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Contemporary Fiction | Notable Fiction and Poetry of 2002


Notable Books of 2002:

Fiction and Poetry

Selections from the New York Times Book Review

December 8, 2002


Visit the New York Times Book Review web site and read the reviews. Free registration required for first-time readers.

Adams, Alice. The Stories of Alice Adams. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3551.D324A6 2002
Also available in Harper
Fifty-three stories from four decades by a writer who died in 1999; apparently traditional in their omniscient third-person narration, they fill the space behind the scenes with imagination and implications about what people want and why it turns to ashes when they get it.

Antunes, Antsnio Lobo. The Return of the Caravels. New York: Grove Press, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PQ9263.N77N3813 2002
Portugal's history as an imperial power literally comes home in this novel of collective memory set in 1974; Vasco da Gama, Cabral and Francis Xavier are back in Lisbon, raising hell and anchoring their puny vessels alongside tankers.

Auster, Paul. The Book of Illusions. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3551.U77B66 2002
Metaphysics and mystery run free in this novel so full of levels that A narrates B narrating C narrating his own story, which is in a movie; the plot concerns a missing silent film comedian who has gone unmissing and a movie scholar who pursues him.

Babel, Isaac. The Complete works of Isaac Babel. Edited by Nathalie Babel. New York: Norton, c2002.
Regenstein Stacks PG3476.B2A23 2002
Also available in Harper
The total product of the marvelous writer who tried to create a synthesis of the Russian, the Jewish, the literary and the revolutionary, a mix that bestowed life on his fiction but could not save him from death on Stalin's orders in 1940.

Bail, Murray. Camouflage: Stories. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR9619.3.B25C36 2002
Fourteen stories by an Australian who invests his space in satire, not character; in one story people hold races on the partitions of their office cubicles, while in another a conceptual artist offers to document the existence of everyone alive.

Baker, Kevin. Paradise Alley. New York: HarperCollins, 2002.
Regenstein Library PS3552.A43143P37 2002
Also available in Harper
A scary, convincing novel steeped in historical fact and set in the New York City of July 1863, when 119 died in three days of rioting against the draft, chiefly by Irish immigrants who feared losing their jobs to the slaves they were being called on to free.

Barrett, Andrea. Servants of the Map: Stories. New York: W.W. Norton, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3552.A7327S47 2002
A collection of stories complete in themselves but linked by threads of association or neighborhood or interest or family into a kind of imaginative collaboration that covers most of the last two centuries, always inhabited by characters who share a passionate interest in figuring out how things work.

Beattie, Ann. The Doctor's House. New York: Scribner, c2002
Regenstein Stacks PS3552.E177D63 2002
Does less of minimalism mean more of something else? Beattie's novel explores at considerable length, in a prose that owes much to the language of therapy, a fraught relationship between a 40-ish woman whose husband is dead and her brother, a flagrant womanizer.

Beckman, John. The Winter Zoo. New York: Henry Holt, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3602.E33W56 2002
The hero of this first novel, a young man newly arrived in Poland from Iowa, trades his naivté for lessons in youthfulness; Beckman captures the rush of freshly liberated desires in post-Communist Europe, making his climactic scene a pansexual orgy in a Krakow hotel.

Bennett, Alan. The Laying on of Hands: Stories. London: Profile, 2001.
Regenstein Stacks PR6052.E5L259 2001
Formerly known as one-quarter of the British comedy group Beyond the Fringe, Bennett serves up a volume of just three stories, all tender, caustic gems about lonely people, most in professions at once earnest and comic (podiatrists, masseurs, vicars).

Boswell, Robert. Century's Son. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002
Regenstein Stacks PS3552.O8126C46 2002
Also available in Harper
The world rolls on in recrimination and mourning in this novel of four generations, the first represented by a Russian dissident full of falsehoods, the second an unhappy couple, the third an adolescent suicide and a 15-year-old mother.

Boylan, Clare. The Collected Stories. London: Abacus, 2000.
Regenstein Stacks PR6052.O9193A6 2000
A fascination with things strange but true drives Boylan's shrewd plots; her settings range from the early Victorian period to Margaret Thatcher's Britain, but she is most at home among the working-class Irish of the 1960's and 70's.

Buckley, Christopher. No Way to Treat a First Lady. New York: Random House, 2002.
D'Angelo Law Stacks PS3552.U3394N6 2002
Buckley's sendup of political sex scandals in the age of constant media takes the form of a legal thriller; accused of assassinating her wayward husband, the first lady denies having done it, but whatever she did is secondary to the heroic proportions of the trial that ensues.

Butler, Robert Olen. Fair Warning. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3552.U8278F35 2002
This witty, airy novel fuses comedy of manners and of philosophy, realized in the life of a fine-arts auctioneer whose presentations, orgasmic necessities for her, are sheer performance, aimed at the cupidity and insecurity of her audiences.

Byler, Stephen Raleigh. Searching for Intruders: A Novel in Stories. New York: William Morrow, 2002
Regenstein Stacks PS3602.Y54S43 2002
Some confident, ruefully funny pieces in a mode (one far from exhausted, as Byler shows) established by Raymond Carver and Richard Ford, exploring what might be called post-postmacho manhood.

Carter, Stephen L. The Emperor of Ocean Park. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.
Regenstein Library PS3603.A78E4 2002
Also available in Harper and Law
This debut novel by a Yale legal scholar centers on a dynastic black family, whose patriarch, forced to withdraw from consideration for the Supreme Court, has died (and, it appears, also lived) amid mysterious circumstances and rattling skeletons.

Chidgey, Catherine. Golden Deeds. London: Picador, 2000.
Regenstein Stacks PR9639.3.C535G6 2000
(American edition published under the title The Strength of the Sun)
A fascinating novel in which widely separated simultaneous events -- a girl's disappearance, a scholar's leaving his wife -- develop or discover connections in a sort of quantum-mechanics way that seems to explore the idea of connectedness itself.

Cisneros, Sandra. Caramelo, or, Puro Cuento: A Novel. New York: Alfred A. Knopf : Distributed by Random House, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3553.I78C37 2002
A cheerful, fizzy novel whose heroine and narrator joins her large Mexican-American family in driving from Chicago to Mexico City and back every summer; colorful generalizations abound concerning the borders of language and culture that they cross when they must.

