Great Reads: May 2011

Add these spring picks to your must list.

By the MORE Books Editors
The Long Goodbye by Meghan O'Rourke

The Long Goodbye by Meghan O’Rourke (Riverhead)

When her mother died of cancer at 55, O’Rourke, a poet and critic, tried “to scavenge every last scrap of meaning” from the insupportable loss. She sought solace in the literature of grief and in the ritual of writing about her vibrant, beautiful mother, which she did with all the passion of a daughter’s alternately worshipful and resentful love. Whether describing the red corduroy cover of a treasured childhood diary or the sharp black of her mother’s eyebrows as she lies dying, O’Rourke conveys her experience in every color and shade of gray. —Marion Winik


On Black Sisters Street by Chika Unigwe (Random House)

This spellbinding novel, about four women from Africa who work in Antwerp’s red-light district, combines a storyteller’s narrative flair with a reporter’s eye for grim, gritty details about the sex industry. When Sisi is murdered, her roommates gather to share the stories of their desperate, hidden pasts. Nigerian-born Unigwe crafts her characters’ voices with crystalline prose and compassion, in a revelatory work as tough, humane and unsentimental as its heroines. —Caryn James


The Year We Left Home by Jean Thompson (Simon & Schuster)

The members of the extended Erickson family are growing up and apart, leaving the state of Iowa, the 1970s and the staunch Lutheran ethic on which they were raised. They head out to the coast, off to war, headlong into drug use and blindly into marriage, losing track of their idealism and their dreams. This compelling chronicle of the subtle and grand departures that constitute a life is alive with incident and told by a cast of likable characters who are as uniquely drawn as they are recognizable. —Pam Houston

First Published Wed, 2011-03-30 13:02

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