A quiet housewife’s life descends into madness and violence following a surprise vow to never eat meat. Told from the perspective of three unsympathetic family members, this slim South Korean novel provides little hope but plenty of terrifying imagery.
All That Man Is by David Szalay
A series of nine short stories that together function as novel about men and aging, each of which finds a progressively older man struggling to define himself with varying degrees of success. The book’s revelations are quiet and small, but also raw and honest.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
A surprisingly approachable alt-history novel that re-imagines the Underground Railroad as literal railroad, complete with subterranean train stations and train conductors. Escaped slave Cora’s journey through a frightfully re-imagined America pulls from all parts of American history, past and recent, to shine an uncomfortable light on the nation’s fraught approach to race.
Brightness Falls by Jay McInerney
This sprawling novel of 1980’s materialism has a surprising amount of heart, especially considering the shallow world of its undeniably charismatic central couple, Russel and Corrine Calloway. While Russel considers starting a hostile takeover of the publishing house he currently works at, Corrine’s stockbroker connections bring the couple in contact with a sleazy corporate raider. The results endanger both their finances and their marriage.
Hampton Park Library