Coe, Jonathan. The Rotter's Club. London; New York: Viking, 2001.
Regenstein Stacks PR6053.O26R68 2001
A fictional British panorama of the early stages of the transformation wrought on Britain by Margaret Thatcher (another volume is to come); its central figures, not quite finished, are chiefly university-bound students at a school in Birmingham.

Cohen, Robert. The Varieties of Romantic Experience: Stories. . New York: Scribner, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3553.O4273V37 2002
Cohen's first collection of stories is as lyrical as it is economical, closely associating love and desire with existential confusion.

Collins, Billy. Nine Horses: Poems. New York: Random House, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3553.O47478N45 2002
The current national poet laureate, who produced these verses, is often able to proceed unburdened by many of the tools -- assonance, alliteration, wordplay, complex metrics -- that hang from the poet's belt; he makes his way in the world by being funny.

Collins, Michael. The Keepers of Truth. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 2001.
Regenstein Stacks PR6053.O4263K44 2001
A sharp, wry novel on the pitfalls and pleasures of American society, featuring a down-to-earth narrator from a seen-better-days city, and a mysterious disappearance; a finalist for Britain's Booker Prize in 2000.

Costello, Mark. Big If. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3553.O763B54 2002
A novel offers an anthropological look at the occupational rituals and argot of a group of Secret Service agents, who are in fact simply stressed-out working stiffs just like us, with the small difference that they are also charged with the continued well-being of the vice president.

Crowley, John. The Translator. New York: William Morrow, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3553.R597T73 2002
A college student's crush on a Soviet poet in the 1960's serves to support this novel's fictional world full of conspiracy theories and paranoia but sustained with far nobler stuff: poetry, the souls of nations, the transforming power of language.

Davidar, David. The House of Blue Mangoes. New York: HarperCollins, c2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR9499.4.D38H68 2002
A polished first novel by the C.E.O. of Penguin India, the book tracks three generations of the Dorais, a Christian family from the south of India, across the first half of the 20th century, ending just before independence.

Davis-Goff, Annabel. This Cold Country. New York: Harcourt, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3554.A9385T48 2002
As a young war bride packed off to the country, this novel's heroine faces her own battle on the home front against her new in-laws, members of the Anglo-Irish bourgeoisie whose insularity and creaking conventionalism portend genteel self-destruction.

Dee, Johnathan. Palladio. New York: Doubleday, c2002
Regenstein Stacks PS3554.E355P35 2002
Dee, a courageous novelist of ideas, takes on morals, lost love and the art of selling in this story about a beautiful (and passive) woman and two advertising executives who differ about the power of the viewer over the thing viewed.

Doerr, Anthony. The Shell Collector: Stories. New York: Scribner, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3604.O47S54 2002
Hunting and being hunted, holding on and letting go are the themes that govern this skillful first collection, inhabited by people apt to fall in love with a magician's assistant or run away with a metal eater from a traveling carnival.

Drabble, Margaret. The Seven Sisters. New York: Harcourt Trade, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR6054.R25S48 2002
Also available in Harper
A novelist whose work has considered primarily the issues of her own generation now employs a protagonist in her 60's who begins a new life, estranged from husband and daughters, undertaking a voyage in the wake of Virgil's Aeneas from Carthage to Naples.

Dugan, Alan. Poems Seven: New and Complete Poetry. New York: Seven Stories Press, c2001.
Regenstein Stacks PS3554.U33P65 2001
Also available in Harper
A big volume by a major poet (it won a National Book Award last year) whose life work is adult matter, full of conviction, void of poses; its great theme is human pettiness exposed yet dignified by mortality.

Dunmore, Helen. The Siege. New York: Grove Press, c2001.
Regenstein Stacks PR6054.U528S54 2001
A powerful, well-researched novel (Dunmore's seventh) that follows a young woman and her family during the siege of Leningrad in 1941.

Durham, David Anthony. Walk Through Darkness. New York: Doubleday, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3554.U677W35 2002
Odysseys run on two parallel tracks in this novel: that of a fugitive slave making his perilous way from Maryland to Philadelphia, and that of the dissolute Scotsman hired to track him down.

Eco, Umberto. Baudolino, translated from the Italian by William Weaver. New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2002.
Harper Lib PQ4865.C6B3813 2002
Eco's Bildungsroman, set in the Middle Ages, includes some of the author's familiar obsessions -- forged manuscripts, fake relics -- and features several bizarre episodes and characters of impeccably historical origin.

Eggers, Dave. You Shall Know Our Velocity. San Francisco: McSweeney's Books, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3555.G33Y6 2002
Eggers's first novel (son of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius) takes place in frantic motion as a pair of 27-year-old semi-slackers are projected by the violent death of their best friend into exploring all the world they can get to.

Eugenides, Jeffrey. Middlesex. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3555.U4M53 2002
Editors' Choice
At the opening of this colossally curious, shaggy and exuberant novel the narrator mimics the first line of the "Iliad," calling on his Muse to sing -- in this case about his genes. Take the hint. This story is epic -- in spirit, scope, and definitely in organization. Jeffrey Eugenides dares to base the plot on genetic theory, so if Homer is a distant ancestor, Darwin is another. The narrator's recessive gene makes "transgender" the governing word here. How he got the gene is traced through three generations of immigrants who escape the Turkish massacre of Greeks in Smyrna in 1922 to live through 80 years of bootlegging, Depression, war, race riots and counterculture in Detroit. Eugenides gets the scientific theory right and lets us understand it in laughter and astonishment. The ideas take shape in a tug of war between destiny and personal freedom among dozens of characters so richly imagined they almost overwhelm our senses. They may be incestuous, criminal, crazy or vengeful, but Eugenides loves them as though they were family -- which some of them could be. When they move, they fly; in fact, the flight of the narrator's father in his last seconds of life is as spectacular as the fiery globe-girdling swoops of Homer's gods spiraling down from Olympus. That a novel so sprawling, episodic and discursive succeeds is a sign of how soundly it is made; recurrent motifs, vibrant writing and the comic instinct of its author keep it tight. It ends, like the "Iliad," with a funeral. Here two brothers, who always knew they were siblings but had no idea they were brothers, meet as men; this birth on the verge of adulthood is a quiet miracle.

