Éric Vuillard's engaging The War of the Poor takes a literary approach that is more art than history, but that is a wonderful way to convey important historical events and their long reach into our troubled times.
It's not just gun-toting crooks who abuse refugees, we learn from memoir I Just Wanted to Save My Family, it's also politicians and legal officers filling their personal and national coffers with fines and extortion who profit from criminal human trafficking.
The story of one of Frida Kahlo's short affairs, captured in Marc Petitjean's excellent book, The Heart, offers an inspired glimpse into the surreal Parisian art scene of 1939.
Serenade for Nadia's complex plot allows Turkish author Zülfü Livaneli to sermonize on topics as varied as anti-Semitism, secularism and modernity, the role of faith in the modern world, diversity and multiculturalism, media and journalism, and more.
Yannick Haenel's Hold Fast Your Crown is shocking, frustrating, elating, and among the best books published in France for decades.
In writing about the inability to write, Theodor Kallifatides has produced a book, Another Life, which aches with its own quiet beauties and inspires with its resilient creativity.
Éric Vuillard's work is a short, sublime history that provides a necessary and contemporary service by stripping away the mythic quality of Nazi fascism.