Inés of My Soul , by Isabel Allende (Harper Collins) Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", June 2006)

By

FICTION

Inés of My Soul , by Isabel Allende (Harper Collins)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", June 2006)

"Allende has dramatized actual events to produce an epic about the career of this little-known but significant conquistadora that's well-grounded but doesn't linger over historical detail."

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Blue Water, by A. Manette Ansay (William Morrow)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", June 2006)

"After the death of their son, a man and woman take to sea in a sailboat, attempting to come to terms with their loss."

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Cellophane, by Marie Arana (Dial Press)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ( "Cover to Cover," July/August 2006)

"The title substance upends a Peruvian family's paper business and unlocks the secrets of its past, in this debut novel from the editor of The Washington Post Book World."

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Luck, by Joan Barfoot (Carroll & Graf)
Reviewed by Christina Schwarz ("A Close Read", May 2006)

"Barfoot's writing is exuberant."

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We are all Welcome Here, by Elizabeth Berg (Random House)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", May 2006)

"A polio-stricken woman raises her teenage daughter in mid-1960s Mississippi in this novel inspired by a true story."

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Are You There God? It's Me Margaret, by Judy Blume (Bradbury Press)
Reviewed by Caitlin Flanagan ("Are you there God? It's Me, Monica," January February 2006)

"Before the publication of this seminal work, a bookish girl interested in the emotions and practicalities surrounding menstruation would be nudged by a sympathetic teacher toward the diary of Anne Frank, which sure enough addresses the subject with candor, but the general mood of the book...did not generate much enthusiasm for the menses."

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Forever , by Judy Blume (Pocket Books)
Reviewed by Caitlin Flanagan ("Are you there God? It's Me, Monica," January February 2006)

"Not since Uncle Tom's Cabin has a single novel by an American woman prompted so many readers into such radical action....Forever is the first mainstream novel written for American teenage girls that is not only sexually explicit but also intentionally erotic, and that gives them the exact information— practical as well as emotional— to initiate a satisfying sex life."

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Talk Talk, by T.C. Boyle (Viking)
Reviewed by Scott Prater ("New Fiction", October 2006)

"Boyle is his own worst enemy. The novel is really about communication, and how difficult it is...This theme—belabored yet undeveloped—smacks of the belief that all literary fiction must first instruct, then maybe entertain...And under the made-for-TV script and lumbering prose lurks an essentially adolescent vision of male-female relations."

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Leaving Home, by Anita Brookner (Random House)
Reviewed by Anita Brookner ( "A Close Read", January/February 2006)

"Clarity is Anita Brookner's coin....[Her] measured tone, her precision, and her disregard for obvious poetic devices make her writing strikingly spare."

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Theft, by Peter Carey (Knopf)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", June 2006)

"A has-been artist is living quietly with his brother in rural Australia until a mysterious woman appears on the scene, in this novel from the two-time Booker Prize winner."

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The Slow Moon, by Elizabeth Cox (Random House)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", September 2006)

"A small Tennessee town is racked with suspicion and intrigue after the vicious beating of a teenage girl. Secrets, it is revealed, have a way of disclosing themselves against the will of their keepers."

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Becoming Strangers, by Louise Dean (Harcourt)
Reviewed by Christina Schwarz ("New Fiction", March 2006)

"All of Dean's characters...are wonderfully true to their circumstances but are also vividly and consistently themselves—not 'types'."

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Julius Winsome, by Gerard Donovan (Overlook)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", December 2006)

"At once elegantly written and gripping, Donovan's third novel—in which a book-centric, reclusive, and disturbingly sympathetic man exacts revenge after his dog is deliberately shot by a hunter—juxtaposes an understated tone and the unforgiving, inhuman landscape of northern Maine with extremes of human emotion and action."

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The Driftless Area, by Tom Drury (The Atlantic Monthly)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ( "Cover to Cover," July/August 2006)

"A young ne'er-do-well gets caught up in a heist in a sleepy Midwestern town."

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The Keep, by Jennifer Egan (Knopf)
Reviewed by Joseph O'Neill ("New Fiction", October 2006)

"Egan, in clear and often witty prose, spins a tale of old-fashioned grip that argues for the liberating effects of fantasy and, not unrelatedly, for the enduring significance of the shudder."

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Every Eye, by Isobel English (Black Sparrow)
Reviewed by Joseph O'Neill ("New Fiction", October 2006)

"This brief, emotionally restrained novel, released in Britain in 1956 but only now being published in the United States, is one of just three written by English, whose talents Muriel Spark and John Betjeman enormously admired... English's writing is both dead-on and gorgeous."

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The Aeneid, translated by Robert Fagles (Viking)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healey and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", November 2006)

"A triumph, and the Aeneid for our age, if not necessarily for the ages."

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Paint It Black, by Janet Fitch (Little, Brown)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healey and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", October 2006)

"A second lushly written, dramatically plotted novel by the author of White Oleander. Once again, the relationship between a powerful older woman and a less-sure younger one drives the story, and Fitch's Los Angeles is so real it breathes."

