HUNTING FOR HISTORY: A child in the press room, by Carl Bernstein. (Holt, $29.99.) Bernstein’s exuberant memoir of his early years as a reporter for the now-defunct Evening Star in Washington, D.C. recalls the golden age of newspapers and how he fell in love with the exciting lives of journalists then. that he was just a teenager. Reviewing it, Jill Abramson says the book “does a good job of capturing the connections between a local newspaper and the community it covers. Journalists really knew the people and the territory they were writing about. …Bernstein’s book, which is ultimately a eulogy for printed newspapers, is a passionate reminder of what exactly is being lost.
THE SCHOOL OF GOOD MOTHERS, by Jessamine Chan. (Simon & Schuster, $27.) An overwhelmed single mother leaves her toddler home alone – and lands in a state-run reform school for wayward parents. Welcome to a state of nightmarish surveillance, courtesy of a confident and dynamic new voice in fiction. “Who decides who should become a parent and how to raise the children? If these questions don’t already keep you awake at night, Chan’s cautionary tale will make sure they do,” Elisabeth Egan writes in her latest Group Text column. “Chan’s setup is so chilling that she probably could have pulled off a solid novel without spreading a layer of mortar between the bricks of her story. Instead, she throws in such clever touches that this book could be used as a model for a world ruled by passive-aggressive sadists.
TUNNELS, by Rutu Modan. (Pulled and Quarterly, $29.95.) This graphic novel from Israel’s greatest cartoonist tells the story of Nili, the daughter of a famous archaeologist determined to complete her father’s greatest expedition: finding the Ark of the Covenant. Modan draws entertaining inspiration from the genre – including a nonsensical “Seven Samurai” plot – as Nili assembles a ragtag crew that includes a Palestinian and a group of goofy young settlers. “Modan’s latest book is also his most overtly political book, though it may not seem like it at first glance,” writes Gal Beckerman in an essay considering Modan’s career as a whole. “While the idea of a group of individuals all wanting to claim the same land — digging the earth with pickaxes and shovels — may seem heavy, Modan brings a lightness to it and escapes, as usual, any . didacticism”.
BURNED, by Sarah Hall. (Customs house, $27.99.) A fictional pandemic prompts Edith, a British artist, to hole up in her studio with a lover she has just met. Society is collapsing around them, but Hall remains focused on Edith’s inner life: her childhood, defined by disaster, and a fleeting but fervent intimacy with a near stranger. “Hall, the author of several earlier novels, is best known as a highly decorated short story writer,” notes Lidija Haas in her review, “and ‘Burntcoat’ carries a flavor of this form – in its lush intensity, its abrupt leaps in time and its reliance on mood, image, and theme.… The novel’s imagery consistently reinforces the notion of art and artists being forged from catastrophic damage.
YOU NEVER GET IT BACK, by Cara Blue Adams. (University of Iowa, paper, $16.) The interrelated stories in this first collection present the painful and indelible challenges of growing up. The book follows Kate, a young woman, as she leaves school and enters adulthood, facing angst and crises along the way. “Adams manages to capture the microcosm of ordinary young woman’s struggle in modern America, and it turns out to be quite devastating,” writes Sophie Ward in her review. Ward adds, “Through Kate’s particular losses, Cara Blue Adams does a great job of showing the impossibility of innocence in a world that doesn’t recognize your worth.”