Faber, Michel. The Crimson Petal and the White. New York: Harcourt, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR6056.A27C75 2002
A 19-year-old prostitute is the central character of this novel in which an empty and befouled late Victorian world is successfully confronted by nothing more than wit, determination and a good heart. The narrator, our educator and guide, examines the inner thoughts of the book's inhabitants until we learn to understand them for ourselves.

Farrington, Tim. The Monk Downstairs. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3556.A775M66 2002
A tender, witty novel in which a former monk, after 20 years in his order, rents an apartment from a 38-year-old single mother; the ensuing relationship proceeds cautiously, taking account of the prudence required of struggling people who aren't going to get that many more chances.

Flanagan, Richard. Gould's Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish. New York: Grove, 2001
Regenstein Stacks PR9619.3.F525G68 2002
Phantasmagoric energy propels this novel of Tasmanian wonders and horrors whose hero is based on an English convict, the author of a book on the local fish, who died trying to escape from a penal colony in 1831; the original Gould's illustrations appear.

Foer, Jonathan Safran. Everything is Illuminated. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3606.O38E84 2002
Alex, a Ukrainian lad whose love for everything American has infected his speech with an amazing thesaurus of near-miss English, narrates this novel about himself and Jonathan Safran Foer, who is visiting ancestral territory and working on a novel about a Ukrainian town where dozens of worthy themes usefully congregate.

Ford, Richard. A Multitude of Sins: Stories. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001
Regenstein Stacks PS3556.O713M85 2001
Quite a few wrongs are done in these elegantly worded stories, although what prevails is generally adultery, often at the end of an affair or later, when it's too late to throw those dice again.

Frayn, Michael. Spies. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR6056.R3S65 2002
The 10th novel by this master of the intellectual mystery masquerading as popular entertainment concerns a London suburb where, if memory serves the narrator, the phases of the moon govern events during World War II and an alleged spy's conduct visibly contradicts the everyday space-time continuum.

Freed, Lynn. House of Women. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR9369.3.F68H65 2002
Fairy-tale elements prevail in this novel in which a mother and a daughter fight to the death; Nalia, an opera singer and Holocaust survivor, reigns over Thea, who is quasi-abducted by a Bluebeardish Syrian in a narrative full of dream logic, psychoanalysis and the writing of journals for others to read.

Gaddis, William. Agape Agape. New York: Viking, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3557.A28A73 2002
The first word in the title of this brilliant posthumous not-really-a-novel has three syllables and refers to love in and of the creation; the book is a kind of farewell summa or parting meditation on life, death and the player piano, seen as a mechanical forerunner of digital computing.

Gilling, Tom. The Adventures of Miles and Isabel. New York: Atlantic Monthly, 2001.
Regenstein Stacks PR9619.3.G538M35 2002
A beguiling novel that celebrates a young 19th-century Australian who thinks he can build a flying machine; his opposite number, Isabel, is fairly skeptical about flight but not about love, and both of them are suckers for a good supply of dreams.

Glass, Julia. Three Junes. New York: Pantheon Books, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3607.L37T48 2002
Braiding together three summers (1989, '95 and '99), this debut novel explores the idea of emotional isolation as it moves, fittingly, across a series of islands -- off Scotland, Greece and the coast of New Jersey -- to chronicle a scattered, multigenerational Scottish family.

Gordimer, Nadine. The Pickup. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001.
Regenstein Stacks PR9369.3.G6P53 2001
Also available in Harper
A chance meeting between a rich, white, South African woman and an immigrant from a Muslim country turns into a love affair that suggests two cultures in quest of each other and the uses of mutual incomprehension for mutual attraction.

Grafton, Sue. Q Is for Quarry. New York: Putnam's, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3557.R13Q15 2002
Building on the skimpy facts in a true (and still unsolved) 1969 homicide of an unknown woman whose body was dumped in a quarry in Santa Barbara County, Grafton creates a sensitive assignment for her private eye, Kinsey Millhone, and two old geezer-cops who are obsessed with this sad case.

Greenlaw, Lavinia. Mary George of Allnorthover. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001.
Regenstein Stacks PR6057.R375M3 2001
A finely constructed first novel that unveils another eccentric from rural England: Mary George, a socially clumsy yet plucky teenage dreamer who overcomes obstacles (many of which she is oblivious of) by ignoring them.

Grenville, Kate. The Idea of Perfection. London: Picador, 1999 [2000 printing].
Regenstein Stacks PR9619.3.G73I34 2000
Two forlorn, wearied souls -- a shy engineer who fears heights and a rough, gruff textile artist and curator with three husbands behind her -- are exposed to each other in a small town in Australia, a burg so countrified they have only themselves to relate to.

Grossman, David. Be My Knife. translated by Vered Almog and Maya Gurantz. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001.
Regenstein Stacks PJ5054.G728S5413 2001
A brilliant concoction by an outstanding Israeli novelist whose hero, a 33-year-old married man, persuades a woman to undertake a brutally honest love affair to be carried on, in a political and physical vacuum, entirely by correspondence.

Hadley, Tessa. Accidents in the Home. New York: Henry Holt, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR6108.A3AA65 2002
The link between reading and adultery, refined and elaborated since Flaubert, governs affairs in this rewarding, concentrated first novel about a voraciously literate 29-year-old Englishwoman and her family and her glamorous childhood friend (and the friend's boyfriend, who may be no reader at all).

Harrison, Kathryn. The Seal Wife. New York: Random House, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3558.A67136S43 2002
In this thickly atmospheric novel, set in 1915 Alaska, Harrison characteristically combines love and suffering, vulnerability and dominance, in a sexual affair between a young weather scientist and an Aleutian woman who almost never speaks.

Haslett, Adam. You are not a Stranger Here. New York: Nan A. Talese, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3608.A85Y68 2002
These nine short stories (Haslett's first collection) exhale a desiccated bleakness, a despair mitigated by the characters' desire to be good, to do the right thing despite hopelessness, loss, disease and frequent mental illness.

Highsmith, Patricia. Nothing that Meets the Eye: The Uncollected Stories of Patricia Highsmith. New York: W.W. Norton, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3558.I366N68 2002
A collection of 28 of Highsmith's previously unanthologized suspense stories, written mostly in the late 1940's and early 50's.

