, without purple prose.
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Praying Drunk by Kyle Minor

  • Rated as: 4/5

Wary of religion, former preacher Minor turns to humanity in his sophomore collection of short stories.
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Boy in the Twilight by Yu Hua

  • Rated as: 4/5

The prolific Yu's stories tease the reader to expect some epiphany, but the real payoff lies subtly within.
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On Such a Full Sea by Chang-rae Lee

  • Rated as: 4/5

This novelist, who has favored history and conflict in titles such as The Surrendered, concocts a convincing future with lessons for today.
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Leaving the Sea by Ben Marcus

  • Rated as: 4/5

From the naturalistic to the experimental, this new collection of short stories prove an enigmatic author’s ability to shape-shift.
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Silence Once Begun by Jesse Ball

  • Rated as: 4/5

Something that begins as an inventive, satisfying crime story finds itself in philosophically rich territory.
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Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh

  • Rated as: 4/5

With its snappy dialogue and knowing noir tropes, this futuristic thriller happily takes cues from detective tales past.
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A Highly Unlikely Scenario by Rachel Cantor

  • Rated as: 3/5

Though this debut only dabbles in deep thoughts, it will be a treat for those who like zippy sci-fi paced like the stories of Kurt Vonnegut.
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Inside the Dream Palace by Sherill Tippins

  • Rated as: 4/5

Swift and effective narrative makes Tippins' biography of the Chelsea Hotel, with all of its resident artists and fantastical stories, sparkle.
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