Picks and Pans Review: Great Reads

updated 05/22/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/22/2006 01:00AM

>Fiction

Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky A Russian emigré who lived in Paris and died at Auschwitz, Némirovsky wrote a novel based on nuanced portraits of those whose lives were upended by the Nazi invasion. Her stunning achievement: grasping the psychological complexities of the war as the conflict was unfolding.

The Lightning Keeper by Starling Lawrence A wise, sprawling tale set in early 20th-century Connecticut, Lawrence's novel is the story of a brilliant inventor who, when love eludes him, channels his heartbreak into ramping up the country's first power grid.

My Latest Grievance by Elinor Lipman In a satire that is gently funny but never mean, Lipman tells a rollicking story of adultery in academe in the charming voice of 16-year-old faculty brat Frederica Hatch, who misses nothing.

Everything After by Sharon Pywell A perceptive take on the generation that came of age during the late '60s, this second novel, with its quietly beautiful, perfectly paced prose, centers on a family divided both physically and politically by the Vietnam War.

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