Hijuelos, Oscar. A Simple Habana Melody: (From When the World Was Good). New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3558.I376S56 2002
The protagonist of Hijuelos's sixth novel is a Cuban composer so decorous his cross is an inability to act on, or even articulate, his deepest passions, accumulating a lifetime of repression and regret.

Hoffman, Eva. The Secret. London: Secker & Warburg, 2001.
Regenstein Stacks PR6108.O34S43 2001
A notable memoirist and critic of consistent sensitivity and broad erudition turns to fiction in this novel whose protagonist is the single daughter of a single parent, living in the Midwest some 25 years in the future; cracking the secrets of her birth sends her questing for the meaning of her life.

Homes, A. M. Things You Should Know: A Collection of Stories. New York: HarperCollins, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3558.O448T48 2002
Short stories by an author sometimes accused of the gratuitous grotesque; but the strangeness she deploys is often in perfect balance with the heart of the character who displays it in little tragedies, wild aspirations and surprisingly warm satires of family life.

Hooper, Chloe. A Child's Book of True Crime. New York: Scribner, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR9619.4.H66C45 2002
An ambitious first novel by an Australian, in which an adulterous affair between a schoolteacher and a student's father runs parallel to an affair that ended in murder 20 years earlier. There is cause to be ill at ease, since the wronged wife in affair No. 1 has just published a book about affair No. 2.

Hughes, Mary-Beth. Wavemaker II. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3608.U56W38 2002
The title of this politically imaginative first novel is the name of a boat belonging to Roy Cohn, who appears, impetuous and sentimental, human and controversial, at the top of a pyramid of enterprise supported, to his cost, by Will Clemens, a loyal young executive, and his loyal wife.

Hughes, Ted. New Selected Poems, 1957-1994. London: Faber and Faber, 1995.
Regenstein Stacks PR6058.U37A6 1995
With poems that are characteristically alert to the processes of creation as well as self-destruction, this selection displays Hughes's mighty, even terrifying, talent.

Humphreys, Helen. The Lost Garden. New York: Norton, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR9199.3.H822L67 2002
In this author's third novel, an awkward horticultural researcher of 35 leaves a blitzed London for the country to organize young women to grow food; there she expands horizontally in new acquaintances and vertically in some symbolically attractive gardens planted before 1914.

Jennings, Kate. Moral Hazard. London New York: Fourth Estate, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR9619.3.J44M67 2002
A business novel whose modest pace and poetic structure distinguish it from the traditional macho product, packed with hard fact and action; Jennings's purpose is ethical investigation and meditation on the "perilous, jerry-built" global financial markets.

Jiles, Paulette. Enemy Woman. New York: William Morrow, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR9199.3.J54E5 2002
Love crosses the lines in this Civil War novel set in dubious Missouri, where an 18-year-old spitfire of rebel attachments is the prisoner of a Union officer whose interrogation of her turns into a prison romance.

Jin, Ha. The Crazed. New York: Pantheon Books, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3560.I6C73 2002
A devoted student tries to untangle the stroke-induced ravings of his teacher in the months before the demonstrations at Tiananmen Square in a novel that gently underlines the hardships endured in contemporary China.

Johnston, Wayne. The Navigator of New York. New York: Doubleday, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR9199.3.J599N38 2002
A bold novel centered on the competition between Robert E. Peary and Dr. Frederick A. Cook to be recognized as first man at the North Pole; to real life Johnston adds the fictional Devlin Stead, through whom we sense the engrossing white waste of the polar North and the flaws of its would-be heroes.

Just, Ward. The Weather in Berlin. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3560.U75W43 2002
In this novel by a skilled observer of America's top people, a burned-out movie director of 64, visiting an arty institution in the reborn Berlin, finds himself brooding on the past to the disadvantage of the future, becoming a sort of spiritual and psychological German.

Kadare, Ismail. Spring Flowers, Spring Frost; translated from the French of Jusuf Vrioni by David Belos. New York: Arcade Pub., 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PG9621.K3L8513 2002
A murky, capricious novel by an Albanian who lives in France; it deals with an Albania now open to the world in principle but still separated from everywhere else by its legends, hallucinations and fantasies, and by the return of the blood-feud code that Communism had suppressed.

Kaye, John. The Dead Circus. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3561.A8857D43 2002
Kaye's propensity for desolation governs this novel of a polluted Hollywood, where Gene Burk, a private investigator, pursues the death of a rockabilly star in a case that eventually leads through Burk's dead sweetheart to a lover of Charles Manson.

Kennedy, William. Roscoe .New York: Viking, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3561.E428R67 2002
Also available in Harper
Editor's Choice
Is this, the seventh novel in William Kennedy's Albany cycle, a valedictory? It has that feeling. Like Roscoe Conway, its protagonist, it is haunted by history. The other characters here -- state officials, mayors, madams, businessmen, gangsters -- live on the vice of politics. But in 1945 Roscoe, the boss, bagman and brains of the machine, is ill and tired of the game. He not only has to fix every office and vote; he must unfix mis-fixed cockfights (oh, what scenes!). He still has time for consummation of a love affair he thought had slipped away decades before. But there are shadows about, a governor's threat of investigations, rebellion by Young Turks, the creaks and groans of power shifting away. The date suggests we think about the long reign of the boss Daniel O'Connell and his wily frontman, Mayor Erastus Corning. But Kennedy isn't a captive of history, and there was a lot of rascal history in Albany before O'Connell, a deep river of memory flowing ever since William Marcy and his gang started the machine called the Albany Regency 180 years ago. Kennedy's characters say they make up a lot of their own history. They do it brilliantly, with fine rhetorical flourishes and rapier wit -- talk almost as rich as Roscoe's food and drink. Some critics grouse that no real pols talk like Kennedy's. So what? After a C. S. Lewis lecture on Shakespeare in the 50's an Oxford undergraduate sneered that "no one talks like Romeo and Juliet," and Lewis snapped back, "They would if they could."

