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  • Jenny Shank 5:00 pm on 2019/01/04 Permalink
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    6 Short Story Collections to Look Forward to in 2019 

    Fiction readers who overlook short stories are missing out. Not only do some of our best writers get started in the form before moving on to novels (think George Saunders and Jhumpa Lahiri), but some writers are such masters of the short story that they write them exclusively (including Alice Munro and Lucia Berlin). Many of the most celebrated books of recent years have been story collections, from Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties to Lucia Berlin’s A Manual for Cleaning Women. Here are six story collections due out between now and April that just might become the next big thing.

    Mouthful of Birds, by Samanta Schweblin, translated by Megan McDowell (January 8)
    Buenos Aires–raised, Berlin-based Samanta Schweblin caught the attention of international lit fans when her novel Fever Dream made the shortlist for the Man Booker International Prize in 2017. She’s back with a collection of otherworldly short stories, newly translated into English, that should appeal to readers who loved the feminist, horror-tinged fairy tales in Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties. Mouthful of Birds opens with a bride abandoned at a highway gas station by her new husband—along with dozens of other jilted women—in “Headlights.” In “Butterflies,” girls transform into the title creatures, but some fathers don’t have the sense to respect their fragile wings. In the title story, a teenage girl’s transformation into a young woman who needs to eat live birds to thrive horrifies her parents, who cannot stomach what their daughter is becoming.

    You Know You Want This: “Cat Person” and Other Stories, by Kristen Roupenian (January 15)
    Kristen Roupenian is the author of an exceedingly rare phenomenon: a viral short story. In December 2017, the New Yorker published her story “Cat Person,” and it immediately became the magazine’s most-read story of the year, while igniting fierce social media debate about its merits and meaning. “Cat Person” plunges the reader inside the experience of Margot, a white, middle-class college student trying to puzzle out Robert, an older man she begins dating. Her only clues are the limited information she can glean from his texts and their strained communication. Roupenian’s debut collection proves her knack for shocking, unsettling, and riveting readers was not a one-story deal, with stories including “Bad Boy,” about a couple who make a sex game out of controlling their recently dumped friend, their actions spiraling into violence, and “Look at Your Game, Girl,” a haunting suspense tale about a girl who meets a creepy older man at a skatepark.

    This Is Not a Love Song, by Brendan Mathews (February 5)
    This story collection, which follows Matthews’ debut 2017 novel The World of Tomorrow, showcases Matthews’ knack for getting to the heart of a story through unusual structures and perspectives. In the funny, quirky “My Last Attempt to Explain to You What Happened with the Lion Tamer,” the narrator, an “old clown” at a circus, addresses the “new girl on the flying trapeze” who stole his heart, giving his version of the events that led to a preening lion tamer’s untimely demise. The title story begins, “She was Kitty to her parents, Katherine to the nuns in high school, Kate when she was in college. But to anyone who knew her then—Chicago in the first years of the nineties, her hands tearing at her guitar like a kid unwrapping a Christmas present—she had already become Kat.” The narrator, a photographer, chronicles Kat’s rise to fame in gritty Chicago indie clubs when it was going to be “the next Seattle.”

    Aerialists, by Mark Mayer (February 19)
    In Mark Mayer’s debut collection, he displays dark humor in stories such as “The Clown,” in which a clown is intent on murdering a couple in their 30s who wear Apple watches and want to buy a new house with “granite counters, sectional couches, [and] a pop-up soccer goal.” Mayer, who studied writing at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, has garnered praise from Marilynne Robinson, who wrote, “His stories are singular, as detached and intimate as dreaming.”

    Lot, by Bryan Washington (March 19)
    Washington’s debut book depicts the city of Houston in all its sprawling, low-rent glory. Washington focuses on a recurring cast of characters—a young man who narrates many stories has a black mother, a philandering Latino father, and an older brother and sister. They work in their family restaurant, the narrator picking up the slack whenever his dad disappears, while trying to figure out his place in his family and the world. Washington captures the vivid atmosphere of Houston—”East End in the evening is a bottle of noise, with the strays scaling the fences and the viejos garbling on porches”—but leaves space amid the realism for touches of whimsy, such as in “Bayou,” when two down-on-their-luck friends manage to capture a very worn-out Chupacabra and hope it will change their fortunes.

