Lisa Rohrbaugh

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Aria

Exploring motherhood and personal relationships as well as the chaotic upheavals in revolutionary Tehran, this debut offers a powerful lead character in Aria. But its minor characters are just as memorable, with the narrative revealing how their circumstances have shaped their personalities. Highly recommended, especially for book groups.

Nightshade

McAfee delivers a spellbinding tale exploring the price artists, and especially female artists, must pay to achieve their ambitions, with issues of sexual politics, marriage, and children folded into the mix. Highly recommended and an exceptional choice for discussion groups.

Bottled Goods

Drawing on Romanian folklore and a few touches of magic realism, this novella-in-flash-fiction by the Romanian-born van Llewyn is a wonder. Long-listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

The Bad Muslim Discount

A born storyteller, Masood has crafted a fast-paced page-turner with plenty of insightful commentary on religion, family, love, and national politics in this debut novel that is expertly written and a joy to read; highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 5/6/20.]

Zero Zone

After finishing this cinematic novel, some readers will be compelled to start again at page one to discover how O’Connor (A Perfect Universe) pieces together his suspenseful, incredibly well-written narrative and to contemplate the artworks described.

The Frightened Ones

Issues of safety, security, and a sense of belonging, as well as thoughts on dreams, life, love, family and death, are all integral to this complex, multifaceted work. Flawlessly written and translated, it is highly recommended and would be useful in many discussion groups. [See Prepub Alert, 2/4/20.]

An Inventory of Losses

In her quest to find meaning for herself, Schalansky examines life and death in a work that will inspire many hours of talk for book discussion groups. Not to be read quickly but savored and contemplated.

River

Eloquent and polished, with characters who breathe and speak as if they are in the same room as the reader, this fourth novel by Nayman (A Mind of Winter) would be a valuable choice for teen Jewish studies as well as for YA and adult book discussion groups. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 10/7/19.]

The Thirty Names of Night

Joukhadar conveys the protagonist’s gender confusion with such a sense of turmoil and angst that the reader can also become a bit confused, but overall this is a brilliant novel from the author of the celebrated The Map of Salt and Stars. [See Prepub Alert, 11/4/19.]
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