New in Paperback: ‘The Red Lotus’ and ‘This Is Big’

THE TRUANTS, by Kate Weinberg. (Putnam, 336 pp., $17.) This “hypnotic,” “uncommonly clever” debut whodunit, our crime columnist, Marilyn Stasio, declared, “might have met with the approval of the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie,” to whose books, plot twists, settings and life its author “makes plentiful references … all while coming across as madly original.”

THE CHEFFE: A Cook’s Novel, by Marie NDiaye. Translated by Jordan Stump. (Vintage, 304 pp., $16.) The French Senegalese writer’s latest work, about a gifted chef in Bordeaux at odds with the daughter she left behind, is “a sensual portrayal of the indispensable place of talented cooks in the world of the French bourgeoisie,” our reviewer, Ankita Chakraborty, wrote, and of a heroine who delivers “savory before sugar, invention and technique before pleasure.”

THE RED LOTUS, by Chris Bohjalian. (Vintage, 400 pp., $16.95.) As “suspenseful” as it is, with its “elegant noose of a plot being tied around our necks,” our reviewer, Sarah Lyall, observed, this “terrific” thriller about a young man who goes missing while on a bicycle tour in Vietnam is also “unexpectedly moving” regarding the love of parents for children and children for parents. “Just try not to think about the rats,” Lyall warned. “They’re everywhere.”

HOW TO TREAT PEOPLE: A Nurse’s Notes, by Molly Case. (Norton, 288 pp., $16.95.) The British nurse whose poem “Nursing the Nation” went viral in 2013 explains how hospitals assess critically ill patients and shares stories of human connection, with strangers and with her own father, who suffers a stroke and ends up on her cardiac ward.

SMALL DAYS AND NIGHTS, by Tishani Doshi. (Norton, 288 pp., $16.95.) In this poetic novel about a woman who leaves an unhappy marriage in America for an overgrown beach property she’s inherited from her mother in South India and learns she has a sister with Down syndrome, “a fragmented family” becomes “an overflowing one,” our reviewer, Aditi Sriram, marveled, “seemingly without anything specific happening.”

THIS IS BIG: How the Founder of Weight Watchers Changed the World (and Me), by Marisa Meltzer. (Back Bay, 304 pp., $16.99.) “Acerbic, culturally astute and genuine,” Meltzer “makes exquisite company,” according to our reviewer, Lily Burana, in these “parallel tales” of her own weight-loss efforts and the life of Jean Nidetch, the Queens housewife who launched Weight Watchers in 1963.

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