8 new books we recommend this week

NEVER SEEN ME COMING, by Vera Kurian. (Park Row, $ 27.99.) The premise of this thriller may seem absurd – seven psychopaths enroll in a secret college program to help them become productive, non-criminal members of society, to begin dying one by one – but it comes with panache and wit. . “I devoured this captivating book during a day’s travel – in a cab, at the TSA checkpoint, on the plane, in the next cab – and into the night,” Sarah Lyall writes in her latest column. on thrillers. “My desire to run to the end collided with my desire to savor every word. Who would be the last psychopath standing?

NOW BEACON, NOW SEA: Memory of a son, by Christophe Sorrentino. (Catapult, $ 22.99.) This mind-boggling memoir is less an account of the writer’s own life than a post-mortem of his parents’ marriage and an honest and heartfelt portrayal of his mother. Sorrentino has a hard time gaining acceptance, a lifelong effort that often translates into disappointment. Our reviewer, Eleanor Henderson, calls the book “more autopsy than eulogy” and finds it “shrill, intimate, and overly fair”: psychology of her parents and thus the prerequisites for her own life.

SLEEPING BEAUTIES: And Other Stories of Mystery Illness, by Suzanne O’Sullivan. (Pantheon, $ 28.) O’Sullivan explores the misunderstood connection between body and mind evident in mysterious epidemics of mass disease like Havana Syndrome or the sleep disturbances that plague refugee children. The taint of madness, she argues, hinders understanding and blocks the path to recovery. “As O’Sullivan shows in her fascinating and provocative book,” writes Emily Eakin in her review, modern medicine is used to treating the physical body, but for some conditions, “we ignore social factors at our peril.” .

WHEN WE STOP UNDERSTANDING THE WORLD, by Benjamin Labatut. Translated by Adrian Nathan West. (New York Review Books, print, $ 17.95.) Labatut’s unique imagination dazzles in this hybrid of fiction and biography, exploring the life of the great scientists of the 20th century. Its real subject is the ecstasy of discovery and the agonizing price it can demand. “Labatut slyly applies the principle of uncertainty to the human pursuit of knowledge itself,” writes Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim in her review. “Abstraction and imagination, measure and history coexist in a multidimensional reality containing endless destinies and interpretations. Further, reason and scientific research lead to the unknowable.

WEATHER, by Maria Amparo Escandon. (Flatiron, $ 27.99.) In Escandon’s vast and steamy novel, a wealthy Mexican American family conceals a host of secrets and lies. The parents want to separate; their adult daughters have other plans. A record drought in California is a fitting backdrop. “Escandón writes with a lot of energy and love for his characters,” writes Claire Lombardo in her review, who finds the book engaging if overloaded. Lombardo particularly admires Escandon’s sense of physical landscapes and family history, which she calls “filled with nuance and detail and tell-tale signs of a gifted writer who knows his material well.”

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