Salon recommends

The pick of recent fiction, from the critics and editors of Salon Books.

Published April 23, 2000 4:00PM (EDT)

"Mr Phillips" by John Lanchester By Tom Shone
It's virtually plotless, but the new novel by the author of "The Debt to Pleasure" makes the life of a randy, unemployed accountant seem touching. (04/20/00)

"Wild Decembers" by Edna O'Brien By Stephanie Zacharek
The great Irish novelist delivers a resoundingly passionate tale of land feuds and illicit love. (04/18/00)

"Horse Heaven" by Jane Smiley By Emily Gordon
A great big novel, jampacked with characters, that brings poetry to the dust and the lust of the racetrack. (04/17/00)

"Ravelstein" by Saul Bellow By Lorin Stein
The Nobel laureate offers a fictional portrait of his gay friend Allan Bloom -- and of the erotic fulfillment he himself found late in life. (04/14/00)

"The Requiem Shark" by Nicholas Griffin By Steve McQuiddy
Pillage and murder at sea: There really was a Black Bart, and he really did capture 400 ships in four years. (04/10/00)

"Blue Angel" by Francine Prose By Pam Rosenthal
The young and heartless seduce the old and foolish, in a satire of p.c. Puritanism on campus. (04/07/00)

"Fay" by Larry Brown By Virginia Vitzthum
The heroine of Brown's sixth novel is a Huck Finn navigating the Mississippi lowlife in the body of a 17-year-old femme fatale. (04/04/00)

"Being Dead" by Jim Crace By Gary Krist
A haunting novel about a couple caught and killed in flagrante delicto -- how they got there, and what happens before they're found. (03/30/00)

"The Fig Eater" by Jody Shields By Maria Russo
A first-time novelist, recasting a Freudian case history as a psychosexual detective story, wonders what would have happened if "Dora" had been murdered. (03/29/00)

"Le Mariage" by Diane Johnson By Elizabeth Judd
Yanks abroad and French nationals
still bewildering one another in a funny follow-up to the bestselling "Le
Divorce." (03/27/00)

"Waterloo Sunset: Stories" by Ray Davies By Stephanie Zacharek
The legendary leader of the Kinks ventures gamely into fiction. (03/23/00)

"The Book of Revelation" by Rupert Thomson By Jonathan Miles
From the English novelist, a tale of brief sexual slavery and the years of dissipation that follow. (03/20/00)

"Bodega Dreams" by Ernesto Quiqonez By Anderson Tepper
A streetwise, darkly lyrical first novel celebrates Spanish Harlem. (03/16/00)

"Use Me" by Elissa Schappell By Stephanie Zacharek
A disarming debut collection tracks a woman's life from teenage passion to grown-up grief. (03/14/00)

"Mondo Desperado" by Patrick McCabe By Austin Bunn
By the author of "The Butcher Boy," a collection of stories pitch-black down to their funny Irish toes. (03/13/00)

"On Parole" by Akira Yoshimura By Emily Gordon
A bestselling Japanese novelist depicts the grim aftermath of a grisly crime. (03/09/00)

"Scandalmonger" by William Safire By Katharine Whittemore
The pundit and language columnist crafts a potboiler of sleaze and slander in the republic's infancy. (03/01/00)

"Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" by Helen Fielding By Maria Russo
She's back, she's got her weight down, she's got Mark Darcy and she's in a Thai jail on drug charges. (02/29/00)

"A Trip to the Stars" by Nicholas Christopher By Polly Morrice
A kidnapped little boy, his lost aunt and a fantasy about people finding themselves in the days of flower power. (02/25/00)

"The Dress Lodger" by Sheri Holman By Marion Lignana Rosenberg
A lurid and literary novel offers a tale of prostitution, cholera and body snatching in 19th century England. (02/28/00)

"Scar Vegas and Other Stories" by Tom Paine By Maria Russo
In an amazing debut, a fired-up writer takes aim at dumb American swaggerers and corporate greed. (02/23/00)

E.L. Doctorow's "City of God" By Julia Gracen
Harrowing stories of war and vengeance interwoven with a quest for enlightenment (02/18/00)

"Fasting, Feasting" by Anita Desai By Sylvia Brownrigg
Unhappy Indian families are unhappy in their own way, too, the author demonstrates in this Booker Prize finalist. (02/17/00)

"Abe: A Novel of the Young Lincoln" by Richard Slotkin By Laura Miller
A splendid piece of mythmaking views the young hero's coming of age through the lens of Huckleberry Finn. (02/11/00)

"Gertrude and Claudius" by John Updike By John Freeman
In his 19th novel, Updike spins a tale of feverish and furtive sex and death in a masterly prequel to "Hamlet." (02/09/00)

"S.: A Novel About the Balkans" by Slavenka Drakulic By Brigitte Frase
A fierce novel brings home the horrors of the Bosnian war -- rape, torture and the sexual slavery of Muslim women. (02/08/00)

"Two Moons" by Thomas Mallon By Christopher Shea
A beautiful but heavy-handed new novel by the author of "Henry and Clara" evokes a post-Civil War Washington of scheming politicians and love-struck astronomers. (02/07/00)

"The Verificationist" by Donald Antrim By Andrew Roe
Another tour de force of antic surrealism mixed with melancholy, this one viewed from the ceiling of a pancake house. (02/02/00)

"Chaos Theory" by Gary Krist By Jonathan Miles
It starts quietly enough, with two
kids copping a joint -- and then it spins into a breakneck thriller. (01/27/00)

"The Testament of Yves Gundron" by Emily Barton By Virginia Heffernan
An inventive novel
dreams up a lost primitive civilization and uses it to slam modern life. (01/25/00)

"Everything You Know" by Zve Heller By John
Frederick Moore
In the English journalist's
skillful first novel, a creep reads his dead daughter's diaries. (01/24/00)

"So I Am Glad" by A.L. Kennedy By Elise Harris
Another wonderfully weird, sexy
tale by the author of "Original Bliss." (01/20/00)

"Cruddy" by Lynda Barry By Heidi Bell
A tender and goofy illustrated novel
about a kid whose parents' beatings can't keep her down. (01/13/00)

"Girl with a Pearl Earring" by Tracy Chevalier, "The Music Lesson" by
Katharine Weber and "Girl in Hyacinth Blue" by Susan Vreeland
By Marion Lignana Rosenberg
Three recent
novels shimmer with the sensuousness of Vermeer, the painter who inspired
them. (01/10/00)

"The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro" by Antonio Tabucchi By Marion Lignana Rosenberg
mystery of corruption, drug trafficking and decapitation by the Italian
novelist. (01/05/00)

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