Just look at all the auctioning, pre-empting, and six-figure advancing going around for debuts and it’s clear that publishers are more hopeful about the future than the past. More than half this list is made up of authors unhampered by that pesky little thing called backlist.
In some cases debut authors arrive so daisy-fresh and clean it’s like they fell from the sky, without even the usual few story publications in the usual few journals nobody but MFA students read. Elliott Holt, on the other hand, has a Pushcart (and an MFA from Brooklyn College). Her debut novel, You Are One of Them, is about two American women, friends since the ’80s, and the Soviet nation that comes between them.
Anton DiSclafani reported earned a seven figure advance for The Yonahlosse Riding Camp for Girls. This debut, set in the Great Depression, finds a strong-willed 15 year old exiled to an equestrienne boarding school for Southern debutantes.
With The Golem and the Jinni, Helen Wecker is the latest Columbia MFA grad to break out. Like The Night Circus, her debut is a “spellbinding blend of fantasy and historical fiction” (PW) about two folkloric characters living in Manhattan on the eve of the 20th century.
Anthony Marra, another MFA holder (Iowa), and Stegner Fellow, debuts with A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, focusing on a few days in the lives of a bare-bones hospital staff in Chechnya.
Grove is calling The Blood of Heaven, Kent Wascom’s “gripping” (PW) novel, “one of the most powerful and impressive debuts” they’ve ever published. Set on the cusp of a bloody 19th century, it “captures the...lawlessness and, paradoxically, religious fervor” (PW) of the Souther frontier.
The last of the red hot debuts is poised to capitalize on what one can only hope is a budding hipster backlash. Peter Mattei’s The Deep Whatsis skewers Brooklyn culture just when it seriously needs some skewering. Though this is his first book, 10 years ago Mattei made an independent film he developed at the Sundance Lab. So, he didn’t just materialize out of thin air in a Williamsburg beard-trimming salon known for its handcrafted small-batch heirloom pickle backs.
The expectation that flutters mothlike around the debut scribe can still, sometimes, attend to the veteran. Half a Yellow Son author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s first novel in seven years is Americanah, about two Nigerian lovers whose lives radically diverge after 9/11.
In bestseller Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life a woman is reincarnated again and again throughout the 20th century. By focusing on those usually left out of war stories (that’d be women), the novel “gives the Blitz its full measure of terror” (PW).
From a New Yorker “20 Under 40” writer, The Son by Philipp Meyer is an epic tale of power, blood, and land that begins in the newly established Republic of Texas in 1849 and extends into the modern era. Meyer’s American Rust ended up on scores of “Year’s Best” lists.
Most of these writers could learn something about longevity from Stephen Dobyns. We called The Burn Palace, a novel about a New England town beset with inexplicable criminal acts, “a genre buster that could be a breakout.” When Dobyns got his first book published, it was 1973, he was 32, and young authors were permitted, even (gasp) encouraged, to hone their craft in the public eye. Now, Dobyns lives in Asheville, N.C., otherwise known as the Brooklyn of the South.
PW’s Top 10: Literary Fiction
You Are One of Them. Elliott Holt. The Penguin Press, May
The Yonahlosse Riding Camp for Girls. Anton DiSclafani. Riverhead, June 4
The Golem and the Jinni. Helene Wecker. Harper, Apr.
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. Anthony Marra. Crown/Hogarth, May
The Deep Whatsis. Peter Mattei. Other Press, July
Americanah. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Knopf, May
Life After Life. Kate Atkinson. Little, Brown/Reagan Arthur, Apr.
The Son. Philipp Meyer. Ecco, May
The Blood of Heaven. Kent Wascom. Grove, June
The Burn Palace. Stephen Dobyns. Penguin/Blue Rider, Feb.
Literary Fiction Listings
Life After Life by Jill McCorkle (Mar. 26, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-56512-255-0). McCorkle’s first novel in 17 years follows the residents and staff of a retirement facility in Fulton, N.C. Five of McCorkle’s previous books were New York Times Notables, and she’s been twice anthologized in The Best American Short Stories series.