    Sabrina & Corina, by Kali Farjado-Anstine (April 2)
    Kali Farjado-Anstine’s debut story collection arrives with lavish praise from beloved writers including Sandra Cisneros (“Here are stories that blaze like wildfires”) and Julia Alvarez (“masterful storytelling”). Farjado-Anstine’s characters are Latina women with deep roots in Colorado who are contending with the difficulties of modern life, from a former graffiti writer who can’t quite give up the thrill of spray paint to a stripper who moves her daughter to California to try to reinvent herself, but finds that wherever she goes, there she is.

    The post 6 Short Story Collections to Look Forward to in 2019 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Sarah Skilton 3:00 pm on 2019/01/02 Permalink
    Tags: , , , new releases   

    January’s Best New Fiction 

    Kicking off 2019 is a Gilded Age story about the American heiress who scandalized two nations prior to giving birth to Winston Churchill, and three World War II-era novels centered on women: Hedy Lamarr, movie star and secret STEM pioneer; a pair of sisters working at an Armory factory; and the ten women who served as Hitler’s food tasters. Contemporary fans will devour author Kristen “Cat Person” Roupenian’s first collection of short stories and Jane Corry’s twisty mystery about a missing ex-husband.

    The Only Woman in the Room, by Marie Benedict
    She was born Hedwig “Hedy” Kiesler and survived a domineering husband and the Third Reich, but you know her as Hedy Lamarr, glamorous movie star. That one woman could be both those things, as well as a world-changing scientist, proves the adage that truth is stranger than fiction. Benedict has made a name for herself shining a spotlight on the oft-hidden contributions of women in STEM. Her previous historical novels revealed the influence of Einstein’s wife and Andrew Carnegie’s maid on the course of human events. The tale of Hedy Lamarr is no less fascinating, as the eventual MGM actress outmaneuvers Nazis and eventually creates an invention that assists the Allied forces in World War II.

    Turning Point, by Danielle Steel
    The most highly regarded trauma doctors in San Francisco get the chance of a lifetime to participate in a mass-casualty training exchange in Paris. When a terrible shooting in their adopted city forces them to use their new skills under shocking circumstances, their lives are forever changed. As usual, Steel’s characters are both relatable and extraordinary, and you’ll be rooting for the troubled ER physicians as they attempt to balance relationships and professional obligations while saving as many victims as possible after the tragic attack.

    The Dreamers, by Karen Thompson Walker
    The entire town of Santa Lora, California, is forced into quarantine when several college students succumb to a mysterious, deadly disease that keeps people asleep but dreaming—and the dreams have lives of their own. When Mei, a freshman, discovers that her roommate cannot be woken, she joins forces with another student to do all she can to help. Within the houses surrounding the university are friends, neighbors, families, and children desperate to protect one another. This looks to be a richly haunting and immersive read.

    The Wartime Sisters, by Lynda Cohen Loigman
    Estranged sisters Millie and Ruth are forced into each other’s orbits while working at an Armory factory in Springfield during World War II. Widowed Millie was known as “the pretty one” during her youth, doted on and indulged by everyone in her Brooklyn neighborhood in the 1930s. Ruth’s experience in the same household felt like a different world; her intelligence was diminished and dismissed, her attempts at dating thwarted (suitors always ended up pursuing Millie). As adults, Ruth appears to have come out on top with her role as the wife of a high-ranking Armory scientist, while Millie toils in production. But the sisters will never truly reconcile until they confront the painful secrets of the past. As with Loigman’s debut, The Two-Family House, this appears to be a deeply compelling historical.

