The Size of the World by Joan Silber (W. W. Norton) (Bonus: most under-rated writer in America!)
I'll say it again: Joan Silber is one of our truly great writers, and deserves wider recognition. I fell in love with her work in Ideas of Heaven (which was shortlisted for the National Book Award), and her new work takes the novel-in-short-stories to yet another level. The Size of the World is a masterpiece both epic and intimate, quietly straightforward and ambitiously interconnected. Her characters are heartbreakingly human, and her sentences will floor you. This is a great book to read on a trip, or while contemplating the vastness of it all right at home.
And check out my lengthier rave about the book from earlier this year. This is one of my must-reads: highly recommended for any reader. And as yet another bonus, Joan is a local author and shops at McNally Jackson; it's always a thrill to see one's heroes in the flesh (and shopping indie to boot).
I am the co-proprietor of Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. I live in Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood with the ALP (Adorably Literate Partner), who reads everything that I don't. Here, I'd like to write some strictly personal thoughts about books I've read.