Atlantic Monthly Press
Wash by Margaret Wrinkle (Feb. 5, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-8021-2066-3). This debut novel by Wrinkle finds two men—one white and free, one black and not—and a woman joined together by slave breeding in early 19th-century Tennessee.
A Dual Inheritance by Joanna Hershon (May 7, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-345-46847-5). This novel about passion, betrayal, class, and friendship that delves into the lives of two generations is “deep and beautifully humane” (Jennifer Gilmore). We think this “quietly searing novel about class, ethnicity, and love” (PW) will be Hershon’s breakout.
Bellevue Literary Press
(dist. by Consortium)
Ghost Moth by Michele Forbes (Apr. 16; $14.95, ISBN 978-1-93413760-4). In this debut novel by Irish actress and Irish Times literary critic Michèle Forbes, a family is consumed by dark secrets as tensions rise in late-1960s Belfast. From the press behind Paul Harding’s Pulitzer Prize–winning debut, Tinkers.
(dist. by Consortium)
Our Man in Iraq by Robert Perisic, trans. by Will Firth (Apr., trade paper, $14, ISBN 978-1-936787-05-0). Winner of Croatia’s Jutarnji List award, this 2008 novel, getting its first English translation, spent eight weeks at the top of Croatia’s bestseller list. A Croatian journalist hires his unhinged cousin, Boris, to cover the Iraq War for his newspaper. As the war goes on, Boris’s gonzo missives grow increasingly strange.
The Stud Book by Monica Drake (Apr. 9, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-307-95552-4). A comedy about the drive to make babies, set in aggressively hip Portland, Ore. Film rights to Drake’s first novel, Clown Girl, have been optioned by Kristen Wiig, star of Bridesmaids.
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra (May 7, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-7704-3640-7). Talk about credentials: Marra is a Stegner Fellow at Stanford, has an M.F.A. from Iowa, and won the 2012 Whiting Writers’ Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Atlantic’s Student Writing Contest. Ann Patchett came on board early, calling the book “simply spectacular. Not since Everything Is Illuminated have I read a first novel so ambitious and fully realized.”
The Dial Press
The Hope Factory by Lavanya Sankaran (Apr. 23, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-385-33819-6). After writing a collection of short stories set in Bangalore, India, that spent two years on bestseller lists, Sankaran returns with her first novel, also set in Bangalore, about the ways in which the newly industrialized city shapes the dreams and aspirations of two different families. The perfect book club read.
The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian (July 16, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0-385-53481-9). From the PW bestselling author of The Sandcastle Girls, a new novel that has it all: a sun-drenched Italian villa, a doomed affair, a fascinating slice of Italian history, and a deadly serial killer.
Doubleday/Nan A. Talese
A Nearly Perfect Copy by Allison Amend (Apr. 9, hardcover, $25.95; 978-0-385-53669-1). Amend, a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, follows up Stations West with a “clever, wry” new novel set in the oddly compatible worlds of art forgery... and cloning. “A highly enjoyable, poignant, nearly-perfect novel” (the starred PW review).
The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates (Mar. 5, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-223170-3). Bestseller Oates returns with an epic historical about possession, power, and loss at early 20th-century Princeton. With an announced first printing of 100,000, the novel will get national television, radio, print, and online coverage, and fans in six cities will have a chance to see Oates read in person.
The Son by Philipp Meyer (May 8, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-212039-7). The author of American Rust returns with an epic, multigenerational novel of power, blood, and land that follows the rise of one Texas family from the Comanche raids of the 1800s to the oil booms of the 20th century. American Rust was a book of the year pick in a number of publications. Meyer is one of the New Yorker’s “20 under 40” writers.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
The Fun Parts: Stories by Sam Lipsyte (Mar. 5, hardcover, $24, ISBN 978-0-374-29890-6). A new collection of stories from the writer the New York Times called “the novelist of his generation.” PW thought that “Lipsyte’s biting humor suffuses the collection, but it’s his ability to control the relative darkness of each moment that makes the stories so engrossing.”
