As a gifted piano student, Konstantin struggles to hold on to beauty and bravado among the bleakness and brutality of late-Cold War Bulgaria, where his talents are rigidly cultivated even as his independence is stifled. Nikolai Grozni tells the semi-autobiographical story of a place and time that, like childhood or a moving passage of music, exists now only in memory.

April 21: " 'Pull' includes 'invitations to tea' at which one hears smiling reminders that a better life is available to people who stop talking about massacres..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…