Klima, Ivan. No Saints or Angel, translated by Gerald Turner. New York: Grove Press, 2001.
Regenstein Stacks PG5039.21.L5A8413 2001
Also available in Harper
The personal and the political are inseparable in Klima's newest novel, in which a Prague dentist, daughter of a zealous bureaucrat of the former regime, determines that the hate mail she has been receiving originates with a half brother previously unknown to her.

Knauss, Sibyllel. Eva's Cousin, translated from the German by Anthea Bell. New York, Ballantine Books, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PT2671.N327E9313 2002
A German novel based on facts about a cousin of Hitler's mistress, Eva Braun; Marlene, the protagonist and narrator, is called to keep Eva company in the fateful summer of 1944, and is soon observing the war's end from a lonely, weirdly endangered position.

Kundera, Milan. Ignorance. New York: HarperCollins, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PQ2671.U47I36 2002
Also available in Harper Variations on some of the author's usual themes -- betrayal and lost love, memory and forgetting, exile and return -- in a novel whose heroine returns to Prague after 20 years to find that her old friends have no use for her émigré life and no longer talk of victimization but of bourgeois success.

Lanchester, John. Fragrant Harbor. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR6062.A4863F73 2002
A novel of large scope, placed chiefly in Hong Kong in 1935 and after, undertaking big propositions: race, class, love, war and, perhaps most successfully, the transformation of a refugee community into one of the world's richest societies.

Lasdun, James. The Horned Man. New York: W.W. Norton, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR6062.A735H67 2002
Also available in Harper
A psychological thriller that explores the interior motions of self-policing; the narrator, a dedicated member of his college's sexual harassment committee, finds that sexual desire has become bureaucratic maneuvering and dreads the escape of his thought-crimes into real-life action.

Lawson, Mary. Crow Lake. New York: Dial Press, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR9199.4.L39C76 2002
This ambitious first novel combines two standard motifs -- sudden orphanhood and rescue by an inspiring schoolteacher -- in an exploration of class and sibling rivalry, ennui and persistence, especially in the character of Kate Morrison, who rises against tall odds to an academic career she actually has little heart for.

Lee, Andrea. Interesting Women: Stories. New York: Random House, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3562.E324I58 2002
A lush collection of beautifully textured fiction, set mostly in Italy, where the author lives, and featuring American expatriate beauties, many of them black, in situations that are concerned with multiple ways of being foreign -- even in your own home, country or marriage.

Leithauser, Brad. Darlington's Fall: A Novel in Verse; with drawings by Mark Leithauser. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3562.E4623D3 2002
A 5,700-line verse novel (10-line stanzas, irregularly rhymed) that invokes the "butterfly effect" of chaos mathematics: a butterfly's random passage starts Russel Darlington on the road to a career in lepidopterology; many years later, a second butterfly lures him to fall from a cliff, crippling him permanently.

Lemann, Nancy. Malaise. New York: Scribner, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3562.E4659M35 2002
The author's fourth novel concerns the transplantation of Fleming Ford, a Southern woman, and her two small children into a California city where, for a while, old complaints about vapidity and sloth seem bright and new; but what's really at stake for Fleming is honoring her commitments and keeping her promises. Refreshing.

Leonard, Elmore. Tishomingo Blues. New York: William Morrow, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3562.E55T57 2002
Leonard's latest cinema-ready tale is riotously funny, featuring a high-diving protagonist in Tunica, Miss.; the rural Mafiosi who want him whacked; quixotic supporting characters aplenty; and a Civil War re-enactment of the less-than-epic Battle of Brice's Cross Roads.

Lerner, Lisa. Just Like Beauty. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3612.E39J97 2002
A captivating first novel that takes a surreal look at the buildup to a beauty pageant and a 14-year-old narrator's struggle to break free of its spell.

Lessing, Doris. The Sweetest Dream. London: Flamingo, 2001.
Regenstein Stacks PR6023.E833S94 2001
A novel, clearly autobiographical but far from self-invasive, omitting the author's involvements with psychology and mysticism in favor of a kind of fable that can contain Communism, personal freedom and the doing of good in southern Africa.

L'Heureux, John. The Miracle. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3562.H4M47 2002
A thoughtful novel in which a popular young Roman Catholic priest, transferred to the sticks for being too mod, sees a mother's prayer raise her daughter from the dead; in this he eventually sees the ancient truth that love can restore, renew and revive.

Martel, Yann. Life of Pi. Toronto: Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2001.
Regenstein Stacks PR9199.3.M3855L54 2001
A high-seas adventure tale with a large dose of allegory, in which Pi Patel, a teenage Indian boy, and a 450-pound tiger named Richard Parker become the only survivors of a shipwreck that swallowed a private zoo belonging to Pi's family.

Masiel, David. 2182 kHz: A Novel. New York: Random House, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3613.A8A15 2002
A confidently anarchic first novel whose title refers to the international distress channel for mariners in trouble; most of it happens at sea off Alaska, and the chief victim of the happenings is a likable unfortunate who has spent a decade working the Arctic and becomes the only survivor of a disaster wrought by a captain who screams at his crew, "Do Things!"

Mason, Daniel. The Piano Tuner. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3613.A816P53 2002
A first novel whose alert, responsive, confused, generous hero is a London piano tuner, selected by the War Office in 1886 to trek into the backest beyond of Burma to service the piano of a (possibly mad) British surgeon and proconsul.

Maxwell, Glyn. The Nerve. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR6063.A869N47 2002
A collection of largely low-key poems by an intelligent, sensitive writer, moving confidently toward expressions of common feeling in a voice conversational or false-naive, always sounding within earshot of the English lyric tradition.

McClatchy, J. D. Hazmat: Poems. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3563.A26123H39 2002
Another collection by a poet who carries forward the strict, literate, exact tradition of Auden and James Merrill, but with a physical focus on bodily organs and products that preserves his fluency, exotic settings and intricate forms from aestheticism.

McDermott, Alice. Child of My Heart. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3563.C355C49 2002
Also available in Harper
In East Hampton, sometime in the early 1960's, the teenage narrator of McDermott's novel concentrates on a few summer days and a lot of baby-sitting; a growing awareness of the adult world and its risks is foreshadowed rather than understood or displayed.

