New York Times Review
AS LONG AS WE BOTH SHALL LIVE, by JoAnn Chaney. (Flatiron, $27.99.) In this thriller with echoes of "Gone Girl," a hiker whose first wife died in a mysterious fire rushes down from a mountainside claiming that his second wife has fallen from a precipice into the river below. THE PLOTTERS, by Un-Su Kim. Translated by Sora Kim-Russell. (Doubleday, $25.95.) In a slightly akilter version of Seoul, a handsome young assassin is in danger. ZUCKED: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe, by Roger McNamee. (Penguin Press, $28.) The story of Facebook has been told many times before, but McNamee - an early investor in the company - does a superb job of contextualizing its rise within the proper technological history. And this book is not merely the cri de coeur of a forsworn tech optimist zinged by moral conscience. It's also a robust and helpful itemization of the ways Facebook could be brought to heel. ANTISEMITISM: Here and Now, by Deborah E. Lipstadt. (Schocken, $25.95.) Lipstadt seeks to awaken her audience to the nature, persistence and scale of an age-old prejudice that never seems to die, along with the insidious new ways in which it seeks to disguise itself. BREAKING NEWS: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters Now, by Alan Rusbridger. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $30.) The former editor of the British daily The Guardian recalls coping with the dramatic transformation of the newspaper business and his concerns about the present assault on truth and fact. MERCHANTS OF TRUTH: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts, by Jill Abramson. (Simon & Schuster, $30.) Abramson examines four news organizations, including The New York Times, which she led at one time as executive editor, and combines analysis with gossip to underline her commitment to journalism at a moment when its future has never looked more uncertain. THE DAKOTA WINTERS, by Tom Barbash. (Ecco/HarperCollins, $26.99.) This novel is set at the famous Dakota building in 1979 and 1980, as the young narrator tries to define himself in the shadow of a charismatic father. He has help from one of the building's most famous residents, John Lennon. WHERE REASONS END, by Yiyun Li. (Random House, $25.) Composed after the suicide of Li's teenage son, this devastating novel comprises a dialogue between a mother and her dead child: a stringent meditation on love, loss and the limitations of language. CICADA, written and illustrated by Shaun Tan. (Arthur A. Levine/ Scholastic, $19.99; ages 12 and up.) A gray-suited cicada works in an office, underpaid and insulted, until he transforms and flies away in this enigmatic, profound picture book for older readers. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web: nytimes.com/books
Publishers Weekly Review
This heart-wrenching experimental novel from Li (The Vagrants) is framed as a dialogue between a writer and Nikolai, the teenage son she lost to suicide. The novel's title comes from a poem by Elizabeth Bishop, and poetry is very much on the narrator's mind, along with Alice in Wonderland and Wallace Stevens, as the freewheeling conversation turns toward such subjects as semantics, memory, the mechanics of grief, and a love that is "made not to last." Notably absent is a full reconstruction of her son's suicide (this isn't that kind of book), though readers do get to hear the voice of Nikolai-a precocious poet, painter, and oboist. During a conversation with her son, the mother wonders, "What if we accept suffering as we do our hair or eye colors?" Like Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking or Peter Handke's A Sorrow Beyond Dreams, Li's novel tries to find a language to reckon with the unspeakable reality of death. The novel succeeds in Li's approach of skirting the subject in favor of something between the dead's nostalgia for life and regular small talk. This is a unique, poignant, and tender evocation of life as touched irrevocably by death. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.