WNC Book ReviewEdition

Two New Books From Australia, Unconstrained by Literary Convention

“Border Districts” and “Stream System,” by Gerald Murnane, reflect the author’s forays into the inner reaches of his own mind. ...

A Hard Childhood Compressed Into Poetry, With Concision and Heat

In his collection “Not Here,” the poet Hieu Minh Nguyen makes art from his memories of racism and abuse. ...

Curious About Your Ancestry? Submit a DNA Swab, and a Big Grain of Salt

In her book “Futureface,” Alex Wagner takes a skeptical look at companies that research our genetics only to hedge their bets in the fine print. ...

Was Autism a Nazi Invention?

In “Asperger’s Children,” Edith Sheffer explores the roots of autism, first diagnosed in Nazi Germany as the regime engaged in a program of child euthanasia. ...

A History of the Energy We Have Consumed

In his new book, Richard Rhodes makes his way through four centuries of energy use, from oil to nuclear, and how each innovation has changed the world. ...

Pedaling Uphill, on a Bike and in a Marriage

In Joe Mungo Reed’s debut novel, “We Begin Our Ascent,” a cyclist competing in the Tour de France gets wrapped up in the complicated costs of possible victory. ...

Pithy And Pointed ‘There There’ Puts Native American Voices Front And Center

Cover photo of There There, by Tommy Orange Critic Maureen Corrigan says Tommy Orange’s novel, which centers on a cast of native and mixed-race characters whose lives intersect at a powwow, features “a literary authority rare in a debut.” (Image credit: Samantha Clark/NPR) ...

Harper Lee and Her Father, the Real Atticus Finch

Joseph Crespino’s “biography” of the virtuous lawyer in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and the real man he was modeled after, brings to life the inconsistencies of the South. ...

An Exhaustive Analysis of Harper Lee’s Enduring Legacy in America

Tom Santopietro’s “Why ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Matters” is painstakingly researched, if substantively and structurally flawed. ...

Have We Reached Peak Funny?

Buk buk. Rubber chicken keeled over on its side. In his new book Planet Funny: How Comedy Took Over Our Culture, Ken Jennings takes humor seriously, tracing how comedy infiltrated every aspect of our lives — and what it’s doing to us. (Image credit: nano/Getty Images) ...

‘Where The Nightmares Go’ Maps The Territory Of Fear

"We Are Where the Nightmares Go" by C. Robert Cargill C. Robert Cargill’s new story collection covers the globe and genres of horror from classic to modern, with ghost stories, thrillers, gore and puzzles that would be right at home on premium cable. (Image credit: Harper Voyager) ...

‘The Secret Life of Cows’ Aims To Show Animals As Thinking, Feeling Beings

Farmer Rosamund Young’s book will charm people who want to lap up more evidence that animals have personalities, but may not warm hearts of animal lovers who don’t eat meat. ...

In June, Make Your Escape With These 3 Hot Reads

Making Up, by Lucy Parker Summer’s getting hotter, so here are three romances guaranteed to raise your temperature and take you on an adventure, from London’s West End to Barcelona to a Harvard University classroom. (Image credit: ) ...

In ‘Fight No More,’ Life Rushes By, But Sometime’s There’s Beauty

Fight No More, by Lydia Millet Lydia Millet’s latest is a novel about death, disguised as a short story collection about real estate, alternately wrenching and hilarious, and full of joys on every scale. (Image credit: ) ...

Twins, Foils, Frauds: A Posthumous Novel on the Puzzle of Free Will

In “The Solitary Twin,” by Harry Mathews, fractured identities come together in small, miraculous revelations that never feel contrived at all. ...

In This Novel, a First-Grader Survives a School Shooting. His Older Brother Does Not.

The 6-year-old narrator of Rhiannon Navin’s debut, “Only Child,” tries to decipher the grief that transforms his parents. ...

A Writer Recalls Her Schoolgirl Crush on a Deranged Tennis Coach

In “You All Grow Up and Leave Me,” Piper Weiss remembers an infamous attack in the 1990s, and the man who was allowed to get alarmingly close to the female students who idolized him. ...

Terrorists Killed 12 Nepalese Men. Was an American Military Contractor to Blame?

In “The Girl From Kathmandu,” Cam Simpson investigates the deaths of a dozen laborers en route to an American military base where they had never intended to go. ...

Why Trump Voters Supported Trump

“The Great Revolt,” by Salena Zito and Brad Todd, allows Trump backers to speak in their own voices. ...

You Say ‘To-may-to,’ I Say ‘To-mah-to’

Lynne Murphy’s “The Prodigal Tongue: The Love-Hate Relationship Between American and British English” depicts nations divided by a common language. ...