Today's releases include two page-turning thrillers, a devastating yet life-affirming memoir, and a historical novel that captures Lee Miller and Man Ray’s passionate, and complicated, relationship.
Learn more about these and all of our picks for the Best Books of the Month.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides feels like it could be the big psychological thriller debut of 2019. The novel takes a few chapters to clear its throat and set the plot in motion, but once the tracks are laid it’s full steam ahead. Alicia Berenson is one-half of a glamorous couple—she’s an artist married to her fashion photographer husband, Gabriel. But when Gabriel returns home late one night, she shoots him five times in the face and refuses to speak again. Now she is being held in an institution outside London called the Grove. When a psychotherapist named Theo Faber becomes obsessed with her case, he finds his way to the Grove to treat her. Dark twists and delightful turns follow, secrets (and a diary) are revealed, and you will likely find yourself racing to the end. --Chris Schluep
Julie Yip-Williams’ memoir speaks to one of our greatest fears, that we would be diagnosed with a terminal disease, and to our greatest hope, which is that we could face life straight on, fully, without squinting, and live each day with honesty, ambition, and true feeling. She was born ethnic Chinese in Vietnam. As a young child, she had cataracts that rendered her nearly blind—her grandmother felt she would be a burden to the family and tried to have an herbalist end her life. When the family fled for the U.S., she was able to get corrective eye surgery in California. Still, she was declared legally blind due to poor vision. She earned her way into Williams College, attended Harvard Law School, married, and settled in Brooklyn with her husband and two children. Then at 37, she was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. For five years, she dealt with the disease, took care of her family, prepared them and herself for the future, and sought understanding by writing about it. There is hope, anger, fear, reflection, immersion in the everyday, and joy reflected in this book. The Unwinding of the Miracle seeks to express the truth about what it is like to face death--and to face life--and it succeeds masterfully. --Chris Schluep
The Australian outback has never looked as bleak and dangerous as it does in Jane Harper’s latest, The Lost Man. The stockman’s grave is a dark local landmark, the origin of urban legends, and now the site of another mysterious death. There is no detective chasing a killer in The Lost Man; only Nathan, the dead man’s brother, trying to work out how his sibling ended up where and how he did. Family history plays an important role in the story: Nathan, his brother Bub, and their now-dead brother Cam were raised in a house beset by violence. Their father is deceased, but all three brothers have stayed on to work and live in the incredibly harsh surroundings. Cam was the solid one, always responsible, the brother everyone liked. So how did he, of all people, end up dead? Deceptive twists sneak up on the reader, and with The Lost Man Harper has crafted another slow burn mystery that catches the reader unaware right up to the surprise ending. —Seira Wilson
Lee Miller was already an accomplished model when she made her way to Paris in the 1930s, but her aim was to be behind the camera. A chance meeting with famed Surrealist photographer Man Ray set this plan in motion, and revealed that Miller’s artistic ability--and her ambition—rivaled that of her mentor (and eventual lover). Whitney Scharer’s sumptuous debut novel, The Age of Light, captures their passionate, and complicated, relationship, and pays homage to the pluck, determination and profound talents of a woman sometimes relegated to a footnote in Man Ray’s history. Both his and Scharer’s muse shines here. --Erin Kodicek
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