Leave the World Behind is atmospheric and prescient: Its rhythms of comedy alternating with shock and despair mimic so much of the rhythms of life right now. That's more than enough to make it a signature novel for this blasted year.
Writer Geoffrey Wolff. His new collection of essays, "A Day At The Beach" (Alfred A. Knopf), is about the worst vacation ever. It started with over-priced dinners and ended in open heart surgery. Wolff is best known for his book "The Duke of Deception," a memoir about being the son of a con man.