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The Lay of the Land, by Richard Ford (Knopf)
Reviewed by Joseph O'Neill ("Out of Character", December 2006)

"The Lay of the Land is the third Frank Bascombe narration—Frank being the dreamy, sadly self-monitoring sportswriter of The Sportswriter, and thereafter the less dreamy but still sadly self-monitoring real-estate broker of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Independence Day."

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Thirteen Moons, by Charles Frazier (Random House)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healey and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", November 2006)

"Frazier has produced another epic historical novel...chockablock with vivid period detail, but annoying in its anachronistic, smug, predictably progressive attitudes."

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The Whole World Over, by Julia Glass (Pantheon)
Reviewed by Elizabeth Judd (" New Fiction", May 2006)

"Julia Glass's winning second novel serves as a spirited, 500-page refutation of minimalism."

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A Spot of Bother, by Mark Haddon (Doubleday)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healey and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", October 2006)

"Haddon's first novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, was acclaimed for its remarkable point of view: that of an autistic boy. Here, too, the story depends upon Haddon's empathic assumption of his characters' perspectives. And it's awfully funny, besides."

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When Madeline Was Young, by Jane Hamilton (Doubleday)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healey and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", October 2006)

"The family she probes with her gentle yet insistent touch includes a first wife who, after suffering brain damage in a bicycle accident, becomes essentially a third child who will never grow up. A lesser writer might be tempted to milk the situation for sensationalism, but Hamilton understands that an accident is usually just an accident, and that real people are both adaptable and complex."

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Nature Girl , by Carl Hiaasen (Knopf)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", December 2006)

"Hiaasen drags us through the Thousand Islands with a relentlessly dysfunctional and immensely entertaining cast of characters. There's half-Seminole Sammy Tigertail, to whom bad things keep happening and who just wants to be left alone. There's the engagingly manic-depressive Honey Santana and her long-suffering twelve-year-old son, Fry. There's Honey's ex-husband, who still loves her against his better judgment. And then there are the villains, who all get what they deserve (and then some). This is a fun, fun ride."

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This Book Will Save Your Life, by A. M. Homes (Viking)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", May 2006)

"Biology and geology conspire to jolt a day trader out of his midlife torpor."

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The Possibility of an Island, by Michel Houellebecq (Knopf)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", June 2006)

"A comedian falls in with a techno-cult, leaving his successive clones to reap the dystopian rewards, in this novel from the author of The Elementary Particles."

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What Caroline Knew, by Caryn James (St. Martin's)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover-to-Cover", April 2006)

"A bohemian socialite is shaken by scandal after an erotic portrait of her is unveiled at an exhibition."

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Fear of Flying, by Erica Jong (Signet)
Reviewed by Cristina Nehring ("Zip it", September 2006)

"Raises arrestingly honest questions about desire and commitment, fantasy and fidelity. It is this honesty, along with the protagonist's boisterous energy and foul-mouthed wit, that once made the book remarkable."

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Lisey's Story, by Stephen King (Scribner)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healey and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", November 2006)

"As much about the facets of longtime marriage as it is about the characters themselves, Lisey's Story offers a poignant glimpse at abiding love and the tides of grief, and the internal language of relationships of all kinds."

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Daniel Isn't Talking, by Marti Leimbach (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover-to-Cover", April 2006)

"A young mother attempts to treat her child's autism in this novel based loosely on the author's personal experience."

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My Latest Grievance, by Elinor Lipman (Houghton Mifflin)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", May 2006)

"A teenager growing up on the campus of a women's college in the 1970s has her life complicated when her father's heretofore unrevealed ex-wife moves to town."

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The Road, by Cormac McCarthy (Knopf)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healey and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", November 2006)

"A terrifying and moving story of mankind's baseness and nobility, rendered in the self-conscious, affected prose that has consistently wowed the critics."

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After This, by Alice McDermott (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Reviewed by Joseph O'Neill ("New Fiction", October 2006)

"The novel embodies the tension between the climactic expectations we bring to books (and, indeed, to our lives) and truth's anticlimactic tug. Characters brighten into glowing complexity and then, trampled by the 'march of time,' are all but extinguished in a terrifyingly casual flash forwards...This is all a measure of McDermott's difficulty, and melancholic strength, as a writer."

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Telegraph Days, by Larry McMurtry (Simon & Schuster)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", June 2006)

"A young woman and her sheriff brother make their way through the twilight of the Old West."

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L'America, by Martha McPhee (Harcourt)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", May 2006)

"An American woman and an Italian man begin a love affair in the Greek islands, and subsequently face geopolitical crises great and small."

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The Emperor's Children, by Claire Messud (Knopf)
Reviewed by Elizabeth Judd ("New Fiction", September 2006)

"The brinkmanship makes for an excellent read, but some of the pretentious declarations grow tiresome... And Messud misguidedly concludes with the obligatory 9/11 denouement, which compels her Manhattanites to shelve their vainglorious projects and engage in collective hand-wringing."

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Black Swan Green, by David Mitchell (Random House)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", May 2006)

"A new novel from the author of Cloud Atlas recreates the year 1982 through the eyes of a thirteen-year-old boy in rural England."