Jacob’s Folly by Rebecca Miller (Mar. 5, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-374-17854-3). This audacious new novel from author-filmmaker Miller is about a Jewish peddler from late 18th-century Paris who finds himself reincarnated in the 21st century... as a fly.
Donnybrook by Frank Bill (Mar. 5, trade paper, $15, ISBN 978-0-374-53289-5). Bill blew some dusty doors off with his debut, the neo-pulp story collection Crimes in Southern Indiana, and he’s gonna do it again, with a first novel that explodes with the same stripped down, hillbilly, meth-fueled velocity.
The Whispering Muse by Sjón, trans. by Victoria Cribb (May 1, hardcover, $22, ISBN 978-0-374-28907-2). FSG is giving Icelandic author Sjón a splashy English-language debut with the simultaneous publication of three novels (From the Mouth of the Whale and The Blue Fox, in paperback, round out the trio). Sjón has lots of love from the likes of David Mitchell (who called his work “ticklish”), Junot Díaz, and, of course, Björk.
Woke Up Lonely by Fiona Maazel (Apr. 2, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-55597-638-5). Writing in a signature review, Manuel Gonzales (The Miniature Wife) called Maazel’s second novel “sprawling and ambitious,” a classification PW also attributed to the author’s first novel. Maazel is a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” writer.
In Times of Fading Light by Eugen Ruge, trans. by Anthea Bell (June 11, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-55597-643-9). An expansive family saga set against the backdrop of the collapse of East German communism, this book is already a major international hit, with over 450,000 copies sold worldwide.
Heart of Palm by Laura Lee Smith (Apr. 2, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-8021-2102-8). This debut novel from a Southern writer whose stories have appeared in the New Stories from the South has great pre-pub support. John Dufresne says Smith is “an enchanter casting her spell with lyrical prose.”
The Blood of Heaven by Kent Wascom (June 4, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-8021-2118-9), a debut novel, is a vivid portrait of ambition and political machinations in a young America where anything is possible. Grove calls it “one of the most powerful and impressive debuts” it’s ever published.
The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence (June, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-316-24657-6). Redhook, Hachette’s new fiction imprint, will be pushing this quirky, coming-of-age debut novel at this year’s BEA. A fortune teller’s son, Alex Woods, was struck at the age of 10 by a meteorite, marking him for an extraordinary life.
Schroder by Amity Gaige (Feb. 5, hardcover, $21.99, ISBN 978-1-4555-1213-3) recounts the seven days a father spends on the road with his daughter after kidnapping her during a parental visit. PW called it “[a] radiant meditation on identity, memory, and familial love and loss.”
What Tears Us Apart by Deborah Cloyed (Mar. 26, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-0-7783-1379-3). A young woman flees her life of privilege to travel to Kenya, finding love in a boys’ orphanage in the slums of Nairobi. Cloyed, a travel writer and photographer, has lived in Kenya, Thailand, Honduras, London, Barcelona, New York, and Los Angeles.
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (Apr. 23, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-211083-1). A debut in the vein of The Night Circus and The Discovery of Witches. The novel combines historical fiction with a magical fable about two supernatural creatures in turn-of-the-20th-century New York City. 75,000 announced first printing.
Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende (Apr. 23, hardcover, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-210562-2). The New York Times bestselling author returns with a contemporary coming-of-age story narrated by an American teenage girl who falls into a life of drugs and crime.
The Slippage by Ben Greenman (Apr. 23, trade paper, $14.99, ISBN 978-0-06-199051-9). A novel of marriage, lust, and disconnection from the author of What He’s Poised to Do and Superbad. The Brooklyn-based Greenman, an editor at the New Yorker.
We Live in Water by Jess Walter (May, trade paper, $14.99, ISBN 978-0-06-192662-4). This is the first collection of short stories, set in the Pacific Northwest (with a focus on never-hip Spokane, Wash.), from Walter, whose 2012 novel Beautiful Ruins, was called a “quirky and entertaining tale of greed, treachery, and love” by PW.
