Contemporary American fiction faces an ongoing problem of what to write about. Yuppie life in Brooklyn doesn’t have the gravitas, suburban ennui is long since overdone, and so much of American life — mostly for the better — doesn’t face serious moral choices. Sergio de la Pava has solved this problem by writing about the American legal system, set in New York City and with a Colombian immigrant public defender. At first I was skeptical but at page 256 (out of 678) it is still getting better. It is likely to make my “best of the year” list. My five word summary would be “A more approachable William Gaddis.” You will note it is published by University of Chicago press and presumably it is “too serious” to have attracted a major trade contract. It’s not for everyone, but it’s living up to its billing as a sleeper under the radar. You can pre-order it here.