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Breakable You, by Brian Morton (Harcourt)
Reviewed by Christina Schwarz ("A Close Read", October 2006)

"Morton...recognizes that meaning is expressed mostly through subtleties—choice of words, tone of voice, posture...Morton is especially skilled with subtle humor."

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The Last Town on Earth, by Thomas Mullen (Random House)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", September 2006)

"In 1918, a small Washington logging town quarantines itself against the influenza outbreak raging outside...Haunted by a distant war and an acute fear of outsiders, the plot is clearly meant to echo the present."

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The Light of Evening, by Edna O'Brien (Houghton Mifflin)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", December 2006)

"With her lush prose, the prolific O'Brien sensually evokes the early-twentieth- century Irish experience... Despite love affairs and marriages, it's the expectations and disappointments between mothers and daughters that form the heart of this book."

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Rise and Shine, by Anna Quindlen (Random House)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", September 2006)

"Two sisters—one an unassuming social worker, the other a high-powered morning-show anchor—have their daily routines upended after the latter accidentally works blue on the air."

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Everyman, by Philip Roth (Houghton Mifflin)
Reviewed by Joseph O'Neill (" New Fiction", May 2006)

"Everyman is...that rarest of literary achievements: a novel that disappears as it progresses, leaving in one's hands only the matters of life and death it describes."

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Man of My Dreams, by Curtis Sittenfeld (Random House)
Reviewed by Elizabeth Judd ("A Find and Flops", June 2006)

"Sittenfeld ... has produced another striking coming-of-age tale featuring a misfit with an unsettlingly intense personality."

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The Accidental, by Ali Smith (Pantheon)
Reviewed by Joseph O'Neill ("New Fiction," January/February 2006)

"In a narrative that alternates between the characters' viewpoints...Smith maintains a playful, poetic idiom of startling and clarifying emotional power... It's an enormous technical accomplishment that reminds us of the difference between linguistic hocus-pocus and real writing; more important, it casts a spell."

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The Right Attitude to Rain, by Alexander McCall Smith (Pantheon)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healey and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", November 2006)

"McCall Smith presents the third installment in a series about another headstrong heroine, Isabel Dalhousie. Together with her housekeeper, Grace, Isabel is always searching for the answers to local mysteries—and in this book, she finds not only answers but love, as well."

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Abide With me, by Elizabeth Strout (Random House)
Reviewed by Joseph O'Neill ("New Fiction", April 2006)

"This lovely second novel confirms Strout as the possessor of an irresistibly companionable, peculiarly American voice: folksy, poetic, but always as precise as a shadow on a brilliant winter day."

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The Rules of Perspective, by Adam Thorpe (Holt)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover-to-Cover", April 2006)

"In this novel set in the waning months of World War II, the narration shifts between a German curator and an American GI who discovers a masterpiece in the rubble of a bombed-out museum."

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The Return of the Player, by Michael Tolkin (Grove)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", September 2006)

"The continuing adventures of Griffin Mill, murderous protagonist of The Player, here concerned mainly with midlife career change, private-school admissions, and an exhausting love triangle."

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Second Honeymoon, by Joanna Trollope (Bloomsbury)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover-to-Cover", April 2006)

"A middle-aged Englishwoman adjusting to empty-nest status faces the return of her adult children, pre-empting the activities suggested by the title."

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Digging to America, by Anne Tyler (Knopf)
Reviewed by Elizabeth Judd ( "New Fiction", July/August 2006)

"Digging to America succeeds on many levels— as a satire of millennial parenting, a tribute to autumn romances, and most important, an exploration of our risible (though poignant) attempts to welcome otherness into our midst."

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Terrorist, by John Updike (Knopf)
Reviewed by Christopher Hitchens ("No Way" June 2006)

"Taking time to let his manly reflections mature and ripen in the cask, Updike has now given us Terrorist, another vantage point from which to view Manhattan from across the water."

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The Elements of Style, by Wendy Wasserstein (Knopf)
Reviewed by Elizabeth Judd ("New Fiction", April 2006)

"The Pulitzer Prize-winning Wasserstein...has written a play in novel's clothing, concocted from biting dialogue, endless costume changes, sight gags that probably would work better on stage, and the killing off of unwanted characters with Shakespearean dispatch."

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The Night Watch, by Sarah Waters (Riverhead)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover-to-Cover", April 2006)

"Four Londoners navigate their war-torn city in a novel narrated backward from 1947 to 1941."

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The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs, by Irvine Welsh (Norton)
Reviewed by Benjamin Healy and Benjamin Schwarz ("Cover to Cover", September 2006)

"The new novel from the man behind Trainspotting finds a debased Edinburgh restaurant inspector searching for his long-lost father and engaged in mortal combat with a workplace rival."

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I am Charlotte Simmons , by Tom Wolfe (Picador)
Reviewed by Mark Bowden ("Cry Wolfe", April 2006)

"The book is brilliant, wicked, true, and, like everything Wolfe writes, thematically coherent, cunningly well plotted, and delightfully told."

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2006/11/in-s-of-my-soul-by-isabel-allende-harper-collins-reviewed-by-benjamin-healy-and-benjamin-schwarz-cover-to-cover-june-2006/305342/