Spring’s fiction features prize winners, bestsellers, and debuts and includes such settings as an alternate 1980s London, a Mennonite community, and a remote Russian peninsula.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf
Marlon James. Riverhead, Feb. 5 (hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0-7352-2017-1)
James’s first novel since winning the Booker for A Brief History of Seven Killings is the first in the Dark Star trilogy. A hunter who is hired (along with a group of others with their own secrets) to find a missing child undertakes a trek across a fantastical Africa.
Karl Marlantes. Atlantic Monthly, July 2 (hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-8021-2538-5)
Marlantes’s first novel since Matterhorn is a family epic set in the early 1900s about three Finnish siblings who flee Russia’s oppressive rule for the U.S., settling in a logging community in southern Washington.
Julia Phillips. Knopf, June 4 (hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-525-52041-2)
In Phillips’s debut, two sisters are kidnapped on Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula. The novel tracks the impact of the sisters’ abduction on a multitude of characters over the course of the next year.
Christopher Castellani. Viking, Feb. 12 (hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-525-55905-4)
In 1953, Tennessee Williams and his longtime lover, Frank Merlo, meet a young actress named Anja Bloom who becomes close with them. In the present day, a young man connected to the events of 1953 discovers that Anja has the only surviving copy of Williams’s final play.
Machines Like Me
Ian McEwan. Doubleday/Talese, Apr. 23 (hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-385-54511-2)
In an alternate 1980s London, a love triangle forms among Charlie, Miranda, and Adam, one of the first synthetic humans, leading to a moral dilemma.
The Nickel Boys
Colson Whitehead. Doubleday, July 30 (hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-385-53707-0)
Following Pulitzer winner The Underground Railroad, Whitehead’s novel is set in Jim Crow–era Florida and centers on two boys sent to the Nickel Academy, a violent and horrible reform school.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
Ocean Vuong. Penguin Press, June 4 (hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-525-56202-3)
In this debut novel from Vuong, author of the poetry collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds, a man in his late 20s writes a letter to his mother, excavating his family’s history back to its center in Vietnam.
Sing to It
Amy Hempel. Scribner, Mar. 26 (hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-982109-11-0)
Hempel’s first collection in nearly a decade features stories in which a volunteer at a dog shelter looks after dogs awaiting euthanasia; a jilted wife considers her husband’s affair with a glamorous, older married woman; and a woman examines her decision as a teenager to give up her newborn infant.
Susan Choi. Holt, Apr. 9 (hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-250-30988-4)
Fifteen-year-old classmates Sarah and David have an intense sexual relationship the summer between their freshman and sophomore years at a performing arts high school. Then, after a string of decisive events, they become estranged. Choi’s novel shifts dramatically in its second part, casting most of what readers thought they knew into doubt.
Miriam Toews. Bloomsbury, Apr. 2 (hardcover, $24, ISBN 978-1-63557-258-2)
Eight Mennonite women have a secret meeting to discuss a plan of action after learning some of their colony’s men attacked more than 300 women over the past several years; the women are determined to protect themselves and their daughters from harm.
Literary Fiction Listings
The Lightest Object in the Universe by Kimi Eisele (July 9, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-61620-793-9). Following a global economic collapse and failure of the electric grid, high school teacher Carson sets out to find Beatrix, a woman he felt an instant connection with when they first met. He meets lost souls and opportunists who believe they’ll discover salvation when they find evangelical preacher Jonathan Blue.
A Change of Time by Ida Jessen, trans. by Martin Aitken (Mar. 26, trade paper, $17, ISBN 978-1-939810-17-5). After her domineering husband dies, a schoolteacher living in rural Denmark in the early 20th century tries to make sense of her newfound independence, penning a diary that sheds light on the new identity she begins forging.
The Daughter’s Tale by Armando Lucas Correa (May 7, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-5011-8793-3). Eighty-year-old Elise, in 2015, receives a visitor who has letters from her mother written during WWII, unearthing decades of secrets. In an alternating story, bookstore owner and recent widow Amanda Sternberg flees Nazi Germany with her two young daughters, trying to reach unoccupied France.
Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly (Apr. 2, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-5247-9637-2). This historical novel centers on Eliza, the mother of Caroline Ferriday, the real-life heroine of Kelly’s bestselling Lilac Girls. As Russia’s imperial dynasty begins to fall, Eliza tries to help White Russian families find refuge as they flee the revolution.
The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray (Feb. 19, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-984802-43-9). A trio of sisters is shaken when one, Althea, receives a multiyear sentence for food stamp fraud and charity embezzlement. Her sisters, Viola and Lillian, try to keep the family together, even as one of Althea’s daughters runs away.