Autobiography of Us by Aria Beth Sloss (Feb. 5, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-8050-9455-8). “A smooth first-person narrative about two best friends who come of age in 1960s Pasadena marks Sloss's layered debut novel” (PW) about the difficult lives of women born into the wrong era.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Claudia Silver to the Rescue by Kathy Ebel (June 18, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-547-98557-2. In this debut novel, flawed but unsinkable Claudia Silver cuts a wide comic swath in her misguided attempts to find love and security in 1990s New York City.
The Girls’ Guide to Love and Supper Clubs by Dana Bate (Feb. 5, trade paper, $14.99, ISBN 978-1-4013-1100-1). This debut novel about a 20-something foodie who runs a secret underground supper club out of her landlord’s townhouse, earned a starred review in PW: “engaging...smart and compelling.”
Indiana Univ. Press
(dist. by Ingram)
Blue White Red by Alain Mabanckou, trans. by Alison Dundy (Mar. 1, trade paper, $17, ISBN 978-0-253-00791-9). This first English translation of Mabanckou’s tale of adventure reveals the dashed hopes of Africans living between worlds. Mabanckou was selected by the French literary magazine Lire as one of the 50 writers to watch for this century. The Economist calls Mabanckou “the African Beckett.”
(dist. by Consortium)
The Fainting Room by Sarah Pemberton Strong (May 14, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1-935439-76-9). Poet and author Strong, published in numerous journals and publications including the Sun, returns with a novel about a woman with a colorful past that is as hard to conceal from the upper-class community she marries into as the many tattoos that adorn her body.
Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories by Karen Russell (Feb. 12, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-307-95723-8). From the author of the bestseller Swamplandia!, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize the year there was no winner, comes a new collection of stories showcasing Russell’s “great gift... her ability to create whole landscapes and lifetimes of strangeness within the confines of the short story,” says PW.
Middle C by William H. Gass (Mar. 12, hardcover, $28.95, ISBN 978-0-307-70163-3). A true literary event: the long-awaited novel, almost two decades in the writing, by one of the most revered American writers of our time. In a starred, boxed review, we called this “a symphonic anti-adventure story that is the unprecedented work of a master.”
All That Is by James Salter (Apr. 2, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-4000-4313-2). Salter’s first work of fiction in seven years is a sweeping love story set in post-WWII America that tells of one man’s great passions and regrets over the course of his lifetime. Tim O’Brien called this BEA buzzed-about book the “best novel I’ve read in years.”
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (May 14, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-307-27108-2). The MacArthur Award–winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun (with 100,000 in print) returns with a story of love and race centered around a young man and woman from Nigeria.
Amity & Sorrow by Peggy Riley (Apr. 16, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-316-22088-0). “Riley’s debut novel is a harsh but compassionate look at nature vs. nurture through the lens of a polygamous cult.... Riley’s mastery keeps this unusual tale from descending into melodrama, and she makes no easy choices,” says the PW starred review.
Little, Brown/Reagan Arthur Books
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (Apr. 2, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-316-17648-4). Bestselling author Atkinson plays with time and history in an “inventive” (PW) new novel. From our starred review: “This is a war story masquerading as domestic drama, and in its focus on the women and civilians usually left out or downplayed, it gives the Blitz its full measure of terror.” 125,000-copy announced first printing.
Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand (June 25, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-316-09978-3). A summer wedding stirs up trouble in this new novel from bestselling author Hilderbrand. “Hilderbrand has a gift for building tension.” (PW) 200,000-copy announced first printing.
We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo (May 21, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0-316-23081-0). A debut coming-of-age novel about a young girl’s journey from Zimbabwe to America. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Bulawayo has an M.F.A. from Cornell and is a current Stegner Fellow.