McDonell, Nick. Twelve. New York: Grove Press, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3613.C388T84 2002
This accomplished first novel by an 18-year-old tracks the dissolute behavior of some rich kids returning home for the Christmas holidays; its protagonist is a boy called White Mike, who gives up his subway seat to elderly women and neither smokes nor drinks; what he does is deal drugs, in company with characters whose lives converge at a single calamitous party.

McEwan, Ian. Atonement. New York: Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR6063.C4A88 2002
Also available in Harper
Editors' Choice
When Ian McEwan appears to be mellowing, it is a good idea to keep an eye out for what's coming up behind you. This novel is shaped as a triptych, each part changing our perspective as it opens up. First, Briony, a bright 13-year-old English girl, her imagination inflamed by a romance between her older sister and a poor college student whose mother lives on their estate, tells a lie about a crime on the property and destroys the student's future. In section two the student, now a British soldier and the lover of the older sister, who has become a nurse, dodges Nazi fire in France in 1940. McEwan's evocation of the desperate determination of French farmers trapped in the battle zone and of the sense of emptiness in wartime London is haunting. And Briony? Estranged from both of them, she helps patch up mangled bodies in an army medical ward and writes fiction that explores how other people's minds work. Finally, Briony, in old age an honored writer, tries to convince us that everything we were told before was an illusion. The writing in "Atonement" is triumphant -- unexpectedly, even sensuously, tender about these characters in their youth, and brilliantly alert to the sneaky moral injuries war works on the human memory. The old McEwan -- who delighted in twisted plots that made readers feel whiplashed and manipulated their emotions with irritating confidence -- seems subdued through two-thirds of this book. So the sense of outrage that rises when Briony sets out to sabotage the story at the end is perhaps a peculiarly fitting tribute to the author.

McGahern, John. That They May Face the Rising Sun. London: Faber, 2002.
(American edition published under the title By the Lake)
Regenstein Stacks PR6063.A2176T43 2002
The sixth novel in 40 years of careful, lapidary production by this elegant Irish writer concerns the passage of a year in an unnamed Irish village, a couple who have returned to it and a community for which the biggest event of the entire year is the arrival of a telephone pole.

McGuane, Thomas. The Cadence of Grass. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3563.A3114C33 2002
McGuane's first novel in 10 years shows, as his work in the 1970's did, people responding with comically awful behavior to a hostile but also zany universe; there is a plot, concerning some kind of infernal legacy, but the digressions the author can never resist are, fortunately, deft and funny no matter how irrelevant or inconsequential.

McMurtry, Larry. Sin Killer: The Berrybender Narratives, Book 1. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3563.A319S56 2002
Also available in Harper
This irresistible tale, the first of a planned tetralogy, full of blood, blunder and myth, follows the fate of an upper-crust British family that attempts to explore the Western frontier (circa 1830) with a huge traveling ménage.

Mda, Zakes. The Heart of Redness. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR9369.3.M4H43 2002
A novel encompassing a black South African's critique of the cult of the new, presented as the combat between the forces of "progress" and those of tradition, all reflected from a defining religious schism in the Xhosa nation back in 1856-57.

Meloy, Maile. Half in Love: Stories. New York: Scribner, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3613.E46H35 2002
Fourteen stories, set mostly in the author's native Montana, among small-time racetracks and failed oil wells, where brides choose wedding dresses to hide branding-iron scars; no one expects an easy life here, and even the young feel their choices constrained by economics and losing habits.

Miller, Andrew. Oxygen. London: Sceptre, 2001.
Regenstein Stacks PR6063.I3564O99 2001
In this unusually artful novel, the author, who never really hides his presence, combines two stories that are long and curious in their discovery of each other: one about an Englishwoman with a terminal cancer and her two sons, and another concerning a gay Hungarian playwright who is burdened by regret for his actions during the revolution of 1956.

Milosz, Czeslaw. New and Collected Poems: 1931-2001. New York: Ecco, 2001.
Regenstein Stacks PG7158.M553
Also available in Harper
In the winter of his 70-year career, Milosz appears to be locked in insoluble argument with himself: where he once credited poetry with the power to rescue mankind from the void, he now demurs, maintaining that language is inadequate to the task of capturing verity.

Minot, Susan. Rapture. New York: Alfred A. Knopf: Distributed by Random House, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3563.I4755R37 2002
The action of this brief novel is a single act of oral sex, but its life is found in memories of a doomed affair and the thoughts of Kay and Benjamin, its partners; they know each other well, but not what is happening between them.

Mistry, Rohinton. Family Matters. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR9199.3.M494F36 2002
Somebody has to care for a dying Parsi patriarch in Mistry's third novel, but the man's descendants are not up to it; maybe, the book suggests, family isn't what it used to be. The same seems true of Bombay, where this goes on against a background of social decay.

Mosby, Katherine. The Season of Lillian Dawes. New York: HarperCollins, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3563.O88384S4 2002
Nothing can prepare even upper-crust New York for the arrival of the title character, who is, alphabetically, Francophone, horsewoman, markswoman, naturalist, painter, psychologist, scholar, tango dancer and -- zounds! -- attractive to boot.

Mukherjee, Bharati. Desirable Daughters. New York Theia/Hyperion, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR9499.3.M77D47 2002
In this shrewd, intellectual novel, an Americanized Bengali woman in San Francisco is forced to reckon at length with the culture she has cast aside when a man says he is the illegitimate son of her sister in New York.

Nelson, Antonya. Female Trouble: A Collection of Short Stories. New York: Scribner, c2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3564.E428F46 2002
Nelson's fourth collection, written in clear, muscular prose that endures depression, deals chiefly with distraught women in the act of returning somewhere, often to a childhood home, looking for a second chance.

Nicholson, Geoff. Bedlam Burning. London: Victor Gollancz, 2000.
Regenstein Stacks PR6064.I225B43 2000
A lively novel involving madness, false identities and the nature of authorship (Nicholson's 13th novel; he should know). Its narrator, a handsome chap, agrees to impersonate his friend, a weedy novelist, and winds up in a lunatic asylum.

O'Nan, Stewart. Wish You Were Here. New York: Grove Press,2002.
Regenstein StacksPS3565.N316W57 2002
An equal-opportunity novel told from the perspectives of the members of three generations of the Maxwell family as they contemplate and develop the injuries and grudges of many years during a week's vacation -- their last -- at their summer cottage in western New York.

