New Fiction Roundup – May 2018

5/1: The Abbot’s Tale by Conn Iggulden – In this gripping historical novel, Iggulden intertwines the story of Dunstan, Abbot of Glastonbury (later Saint Dunstan) with the story of seven tenth-century kings who struggled to unite the disparate Anglo-Saxon kingdoms into one unified England. For fans of Bernard Cornwell.

5/1: Adjustment Day by Chuck Palahniuk – As an out of touch, aging group of elected officials bring the nation to the brink of war, a mysterious book appears with directives and wisdom for an upcoming day of reckoning.

5/1: The Lonely Witness by William Boyle – Former party girl Amy Falconetti is trying to turn good when she witnesses a murder and, finding herself fascinated with the killer, pursues him herself instead of notifying the police. Outstanding crime fiction.

5/1: Love and Ruin by Paula McLain – After meeting and falling in love while she covered the Spanish Civil War, Martha Gellhorn is forced to choose between her marriage to Ernest Hemingway and her career as a war correspondent. From the author who brought us The Paris Wife, about Hemingway’s first wife Hadley Richardson.

5/1: A Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley – In nine stories, fathers and sons attempt to salvage relationships with friends and family members and confront mistakes made in the past.  Brinkley’s debut collection reflects the tenderness and vulnerability of Black men and boys whose hopes sometimes betray them, especially in a world shaped by race, gender, and class.

5/1: The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner – Romy Hall, serving two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility in California’s Central Valley, worries about her young son, reflects on the San Francisco of her youth, and tells the stories of several of her fellow inmates. By the author of the National Book Award finalist The Flamethrowers.

5/1: Motherhood by Sheila Heti – In her late 30s, with her friends considering when they will become mothers, the narrator considers whether she will have children at all and casts about among peers, her partner, philosophy, mysticism and chance for the answer.

5/1: Night Hawks by Charles Johnson – A masterful new story collection from Seattle author Johnson gathers together an eclectic, engaging range of stories.

5/1: The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel – A founder of a back-to-the-land summer camp, a pair of bankrupt former ranchers, an ex-camper-turn-activist, and a fanatical teen navigate the ups and downs of idealism and good intentions gone wrong during the Reagan years.

5/1: The Pisces by Melissa Broder – After nine years of grad school and a dramatic breakup, a Ph.D student accepts her sister’s invitation to dog-sit in Venice Beach where she falls in love with a Californian merman. Yep.

5/1: Slave Old Man by Patrick Chamoiseau – A gripping story of an escaped slave in Martinique and the killer hound that pursues him.

5/1: Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope – Living as an outcast in a land where she is feared for her Earthsong talents and dark skin, orphan Jasminda comes to the aid of injured spy Jack and agrees to help him stop an evil that wants to conquer both their lands.

5/8: Lost Empress by Sergio De La Pava – Shocked when her brother inherits their father’s NFL team in spite of her pivotal management role, Nina takes over a small indoor football franchise and make them successful during an NFL lockout, an ambition challenged by a criminal mastermind conceiving of an audacious act.

5/8: That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam – New mother Rebecca, who is white, grows close to her breastfeeding coach Priscilla, who is Black. When Priscilla dies in childbirth, Rebecca adopts Priscilla’s baby. Told with warmth and psychological acuity, Alam dives deep into issues of race, class, and the nature of family.

5/8: Warlight by Michael Ondaatje – Years after growing up in the care of a group of mysterious protectors who served during World War II, a young man attempts to piece together the truth about his parents and the unconventional education he received. From the author of The English Patient.

5/15: The Ensemble by Aja Gabel – Four young friends navigate the cutthroat world of classical music and their complex relationships with each other, as ambition, passion and love intertwine over the course of their lives.

5/15: The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll – Sisters Brett and Kelly Courtney have always been rivals. Cast on a reality television show featuring young, ambitious female entrepreneurs, tensions rise until one sister ends up dead.

5/15: Last Stories by William Trevor – In his final, posthumous published collection of stories, master storyteller Trevor continues to delve into the lives of ordinary people and the depths of the human spirit.

5/15: Tin Man by Sarah Winman – A decade-long story of love, loss, grief, friendship, and acceptance between two longtime friends and Oxford students.

5/22: MEM by Bethany Morrow – In the alternate Montreal of a century ago, scientists have figured out a way for people to extract memories from their mind – memories that inhabit Mems, zombie-like creatures destined to experience that singular memory over and over until they expire. What happens when Dolores Extract No. 1 figures out how to live independently and create her own memories?

5/29: The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware – Hal accidentally receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her an inheritance. Realizing that the cold reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader could help her claim the money, she goes to the funeral – only to realize something is very, very wrong.

5/29: Some Trick by Helen DeWitt – 13 unpredictable yet charming short stories center on misunderstood geniuses and the near impossibility of living a life of the mind.

~ posted by Andrea G.

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