The Inquiring Reader
Reviews, critiques, and thoughts

All Reviewed Novels

  • 94

    Beloved by Toni Morrison

    Sethe – a woman who escaped slavery by crossing the Ohio River barefoot with a newborn child in her arms – lives with her daughter in an old house in Cincinnati, years after the Civil War. When another former slave from the same, Kentucky plantation shows up at her door, soon followed by a distraught and lonely girl escaping an unknown danger, Sethe’s story is fully revealed in all of its horror and spleandor.

  • 93

    The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

    A Southern family, once wealthy and respected by their town, drives itself into financial and moral ruin. Led by an abusive, hypochondriac mother and her spiteful youngest son, the family tries to redirect the course of their inevitable demise. Their rigid morals and stubbornness only bury them deeper.

  • 92

    Death in Spring by Mercè Rodoreda

    In a village secluded in the mountains, a young boy confronts the bizarre rituals of his society. He is aware of its cruelty and obsession with suffering, but it is all he has, and will, ever know.

  • 91

    Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

    Blood Meridian is a harrowing, violent tale of a boy who joins a band of mercenaries hired to hunt and kill Apache Indians in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. It is an epic novel conceived from historical memoirs that will haunt and inspire us both in its horror and in its beauty for ages to come.

  • 88

    The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin

    In the final book of the Broken Earth Trilogy, Essun realizes that her daughter seeks to destroy the Earth to end the endless suffering of Schaffa, the Stone Eaters, and all humanity. Essun rushes across the world to stop her, but Nassun refuses to listen to the woman that left her all alone in this cruel world.

  • 85

    The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

    The Left Hand of Darkness is a wonderfully dense novel with layers and layers of beautifully imaginative landscapes, poignant social commentaries and political intrigue.

  • 83

    The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

    The Brothers Karamazov is an immense novel that takes place in an unfamiliar 19th century Russian countryside. But if the 21st century reader makes the effort to dive into its historical context and Dostoevsky's tough writing, a remarkable story emerges that explores the ethical and moral questions of injustice, hatred, love, and the fundamentals of human nature.

  • 82

    The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

    The world's guardians have left humanity to petty rivalries and deceit. Highprince Dalinar Kholin must unite his kingdom before the Voidbringers return. Kaladin must escape slavery and find his true calling. Shallan must save her house from ruin while discovering the truth of the world and what is to come.

  • 81

    Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

    David Mitchell's masterful storytelling and control of language produced a shockingly innovative novel, filled with wisdom, suspense and creativity.

  • 80

    The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin

    In the second installment of N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy, a Fifth Season descends on the Stillness. Essun must defend her comm from a siege while her daughter, far across the continent, must discover the extent of her innate power.

  • 80

    Flights by Olga Tokarczuk

    Different moments in time hang in space like sheets, like screens lit up by one moment; the world is made up of these frozen moments, great meta-images, and we just hop from one to the next.

  • 79

    Hyperion by Dan Simmons

    Hyperion is an intricate space opera that manages to blend detailed character development with an epic storyline. Through stories told from an array of characters, Simmons weaves a complex universe for a satisfying adventure.

  • 78

    A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick

    A Scanner Darkly is a somber narrative that looks into the psychological and socioeconomic effects of drug addiction. Although the story itself falls somewhere on the spectrum between crime and science fiction, how drug abuse affects cognition, perception and ultimately the well-being its users is the focal point of the novel.

  • 76

    Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday

    Asymmetry is a flurry of beautiful, comical, and somber ideas that are bound together by a mysterious force the reader must come to discover. Lisa Halliday’s debut novel sidesteps the structural norms of conventional fiction and delivers a thoughtful journey that is elegantly composed.

  • 72

    The Hand of Oberon by Roger Zelazny

    In the fourth book of the Chronicles of Amber, Corwin looks to thwart his sibling’s plots to redraw the Pattern and remake Amber in his or her own image.

  • 70

    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

    Station Eleven is a modest speculation on the way culture would transform after a pandemic eradicates the majority of human population.