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill (June, hardcover, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-220057-0). Hill is the bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box and the Eisner Award–winning comic book series Locke & Key. Morrow is putting a lot of muscle behind this book (the title is alpha-numerical for Nosferatu, hence: vampires), including a nine-city tour, Comic-Con, and national TV and print campaigns. PW named Heart-Shaped Box one of the Best Books of 2009.
The Mehlis Report by Rabee Jaber, trans. by Kareem James Abu-Zeid (June 18, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-0-8112-2064-4) is the English-language debut of 2012’s International Arabic Fiction Prize winner, who has a backlist of 14 novels. Jaber, born in Beirut in 1972, is the editor of Afaaq, the weekly cultural supplement of Al-Hayet, the daily pan-Arab newspaper.
His Wife Leaves Him by Stephen Dixon (June 15, hardcover, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-60699-604-1) replicates the consciousness of a jilted man. Dixon says “it’s about a bunch of nouns: love, guilt, sickness, death, remorse, loss, family, matrimony, sex, children, parenting, aging, mistakes, incidents, minutiae, birth, music, writing, jobs, affairs, memory, remembering, reminiscences, forgetting, repression, dreams, reverie, nightmares, meeting, dating, conceiving, imagining, delaying, loving.”
The Complete Short Stories of James Purdy by James Purdy (July 22, hardcover, $35, ISBN 9780871406699). Collected here for the first time is all of Purdy’s short fiction: 53 stories, including many never before published. Gore Vidal called Purdy (1914-2009) “an authentic American genius.”
The Gods of Heavenly Punishment by Jennifer Cody Epstein (Mar. 11, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 9780393071573) is Epstein’s follow-up to The Painter From Shanghai. Epstein, who has lived and worked in Japan, draws from her experience to tell an expansive novel about war and peace, love and loss. “Epstein’s second novel is bursting with characters and locales. Yet painful, authentic, and exquisite portraits emerge of the personal impact of national conflicts” (PW).
Harvard Square by André Aciman (Apr. 8, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 9780393088601) throws together two very different men: an Arab cab driver nicknamed “Kalashnikov” and an Egyptian Jewish Harvard grad student. It’s 1977 and the two new friends carouse the bars and cafes around Cambridge, trading intimate accounts of their love affairs, arguing about the American Dream, and skinny dip in Walden Pond. Aciman is the director of the Writers’ Institute at CUNY.
The Summer of the Camperdowns by Elizabeth Kelly (June, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0971403407). From the bestselling author of Apologize, Apologize! comes this coming-of-age novel, set on Cape Cod in 1972.
The Silence and the Roar by Nihad Sirees (Mar. 5, trade paper, $13.95, ISBN 978-1-59051-645-4). An allegorical, Kafkaesque novel about a censored writer trying to live a normal life under a Middle Eastern dictatorship. Sirees was born in Syria, but now lives and works in exile in Egypt. The publisher says this novel is “funny, sexy, short, and very accessible.”
The Deep Whatsis by Peter Mattei (July 23, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1-59051-638-6) has been banned in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (just kidding). “A lacerating, hilarious, and moving novel skewering the Brooklyn-based culture of hipster consumerism, obsessive branding, and corporate advertising run amok,” according to the publisher.
The Burn Palace by Stephen Dobyns (Feb. 7, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-399-16087-5). Dobyns is the author of more than 30 novels and poetry collections. PW’s starred review called this novel “by turns an affectionate portrait of smalltown life, a terrifying supernatural thriller, and a sly horror comedy,” a “genre buster that could be a breakout.” 50,000-copy announced first printing.
The Penguin Press
The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones by Jack Wolf (Mar. 26, trade paper, $16, ISBN 978-0-14-312382-8). A debut novel set during the Enlightenment that tells the tale of a promising young surgeon-in-training whose study of anatomy is deeply complicated by his uncontrollable sadistic tendencies. Wolf’s personal story—the author transitioned from female to male—will surely help to create interest.
