New Fiction Roundup – April 2018

4/3: America Is Not the Heart by Elaine Castillo – When Hero De Vera arrives in the United States, haunted by the political upheaval in the Philippines and disowned by her parents, her aunt and uncle give her a fresh start in the Bay Area and don’t ask about her past. But their daughter, the first American-born daughter in the family, can’t resist asking Hero about her damaged hands.

4/3: The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer – Greer Kadetsky is a shy college freshman when she meets Faith Frank, a central pillar of the women’s movement for decades. As Faith invites Greer to join in her work, Greer heads down a wildly different life path than she’d imagined. A Peak Picks selection!

4/3: How to Be Safe by Tom McAllister – Recently suspended for an outburst, high school teacher Anna is stewing over the injustice at home when she is shocked to see herself named on TV as a suspect in a shooting at her school. Though she is quickly exonerated, Anna decides to wholeheartedly reject the culpability she’s been assigned, in person and online, in this darkly humorous novel.

4/3: A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee – In this second book in a series, Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant Banerjee of the Calcutta police force are drawn to the wealthy kingdom of Sambalpore when the heir to the throne is assassinated ahead of crucial political negotiations.

4/3: Oracle Year by Charles Soule – One morning, Will Dando wakes from a dream with 108 predictions about the future. Setting up a website, he calls himself the Oracle and selectively reveals the revelations. He’s making powerful enemies, though – can he survive long enough to save the world?

4/3: Varina by Charles Frazier – Returning to the time and place of his popular Civil War-ear novel Cold Mountain, Frazier tells the story of Varina Howell, married as a teenager to the much-older Jefferson Davis and ultimately becomes the unlikely first lady of the Confederacy.

4/10: Circe by Madeline Miller – Reinterpreting The Odyssey from the perspective of Circe, the sorceress who changed Odysseus’s men into swine, Miller weaves a story of how Circe came to be banished on a remote island and the consequences of her power. From the author of The Song of Achilles.

4/10: Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires – 11 tender, timely, and darkly funny short stories focused on the African-American community and exploring concepts of black identity and the contemporary middle class.

4/10: Macbeth by Jo Nesbo – Set in the 1970s in a gritty industrial town, this reinterpretation of the Shakespearean classic focuses on a police force battling an incessant drug problem. Duncan, chief of police, is idealistic; but manipulative drug lord Hecate has plans to use Inspector Macbeth to get his way. From the author of the Harry Hole series.

4/10: Space Opera by Catherynne Valente – A band of human musicians, dancers, and roadies have been chosen to represent Earth at a sort of galactic Eurovision, where the fate of humankind lies in their ability to rock.

4/10: Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman – Carol Evers has a secret: she has died many times, but her deaths are not final. Only two people know of Carol’s condition: her husband Dwight, who buries her alive during a “death;” and the outlaw James Moxie. As Carol struggles to save herself from a living grave, Moxie rides the Trail and hopes to arrive in time.

4/17: The Elizas by Sara Shepard – When novelist Eliza Fontaine is rescued from the bottom of a hotel pool, her family assumes it’s another failed suicide attempt. But Eliza knows she was pushed. As Eliza seeks the truth, her life starts to blur with her latest novel, until she’s not sure what to believe. From the author of the Pretty Little Liars series.

4/17: The Only Story by Julian Barnes – At 19, Paul fell in love and ran away with Susan, 48-years-old and already married. Years later, Paul reflects on his life and their love story as they struggled to survive violence, financial practicalities, and depression.

4/24: The Emissary by Yoko Tawada – Japanese novelist Tawada imagines a future in which Japan, after suffering a massive disaster, cuts itself off from the world. Children are so weak they can barely stand; only the elderly have any get-go. Out of a post-apocalyptic premise, Tawada creates a playfully joyous novel.

4/24: West by Carys Davies – In this brief yet evocative novel, a restless widower heads into the American frontier on a foolhardy expedition in search of unknown animals, leaving his young daughter behind to fend for herself.

4/24: You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld – A collection of ten short stories that chronicles the modern age and upends assumptions about class, relationships, and gender roles in a nation both adrift and viscerally divided. A Peak Picks selection!

~ posted by Andrea G.

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