Hector Tobar'sThe Barbarian Nurseries tells the story of 21st century America by sharing the story of the Americans living within it. It is a story about the issue of immigration in that it is the story of an immigrant housekeeper named Araceli and the 3 generations old immigrant Torres family she is working for. It's a story about a nation divided because the individuals within it refuse to know another's story. Tobar's storytelling is as expansive as that of Tom Wolfe and his prose is as particular as Richard Russo's; providing readers with a tale both as broad as America and as layered as those living within it.
All of Jeffrey Eugenides' novels have a specific sort of intimacy; stories of the shared secrets and passions, triumphs and failures that make up relationships. His most recent work, The Marriage Plot, is no exception. Set on the east coast in the 80's, it focuses on recent college graduate Madeline Hanna and the two men who love her, Leonard Morten and Mitchell Grammaticus. Each of the three characters is coming to terms with adult life and the struggles it brings; financial, emotional, and relational. Though the characters are warmer and more likeable, The Marriage Plot is reminiscent of Jonathan Franzen's Freedom; a story about our connections and commitments and the sacrifices they call us to make.
You know that zombies are all the rage when they make their way even into classics such as Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice. Unfortunately, that may also be a sign that they are completely played out. The Walking Dead was epic, World War Z was imaginative, and The Zombie Survival Guide was at once hilarious and brilliant, but then zombies just got -dare I say it?- boring. Leave it to Colson Whitehead to make zombies interesting again. Marc Spitz is a member of a civilian clean-up crew in Whitehead's most recent novel, Zone One. In the wake of a zombie apocalypse, the island of Manhattan is being cleaned free of zombies, in order to be repopulated by survivors. Spitz is just trying to do his job and deal with his PASD (post apocalypse stress disorder) and then everything starts to go...wrong. Whitehead's wry wit is exactly what the zombie apocalypse needed and Zone One ranks among his best work.