Dollbaby

Dollbaby

Dollbaby, by Laura Lane McNeal. Viking, 2014. $26.95, 337 pages.

In her debut novel, author Laura Lane McNeal maps out the city of New Orleans in order to imagine a gripping tale of family secrets, civil rights, and Southern …

The Kingdom of No

The Kingdom of No

Lamy, New Mexico, 1920

It was so early in the morning that the light could hardly be called light, and an unseasonable frost lay over the ground like a warning. Hector Olivares, esq, sat in his automobile, holding tightly to …

Taffy of Turvyland

Taffy of Turvyland

The whole thing—to do it and to bring her here, home where the back room is empty, clean, with burglar bars covering windows on banana plants in the alley, all that:  Jon’s idea. We’ve laid in a supply of Depends …

The Escape Artist

The Escape Artist

J.D. Salinger: The Escape Artist, by Thomas Beller. New Harvest, 2014. $20, 192 pages.

J.D. Salinger wasn’t in the middle school canon where I grew up. Ventura, California, for most of my life, was a gerrymandered center-right political district. So my …

The Scar

I have a friend who has always been thin. Both Sasha’s parents, well into their fifties, are lanky, and, for as long as I have known Sasha—into our earliest years of schooling—her parents have been this way, pale academics, who …