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The Best Novels You’ve Never Read

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BANISHING VERONA
By Margot Livesey
Scary, funny plots, some of the creepiest villains in recent memory, and language both gorgeous and tart.
—Erin McGraw, Raleigh News & Observer


THE AMALGAMATION POLKA
By Stephen Wright
Fully American and fully literary as few are, he is a writer’s writer—but also a reader’s writer who deserves a wider audience.
—Deidra McAfee, Richmond Times-Dispatch


MASTER OF THE CROSSROADS
By Madison Smartt Bell
An achievement unparalleled in American letters since the time of Dos Passos. Disturbing in many parts, it is also a hell of a fun read.
—David Hellman


SHIPWRECKS
By Akira Yoshimura
Something like Rashomon-by-the-sea: a wicked, creepy short novel set in medieval Japan by a contemporary master little known in the States.
—Nathaniel Rich, The Paris Review

Writers of the top three best sellers ten years ago this week: Mary Higgins Clark, John Grisham, and Danielle Steel


UNLESS
By Carol Shields
Shields’s name has faded from view. Now that she is dead, her work should be vigorously kept in the literary public eye.
—Abby Frucht, Chicago Tribune


MAILMAN
By J. Robert Lennon
An extraordinary story about the disintegration of a postal worker with faded dreams of glory as a physicist. He leaves his own special postmark.
—Steven G. Kellman, Georgia Review


THE CONFESSION; LIBERATION MOVEMENTS
By Olen Steinhauer
Amazing crime novels set in Eastern Europe that feature a group of detectives and spies in the ironically named People’s Militia.
—Paula L. Woods, Washington Post


PRAIRIE GOTHIC
By J.M. Hayes
It’s no easy trick to write about America with a clear eye for its faults and with warm humor. Mark Twain managed it, and so does J. M. Hayes, with admirable wit in the face of horror.
—John Orr, San Jose Mercury News


SAN REMO DRIVE
By Leslie Epstein
A troubled post–World War II Hollywood childhood intersects with the blacklist in this haunting novel by the son and nephew of the brothers who wrote Casablanca.
—Frank Rich


THE TEAHOUSE FIRE
By Ellis Avery
A nearly visceral nineteenth-century Kyoto. Told via an observant narrator who has a steamy girl-on-girl tryst that changes her life.
—Karen Schechner, Lambda Book Report


WE PIERCE
By Andrew Huebner
He writes the way men used to write, bashing away until he renders the horrific beautiful.
—William Georgiades, New York Post


THE ROAD HOME
By Jim Harrison
Harrison’s most mature work, expressing wonder at human behavior while displaying both understanding and gracious good humor.
—Jeffrey Trachtenberg, The Wall Street Journal


NICE BIG AMERICAN BABY
By Judy Budnitz
Gorgeously written, bafflingly odd tales that you don’t read as much as absorb. These are fairy tales for our dark times, and they enchant even as they disturb.
—Carole Goldberg, Hartford Courant


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