In West Mills by De’shawn Charles Winslow (June 4, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-63557-340-4). Spanning from 1941 to 1987 in rural North Carolina, Winslow’s debut follows Azalea “Knot” Centre, who enjoys moonshine and men. Feeling ostracized, she looks for help and belonging by turning to her neighbor Otis Lee Loving, who is looking for redemption. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
The Summer Demands by Deborah Shapiro (June 4, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-948226-30-1). Emily, about to turn 40 and recovering from a recent miscarriage, moves with her husband
to the abandoned summer camp in Massachusetts that she visited as a girl and has now inherited. Walking the grounds, Emily meets a squatter in one of the cabins: 22-year-old Stella, who will change Emily’s life.
Savage Conversations by Leanne Howe (Feb. 5, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1-56689-531-6). In 1875, Mary Todd Lincoln is committed to Bellevue Place Sanitarium as she claims a Native American enters her bedroom every night and attacks her. But is her haunting a reminder of President Lincoln’s 1862 order to hang 38 Dakotas, in the largest mass execution in U.S. history?
Prince of Monkeys by Nnamdi Ehirim (Apr. 2, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-64009-167-2). This debut novel follows Ihechi, who grows up in middle-class Lagos in the late 1980s and early ’90s, and whose life changes after his girlfriend is killed in an antigovernment riot. Ihechi has found success as an adult, but then his childhood friends reenter his life and force him to question who he wants to be.
Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss by Rajeev Balasubramanyam (Mar. 26, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-525-51138-0). Renowned economist and divorced father of three, Professor Chandra is hit by a bicycle and sees his life flash before his eyes. His doctor tells him he needs to take a break and start living life, leading him on a life-altering trip.
Baby of the Family by Maura Roosevelt (Mar. 5, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-5247-4317-8). The patriarch of a wealthy family spurns his children from four separate marriages and wills his dwindling fortune to his youngest, adopted 21-year-old Nick, igniting a series of events that upends the family and brings secrets to light.
America Was Hard to Find by Kathleen Alcott (May 14, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-266252-1). In the 1960s and ’70s, Fay Fern and Vincent Kahn meet at a pilots’ bar in the Mojave Desert and have a brief affair with long-reaching consequences. Fay, leader of a violent leftist group, becomes wanted by the FBI, while Vincent trains for a mission to the moon.
Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken (Feb. 5, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-286285-3). McCracken’s novel, starred by PW, opens at the turn of the 20th century with Bertha Truitt discovered unconscious in a cemetery in Salford, Mass. Unwilling or unable to recall her past, Bertha starts a family, opens a bowling alley, and changes the lives of Salford’s residents.
A Girl Returned by Donatella Di Pietrantonio, trans. by Ann Goldstein (June 11, trade paper, $16, ISBN 978-1-60945-528-6). This English-language debut, set in Abruzzo, Italy, follows an unnamed 13-year-old girl, suddenly sent away from the family she thought was hers to her birth family, who seem anything but welcoming. Once with them, she forms a life-changing bond with two of her new siblings.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
The Unpassing by Chia-Chia Lin (May 7, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-374-27936-3). A Taiwanese immigrant family of five suffering financial difficulties in rural Alaska is devastated when daughter Ruby dies. Struggling to recover, an accident implicates the father, eventually revealing the truth of what happened to Ruby.
The Electric Hotel by Dominic Smith (June 4, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-374-14685-6). French silent film pioneer Claude Ballard drifts along Sunset Boulevard until a film history student shows up, wanting to interview him about The Electric Hotel, the lost film that bankrupted him and destroyed the career of his muse, Sabine Montrose. 100,000-copy announced first printing.
Lanny by Max Porter (May 14, hardcover, $24, ISBN 978-1-55597-840-2). This blend of fabulism and domestic drama is set in a village an hour outside London, where a mythical figure named Dead Papa Toothwort wakes up and pays close attention to a mischievous boy who has just moved to the village.
The Heavens by Sandra Newman (Feb. 12, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-8021-2902-4). In Newman’s novel, Kate, an art school dropout living in Brooklyn, can travel back in time in dreams—specifically, to 16th-century Britain. After she meets Ben in the present, Kate’s power gains strength and morphs into a world-altering liability.
The Parisian by Isabella Hammad (Apr. 9, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-8021-2943-7). This debut is the chronicle of a family and a nation through the life and romances of one man, Midhat Kamal, a dreamer and son of a wealthy textile merchant, from his education in France during WWI to his return to Palestine at the dawn of its battle for independence.
The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins (May 21, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-285189-5). Frannie Langton, servant and former slave, is arrested for murdering her employer and his wife in Georgian London. Claiming she can’t remember what happened that night, she relates her life story, from her childhood on a Jamaican plantation up to the crime.
Home Remedies by Xuan Juliana Wang (May 14, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-984822-74-1). Exploring the lives of Chinese-American millennials, Wang’s debut collection features struggling artists traveling from Beijing to Brooklyn and becoming hipsters and a pair of divers at the Beijing Olympics on the cusp of self-discovery.
