I have read my share of post-apocalyptic fiction, but rarely has it had a heart like this. In a world decimated by a deadly flu, a ragged troupe of musicians and actors travels the Midwest, bringing art to those who have survived. Their story alternates with scenes from the world as it used to be — full of cell phones and celebrities, office jobs and air travel. Mandel ties together the linked stories of a child actress, grown up into a brave new world; an actor, his wives, and his son; and a photographer turned emergency medical technician who watches the world collapse from a glassy tower. Genre-hopping, full of mysteries and small pleasures, “Station Eleven” has the eerie beauty of a starless night — and can induce just as many shivers.
— Molly Templeton, Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbr
“Leaving Time” is a novel full of love, loss, regret, and Picoult’s signature style of redemption. Young Jenna Metcalf has never stopped thinking about her mother, Alice, who disappeared in the wake of a tragic accident. With all of her life savings, Jenna enlists the help of a washed-up psychic and the alcoholic detective originally assigned to the case 10 years prior. Refusing to believe that she had been abandoned, Jenna never gives up hope. As the trio uncover secrets that have long been buried, they realize it may be easier to not know what happened that night long ago. Picoult’s latest gripping tale comes to a stunning conclusion that leaves little doubt to the power of her written word.
— Bina Valenzano, co-owner, The BookMark Shoppe [8415 Third Ave. between 84th and 85th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 833–5115, www.bookma
A literary mystery about an antiquarian book collector slowly descending into madness after being committed for killing two women? I couldn’t help but be at least a little intrigued. While exceptionally creepy, this novel has incredible depth as it explores morality and loyalty with the context of the some of the darkest parts of humanity.
— Emily Russo Murtagh, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.greenl