THE OPPOSITE OF LONELINESS

by Marina Keegan |

NON-FICTION

How do you mourn the loss of a fiery talent that was barely a tendril before it was snuffed out? Answer: Read this book. Keegan was a 22-year-old Yale grad who’d just been accepted as a staffer at The New Yorker when she died in a car accident in 2012; afterward her commencement essay, “The Opposite of Loneliness,” became an Internet sensation. “We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life,” begins the essay that brought so many to tears. Keegan left behind a trove of essays and stories that, while uneven, were the work of an original. A clear-eyed observer of human nature, she could take a clever idea—a neurotic older woman reads to a blind man naked, a girl reads her hook-up’s diary after he’s died—and make it something beautiful. And she could be funny: A charming profile of an exterminator is titled, simply, “I Kill For Money.” Keegan writes about sex, love and death—and really, what else is there?

—REVIEWED BY JUDITH NEWMAN

LOVE AND TREASURE

by Ayelet Waldman |

NOVEL

This ambitious novel jumps back and forth in time as it takes on the Holocaust and gathers in other themes of oppression and loss. The connecting thread is a jeweled pendant found by a soldier among goods seized from Jewish war victims. The book ends, rather puzzlingly, on a tale about suffragism in 1913 Budapest, yet the eternal human struggle for self-determination and dignity pulses throughout.

—REVIEWED BY ROBIN MICHELI

NO BOOK BUT THE WORLD

by Leah Hager Cohen |

NOVEL

In the years since their free-spirited childhood, Ava and her younger brother Fred have become estranged. Then Fred is arrested for a hein- ous crime, and Ava embarks on an emotional and physical journey to understand him, their shared past and herself. In a narrative that alternates points of view—or seems to—Ava’s husband grapples with their marriage, while in his jail cell Fred relives his crime. Cohen (The Grief of Others) demonstrates a masterful talent, creating richly drawn characters and settings and supplying a satisfyingly shocking yet believ- able denouement.

—REVIEWED BY MEREDITH MARAN

MIMI MALLOY, AT LAST!

by Julia MacDonnell |

NOVEL

For decades Mimi Malloy has kept the secrets of her Boston childhood on lockdown, bulletproofing her emotions with wisecracks as she raised six kids with her condescending ex. But when a mysterious antique pendant appears in her home, Mimi’s armor begins to crack. The amulet sparks interactions with her headstrong siblings, and as truths surface about their departed sister Fagan, Mimi softens—and is gobsmacked by a last chance at love. Cathartic, suspenseful and droll, Mimi offers a hopeful take on both old age and bad blood. —Reviewed by Joanna Powell

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