O'Neill, Jamie. At Swim, Two Boys. New York: Scribner, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR6065.N4194A92 2002
Two great causes -- free Ireland and a free gay nation -- coincide in this polished but energetic novel built on the hazards of love, heroism, history and tenderness, and placed in political and moral history by the Easter Rising of 1916.

Oates, Joyce Carol. I'll Take You There. New York: Ecco/HarperCollins, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3565.A8I17 2002
The nameless narrator of this daring novel (Oates's 38th) is a philosophy student out to disown her dysfunctional past by affixing herself to others and adopting their identities: first a group of sorority sisters and later a gifted black graduate student.

O'Brien, Edna. In the Forest. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR6065.B7I5 2002
Though not wholly lacking in the adulterous impulse so fundamental to the characters in O'Brien's powerful evocations of Irish reality in the past, the principals in this novel are concerned with murder, madness and innocence in the backwoods of their island.

O'Brien, Tim. July, July. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3565.B75J85 2002
A 30th-anniversary reunion (belated) of the college class of 1969 draws together enough baby boomers in O'Brien's novel to account for the tumultuous sweep of history since their graduation.

Otsuka, Julie. When the Emperor Was Divine. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, .2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3615.T88W48 2002
This muted first novel seeks to find and articulate what life really felt like to a family of Japanese-Americans relocated during World War II, and to convey the mood of our country under stress from the viewpoint of some genuinely oppressed people.

Packer, Ann. The Dive from Clausen's Pier. New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3616.A33D58 2002
Many a young person has come to New York for a restart; the narrator of this beguiling first novel, which is much concerned with the particularities of place and conduct, does it after a nitwit move by her fiancé in Wisconsin renders him quadriplegic.

Pearson, Allison. I Don't Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR6116.E17I2 2002
The beleaguered heroine of this novel, a 35-year-old hedge fund manager in London, struggles madly with the world she has made, containing children, husband, work and worry, under high pressure.

Pearson, T. R. Polar. New York: Viking, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3566.E235P65 2002
A quietly unsettling, darkly satirical Southern novel, whose hero, an old rural Virginia reprobate, inexplicably acquires oracular familiarity with the Antarctic and knowledge about a little girl's unsolved disappearance.

Phillips, Arthur. Prague. New York: Random House, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3616.H45P73 2002
A first novel set in 1990, far beyond the recently fallen Berlin Wall, where young Americans reveal themselves not as travelers but mere tourists, detached from their surroundings, weightless and immaterial among time-battered buildings and people who have survived wars and uprisings.

Poirier, Mark Jude. Unsung Heroes of American Industry: Stories. New York: Hyperion, 2001
Regenstein Stacks PS3566.O394U57 2001
A light pathos pervades this nimble collection of stories about men and women in dying industries (worm breeding, for example).

Ponsot, Marie. Springing: New and Selected Poems. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002
Regenstein Stacks PS3531.O49S67 2002
A love poet, a metaphysician and a formalist, Ponsot cultivates an eccentricity that allows her to make her moral points epigrammatically or on the sly; this is her fifth book of poems, the product of a long life and intelligent pruning.

Power, Nani. The Good Remains. New York: Grove Press, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3566.O83577G66 2002
A fictional elegy for Ashland, Va., where a large cast of characters, brimming with life and goofiness, approaches the Christmas holiday; the central character, a baby doctor who dreams of ham and of the good old days, fails at actually cooking a ham.

Price, Reynolds. Noble Norfleet. New York: Scribner, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3566.R54N64 2002
What distinguishes the hero and title character of Price's novel is a sordid familiarity with death (his younger siblings were killed in their sleep by their mother) and sex (one proclivity in particular drives away the women willing to love him).

Quindlen, Anna. Blessings. New York: Random House, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3567.U336B59 2002
Also available in Harper
In this persuasive and gently humorous novel, the discovery of a newborn baby girl left in a cardboard box creates opportunities for redemption and renewal for the handyman who finds her and for the dowager on whose estate she was abandoned.

Robinson, Kim Stanley. The Years of Rice and Salt. New York: Bantam Books, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3568.O2893Y43 2002
What if the Black Plague had wiped out not a third but virtually all of Europe's population in the 14th century? This is the eye-opening premise of Robinson's latest novel, a magisterial alternate history from one of science fiction's most important writers.

Robison, Mary. Tell Me: 30 Stories. Washington: Counterpoint, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3568.O317T45 2002
Selected stories covering the past 25 years of Robison's career, with characters -- suburban and Midwestern for the most part -- who are often caught in brief unguarded moments that reveal a great deal about their lives.

Russo, Richard. The Whore's Child: And Other Stories. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3568.U812W48 2002
In these short stories the author of "Empire Falls," this year's Pulitzer Prize novel, abandons working-class settings and protagonists in favor of intellectuals caught in late middle age, worried about illness and ambivalent about marriage.

Saramago, José. The Cave; translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa. New York: Harcourt, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PQ9281.A66C3813 2002
Also Available in Harper
The cave in mind is Plato's, where shadows pass for realities; the characters in Saramago's latest novel live in a complex where they work, shop and enjoy simulated experiences, victims not just of global capitalism but of their own eagerness to go along.

Scott, Joanna. Tourmaline. Boston: Little, Brown, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3569.C636T68 2002
Reconstructing his father's search for gems in the soil of Elba, the principal narrator of this novel of ideas discovers as well how the past is extracted from materials like gossip, superstition and marital distrust.

Sebald, W. G. After Nature. New York: Random House, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PT2681.E18N3313 2002
A book-length poem in which the painter Matthias Grünewald, the naturalist Georg Steller and the author himself inhabit a meditation on the sources of the catastrophic imagination, the continuities between nature and human nature, and issues of coming into being and passing away.

Sebold, Alice. The Lovely Bones. Boston: Little, Brown, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3619.E26L68 2002
Also available in Harper
An accomplished first novel chronicling the aftermath of a girl's abduction and murder -- narrated by the victim, 14-year-old Susie Salmon; the bones that give the book its title belong not to Susie but to the inspiring connections that are forged after her death.

