Novels

Golden Country
Jennifer Gilmore

(2007) Golden Country vividly brings to life the intertwining stories of three immigrants seeking their fortunes: the handsome and ambitious Seymour, a salesman turned gangster turned Broadway producer; the gentle and pragmatic Joseph, a door-to-door salesman who is driven to invent a cleanser effective enough to wipe away the shame of his brother’s mob connections; and the irresistible Frances Gold, who grows up in Brooklyn, stars in Seymour’s first show, and marries the man who invents television.

The Mothers
Jennifer Gilmore

(2013) Jesse and Ramon are a loving couple, but after years spent unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant, they turn to adoption, relieved to think that once they navigate the bureaucratic path to parent-hood they will have a happy ending. But nothing has prepared them for the labyrinthine process—for the many training sessions and approvals; for the constant advice from friends, strangers, and “experts”; for the birthmothers who contact them but don’t ultimately choose them; or even, most shockingly, for the women who call claiming they’ve chosen Jesse and Ramon but who turn out never to have been pregnant in the first place.

Something Red
Jennifer Gilmore

(2010) In Washington, D.C., life inside the Goldstein home is as tumultuous as the shifting landscape of the times. It is 1979, and Benjamin is heading off to college and sixteen-year-old Vanessa is in the throes of a rocky adolescence. Sharon, a caterer for the Washington elite, ventures into a cultlike organization. And Dennis, whose government job often takes him to Moscow, tries to live up to his father’s legacy as a union organizer and community leader.

Goats: A Novel
Mark Poirier

(2001) In Goats, novelist Mark Jude Poirier brings us an oddly compelling story of two men, one a teenager, the other about 40, both committed adolescents. Fourteen-year-old Ellis lives with his mom in suburban Tucson, Arizona. Goat Man is, for lack of a better definition, their pool man.

Modern Ranch Living: A Novel
Mark Poirier

(2005) Funny and disturbing, Modern Ranch Living probes the emptiness of modern American culture, the strange things people do to satisfy their twin hungers for pleasure and oblivion, and the unexpected small acts of kindness they can sometimes perform to ease one another’s pain.

The Fun Stuff: And Other Essays
James Wood

(2012). The Fun Stuff confirms Wood’s preeminence, not only as a discerning judge but also as an appreciator of the contemporary novel. In twenty-three passionate, sparkling dispatches—that range over such crucial writers as Thomas Hardy, Leon Tolstoy, Edmund Wilson, and Mikhail Lermontov—Wood offers a panoramic look at the modern novel.

The Book Against God
James Wood

(2004). Thomas Bunting while neglecting his philosophy Ph.D. is secretly writing what he hopes will be his masterwork—a vast atheistic project. In despair over his failed career and failing marriage, Bunting is also enraged to near lunacy by his parents’ religiousness. When his father, a beloved parish priest, falls ill, Bunting returns to the village of his childhood. His hopes that this visit might enable him to talk honestly with his parents and sort out his life, are soon destroyed.