Hannah's new novel is an homage to the extraordinary courage and endurance of Frenchwomen during World War II. … Hannah vividly demonstrates how the Nazis, through starvation, intimidation and barbarity both casual and calculated, demoralized the French, engineering a community collapse that enabled the deportations and deaths of more than 70,000 Jews. Hannah's proven storytelling skills are ideally suited to depicting such cataclysmic events, but her tendency to sentimentalize undermines the gravitas of this tale.Still, a respectful and absorbing page-turner.
H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
If birds are made of air, as the nature writer Sy Montgomery says, then writing a great bird book is a little like dusting for the fingerprints of a ghost. It calls for poetry and science, conjuring and evidence. In her breathtaking new book, H Is for Hawk…Helen Macdonald renders an indelible impression of a raptor's fierce essence—and her own—with words that mimic feathers, so impossibly pretty we don't notice their astonishing engineering…Although "animal as emotional healer" is a familiar motif, Macdonald's journey clears its own path—messy, muddy and raw.
The Whites by Richard Price writing as Harry Brandt
…as much an entertaining story as it is an examination of the job of policing…The novel posits a simple axiom: Those who go into darkness as a matter of course and duty bring some measure of darkness back into themselves. How to keep it from spreading like a cancer, eating at your humanity, is the police officer's eternal struggle. It's this struggle that [Price] places at the heart of his storytelling. Another great so-called crime novelist, Joseph Wambaugh, has said that the best crime novels aren't about how cops work cases, they're about how cases work cops. This holds true, with fervor, in The Whites…The routine of police procedure…is just right, depicted in its perfect shopworn way. And the dialogue…reaches the high-water mark of previous Richard Price novels…The Whites is a work of reportage as much as it is a work of fiction…It tells it like it is. It provides insight and knowledge, both rare qualities in the killing fields of the crime novel. It's a book that makes you feel that Price has circled the murders at this detective's side and in the process really gotten to know a city.