Category Archives: The Isle of Youth


The New Republic Best Books of 2013.

NPR’s Guide to the Best Books of 2013.

The Huffington Post’s Best Books of 2013.

Cosmopolitan’s Best Books of 2013.

ISLE tops Flavorwire’s list of Best Story Collections of 2013.

Baltimore City Paper’s Best Books of 2013.

L Magazine’s Best Books of 2013.

Largehearted Boy’s Best Story Collections of 2013.

Bookish Best Story Collections of 2013.

The Airship Best Books of 2013.


Bookslut review.

The Rumpus review.

Los Angeles Review of Books essay/review.

L Magazine review.

Bookdwarf review.

Edge Boston review.


The Morning News Tournament of Books longlist.

Lincoln Michel’s 2013 favorites at Vol. 1 Brooklyn.

American Short Fiction Holiday Gift Guide.

Kenyon Review Holiday Reads.

Writing about six of my favorite unconventional mysteries for The Week.

“Acrobat” on Storyville.


Salon interview.

BOMB interview.

Bustle interview.

Tin House online interview.

Shelf Awareness interview.

Pub Week Re-Cap

Feeling very, very grateful for the reviews + interviews that have gone up this week:

Reviews & Mentions:

Wall Street Journal review.

San Francisco Chronicle mention.

Amazon top 10 story collections of 2013.

O, The Oprah Magazine top 10 books of 2013 (December Issue).

Apple iBooks Best of November.

The Millions review.

Grantland review.

Du Jour review.

Book Riot review.

Interviews & Essays:

Interview Magazine profile.

Kirkus profile.

The Rumpus interview.

Largehearted Boy Book Notes.

“Journey to Antarctica” for The Story Prize Blog.

Research Notes for Necessary Fiction.

The Believer interview.

Other People podcast.

New Reviews + Interviews

Interview with Elliott Holt at Fiction Writers Review. In May, I interviewed Elliott for her excellent debut novel, YOU ARE ONE OF THEM. The circle is now complete.

Interview with Lauren Groff for Omnivoracious. Lauren’s “L. Debard and Aliette” is one of my all-time favorite short stories. Exquisite.

Interview with The Short Form, where they do these nifty author drawings and let me recommend some of my favorite short stories.

Interview with Aspen Public Radio, for their First Draft series.

Esquire has some kind words on ISLE: “A master of the short story creates seven elaborate worlds with beautiful and haunting characters at a time when it feels like most short story collections are pretty thinly plotted.”

Criminal Element says “…every story is told in such beautiful language, you don’t quite realize your heart is breaking until it’s done.”

Chamber Four November Book Radar.



Lists to Love

In some happy post-Halloween news, THE ISLE OF YOUTH is one of Amazon’s 10 Best Books for November! This is especially exciting because ISLE gets to share real estate with Daniel Alarcón AND my beloved Hyperbole and a Half.

ISLE is also a Best Books of the Week pick at Publisher’s Weekly and one of 5 Books to Watch for November at Book Riot.

Thank you kind selectors of books! I eat leftover Halloween candy in your honor.

Happening Next Week: Mass + NYC Events

On November 5th, ISLE will have its official book birthday, to be celebrated in high style with a launch at Newtonville Books. Come one, come all. Have a drink. I will read briefly about teenage bank robbers or acrobats or spooky twins. It will be fun.

I’m also very exited to be part of these two upcoming events in New York:

Brooklyn Launch of ISLE at Community Bookstore in Park Slope, co-hosted by Vol.1 Brooklyn, where I’ll be in conversation with Jason Diamond. This is happening on November 6th (Wednesday), 7:00 PM.

On November 13th (another Wednesday, another 7PM), I will be partaking in the massively awesome Originals Series, presented by FSG, GQ, & Flavorpill, with musical guest Steve Gunn and the amazing Sloane Crosley. You do need to RSVP, which you can do HERE, but tickets are free free free.

Also happening next week! Andover Bookstore on November 7th (7PM) and Owl & Raven in Northampton on November 8th (8PM) with Jamie Iredell, Chelsea Martin, & Matthew Harrison.


New Reviews: Marie Claire, Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, Flavorwire & Booklist!

An ocean of gratitude for the new ISLE reviews/mentions this week:

In New York Magazine, Kathryn Schulz says “My current favorite short-story-writer-too-few-people-have-heard-of is Laura van den Berg, whose new collection, The Isle of Youth, is a smart, fun, noir-y treasure map of where families hide their secrets and lost souls hide themselves.”

In Marie Claire, ISLE is one of Steph Opitz’s “What to Read Now” picks.

Vanity Fair says “The stories in Laura van den Berg’s dreamy The Isle of Youth are absolutely captivating.”

At Booklist Annie Bostrom weighs in with: “…Van den Berg sends her characters along the undulations of extraordinary familial relationships—navigating their understood strength and, at the same time, arbitrariness—and gathers their piercingly true, hauntingly single voices in this memorable collection.”

At Flavorwire ISLE is a “Must-Read for November.”



A Little News

Aritzia has some lovely words for ISLE: “Throughout these stories, van den Berg creates her own forsaken landscapes, and as with the strange colours of the Aurora Australis, she casts each tale in an unexpected, almost exquisite, glow.”

At The Quivering Pen, novelist extraordinaire David Abrams includes ISLE in his latest Front Porch Books round-up.

The Nervous Breakdown kindly ran an excerpt from “Lessons,” a story in ISLE, + a self-interview this week.

Thanks to Gigantic and Mini-Monster issue guest editor Adrian Van Young, I have a new story called “The Child” in their latest (which Jia Tolentino was nice enough to write about in The Hairpin). Hurray for monsters!