    At the Wolf’s Table, by Rosella Postorino (translated by Leah Janeczko)
    The winner of Italy’s Premio Campiello Literary Prize, Table tells the story of Adolf Hitler’s food tasters, a group of ten women forced to eat the Fuhrer’s meals before he does, in case they are poisoned. Twenty-something Berliner Rosa Sauer narrates the fraught tale, set in Hitler’s secret headquarters near the countryside of Gross-Partsch, where Rosa has relocated to live with her in-laws in light of her husband’s service on the frontlines. Rather than comforting and relying on one another, the group of tasters form segregated factions based on their views of Hitler and the war, and Rosa finds herself, in her loneliness, turning to her SS supervisor for a terrible, guilt-ridden type of comfort.

    You Know You Want This, by Kristen Roupenian
    Roupenian’s short story, “Cat Person,” went viral after the New Yorker published it in 2017, but even if you memorized it (someone probably has, right?), there are lots of surprises awaiting you in Roupenian’s debut short story collection. Highlighting characters who are dark, hilarious, awful, and amazing, these tales will make you shriek with discomfort and enjoyment, daring you to revel in the anti-hero and -heroines’ downright frightening behavior and relationships.

    That Churchill Woman, by Stephanie Barron
    Megan Markle and Prince Harry have got nothin’ on Jennie Jerome: the impetuous, 20-year-old American heiress raised in Gilded Age splendor who married Lord Randolph Spencer-Churchill—after knowing him for three days. Although the lavish excesses of Jennie’s life may seem glorious, they also served to prevent her from having a voice, and Jennie, raised to be independent, is not having it. That Jennie gives birth to future Prime Minister Winston Churchill is almost beside the point in this exhilarating historical about a woman who scandalized and intrigued two nations while living life on her own terms.

    The Dead Ex, by Jane Corry
    The author of My Husband’s Wife and Blood Sisters is back with a mystery thriller about an aromatherapist, Vicki, whose former husband, an abusive, manipulative man, goes missing. Vicki claims she hasn’t seen David in years, but the police are skeptical, particularly because Vicki’s epilepsy may have affected her memory. David’s current wife, Tanya, is hiding something as well. Vicki’s tribulations as suspect number one are juxtaposed with an earlier timeline depicting the saga of young Scarlet, whose beloved albeit drug dealing mother, Zelda, is arrested, forcing Scarlet into dubious foster care. How Scarlet and Zelda’s path intertwines with that of Vicki, David, and Tanya’s is just one of the questions that will grip readers.

    The post January’s Best New Fiction appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Sarah Skilton 7:05 pm on 2018/11/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , , new releases   

    November’s Best New Fiction 

    November is full of drama and suspense, with new offerings from fan favorites Liane Moriarty, Danielle Steel, Jeffrey Archer, and Barbara Taylor Bradford. A holiday farce and a serial-killing sister provide light and dark laughs for every mood, and Jonathan Lethem returns with his first detective story since 2000’s Motherless Brooklyn.

    Nine Perfect Strangers, by Liane Moriarty
    The Big Little Lies author is back with an addictive thriller set at a health retreat. Tranquillum House promises a total mind and body transformation for its well-to-do guests over an intense ten days. Among the group hoping for a mental and physical rebirth are a romance writer and a young woman whose troubled family is along for the ride. None of the nine have any idea what they’re in for, though some of them can’t help but wonder if they’d be better off running from the secluded resort as fast as they can.

    Beauchamp Hall, by Danielle Steel
    If you’ve ever dreamed of trading the real world for Downton Abbey, you have something in common with Winnie Farmington. Unlucky in love and career, Winnie’s love for the British television show Beauchamp Hall keeps her going when everything else feels hopeless. An impulsive trip to England to visit the town where the series is filmed leads to a magical new chapter in her life.

    Heads You Win, by Jeffrey Archer
    Archer is in excellent form with his latest book, a thrilling, surprising double storyline featuring one character with two fates. As a boy growing up in the late 1960s, Alex Karpenko flees Russia with his mother after his father is murdered by the KGB. Will the two of them emigrate to Great Britain or America? Why not both, and watch the chips fall? The tale spans thirty years and follows Alex’s opposing paths, each of which requires a return to Mother Russia and a confrontation with his past.