Normal People by Sally Rooney (Apr. 16, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-984822-17-8). Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Rooney’s novel depicts the on-again-off-again relationship between Connell and Marianne, students at Trinity College. They navigate social pressures and face personal crises and dissembling about feelings that push the pair together and apart. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell (Mar. 26, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-101-90714-6). A drifter makes a mistake that ensnares the fates of three Zambian families who collide over the span of a century. Combining history, fairy tale, romance, and sci-fi, this debut tells the story of a small African nation as told by a strange swarmlike chorus. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
In at the Deep End by Kate Davies (June 4, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-328-62967-8). Julia has a dead-end job, a know-it-all therapist, and hasn’t had sex in three years. When she goes to a party and meets Sam, and subsequently discovers London’s gay bars and BDSM clubs, she finds a sexual awakening that eventually resembles entrapment. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
The Flight Portfolio by Julie Orringer (May 7, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-307-95940-9). Orringer’s novel is based on a true story: Varian Fry, an American journalist, traveled to Marseille in 1940 with $3,000 and a list of imperiled artists and writers he hoped to save from the Holocaust. Via false documents and trekking over the Pyrenees, he helped Hannah Arendt, Marcel Duchamp, and many more. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli (Feb. 12, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-525-52061-0). Starred by PW, Luiselli’s novel begins with a family embarking on a road trip and culminates in an indictment of America’s immigration system. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer (Feb. 5, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-316-52408-7). Scharer’s debut—starred by PW—chronicles the tumultuous working and romantic relationships of photographer Man Ray and model-turned-photographer Lee Miller in early 1930s Paris. When Man submits Lee’s photography under his name, she exacts revenge via another project he wanted to take from her.
Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn (June 4, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-63149-563-2). Patsy leaves her daughter, Tru, and her mother in Jamaica to be with her oldest friend and secret love, Cicely, in Brooklyn, and finds numerous challenges as an undocumented immigrant. Back in Jamaica, Tru faces her feelings of abandonment and questions of identity and sexuality.
Diary of a Murderer: And Other Stories by Young-Ha Kim, trans. by Krys Lee (Apr. 16, trade paper, $13.99, ISBN 978-1-328-54542-8). In the stories of this English-language debut: an ex-serial killer having memory issues zeroes in on a final target; two childhood friends embark on an affair that tests the limits of loyalty; and a family falls apart when their baby is kidnapped and found years later.
Aug 9—Fog by Kathryn Scanlan (June 4, hardcover, $20, ISBN 978-0-374-10687-4). Having acquired an 86-year-old stranger’s diary at an estate auction in small-town Illinois, Scanlan spent 15 years reading, rereading, and playing with the diary’s sentences; the result reveals a spare, meditative portrait of life and death.
The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin (Feb. 19, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-235820-2). In the year 2079, 102-year-old poet Fiona Skinner looks back on her childhood, in which her father suddenly died, her mother withdrew emotionally, and Fiona and her three siblings raised themselves. The book traces evolving relationships between Fiona and driven daughter Renee, bubbly Caroline, and sweet, athletic Joe. 200,000-copy announced first printing.
Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming by László Krasznahorkai, trans. by Ottilie Mulzet (May 28, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-8112-2664-6). At the end of his life, Baron Bela Wenckheim returns from exile in Buenos Aires to his birthplace, a provincial Hungarian town, hoping to reunite with his high school sweetheart. The town—a morass of gossip, con men, and politicians—heads inexorably toward its contemporary doom.
Springtime in a Broken Mirror by Mario Benedetti, trans. by Nick Caistor (Apr. 30, hardcover, $23.99, ISBN 978-1-62097-490-2). Santiago, a political prisoner in Uruguay jailed after a military coup, writes letters to his family to keep himself sane. Santiago’s wife, Graciela, and nine-year-old daughter, Beatrice, try to find their footing as exiles in 1970s Buenos Aires.
The Hundred Wells of Salaga by Ayesha Harruna Attah (Feb. 5, trade paper, $16.99, ISBN 978-1-59051-995-0). Attah’s debut centers on Ghana’s slave market at the end of the 19th century and how it affects two women, whose stories intersect. Aminah is separated from her family and sold into slavery, while Wurche, daughter of a chief, wants to hold influence in her father’s court. 35,000-copy announced first printing.
The Other Americans by Laila Lalami (Mar. 26, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-1-5247-4714-5). Pulitzer finalist Lalami’s novel, a mystery and family saga, focuses on the suspicious death of Driss Guerraoui, a Moroccan immigrant in California, weaving together the stories of his daughter, jazz composer Nora; his widow, Maryam; a detective, a neighbor, and more.
