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LARB Digital Edition: The Year in Fiction

by Rita Williams Nathan Deuel Lisa Locascio Clarissa Romano Katie Ryder

The reviews selected for this month's Digital Edition, "Foreign Lands, Invisible Cities," are a sampler of the places we readers of fiction visited this year. From the flood-prone hills of Haiti to the common courtyards of Queens, New York, fiction reminds us that everywhere we go we find humans who love and lust and scheme and hope. Some of the reviews mix personal history with criticism: Lisa Locascio describes her own fascination with Mormonism in terms of Ryan McIlvain's Elders, while Courtney Cook lets her love for Jane Gardam shine in her aptly-titled essay, "Go Read Jane Gardam." For a dash of digital-age, we include Susanna Luthi's sharp take on The Circle, Dave Eggers's dystopian novel that tackles big data collection, surveillance, and transparency.It isn't the stories alone that transport us: imagery and rhythm, form and tone all work together to take us elsewhere. This is evident in Edwidge Danticat's "Claire of the Sea Light," reviewed by Rita Williams. And discussed in both Nathan Deuel's review of Lucy Corin's "One Hundred and One Apocalypses" and Katie Ryder's essay on Renata Adler, whose 1976 "Speedboat" was republished this year by NYRoB.Some travel to see the great landmarks, others to meet and mingle with the natives. Michael LaPointe's gorgeous review of Javier Marias's "The Infatuations" takes us deep into the sorrows and desires of Marias's characters. And we round out the issue with Greg Cwik's "Donna Tartt's New Anti-Epic," a review of both the writer and her latest novel, The Goldfinch. No doubt we'll remember Tartt's warm and seedy characters long after the twists and turns of the plot are forgotten...and then, as with all dear and distant friends, consider visiting them again.

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