    Tony’s Wife, by Adriana Trigiani
    Chi Chi Donatelli’s fierce independence is incongruous with the era in which she lives: the Jersey Shore in the 1940s. She has no interest in becoming a wife or mother until she has lived out her dream of singing with her favorite orchestras, and dreamy big-band entertainer Saverio Armandonada is just the man to make that happen. Their partnership spans radio, TV, and the nightclub circuit, and their inevitable marriage is upended by World War II. But stick around, because their passionate love story is just getting started.

    Fox 8, by George Saunders (illustrated by Chelsea Cardinal)
    Fox lovers will adore this novella-length story by the award-winning Saunders, whose melancholic Lincoln in the Bardo won the 2017 Man Booker Prize. Fox 8 is considered by his pack to have his furry head in the clouds, but his curiosity about people (and his penchant for learning children’s bedtime stories by eavesdropping underneath windows) may ultimately save his brethren when it comes time to seek out food in a neighborhood beset by danger.

    Night of Miracles, by Elizabeth Berg
    An uplifting, standalone sequel to The Story of Arthur Truluv, this delicious companion novel centers on Arthur’s friend Lucille, now living in Arthur’s home and newly inspired to teach baking classes there as a means of keeping busy. Familiar faces sign up for lessons, and when a new family moves in next door, they’re folded into the group of friends and loved ones while coming to grips with a difficult health crisis.

    The Feral Detective, by Jonathan Lethem
    A Motherless Brooklyn for the west coast, Feral Detective marks Jonathan Lethem’s first detective story in nearly twenty years. The inland empire of California’s desert is the perfect locale for his brand of off-the-grid noir, in which Manhattanite Phoebe Siegler hires the detective of the title, animal-loving vagabond Charles Heist, to find her friend’s missing teenage daughter, last seen near Mount Baldy. Up-to-the-minute commentary on today’s political atmosphere, conspiracies, and cultlike thinking inject an urgency into the hallucinatory, miragelike setting.

    The Splendor Before the Dark, by Margaret George
    In 2017’s The Confessions of Young Nero, our narrator proved to be an idealistic cultivator of artistry, beauty, and athleticism. In this second and final installment, and contrary to popular belief, Nero doesn’t fiddle while Rome burns, but he does take advantage of its destruction to mold a new society from the ashes, one that’s worthy of his self-perceived glory. Though his marriage to Poppaea seems perfect, the adoration of his people constant, not everyone is pleased with the power he wields and the decisions he makes (ahem, Golden House…). A traitor in his midst is about to make this anger known, and readers will feel completely absorbed by this sensitive, complex character study.

    Master of His Fate, by Barbara Taylor Bradford
    Kicking off a new Victorian-era saga, master of historical fiction Bradford introduces us to self-made James Lionel Falconer, a charming, would-be merchant prince enjoying a secret dalliance with an older woman, and Alexis Malvern, an aristocratic but charitable-minded young woman who has no desire to wed—until she meets Sebastian Trevelyan, fifteen years her senior, and romantic yearnings sweep her away. With their parallel lives and headstrong ambitions, it’s only a matter of time before the Falconer and Merchant families collide in this detail-rich series opener.

    Come With Me, by Helen Schulman
    In this modern, tech-soaked family drama, a virtual reality “choose your own adventure” program allows users to contemplate the alternate paths their lives might have taken if multiple universes were accessible. For employee and test subject Amy, a wife and mother who fears her husband Dan is unfaithful, that means bringing her own fantasies into the mix. Dan just wishes he could have a second chance at a jet-setting journalism career, and his decisions in that regard throws his relationship with Amy and their three children into chaos and heartbreak that may or may not be fixable.

