NOTE: This article is a republication- Source: Kirkus Reviews (by Tom Beer).
Every year, some books seem to take the world by storm—splashed all over social media feeds, piled high on the front tables of bookstores, and spotted routinely in the wild. While I would never begrudge a book its popularity—yes, Ann Patchett’s Tom Lake deserves every effusive TikTok video that it inspired—I do sometimes wish other great reads could elbow their way into the spotlight. As we close out 2023, I’m singling out five of the year’s releases, all well reviewed, that nevertheless deserved more fuss:
The New Life by Tom Crewe (Scribner, Jan. 3): This debut novel by an editor at the London Review of Books explores the relationship between two late-19th-century English activists, one gay and one straight, who collaborate on a manifesto in defense of homosexuality—only to find public opinion turned against them by the Oscar Wilde scandal. It’s a deft melding of the personal and the political, written in prose that shines.
Don’t Call Me Home by Alexandra Auder (Viking, May 2): The daughter of Warhol superstar Viva (and older sister of actor Gaby Hoffmann) recounts a chaotic and colorful childhood at the Chelsea Hotel, home to New York’s artistic demimonde in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s. Auder writes with total honesty and humor about her mother’s antics—and her own. Neither an accusation nor an absolution, Don’t Call Me Home is a stunner.
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