Shepard, Sam. Great Dream of Heaven: Stories. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
Regenstein Stacks PS3569.H394G74 2002
Shepard's heaven is comfortably earthbound and can amount to no more than a painless life, as it does in this collection's title story about two old men whose daily pleasure it is to put on their Stetsons and walk to lunch at a Denny's somewhere near the Mojave.

Shields, Carol. Unless. New York: Fourth Estate, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR9199.3.S514U55 2002
"The useful monotony of happiness" is what's missing for Reta, a writer whose eldest daughter, Norah, has taken to sitting and begging on a downtown street corner; Reta's response and the author's tone, measured and calm, are of greater interest than Norah's withdrawal itself.

Shteyngart, Gary. The Russian Debutante's Handbook. New York: Riverhead Books, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3619.H79R87 2002
An energetic, ambitious first novel whose protagonist, a Russian-born graduate of an American college, tries to figure out what it means to be an American, a Russian, an immigrant, a Jew; a great deal of splendid comedy hangs on his inability to find out.

Smith, Martin Cruz. December 6. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3569.M5377D4 2002
The picaresque hero of Cruz's thriller, an American wheeler-dealer living in Tokyo on the eve of Pearl Harbor, uses his Zelig-like abilities in an effort to thwart Japan's war plans.

Smith, Zadie. The Autograph Man. New York: Random House, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR6069.M59A97 2002
Smith's entertaining second novel studiously avoids the glorious excesses of her first, White Teeth, offering instead a lone protagonist (a half-Jewish, half-Chinese autograph trader from North London) and a single quest narrative (a journey to New York in search of a reclusive 1950's starlet).

Strauss, Darin. The Real McCoy. New York: Dutton, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3569.T692245R43 2002
An ambitious, thought-infested novel placed at the turn of the last century, in which a boxer who is also a confidence man helps America round the corner to a new world of mass communications, celebrity, product endorsement and the makeover.

Tartt, Donna. The Little Friend. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3570.A657L58 2002
Also available in Harper
This lush novel about a Mississippi family at the end of a long decline into middle-class normalcy opens with a grisly murder -- a 9-year-old boy found hanging from a tupelo tree on Mother's Day -- and follows a strong-willed young heroine's crusade to seek out the people who killed her brother.

Templeton, Edith. The Darts of Cupid: And Other Stories. New York: Pantheon Books 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR6070.E495D37 2002
The minutely observed social transactions and discriminating aperçus in these stories by a writer who is now 85 are set in train by a kind of erotic attraction that the clinically minded would not hesitate to call sadomasochism.

Thompson, Jean. Wide Blue Yonder. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3570.H625W5 2002
Happiness is permitted in this novel about a mother and her daughter who survive a hot summer in Springfield, Ill., despite the intrusions of troublesome characters; by the end, the mother has seen in the daughter her own power to be kind, insightful and brave.

Tosches, Nick. In the Hand of Dante. Boston: Little, Brown, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3570.O74I5 2002
A novel in which Tosches first characterizes Dante as a good guy and great poet, then turns to the 21st century and a band of New York mobsters who have stolen the original manuscript of "The Divine Comedy"; they call upon a character named Tosches to authenticate the document.

Trevor, William. The Story of Lucy Gault. New York: Viking, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR6070.R4S76 2002
Also available in Harper
National and private heartache suffuses this novel that begins with a dreadful mistake committed during the partition of Ireland, when an Anglo-Irish couple, falsely believing their child is dead, disappear untraceably, leaving the girl to a solitary life.

Trillen, Calvin. Tepper Isn't Going Out. New York: Random House, 2001.
Regenstein Stacks PS3570.R5T4 2001
Also available in Law
A Manhattan driver, the hero of this novel, seeks the island's best parking spaces and occupies them, sitting and reading while the meter runs; his offhand concentration makes him a kind of Zen saint and leads to a struggle with a mayor whose rage for order suggests Rudolph W. Giuliani.

Tsypkin, Leonid. Summer in Baden-Baden; translated from the Russian by Roger and Angela Keys; introduction by Susan Sontag. New York: New Directions, 2001.
Regenstein Stacks PG3791.3.S98L4813 2001
An extraordinary novel by a Soviet Jewish doctor who died unpublished in 1982; its hero is Dostoyevsky, and its central enigma is the anti-Semitism of a great writer whose fiction is profoundly sensitive to human suffering and the pain of others, proclaiming the right to life and sunshine of every creature not Jewish.

Tuck, Lily. Limbo, and Other Places I Have Lived. New York: HarperCollins, c2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3570.U236L5 2002
There is a distance at the heart of Tuck's collection of short stories about women searching for themselves: a woman fears becoming unrecognizable to her own family, husbands and wives drift apart in their intimacy. Exotic locations underscore the unity of Tuck's tone.

Turow, Scott. Reversible Errors. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3570.U754R48 2002
Also available in Harper and Law
Kindle County surges to life again in Turow's richly characterized thriller, which revolves around a reluctant pro bono lawyer's efforts to overturn a black man's murder conviction, despite his confession, and free him from death row.

Updike, John. Seek My Face. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3571.P4S38 2002
Also available in Harper
Updike mixes art history with fiction in a story, recollected later by its hero's widow, of how in the decade after World War II American artists, led by Jackson Pollock (here called Zack McCoy), seized power from Europe and made New York the center of the art world.

Waters, Sarah. Fingersmith. New York: Riverhead Books, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PR6073.A828F56 2002
A fine Gothic ear is part of Waters's kit in this neo-Dickensian tale of a baby farmer and a foundling who is drawn into a fearful sexual intimacy as part of a scheme to defraud an heiress.

Zafris, Nancy. The Metal Shredders. New York: BlueHen/Penguin Putnam, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PS3576.A285M47 2002
An entertaining, illuminating novel whose lead characters, a third-generation scrap dealer and his Wellesley graduate sister, struggle to run a business they do not love while observed by a father who shows no sign of loving them.

Zagajewski, Adam. Without End: New and Selected Poems; translations by Clare Cavanagh et al. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002.
Regenstein Stacks PG7185.A32 A23 2002
A new anthology by a poet who was a 1970's dissident in Poland, where words are weighted with history that takes them beyond their lexical meanings and things are frequently renamed; this volume contains three previous English collections, recent work and some new translations of earlier poems.