    The Adults, by Caroline Hulse
    A comedic farce that sears all the goo out of Christmas fables, The Adults centers on Matt and Claire, former spouses who share a seven-year-old daughter, Scarlett. The alleged grown-ups decide to put aside their differences and spend Christmas together at a forced-fun theme park called Happy Forest—along with their new love interests, Patrick and Alex. Scarlett also brings a plus one in the form of her imaginary and opinionated bunny, Posey. Tension escalates with hilarious and unexpected results.

    My Sister, the Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite
    This suspenseful, mordant, and clever debut finds sisters Ayoola and Korede, who live in Lagos, Nigeria, perfecting the art of murder. Whenever beautiful, favored sibling Ayoola kills a boyfriend (three thus far), Korede, a shy, empathetic nurse, hides the crime and disposes the evidence. But when Ayoola sets her sights on Tade, a physician colleague of Korede’s whom Korede adores, the sisters’ latent sibling rivalry threatens to consume them.

    The post November’s Best New Fiction appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jeff Somers 7:00 pm on 2018/11/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , , new releases, new thrills,   

    November’s Best New Thrillers 

    Time—and publishing schedules—wait for no one, so if you slacked off on your TBR pile in October, watch out, because November is bringing a bumper crop of new thrillers. This month’s picks of the litter are heavy on the returning faves as James Patterson, Lee Child, and Clive Cussler bring back some of their most popular characters, while Anthony Horowitz delivers a brand-new adventure for one of the most famous classic thriller characters of all time—and David Baldacci goes the other way, hitting the ground running with a brand-new character.

    Long Road to Mercy, by David Baldacci
    Baldacci takes a break from Amos Decker to introduce FBI Agent Atlee Pine, whose skill set makes her one of the FBI’s top criminal profilers, but who chooses to work in solitude as the lone agent assigned to the Shattered Rock, Arizona, resident agency. Pine is haunted by the kidnapping of her twin sister, Mercy, when they were six years old; the kidnapper sang out an old nursery rhyme as they chose which twin to abduct. Mercy was chosen, and Atlee never saw her sister again, and dedicated her life to saving others. When a mule is found dead in the Grand Canyon and its rider missing, Atlee is plunged into an investigation that would be beyond most agents—but not her. At least not until she’s abruptly ordered to close the case just as she’s figuring out the terrifying scope of what’s she’s chasing after…

    Target: Alex Cross, by James Patterson
    Patterson’s twenty-sixth Alex Cross book opens on a somber scene of mourning as hundreds of thousands of people gather in Washington, D.C., to mourn the president—among them Alex Cross, whose wife, Bree, has just become D.C.’s chief of detectives. When a sniper takes out a member of the president’s cabinet, it falls to Bree to solve the crime—and it’s clear her job is on the line. Cross begins to suspect the sniper is only getting started, and as usual he’s right—and the country is plunged into a violent crisis like nothing it’s ever seen before. Patterson raises the stakes beyond anything Cross has ever dealt with before—and that’s saying something.

    Past Tense, by Lee Child
    Jack Reacher returns in his twenty-third outing in fine form, as Child continues to get tremendous mileage from an older Reacher’s slow-burn journey into his own past. Faced with yet another fork in the road, Reacher chooses to walk into Laconia, New Hampshire, where his late father, Stan, was born. Meanwhile, a young couple driving from Canada stop at a mysteriously empty motel near Laconia when they have car trouble. Reacher, as usual, steps in to help the helpless and gets nothing but trouble for his efforts, while his efforts to learn about his father turn up a disturbing lack of information. As the two stories slowly work toward each other, Reacher discovers he might be more like his father than he suspected—and another batch of small-time goons discovers they’re no match whatsoever for Jack Reacher.

    Tom Clancy: Oath of Office, by Marc Cameron
    Cameron returns to the Jack Ryan universe for the second time with a complex story of betrayal and realpolitik that begins in Iran, where a Russian spy mourns his lover, Maryam, cut down by the Revolutionary Guard. This spurs Erik Dovzhenko to defect, traveling to Afghanistan to contact Maryam’s friend Ysabel Kashani. Ysabel brings in Jack Ryan, Jr., son of the President of the United States and member of antiterrorism unit the Campus. Ryan is in the area as part of a mission to track down two stolen nuclear weapons, and meets with Erik and Ysabel even as his father deals with an attack on an American embassy in Cameroon. The twisting story builds to an explosive conclusion in true Clancy style.

