John Williams of The New York Times reports on newly released book titles and the world of publishing in "The Book Reader."
"Clever Girl" is the latest novel by the British writer Tessa Hadley. It's narrated by Stella, who tells us stories from her life. Born in 1956, raised by her mother and grandmother, Stella becomes a single mother at a young age, derailing some of her future plans.
She details the difficulties and joys of raising children and the heartbreak of losing lovers along the way. Eventually, at 50, she's settled into a dependable if dull marriage.
Hadley's prose is both precise and ambitious, easy to read and deeply rewarding. Stella has a fatalistic outlook on life, but the book never feels dreary. In writing it, Hadley has said a lot about Stella's particular life and about the more general experience of growing up as a woman in the second half of the 20th century.
For more book reviews, visit www.nytimes.com/books.