Joan Silber, Improvement
The much celebrated Silber creates yet another artfully structured new novel, in which stories of a multitude of characters ricochet in cunning ways, crossing generations and continents. Kiki heads to Istanbul in 1970, and marries Osman, a carpet seller. The marriage falls apart after she follows Osman to his isolated home village, where she’s tempted to take off with a trio of young Germans who are smuggling antiquities. Eight years later she returns to New York with nine valuable rugs. One rug ends up with her niece Reyna, a single mother living in Harlem who asks Kiki to babysit when she visits her boyfriend in jail. He and his crew get involved in an ill-fated contraband cigarette scheme. We know them all intimately by the end of this intriguing contemporary chronicle.