John G. Matthews

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A Traveler at the Gates of Wisdom

Boyne’s (A Ladder to the Sky) latest novel ingeniously interrogates the historical and cultural roots of our present age

Leonard and Hungry Paul

Dublin-based songwriter Hession has written a tender and hilarious debut. The title characters are unforgettable, and their shared amazement of the world is a gift to readers. Essential reading, especially in these times.


Doyle’s latest novel (after Smile) brilliantly highlights his ear for speech, especially the recursive fluency of inebriation. Narrated by Davy, this novel is a tough and tender celebration of the complexities of authentic friendship, as well as the ephemeral nature of memory. [See Prepub Alert, 12/2/19.]


Strange Hotel

Thematically and stylistically, McBride’s third novel boldly departs from previous work, especially her stunning debut, A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing. McBride narrates this story of a mature woman in a considered, crafted voice that suggests language can be both subterfuge and cover. [See Prepub Alert, 11/4/19.]


Enright’s sixth novel (The Gathering) presents a subtle, nuanced portrait of a complicated relationship. Norah’s voice is credibly pitched to transmit yearning, resignation, and understanding in varying intensities, always amplifying her compassion for Katherine and the people pulled into her orbit.


Organized into 1,001 sections, this novel from McCann (Let the Great World Spin) beautifully re-creates Rami and Bassam’s real-life relationship while offering a sweeping range of counterbalancing narratives, ultimately conveying the profound essentiality of their friendship. An important book; McCann’s considerable creative powers astound. [See Prepub Alert, 7/21/19.]

Follow Me to Ground

In this exhilaratingly original work, lyrical prose gives voice to the strange and alluring Ada, whose spellbinding account alternates with the Cures’ testimonials. Seductive and finally horrific; highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 7/15/19.]


Confidently told, this second long-form work from Doyle (after Here Are the Young Men) alternates 11 vignettes with letters to an anonymous correspondent as the masterly narrative pacing brilliantly counterbalances lurid episodes and sometimes terror with devastating wit and epiphany. As ever, Doyle’s prose is compulsively readable, and his insights always credible and occasionally astonishing.


This latest from PEN/Nabokov Award winner O’Brien (The Little Red Chairs) bears witness to and powerfully indicts the atrocities experienced by women. The extremities of Maryam’s experience, suggests O’Brien, are particularly horrific instances of the sexism, chauvinism, and cruelty that circumscribe the existence of all women, and to be a girl in the world is to experience these sinister forces over the course of a lifetime. Tough but rewarding reading.

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