Jennifer B. Stidham

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Where We Come From

Cásares, a Brownsville native and University of Texas associate professor of creative writing, delivers this third book (after the story collection Brownsville and novel Amigoland), a timely and sensitive examination of U.S.–Mexico border issues as illuminated by the backstories of major and minor characters.


Tears of the Trufflepig

Austinite writer/bookseller Flores has created a nightmarish if fascinating vision of a borderland of multiple, parallel walls; designer genetic experimentation; and grisly violence—all dabbed liberally with folkloric strokes. For fans of magical realism and near-future settings, e.g., Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake, and of Hunter S. Thompson's psychedelic energy.

Sugar Land

In this engaging and authentic tale of one woman's life and loves, debut novelist Stoner follows in the bright legacy of Southern humorists such as Fannie Flagg, Rita Mae Brown, Bailey White, and Rebecca Wells.—Jennifer B. Stidham, Houston Community Coll. Northeast

The Great Believers

Makkai's sweeping fourth novel (after Music for Wartime) shows the compassion of chosen families and the tension and distance that can exist in our birth ones. This should strike a chord with the Gen Xers who came of age, and then aged, in these tumultuous years. [See Prepub Alert, 12/11/17.]

Invitation to a Bonfire

At once a taut psychological thriller and a sensitive character study; fans of each should rejoice.

The Ghost Notebooks

A well-constructed, creepy, psychological tale about a relationship that barely warrants such attention; the asides into Wright's life and work are welcome, and one wishes for more of this thread to hold it all together.

The Maze at Windermere

Award-winning novelist Smith (The Divine Comedy of John Venner) moves nimbly among his tales' various settings and diverse characters within the confines of Newport. Historical fiction buffs as well as those with romantic leanings should enjoy this intricate tale. [See Prepub Alert, 8/2/17.]


Character development and growth are not the point here, and readers may grow frustrated with the narrator's seeming lack of identity, but fans of Tuck's previous works of contemporary fiction with an urban domestic bent (I Married You for Happiness) will find this familiar and a quick, satisfying read. It lingers long after the pages are closed. [See Prepub Alert, 5/3/17.]

The Outer Cape

This is a strong first novel with satisfying characters and a fresh take on familiar themes. Group with Rick Moody's The Ice Storm and Richard Yates's Revolutionary Road for a suburban-angst triad.

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