Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café

Good Night, Little Bookstore by Amy Cherrix

There’s so much to love about Good Night, Little Bookstore! A charming, delightful bedtime story and an ode to the little bookstores that nurture big dreams.

Good Night, Little Bookstore by Amy Cherrix, (List Price: $17.99, Candlewick, 9781536212518, September 2022)

Reviewed by Stephanie Jones-Byrne, Malaprops Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina

Yoga by Emmanuel Carrère

The latest journey into the mind of Emmanuel Carrere, Yoga, is just as self-effacing, intelligent, and probing as his previous work. But what begins as a book about yoga and meditation soon turns into a book about personal tragedy, making for a surprisingly bittersweet, tender memoir.

Yoga by Emmanuel Carrère, (List Price: $28, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9780374604943, August 2022)

Reviewed by Justin Souther, Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina

Middlemarch and the Imperfect Life: Bookmarked by Pamela Erens

A modern-day writer’s engaging appreciation of George Eliot’s Middlemarch and what she’s gained both as a writer and a woman from reading the iconic 19th-century novel over the years. Pamela Erens argues that Eliot’s sophisticated insights into human nature, her boundless compassion for her characters’ frailties, and her acceptance of their inevitable contradictions make her an especially wise guide to the struggles we face today. Erens is most thoughtful in discussing Eliot’s belief in the central role of community in society and of the responsibilities required of its members, and persuades us of its practicality today.

Middlemarch and the Imperfect Life: Bookmarked by Pamela Erens, (List Price: $14.95, Ig Publishing, 9781632461315, April 2022)

Reviewed by Clara Boza, Malaprop’s in Asheville, North Carolina

Beyond Innocence by Phoebe Zerwick

Once upon a time, a man was unjustly imprisoned. DNA and dogged work freed him after 19 years. He lived happily ever after. Sorry, that last part didn’t happen. Even with DNA evidence, he almost didn’t get exonerated. Beyond Innocence: The Life Sentence of Darryl Hunt details Hunt’s journey from teen to convicted killer, innocent freed man, and activist with many twists. But the saddest part is what happened to him after freedom, and how it illustrates the plight of most of the exonerated. That is not as exclusive a club as you might think. According to author Phoebe Zerwick, “As of May 2021, 2,783 men and women in America have been exonerated since 1989…The National Registry of Exonerations calculate the combined years they lost at 24,915.”

Zerwick wrote about Hunt in the Winston-Salem Journal and has spent years on his case. Hunt was not just railroaded. Police falsified evidence; a judge unbelievably ruled DNA evidence was insufficient to warrant a new trial. A faithful cadre of supporters and the author’s newspaper series resulted in deliberately overlooked evidence being reexamined and finding the true killer. Only then was Hunt released. But Hunt’s case shows how the system continues to fail. Hunt briefly had a foundation to aid released prisoners. Years of prison life and post-release limitations lead to PTSD, depression, and often recidivism. Hunt’s friends realized too late he was leading a double life – calm outside, but in agony inside. They couldn’t stop him from taking his life. But if enough people pay attention to his story, perhaps others can be helped.

Beyond Innocence : The Life Sentence of Darryl Hunt by Phoebe Zerwick, (List Price: $27, Atlantic Monthly Press, 9780802159373,  March 2022)

Reviewed by Rosemary Pugliese from Malaprop’s in Asheville, NC

Black Cloud Rising by David Wright Falade

I’ve never before encountered a novel to plunge me into the heart of the Civil War like this. As the War still rages, a Black Union Brigade is formed of recently freed slaves. Dick, semi-acknowledged son of a slave and her master, is an honest and eloquent observer of slave-master relations. Now he fights for Gen. Edward Wild, leading the hunt for rebel fighters as he steels himself to clash with his former master. I felt all of Dick’s emotional journey as he progressed from slave to wartime leader and beyond. The Outer Banks setting for much of the action is beautifully portrayed.

Black Cloud Rising by David Wright Falade, (List Price: $27.00, Grove Press, 9780802159199, February 2022)

Reviewed by Rosemary Pugliese, Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, North Carolina



Pure Colour by Sheila Heti

Defying the traditional framework the novel, Sheila Heti proves once again she is one the wisest and most imaginative active writers. The story begins innocently enough and then wonderfully morphs, with ruminations on loss, companionship, religion, and the physical form. Ever since reading the book, it has echoed in my brain continuously.


Pure Colour by Sheila Heti, (List Price: $26.00, Farrar, Straus and Giroux,, 9780374603946, February 2022)

Reviewed by James Harrod, Malaprop’s in Ashevills, North Carolina


Beauty Salon by Mario Bellatin

A strange and elegiac little novel, steeped in sadness and decay. A book that’s obtusely about disease and isolation that ties accidentally and snugly into our current world.

Beauty Salon by Mario Bellatin, (List Price: $14.95, Deep Vellum Publishing, 9781646050734, September 2021)

Reviewed by Justin Souther, Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina

The Woman from Uruguay by Pedro Mairal

There is so much to be said about this book and why it’s so delightful. I was really excited for the English translation and was not in the least bit disappointed by what Jennifer Croft pulled off. What I would say I most enjoy is the decision to let it be as local as it is. It is such a perfectly quintessential porteño novel, and I’m really glad the translator and editor decided to let it be what it is.

