2. Townie: A Memoir, by Andres Dubus III
Ostensibly, “Townie” (W.W. Norton, 400 pp.) is the memoir of a boy raised by his divorced mother in an economically depressed Massachusetts mill town while nearby, his father, Andres Dubus Sr., a prominent author, taught on a picturesque college campus. Really, it’s one of the best and most penetrating explorations of violence in any medium. This story is brutal, painful, and utterly compelling. The revelations to be had (and there are plenty, albeit hard-earned) feel as though they were torn away from the author. No one has written about misery, fury, need, violence, responsibility, and compassion better, and no one has ever strung them up together in quite the same way. “Townie” practically throbs in your hands. No one with a pulse could fail to be moved – forcibly – by this book. (February)
3. House of Prayer No. 2: A Writer’s Journey Home, by Mark Richard.