Earlier this week we told you about the New York Times Notable Books of 2015, but today the New York Times Book Review unveiled their 10 Best Books of 2015 and 4 of them are published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux!
A MANUAL FOR CLEANING WOMEN: Selected Stories by Lucia Berlin
Berlin, who died in 2004, left behind a substantial but little-known trove of stories that in her lifetime appeared mostly in literary journals and small-press books. This revelatory collection gathers 43 of them, introducing her to a wider audience as an uncompromising and largehearted observer of life whose sympathies favor smart, mouthy women struggling to get by much as Berlin herself — an alcoholic who raised four sons on her own — frequently did. With their maximalist emotions and sparse, unadorned language, Berlin’s stories are the kind a woman in a Tom Waits song might tell a man she’s just met during a long humid night spent drinking in a parking lot.
OUTLINE by Rachel Cusk
Cusk’s subtle, unconventional and lethally intelligent novel, OUTLINE, her eighth, is a string of one-sided conversations. A divorced woman traveling in Greece, our narrator, talks — or rather listens — to the people she meets, absorbing their stories of love and loss, deception, pride and folly. Well-worn subjects — adultery, divorce, ennui — become freshly menacing under Cusk’s gaze, and her mental clarity can seem so penetrating, a reader might fear the same risk of invasion and exposure.
THE SELLOUT by Paul Beatty
This year’s most cheerfully outrageous satire takes as its subject a young black man’s desire to segregate his local school and to reinstate slavery in his home — before careening off to consider almost 400 years of black survival in America, puncturing every available piety. Sharp-minded and fabulously profane, Beatty’s novel is a fearless, metaphorical multicultural pot almost too hot to touch.
ONE OF US: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway by Asne Seierstad
In this masterpiece of reportage, Seierstad, a Norwegian journalist, explores the dark side of Scandinavia through the life and crimes of Anders Behring Breivik, who, on July 22, 2011, killed 77 people, most of them teenagers, as a protest against women’s rights, cultural diversity and the growing influence of Islam. As she weaves the stories of the teenagers with the central narrative about Breivik and his disturbing, alienated childhood, the book attains an almost unbearable weight. This tragedy isn’t literary and symbolic; it’s the real thing.
See the full list here.