The Woman from Uruguay by Pedro Mairal, (List Price: 24, Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781635577334, August 2021)

Reviewed by Charles Lee, Malaprop’s in Asheville, North Carolina

My Mistress’ Eyes are Raven Black by Terry Roberts

Creating a “page-turner” has always seemed to me to require something beyond writing. An author may be an excellent wordsmith, have brilliant ideas, and yet never achieve the deep understanding of human psychology or the precise timing and rhythm that is needed to hook a reader. My Mistress’ Eyes Are Raven Black is a true page-turner. It took me only two sittings to course through its pages.

Author Terry Roberts sets his propulsive historical murder mystery on Ellis Island in 1920, amid American nativism and White Christian supremacy culture. On the surface is the disappearance of a young white Irish woman with connections in high places, connections who want her found. Stephen Robbins, from Hot Springs, NC, is contracted by a nameless man to solve the woman’s disappearance. It seems that she is not the only person to have gone missing from Island 3, the location of the isolation hospital for immigrants who arrive sick or pregnant at Ellis Island, presenting a potentially contagious situation. At the hospital, Robbins meets Lucy Paul, an undercover nurse who is investigating the high rates of patient death and disappearance. Roberts creates a spookily atmospheric setting in the creepy and mysterious hospital, and Robbins and Paul make a gutsy detective duo. But Roberts offers more than a compelling atmosphere.

My Mistress’ Eyes explores what brings humans to predicate superiority based on genetic expression. What is behind the belief that this assumed superiority excuses the right to commit violence? Roberts intersperses original texts from “scholars” of the time who espoused the superiority of White Christian Americans and proclaimed the dangers of letting immigrants into the United States. These lend credibility to the story, yet never detract from Roberts’ gift for spinning a wonderful yarn-filled humor, romance, intrigue, passion–and murder.

My Mistress’ Eyes are Raven Black by Terry Roberts, (List Price: 31.99, Turner, 9781684426959, July 2021)

Reviewed by Erin Fowler, Malaprops Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

I love love love this book. It’s like Becky Chambers expanded the conversation between the whale and the petunias in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy but added 100% more robots.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers, (List Price: 20.99, Tordotcom, 9781250236210, June 2021)

Reviewed by Katie Brown, Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina

The Haunting of Alma Fielding by Kate Summerscale

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher was my introduction to Kate Summerscale’s irresistible recounting of fascinating events often lost to history. In The Haunting of Alma Fielding she weaves the true story of a London housewife whose experiences of the supernatural capture the imagination of pre-WWII London, and of the ghost hunter who investigates the poltergeist and discovers a stranger, darker tale. Surrounding Alma, we get a vivid picture of a public captivated by the allure of the supernatural and simultaneously filled with growing anxiety over the prospect of a global conflict. A masterful combination of fact, propulsive storytelling, and atmosphere.

The Haunting of Alma Fielding by Kate Summerscale (List Price: $28, Penguin Press, 9780525557920, 4/27/2021)

Reviewed by Clara Boza, Malaprop’s in Asheville, North Carolina

Secrets of Happiness by Joan Silber

A Spring 2021 Read This Next! Title

Secrets of Happiness by Joan Silber
Counterpoint, May

The characters in Joan Silber’s big-hearted new novel find happiness in mostly small and incremental ways that feel entirely true and resonate with the quiet power of relationship. I was immediately invested in the lives of this extended family-of-sorts, starting and ending with Ethan, a gay lawyer whose father is discovered to have a second family, acquired during his business travels to Asia. In between we meet people whose lives loosely intersect as they travel, figuratively and literally, towards their own versions of joy. Silber’s craft in linking her characters and her themes—connection, openheartedness, money—is seamless, but it’s her great gift for empathy that is sure to make this one of my favorite reads of this year.

– Clara Boza from Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, NC

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel

Patricia Engel’s new book is a true gem. A family story where each voice is equally interesting and dynamic. A great examination on the brutish nature of the US towards people traveling stateside looking for opportunity. Your heart breaks and mends and breaks all over again for this family. In fewer than 200 pages, Engel works magic.

Infinite Country by Patricia Engel (List Price: $25, Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, 9781982159467, 3/2/2021)

Reviewed by James Harrod, Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina

Hades, Argentina by Daniel Loedel

What Loedel accomplishes in this astonishing debut is truly powerful. There’s a clear sense that a lot of time and care was taken in coming to this story–apparently inspired by the author’s actual half-sister Isabel. It’s this time and careful construction that helps Loedel achieve what fiction is best at doing when it’s done well–telling us truths about our own condition. The themes of grief, regret, loss, self-doubt, and betrayal are explored in a gripping plot that makes the book un-put-down-able. The story slips in and out of the irreal in a way that harkens to the greats of the post-Boom Argentinian literary landscape. There are clear notes of Borges, Cortázar, Schweblin, Heker and Harwicz, while maintaining a singular voice, and an indefinably North American sensibility. The result is a really satisfying marriage of the two literary traditions, lived out in a book that lingers inside you long after it’s done.

Hades, Argentina by Daniel Loedel (List Price: $27, Riverhead Books, 9780593188644, 1/12/2021)

Reviewed by Charles Lee, Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina

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