Apr 3, 2013 — As a Mormon missionary, Ryan McIlvain spent two years ringing strangers' doorbells, even as he experienced doubts about his own faith. He left the church in his mid-20s. McIlvain's debut novel, Elders, tells the story of two young Mormons carrying out their missions.
Mar 20, 2013 — Jean-Marie Blas de Robles' novel Where Tigers Are at Home won France's 2008 Prix Medicis. It's now out in English, and reviewer Alan Cheuse says it will appeal to readers who like the complexity of Umberto Eco, with "an adventure plot straight out of Michael Crichton."
Dec 21, 2011 — Critic Dan Kois selects the standout graphic novels of the year, which include books from France and Japan, explicit picaresques, hard-boiled mysteries, memoirs, fairy tales and new twists on old classics.
Jul 15, 2011 — NPR coverage of The Seamstress: A Novel by Frances De Pontes Peebles. News, author interviews, critics' picks and more.
Dec 23, 2009 — Many of the picks from Fresh Air's book critic look back at tough times from earlier eras, or lives upended by disaster. The best books of the year include a work of nonfiction that reveals the hidden fantasy land of a founder of American industry, and a novel that doesn't apologize for the bad behavior of its characters. Plus, a bonus mystery pick.
Aug 4, 2009 — When Henry Ford bought up a Connecticut-sized chunk of land in the Amazon River basin in 1927, he wasn't just planning to build his own vertically-integrated rubber plantation — he also envisioned the small-town America of his youth, reborn in the jungle.
Jul 29, 2009 — Cape Cod cottages, red fire hydrants, swimming pools, and a golf course — the perfect village, built by Henry Ford, right in the heart of the the Amazon jungle of Brazil. Greg Grandin's book (non-fiction, amazingly) documents the history of Ford's vision of the American Jungle Utopia that almost was.
Jun 6, 2009 — Henry Ford didn't just want to be a maker of cars — he wanted to be a maker of men. He thought he could perfect society by building model factories and pristine villages to go with them. And he was pretty successful at it in Michigan. But in the jungles of Brazil, he would ultimately be defeated.
Oct 8, 2008 — Alan Cheuse reviews two historical novels, both with protagonists immersed in sewing and slavery: Breena Clarke's Stand the Storm and Frances de Pontes Peebles' The Seamstress.
Feb 24, 2008 — Sergio Vieira de Mello was the United Nations' envoy in Iraq when he was killed by a terrorist attack on the Canal Hotel in August 2003. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Samantha Power has written a book about Vieira de Mello's life.