First novels are usually publishers' unwanted mail: commercially unpromising bundles of print that are accepted grudgingly, paid for in peanuts and advertised sparsely, if at all. The mystery is why any first novels are ever published and why there are any first novelists willing to go through the ordeal of writing them. In spite of the many obstacles, first novels continue to appear. The question for readers is knowing which ones to try. Here is a look at six of them that we think, while not perfect, are worth your time.
A SURVIVOR'S TALE
Anne Michaels takes some audacious...