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A deeply moving cri de coeur about the power of love to fight despair. "To Paradise" by Hanya Yanagihara; Doubleday (720 pages, $32.50) ——— "To Paradise," Hanya Yanagihara's ambitious follow-up to "A Little Life," a National Book Award finalist, is an epic in size and scope. The novel is divided into three books, each featuring characters with the same names living in the same house in New ...

Why, I ask myself, do I have such an absurd number of books? We had a friend over for dinner the other night. Even though we are all fully vaccinated, it felt a little risky, but this was a rare balmy winter evening so we sat on the drafty three-season porch for a while and then moved in by the fire, with a window cracked. My husband and I had done the requisite tidying up — dusting, ...

"The Unfamiliar Garden," the second novel in Benjamin Percy's speculative fiction series "Comet Cycle," begins with the mysterious disappearance of a child, Mia, in a forest outside Seattle. Right about that time, a comet shoots past Earth, emitting a strange fungus that begins to absorb plants, animals and humans. (And Mia? Maybe. But maybe not.) Percy's novel defies categorization — part ...

Jean Chen Ho's virtuosic debut collection of short stories follows relationships over three decades. "Fiona and Jane" by Jean Chen Ho; Viking (288 pages, $26) ——— Fiona and Jane, the dual protagonists of Jean Chen Ho's virtuosic debut collection of short stories, have been best friends since second grade. In alternating perspectives, the book follows the arc of their relationship over three ...

A heartfelt tale about a mother and daughter separated in parallel universes brought about by the power of language. "Present Tense Machine" by Gunnhild Øyehaug, translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson; Farrar, Straus & Giroux (176 pages, $25) ——— On May 30, 2020, German pianist Igor Levit sat down in an empty studio to play Erik Satie's "Vexations," a marathon work comprising 840 ...

Deceptively simple stories by a master of the form perfectly capture moments of reckoning and reflection, in life and in art. "Blank Pages and Other Stories" by Bernard MacLaverty; W.W. Norton (272 pages, $26.95) ——— "In dreams begin responsibilities." The line, an epigraph from W.B. Yeats' 1914 book "Responsibilities," came to mind as I read the stories in "Blank Pages." Bernard MacLaverty, ...

Set in England and China, a smart, expansive novel considers the toll of extremist beliefs. "The Sisters Mao" by Gavin McCrea; Scribe (560 pages, $28) ——— "The Sisters Mao," Gavin McCrea's second novel, is a stirring, perceptive exploration of radical politics. Two of the Irish writer's protagonists, sisters Iris and Eva Thurlow, are among a small number of disaffected Londoners who live ...

And now we get to play soothsayer and peek into the future. Here are some of the titles publishing in the first quarter of the new year that we are most looking forward to reading: 'To Paradise,' by Hanya Yanagihara. (Doubleday, Jan. 11.) Her 2015 novel, "A Little Life," won the Kirkus Prize for Fiction and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the National Book Award and International ...

A reporter returns to India to write about a grisly crime. "Honor" by Thrity Umrigar; Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (326 pages, $26.95, in stores Jan. 11) ——— Thrity Umrigar's latest novel, "Honor," begins with a vacation cut short when Smita Agarwal, a foreign correspondent from Brooklyn, is forced to abandon the sunny beaches of the Maldives for an unexpected detour to bustling Mumbai. She ...

Part memoir, part history by a lawyer who fought foreclosures on family farms in the 1980s. "The Farmer's Lawyer: The North Dakota Nine and the Fight to Save the Family Farm" by Sarah Vogel; Bloomsbury Publishing (432 pages, $28) ——— Farming has never been an easy profession. The work is physically demanding and at times dangerous, commodity prices are capricious, agribusiness giants control ...

A riveting novel about the complications of racism and family. "Phenotypes" by Paulo Scott, translated from Portuguese by Daniel Hahn; And Other Stories (240 pages, $16.95) ——— "Phenotypes," Paulo Scott's second novel translated from Portuguese to English, concerns two brothers, Federico and Lourenço. Their father is Black and their mother is white. Lourenço has dark skin; Federico, who ...

Steve Paul's biography of Evan S. Connell parses a brilliant and hard-to-pin-down iconoclast. "Literary Alchemist: The Writing Life of Evan S. Connell" by Steve Paul; University of Missouri Press (416 pages, $45) ——— Best known, to the extent that he's known at all, for his linked novels "Mrs. Bridge" (1959) and "Mr. Bridge" (1969) — a pair of pointed and pointilist portraits of the ...

"Travels With George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy" by Nathaniel Philbrick; Viking (375 pages, $30) ——— There's been an impressive flurry of recent books on George Washington, volumes about him as spymaster during the Revolution, his relations with Native Americans, even a breezy biography titled "You Never Forget Your First." This book, Philbrick's third on George, is an insightful ...

"The Flowers of Evil" by Charles Baudelaire, translated from the French by Aaron Poochigian; Liveright (400 pages, $27.95) ——— If translation sounds like a dusty occupation, you don't know the fearless work of Aaron Poochigian. This onetime Minnesotan spilled blood at the Guthrie Theater in 2020 with his visceral, contemporary version of an ancient Greek classic: Euripides' "The Bacchae." Now, ...

Lydia Davis' second essay collection is an engaging and erudite exploration of the pleasure and pains of language and translation. "Essays Two" by Lydia Davis; Farrar, Straus & Giroux (571 pages, $35) ——— Lydia Davis has thrice distinguished herself in the world of American letters. First, as a fiction writer (seven collections and one novel), then as a translator (Proust's "Swann's Way," ...

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