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

    The Broken Earth #3

    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.

  • 86

    Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

    After an unexpected divorce with his wife, the narrator moves into his friend's mountain home to get away from the city. He quits his mundane job as a portrait painter and decides to pursue his own artistic passions. He soon comes across a powerful painting in the attic of the house that kicks off a mysterious series of events.

  • 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.

  • 84

    Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

    Janina Duszejko lives in a small Polish town on the border with the Czech Republic. She finds her neighbor dead in his home, having choked on a chicken bone. But a series of murders of well-known, local hunters occurs, and Janina believes them to be a form of retribution.

  • 84

    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.

  • 83

    Gasoline by Quim Monzó

    Heribert is an established artist who can't seem to find his drive in life. His days revolve around romantic flings – even though he's married to his wife Helena – and exploring the bizarre depths of his own imagination. Monzó’s writing is comical and thought-provoking, creating an unconventional novel that's a pleasure to read and a great addition to his vast array of stories.

  • 82

    Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

    Stormlight Archive #3

    Odium, the god of passion, leads an army of Parshendi to lay siege to Roshar. Dalinar Kholin must unite the kingdoms under a new order of Knights Radiant before their cities are captured. But he is plagued by his past mistakes, and he must come to terms with them and save himself before he can save others.

  • 82

    Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

    Stormlight Archive #2

    Kaladin has saved Bridge Four from the clutches of Torol Sadaes’s bridge runs. Dalinar begins to have visions from the Almighty warning him of an impending Desolation. Shallan must make her way to the Shattered Plains while coming to terms with her past and discovering her powers.

  • 82

    The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

    Stormlight Archive #1

    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

    The Broken Earth #2

    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 Cantos #1

    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

    The Chronicles of Amber #4

    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.