Mercury Pictures Presents, Anthony Marra’s third novel, is a sprawling work containing multiple narratives. It might have been better to have kept its focus on Maria, who emigrates from Italy and ends up in Hollywood.
The Swimmers, Julie Otsuka’s long-awaited third novel, traces the elderly Alice’s descent into dementia – after a preamble that in itself is breathtaking but jars tonally with what follows.
The Mungo of the title is the youngest son of a dead father and an alcoholic mother living in poverty in Scotland whose love affair with another boy briefly banishes the bleakness of their existence.
A collection of meditations on piecing the self together after it has been ravaged by heartache and despair, Vuong’s Time is a Mother contains verse that is luminous and jagged yet precise.
Two Taiwanese-American women give this collection of short stories its title. The author, Jean Chen Ho, paints a commendable picture of fractured lives, but too often uses clumsy or superficial brush strokes.
Sang Young Park’s bestselling Love in the Big City, about a young gay man who struggles to form serious relationships, would have benefited from having a less haphazard narrative and a less petulant narrator.
Ghost Forest by Pik-Shuen Fung leavens its heavy narrative – of a girl growing up in Vancouver, and her father in Hong Kong who dies – with a joyful originality and freedom.
She was 13 and a stranger in a foreign land when her mother died of cancer. In her beautifully introspective reckoning with death, Seeing Ghosts, Kat Chow grapples with her loss.
Lyn Liao Butler’s novel has a misleading title – and that’s the least of its problems. Her tale of a mixed-race American woman is a melodrama without merit.
Available for the first time in English, Taiwanese author Chi Ta-wei’s 1995 work The Membranes imagines the future like the best of our dystopian meditations.
In Panthers, Hulks and Ironhearts, Jeffrey A. Brown takes on the task of presenting the 21st century superhero as constructed by Marvel and its commitment to mirroring the times in which we live.