Winner of the 2017 National Book
Critics Circle Award in Fiction

Winner of the 2018 PEN/Faulkner Award

Winner of PEN/Malamud Award
for Excellence in the Short Story

Listed as one of the year’s best books by the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Newsday, the SeattleTimes,, and Kirkus Reviews

“No other writer can make a few small decisions ripple across the globe, and across time, with more subtlety and power.”


“She has an American voice: silvery, within arm’s length of old cadences, but also limber, thieving, marked by occasional raids on slang and jargon, at ease both high and low, funny, tenderhearted, sharp. It gives her the rare ability to reach the deepest places in the plainest ways.”

-CHARLES FINCH, Washington Post

“A new book by Joan Silber is a grand event in American literature.  Silber has been creating a unique body of work that, in its immense authority and vision, puts her in the company of Alice Munro and Mavis Gallant…This is a magnificent work about the complexity of human connection….”—

-KAREN E. BENDER, author of Refund

“I love all of Joan Silber’s work for her mastery of character, her ferocious and searching compassion, and her elegant lines that make the mind hum for hours. Improvement is so crisp and resonant a novel that it made me forget the chaos of life around me; a feat for which I’m truly grateful.”

-LAUREN GROFF, author of Fates and Furies

“More than any writer I know, Joan Silber’s fiction makes sense of the randomness of our connections while honoring the essential mystery that drives our desires. Her sentences are so finely tuned that they miraculously convey her characters’ everyday foibles and ecstatic recognitions at the very same time. Improvement is a searching and profound novel by one of our masters.”

-MARISA SILVER, author of Little Nothing and Mary Coin

“Joan Silber is America’s own Alice Munro. The psychological acuity, the ambition, the breadth of time and space: it’s all there in Improvement, which demonstrates with great poignancy how our small decisions ramify out and touch the lives of people we don’t even know. This book is deep and true and riveting.”—

-JOSHUA HENKIN, author of The World Without You

 “A winner.”

KIRKUS REVIEWS (starred review)