You Are One of Them by Elliott Holt (May 30, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-1-59420-528-6). From a Pushcart Prize–winning writer who New York magazine has called a literary “star of tomorrow,” this debut novel, sold at auction, is set in America in the ’80s and present-day Moscow. Holt has tremendous pre-pub support, from Darin Strauss, A.M. Homes, Kevin Wilson, Hannah Tinti, and Lauren Groff, who calls Holt “graceful, sharp, and super-smart.”
Telling the Bees by Peggy Hesketh (Mar. 7, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-399-15905-3). With echoes of The Remains of the Day, an elderly beekeeper looks back on his life and the secrets of a woman he never truly knew. Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club, thinks the novel “reminds us that even the quietest life will still hold its full measure of drama and passion.”
No One Could Have Guessed the Weather by Anne-Marie Casey (June 13, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0399160219). From a script editor and producer of prime-time TV drama comes this debut novel about a homesick woman embarking on the love affair of her life—with New York and three of the city’s female inhabitants. Casey is married to the Irish writer Joseph O’Connor.
Freud’s Mistress by Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman (July 9, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0399163074). A novel inspired by the true-life love affair between Sigmund Freud and his sister-in-law, Minna Bernays, an overeducated, opinionated woman with limited options. This is the third book from Mack, an award-winning film and television producer, and Kaufman, a former staff writer for the L.A. Times; their previous two books both spent time on the L.A. Times bestseller list.
The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout (Mar. 26, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-4000-6768-8). An expansive new novel from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author (for Olive Kitteridge). The Burgess family already has its share of trouble before a prank carried out by the teenaged Zachary against Somali immigrants is seen as a hate crime. “Strout excels at constructing an intricate web of circuitous family drama” (PW).
TransAtlantic by Colum McCann (June 4, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-4000-6959-0). National Book Award–winning novelist McCann ties together three narratives that span 150 years and two continents. McCann will go to 10 cities in support of his new work, and receive a shower of coverage from national magazines and newspapers.
& Sons by David Gilbert (July 23, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-8129-9396-7) captures the worlds of New York’s wealthy elite, the publishing industry, boarding schools, and Hollywood. Nine publishers were ready to bid on this novel when Random House editor-at-large David Ebershoff pre-empted.
Random House/Spiegel & Grau
Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw (July 2, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-8129-9434-6). This could be the breakout book from critically acclaimed Aw (whose debut, The Harmony Silk Factory, won the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Novel). It’s an epic story about the new China set in Shanghai, a city being transformed by a breakdown in social hierarchy and cultural norms.
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (May 21, hardcover, $28.95, ISBN 978-1-59463-176-4) is the new novel from the bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. With more than 38 million copies sold worldwide in over 70 countries, Hosseini is one of the most widely read novelists in the world.
A Guide to Being Born by Romona Ausubel (May 2, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-59448-795-8). A short story collection from the author of the novel, No One Is Here Except All of Us. Ausubel is a graduate of the M.F.A. program at the University of California, Irvine, which boasts former students Michael Chabon, Joshua Ferris, and Alice Sebold, among many others.
The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani (June 4, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-59448-640-1). This debut novel from a young Floridian sold for a bundle and has tremendous pre-pub support from the likes of Prep author Curtis Sittenfeld (“sexy, suspenseful, gorgeously written”).
(dist. by Consortium)
Moth, or How I Came to Be with You Again by Thomas Heise (July 1, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1-936747-57-3). Sarabande is calling poet Heise’s new work an “adventurous book-length project,” a good indication of what awaits the reader: a hybrid form that sits on the blurry border between prose and poetry, as the book’s narrator attempts to fuse his present and his past.
Double Feature by Owen King (Mar. 19, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-4516-7689-1) is an epic debut novel about a young man coming to terms with his life in the process and aftermath of making his first film from a critically acclaimed short story writer.
The Mothers by Jennifer Gilmore (Apr. 9, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-4516-9725-4) is a novel about a couple’s struggle to adopt a child, from a Brooklyn-based author whose previous novels were New York Times notable books.