    You Don’t Own Me, by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke
    Clark and Burke deliver the fifth book in the Under Suspicion series, featuring television producer Laurie Morgan, whose penchant for getting into trouble is just as strong as ever. Laurie is busy planning her wedding to former host Alex Buckley (who is about to be confirmed as a federal judge) when she’s contacted by the parents of a physician famously gunned down in his own driveway five years before; they’re in a bitter custody battle with his wife, and believe she was the killer. As Laurie takes on the story she finds, as usual, more layers to it than meet the eye—but as she works she’s being followed by a mysterious man who admires her from afar and thinks she might not be missed when she’s gone, pushing the tension to the breaking point.

    Sea of Greed, by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown
    The sixteenth NUMA Files novel depicts a world on the verge of chaos as oil supplies dry up and stock markets drop. When a massive explosion in the Gulf of Mexico destroys three crucial oil rigs, the President of the United States is concerned enough to ask Kurt Austin and the NUMA Special Projects Team to investigate. Their attention is drawn to a maverick billionaire who sees her alternative energy company as the future—and who might be willing to take drastic measures to get to that future sooner rather than later. The crew of the NUMA finds evidence that an oil-eating bacteria thought lost fifty years before has been deployed in the Gulf, and now threatens to plunge the world into chaos if Austin and his team can’t get to the bottom of the mystery in time.

    Forever and a Day, by Anthony Horowitz
    Crafting an origin story for no less of a pop culture icon than James Bond is a daunting task, but Horowitz is in familiar waters after 2015’s Trigger Mortis, and does an expert job. The story kicks off with the death of the prior 007, found floating in the water off of Marseilles. M calls up Bond, newly attached to the Double-O section, and assigns him to investigate the agent’s death. Bond goes toe-to-toe with the Corsican mob and a classic Bond villain in the immensely obese and incredibly dangerous crime boss Jean-Paul Scipio. Horowitz seeds the story with plenty of Bond Easter eggs for longtime fans while crafting a tense, action-heavy story that satisfies simply as a modern-day spy thriller that’s gritty, violent, and morally complex.

    The post November’s Best New Thrillers appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Melissa Albert 2:00 pm on 2018/10/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , , new releases   

    October’s Best New Fiction 

    October brings chill winds and warm comfort food, with books to match. Stephen King and Anne Rice provide the chills, with new tales of Castle Rock and the vampire Lestat, respectively; and Nicholas Sparks, Kate Morton, and Mitch Albom provide the comfort with heartfelt dramas. Jodie Picoult’s ensemble about a women’s health clinic under attack is perfect for book groups, and Jan Karon’s collection of Father Tim’s advice makes a beautiful gift for Mitford fans.

    The Clockmaker’s Daughter, by Kate Morton
    An artist’s retreat in the summer of 1862 along the banks of the Thames ends in murder, thievery, and ruination for its host and guests. A century and a half later, archivist Elodie Winslow comes across some tantalizing clues about the events of that pivotal season, which she believes may connect with her own family history. Fans of The Lake House and The Secret Keeper know Morton excels at dual timelines and complex emotions.

    Every Breath, by Nicholas Sparks
    Sparks’s twentieth book is a breathtakingly romantic story about two strangers who meet at a North Carolina beach town and change each other’s lives in unexpected ways. Lonely-hearted Hope—whose boyfriend of six years still won’t commit—has returned to her family’s cottage to sell the property in light of her father’s failing health. Tru is a safari leader from Zimbabwe who’s compelled to seek out his biological dad. Over a fateful five days, they’re brought together for something grander and more heart-wrenching than either is prepared for. Keep your Kleenex handy! 

