Gone Girl

by Gillian Flynn |

REVIEWED BY HELEN ROGAN

NOVEL

Life seems full of promise for Amy and Nick Dunne, a golden New York City couple, until they unexpectedly find themselves out of work and out of money. With nothing to hold them in the city and a family illness needing attention, they return to the grim Missouri river town where Nick grew up-and there, on the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy disappears under circumstances that cast her husband in a very bad light. Flynn (Sharp Objects) uses the couple’s voices to deconstruct a troubled marriage and weave a suspenseful, Rashomon-like plot. A passage from Amy’s diary reads, “I get frightened now, sometimes, when my husband gets home.” Nick muses as the police question him, “Why can’t they just say it: We suspect you because you are the husband, and it’s always the husband. Just watch Dateline.” Burrowing deep into the murkiest corners of the human psyche, this delectable summer read will give you the creeps and keep you on edge until the last page.

The Lower River

by Paul Theroux |

REVIEWED BY RICHARD EISENBERG

NOVEL

Depressed by his “life sentence” running the family store, middle-aged Ellis Hock decides to revisit the Malawi village where he spent his happiest years. But nostalgia meets reality when he finds the school he built with the Peace Corps in tatters, AIDS running rampant and a corrupt dictator aiming to hold him hostage. Desperate in a land of despair, Hock tries to escape down the river, battling malaria and jeering orphans straight out of Lord of the Flies. Theroux, a Peace Corps alum himself, has written a piercing commentary on sanctimonious aid workers (and nations) who make small gestures to the needy and then abandon them.

I Hate Everyone … Starting with Me

by Joan Rivers |

REVIEWED BY JUDITH NEWMAN

MEMOIR

Nobody, but nobody, can hate like Joan Rivers. It is a gift. It is also shocking, the things she makes us laugh at in this collection of shtick-slash-essays-everything from “baby hoarders” (people with more than 3 children) to old people (the sounds they make with their mouths!), the overweight, the infirm, every race, every religion and Mickey Rooney (don’t ask). One thing she loves is gay parents, but she can’t resist adding, “Just once I would like to see a Chinese couple adopt a gay baby.” Joan Rivers is extraordinary, but she’s not for the easily offended-or for anyone who gets offended at all.

Calling Invisible Women

by Jeanne Ray |

REVIEWED BY MEREDITH MARAN

NOVEL

“I had disappeared and my husband had failed to notice.” So declares Clover, the middle-aged, married mother of two who narrates Ray’s fifth novel. Having put her career on hold to raise her kids and service her marriage to pediatrician Arthur, Clover is mortified by her sudden invisibility-until she puts it to good use. Witty and thought-provoking, Invisible Women will call out to any female who’s ever been made to feel invisible by virtue of her age, her gender, or both.

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