Seven Stories Press
(dist. by Random House)
Mondo Cruel by Luis Negrón, trans. by Suzanne Jill Levine (Feb. 26, trade paper, $13.95, ISBN 978-1-60980-418-3). The first collection from Negrón is “slender but never slight, and often extremely funny” (PW). Negrón’s stories offer compelling insights into gay life in Puerto Rico and the human condition.
Notes from a Coma by Mike McCormack (Mar. 5, trade paper, $14, ISBN 978-1-61695-232-7). A troubled young man leaves his adopted family and fiancée in smalltown Ireland to volunteer for a program testing deep coma—an option within the EU penal system in this alternate reality. This is McCormack’s first novel to be published in America since Getting It in the Head (a New York Times Notable Book) in 1998.
The Morels by Christopher Hacker (Apr. 30, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-1-61695-243-3). An aspiring filmmaker tells the story of his childhood friend, a writer who risks destroying his family with a novel that blurs lines between truth and fiction, art and criminality. This debut from Hacker, who holds an M.F.A. from Columbia University, has been generating a lot of pre-pub buzz.
White Wind Blew by James Markert (Mar. 1, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1-4022-7837-2). Set during Prohibition and at the height of a tuberculosis epidemic, this is an “absorbing historical” (PW) that raises questions about faith and confession, music and medicine, and the resilience of love.
St. Martin’s Press
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler (Mar. 26, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1-250-02865-5). A “sensuous” (PW) novel that captures the romance, glamour, and tragedy of Zelda Fitzgerald.
Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger by Beth Harbison (July 9, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-312-59913-3). Bestselling author Harbison dazzled us with her last novel, When in Doubt, Add Butter, which PW’s starred review called “a perfect blend of chick lit and women’s fiction,” and “first-rate.”
The Seven Days by R.K. Thomas (Apr. 16, trade paper, $15, ISBN 978-1-59309-427-0). The sequel to Antebellum, a “wildly original” novel (PW) that sent a rap superstar back in time to become a mistreated slave. This time two African-American men—one an academic, one ex-special forces—are possessed by the vengeful spirits of their ancestors.
Time Flies by Claire Cook (June 11, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-4516-7367-8). The new novel from the bestselling author of Must Love Dogs and Wallflower in Bloom is getting a big national push.
The Kings and Queens of Roam by Daniel Wallace (May 7, hardcover, $24, ISBN 978-1-4767-0397-8) relates the tale of two sisters and the magical town that blinds them. Wallace is the bestselling author of Big Fish.
Two Dollar Radio
(dist. by Consortium)
A Questionable Shape by Bennett Sims (May, trade paper, $16.50, ISBN 978-1-937512-09-5). Sims, a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop who has published stories in A Public Space, Tin House, and Zoetrope: All-Story, turns the zombie narrative upside down with a philosophical rumination on the nature of memory and loss.
(dist. by Consortium)
Solip by Ken Beaumann (May 14, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-0-9850235-4-6). Beaumann, an actor currently appearing on The Secret Life of the American Teenager on ABC Family, says that Solip “isn’t a novel” but rather “a world for those who already dwell in the sentence.” Beaumann runs nonprofit Sator Press.
Univ. of Nebraska
Cousin K by Yasmina Khadra, trans. by Donald Nicholson-Smith and Alyson Waters; afterward by Robert Polito (Apr. 1, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-0-8032-3493-2) is a new novella by North African Khadra. A tormented, nameless narrator, whose father was brutally killed during a national liberation war, reflects on his life against the backdrop of an indifferent world.
My Education by Susan Choi (July 3, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-670-02490-2). A novel of desire and disaster from the author of American Woman, which was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize, and A Person of Interest, which was a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award.
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (Mar. 12, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-670-02663-0). Bestselling author Ozeki’s “absorbing third novel is an extended mediation on writing, time, and people in time: ‘time beings.’” (PW).
Washington Square Press
The List by Karin Tanabe (Feb. 5, trade paper, $15, ISBN 978-1-4516-9559-5). From a former Politico reporter, a debut novel about a young journalist at D.C.’s hottest political rag who uncovers a scandal.