    The Next Person You  Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom
    Speaking of tearjerkers, the long-anticipated sequel to Albom’s 2003 smash hit, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, will have readers alternating between smiling and sobbing, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. As a child, Annie survived a Coney Island–esque roller-coaster accident in which maintenance engineer Eddie sacrificed himself to save her. Now grown up, Annie seemingly succumbs to tragedy on her wedding day, but she still has many lessons to learn about life, loss, and love. The B&N exclusive edition contains a bonus chapter you won’t want to miss.

    A Spark of Light, by Jodi Picoult
    A thoughtful and harrowing ensemble drama set at a Mississippi women’s health clinic under attack from a gunman, Light’s timeline travels backward as we get to know the hostages and law enforcement members involved. Multiple viewpoints invite readers to empathize with each character, from the nurses, doctors, protestors, and patients trapped inside, to the hostage negotiator trying to save his injured sister and fifteen-year-old daughter. The B&N exclusive edition provides an author interview and reading group guide. 

    Elevation, by Stephen King
    Just in time for Halloween, take a trip to Castle Rock, King’s favorite spooky locale, in a novella about what it means to be a member of a community. A man with a mysterious, possibly supernatural health problem dislikes the couple next door because their dog is a nuisance to him, but when he learns their restaurant is failing due solely to the homophobia of his fellow townspeople (the restauranteurs are lesbians), he makes it his mission to stand by them and shine a light on prejudice. 

    Killing Commendatore, by Haruki Murakami (translated by Philip Gabriel and Ted Goossen)
    A lonely portrait painter going through a domestic crisis holes up in the mountain home of a famous, dementia-afflicted artist. There, the unnamed narrator teaches classes and discovers a never-before-seen, disturbing painting in the attic. The titular image has a story all its own, and a mystical, fever-dream journey ensues, denoted by the nightly ringing bells that torment our hero. Additional elements (cats, an homage to The Great Gatsby) make this an imaginative, vintage Murakami novel. 

    Blood Communion: A Tale of Prince Lestat, by Anne Rice
    Packed with appearances by Rice’s most beloved vampire creations, Communion feels like a reunion. Book thirteen in the Vampire Chronicles finds Lestat the Vampire Prince revealing how he came to rule the vampire world and how he intends to keep a peaceful court. However, Rhoshamandes has different plans for Lestat’s “Children of the Universe,” and you can bet they will involve a glorious and bloody battle.

    Bathed in Prayer: Father Tim’s Prayers, Sermons, and Reflections from the Mitford Series, by Jan Karon
    When the internationally bestselling Mitford Series began in 1989, the stories were published in the Blowing Rocket newspaper of Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Fourteen books and countless fans later, lead character Father Tim Kavanaugh, the town’s Episcopal rector, has earned a collection dedicated to his words of comfort and wisdom as explored throughout the series. Included in the compilation are inspirational essays and personal anecdotes from Karon, a former advertising executive going strong in her eighties. 

    Virgil Wander, by Leif Enger
    Greenstone, Minnesota, is a mining town in decline, but its residents are worth rooting for. When middle-aged Virgil, the town clerk, drives his car into Lake Superior, he emerges a changed man. No longer will he shy away from confrontation or accept the apparently doomed fate of the classic movie theatre he has poured his heart into. Virgil’s new roommate is a quirky Norwegian whose missing son abandoned the woman Virgil loves. As their stories twist and twine together, readers will be utterly charmed by the town’s unusual, lovable inhabitants.

    The Kennedy Debutante, by Kerri Maher
    This well-researched, compelling debut historical puts the spotlight on Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy, a lesser-known figure from the famous family, as she navigates London society in the late 1930s. Her love for Billy Hartington, the future Duke of Devonshire, proves complicated because of his family’s religion (Hartington is Protestant, and the Kennedys are Catholic) but those problems pale in comparison to the war that swiftly engulfs both sides of the Atlantic. Kick throws herself into the conflict as a journalist and Red Cross volunteer, hoping beyond hope that her path will cross again with Billy’s. Readers will hope so, too.

    The post October’s Best New Fiction appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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