The year’s best books, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.
Libya’s Prisons Were Emptying. But Hisham Matar’s Father Was Nowhere to Be Found.
Susan Faludi’s ‘In the Darkroom’
Matthew Desmond’s ‘Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City’
‘Dark Money,’ by Jane Mayer
‘At the Existentialist Café,’ by Sarah Bakewell
A New Flemish Novel Is Drawing Comparisons to W. G. Sebald
‘The Vegetarian,’ by Han Kang
In Colson Whitehead’s Latest, the Underground Railroad Is More Than a Metaphor
Colm Toibin Reviews ‘The North Water’ by Ian McGuire](http://sharingzones.com/t/the-north-water-review/287/1)
Ian McGuire’s riveting and darkly brilliant novel “The North Water” also dramatizes a disgraced personality. The Irish surgeon Patrick Sumner became involved in an act of pure, abject, reckless greed during the siege of Delhi in 1857. Friendless now, addicted to opium, he has signed up, since no one else will have him, to become the surgeon on the Volunteer, a whaling ship in the north of England. As the ship sets out on a voyage to the Arctic Circle, some of the other members of the crew are far more villainous, unpleasant, treacherous and unfortunate than any characters created by authors of adventure stories in the 19th century.
‘The Association of Small Bombs,’ by Karan Mahajan
If “The Association of Small Bombs” has any weakness, it’s in the way it shuts down at the end, with haste and a somewhat perfunctory nod to its own fatalism. But this doesn’t make the ending any less tragic for all parties — victims and perpetrators both. This novel is generous without prejudice, which feels at once subversive and refreshing. It also contributes to its sadness. There are no heroes here. Just an association of small bombs ticking away in the guise of average people who feel intensely.