The best books of the week

White Dancing Elephants
Chaya Bhuvaneswar (fiction, Dzanc Books)
A collection of 16 gripping short stories featuring a diverse range of women of color, in tales that are clever and thought-provoking. In one, a therapist-patient relationship has a shocking culmination that threatens to derail the therapist’s life; in another, one friend betrays the other with her husband.

Bridge of Clay
Markus Zusak (fiction, Knopf Books for Young Readers)
The much-anticipated new title from the author of “The Book Thief,” “Bridge of Clay” is the story of the Dunbar boys, five brothers learning to bring each other up and navigate the strange adult world on their own.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter
Kate Morton (fiction, Atria Books)
In present day London, a young woman named Elodie finds a leather satchel with several Victorian-era portraits and a sketch of a country house on the river — a house that feels strangely familiar to Elodie for unknown reasons. As she begins to research, she learns that Birchwood Manor plays host to a murder 150 years ago and a mystery never solved. Classic English country-house Goth at its finest.

The Witch Elm
Tana French (fiction, Viking)
Coming home from drinks with colleagues, Toby surprises two burglars and is beaten and left for dead. As he recuperates, he returns to his ancestral home to care for his dying uncle. But a skull found on the property makes Toby realize that his family past is not what it seems.

Presidents of War
Michael Beschloss (nonfiction, Crown)
A fascinating look at US presidential history and how leaders from James Madison to present times have dealt with the pressures and difficult decisions of war. Based on interviews with surviving participants and original letters, diaries and once-classified documents.

Killing Commendatore
Haruki Murakami (fiction, Knopf)
After he discovers his wife cheating, a thirty-something portrait painter embarks on a road trip, ending up in the mountain home of a famous artist. He finds a violent painting in the attic called “Killing Commendatore,” which sets in motion a surreal string of events.

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