The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff (Feb. 5, trade paper, $16.99, ISBN 978-0-7783-3027-1). From the author of The Orphan’s Tale: in 1943, Marie Roux is recruited by Special Operations to work with the French Resistance; three years later, a young war widow in New York stumbles upon a suitcase at Grand Central containing photographs of 12 women.
The Editor by Steven Rowley (Apr. 2, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-525-53796-0). In 1990s New York City, James Smale at last sells his novel; his editor is none other than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. James’s novel, about his own dysfunctional family, receives guidance from Jackie, with whom James becomes friends. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson (Feb. 12, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-8129-9895-5). Wilkinson’s debut—starred by PW—combines John le Carré intrigue with the racial complexity of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. Marie Mitchell, daughter of a Harlem-born cop and a Martinican mother, is an operative with the FBI in the mid-’80s peak of the Cold War. Marie’s mission: insinuate herself with Thomas Sankara, the charismatic new leader of Burkina Faso.
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert (June 4, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-59463-473-4). Vivian Morris looks back on her life, beginning in 1940 when, as a 19-year-old, she was kicked out of Vassar College and fell into the world of her Aunt Peg’s dilapidated midtown Manhattan theater. There, she makes a mistake that leads to a scandal, upending her life.
Lot by Bryan Washington (Mar. 19, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-525-53367-2). Washington’s debut collection maps the sprawl of Houston and the relationships of its residents: the occupants of an apartment complex acknowledge their role in an affair and its disastrous ending; a young man moves into adulthood while contending with his awareness that he is interested in men and with an absent and adulterous father.
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams (Mar. 19, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-5011-9601-0). Queenie Jenkins, a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London and working at a newspaper, has just broken up with her long-term white boyfriend. In the aftermath, she looks for meaning and tries to figure out who she wants to be.
The Ash Family by Molly Dektar (Apr. 9, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-5011-4486-8). Berie, 19, meets a strange man at a bus station by her home in North Carolina. She decides to leave her family to join the man’s off-the-grid community in the mountains—where her new friends start to disappear.
The Glovemaker by Ann Weisgarber (Feb. 19, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-5107-3783-9). During the winter of 1887–1888 in southern Utah in the Mormon town of Junction, Deborah awaits the return of her husband. One night, a man on the run from the government shows up at Deborah’s door asking for help. 30,000-copy announced first printing.
Woman 99 by Greer Macallister (Mar. 5, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1-4926-6533-5). When Phoebe is committed to the notorious Goldengrove Asylum, her sister Charlotte follows her, convinced something isn’t right. Once inside the asylum, Charlotte discovers secrets that some powerful individuals want to keep buried.
The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib (Feb. 5, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-250-20244-4). Anna Roux is a professional dancer who left Missouri for Paris to follow the man of her dreams. Once there, she struggles with anorexia and loneliness, ending up at 17 Swann Street, a refuge for women with life-threatening eating disorders. There, she begins the road to recovery.
Under Currents by Nora Roberts (July 9, hardcover, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-250-20709-8). Zane’s family life in North Carolina seems perfect to those around him, but one day his father’s violent anger and his mother’s complicity shatter the facade. Zane grows up and tries to build a new family while dealing with his dark past.
Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett (June 4, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-947793-30-9). Set in Central Florida, this debut novel opens with Jessa-Lynn Morton discovering that her father has killed himself in the family’s taxidermy shop. Jessa must run the business—including engaging in some illegal activities to save it—and try to keep her family together.
The Dinner Guest by Gabriela Ybarra, trans. by Natasha Wimmer (May 28, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1-945492-24-2). Longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker International Prize, this autobiographical novel follows the kidnapping and murder of Ybarra’s grandfather by Basque terrorists, when Ybarra is eight, and the lasting impact it had on her.
Two Dollar Radio
The Word for Woman Is Wilderness by Abi Andrews (Mar. 19, trade paper, $16.99, ISBN 978-1-937512-79-8). Nineteen-year-old Erin travels from London to Alaska, passing through Iceland, Greenland, and Canada, to make a documentary about how individualism is more acceptable in men. Once in the Alaskan wilderness, Erin plans to live in a cabin à la Thoreau and explore the isolation from a feminist perspective.
Beyond Babylon by Igiaba Scego, trans. by Aaron Robertson (May 14, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1-931883-83-2). Centered on two half-sisters who meet by chance in Tunisia, this epic traces the lasting impact of Argentina’s dirty war, the last years of Siad Barre’s dictatorship in Somalia, and Italy’s modern-day right-wing politics; intro by Jhumpa Lahiri.
A Devil Comes to Town by Paolo Maurensig, trans. by Anne Milano Appel (May 7, trade paper, $14.99, ISBN 978-1-64286-013-9). In this literary parable, everyone in the isolated town of Dichtersruhe in the Swiss mountains is a writer. When the devil shows up and says he’s a big-shot publisher, chaos ensues.