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FICTION The Ninth Hour By Alice McDermott Farrar, Straus and Giroux 247 pages, $26 “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”  (Matthew 27:46) Alice McDermott reaches deep into the well of human experience once again in her superlative  “T…

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FICTION Sing, Unburied, Sing By Jesmyn Ward Scribner 289 pages, $26 Not to mince words, “Sing, Unburied, Sing” is a marvel -- a novel that not only transcends the genre but unlike most of its counterparts, can be called literature. Arresting, elevating, relevant, original. All the words apply although “Sing, Unburied, Sing” is not a pretty book. J…

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MEMOIR The Best of Us: A Memoir By Joyce Maynard Bloomsbury 437 pages, $27 Life is neither fair -- nor dull -- in Joyce Maynard’s latest memoir which, after 159 pages of unapologetic self congratulation, suddenly turns to gold. Surely this is intentional, Maynard being a teacher of the memoir genre -- and “The Best of Us”a tale of transformation. Bu…

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FICTION Mrs. Fletcher By Tom Perrotta Scribner 307 pages ($26) One thing leads to another – and another – in Tom Perrotta’s latest comic foray into the customs and mores of this American moment. His new novel, “Mrs. Fletcher,” is in fact something of a time capsule when it comes to sex and gender in our country, a barometer (albeit a small one)…

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MEMOIR The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying By Nina Riggs; Simon & Schuster, 310 pages, $25 Nina Riggs doesn’t say straightaway, in her stunning and consequential memoir “The Bright Hour,” that she is the great-great-great granddaughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Nor would this matter, in the greater scheme of things, except for the fact that it…

MEMOIR Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat By Patricia Williams, with Jeannine Amber; Dey St./HarperCollins, 240 pages, $25.99 “Comedy and selling drugs have a lot in common. You need to be quick, work hard, and give people what they want.” -- Patricia Williams, aka “Ms. Pat” “Hustle and humor” were once all Patricia Williams knew – and, when sh…

Books

FICTION There Your Heart Lies By Mary Gordon Pantheon 320 pages, $26.95 Author Mary Gordon’s long preoccupation with the Roman Catholic Church – and its historic stumbling blocks – suffuses her latest novel, “There Your Heart Lies.” Introspective, and often indignant, this is both a treatise on the 1930s’ Spanish Civil War that propelled Gener…

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FICTION The Accomplished Guest: Stories By Ann Beattie Scribner 270 pages, $25 One is tempted, when reading the sublime Ann Beattie, to do so in one fell swoop. Her stories are that delectable, that easy – at first pass. But it is best to slow down, to savor their cadence, their quirkiness (and trademark humor) before realizing that every single one of …

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NONFICTION "Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy," by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant; Knopf, 226 pages, ($25.95) "The Outrun: A Memoir" by Amy Liptrot;  Norton, 280 pages ($25.95) Perspective comes at a steep price in two new chronicles of profound loss – one, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg’s searing account of lif…

FICTION MOTHER LAND By Paul Theroux Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 560 pages, $28 If you’ve never had a problem parent, Paul Theroux has one for you in his overwritten, overlong yet irresistible new novel, “Mother Land.” Never mind that the book, by its narrator’s own definition, is basically “a study of malice”; it also is devilishly funny -- and …

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FICTION HOUSE OF NAMES By Colm Tóibín Scribner 288 pages, $26 Colm Tóibín – the grand Irish storyteller who brought us “Brooklyn” and “Nora Webster” – turns his hand to Greek mythology in his latest novel, “House of Names.” If this seems a departure, it is one chiefly in venue and in time (a long tumble backward, from New York in the 1…

FICTION SELECTION DAY By Aravind Adiga Scribner 289 pages, $26 THE WOMAN ON THE STAIRS By Bernhard Schlink Pantheon 225 pages, $25.95 Free will and that old Hamletian “divinity that shapes our ends” joust for position in two captivating new novels about the place choice holds in our lives. In Aravind Adiga’s lusty, satiric “Selection Day,”…

FICTION The Strays By Emily Bitto Twelve 256 pages, $26 An idyll spawns secrets until it is no longer an idyll – and all hell breaks loose – in Australian author Emily Bitto’s impressive first novel, “The Strays.” Currently making its American debut, the book was winner of the 2015 Stella Prize, to “recognize and celebrate Australian women wri…

FICTION DIFFICULT WOMEN By Roxane Gay Grove Press 260 pages, $25 HOMESICK FOR ANOTHER WORLD: STORIES By Ottessa Moshfegh Penguin Press 294 pages, $26 Sex is back in all its glory and contradiction – its power to hallow, its potential to harm -- in two unusual new story collections featuring individuals who, for good or ill, simply don’t fit t…

Books

FICTION "A Book of American Martyrs" By Joyce Carol Oates Ecco 768 pages, $29.99 Joyce Carol Oates, fearless chronicler of our dark sides, takes on the murder of an abortion provider – and its endless ramifications -- in her latest blockbuster-sized  novel, “A Book of American Martyrs.” Shattering from start to finish, this is a 768-page discourse …