(Little, Brown, $21.99)
Patrick Somerville’s “lean, moving” first novel contains enough drama to fill a book three times its length, said Dean Bakopoulos in The New York Times. “Like the good Midwesterners it depicts, it wastes no time,” and quickly dispatches its protagonist on a defining mission. When Matt Bishop’s very pregnant wife asks him to track down the cradle in which she was rocked as a baby, the young factory worker fills up his tank and starts knocking on doors. Events force Matt, a former foster child, into self-examination, and it soon becomes clear that he’s on a “collision course” with an older character whom we meet just as she’s preparing to send a son off to the war in Afghanistan.
“We don’t know everything” about these people’s histories, but we don’t need to, said Wendy Smith in the Chicago Tribune. What’s important is that the characters are “rendered with such warm appreciation for their complexity and resilience.”
The Cradle develops into a “deeply gratifying modern fable,” said Janet Maslin, also in the Times. Somerville’s “light, graceful touch” when writing about complicated emotions marks the 29-year-old as “someone to watch.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- Why the Supreme Court is allowing Texas to hold an unconstitutional election
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Gamergate has backfired spectacularly on its nincompoop perpetrators
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 10 things you need to know today: October 20, 2014
- Why you should absolutely watch this confounding, wonderful World Series
- Rise of the machines
- Ban PowerPoint!
Subscribe to the Week