This spring’s fiction includes works by prize winners and debut novelists set in such locations as the Alaskan wilderness, a women’s correctional facility, and post-WWII London. Links to reviews are provided when available.
Meg Wolitzer. Riverhead, Apr. 3
From the author of The Interestings: Greer is a shy college freshman when she meets Faith Frank, who has been a central pillar of the women’s movement for decades. Greer, searching for purpose, finds it through Faith.
Kristin Hannah. St. Martin’s, Feb. 6
Hannah’s novel, starred by PW, follows the Allbright family, who barely make ends meet, as they move from 1974 Seattle to the untamed wilderness of Kaneq, Alaska, to claim a parcel of land left to the father by a slain Army buddy.
Rachel Cusk. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, June 5
Following Outline and Transit, this novel completes Cusk’s trilogy: a woman writer visits a Europe in flux, where questions of personal and political identity rise to the surface.
The Mars Room
Rachel Kushner. Scribner, May 8
It’s 2003 and Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility, where she experiences the absurdities of institutional living. From the author of The Flamethrowers.
My Year of Rest and Relaxation
Ottessa Moshfegh. Penguin Press, July 10
The latest from the Man Booker finalist is about a young woman’s efforts to duck the world by embarking on an extended hibernation with the help of the worst psychiatrist in the world.
Nafkote Tamirat. Holt, Mar. 13
Tamirat’s debut is a coming-of-age story about a girl in Boston’s tightly knit Ethiopian community who falls under the influence of a charismatic hustler. The novel received a starred PW review.
Alan Hollinghurst. Knopf, Mar. 13
PW starred this family epic spanning the 1940s to the present. Hollinghurst is a past winner of the Man Booker Prize.
Uzodinma Iweala. Harper, Mar. 6
This PW-starred second novel from the author of Beasts of No Nation is set in Washington, D.C., as top student Niru’s life shifts when his conservative Nigerian parents find out he’s queer.
Tommy Orange. Knopf, June 5
In this debut novel, the lives of a disparate cast of characters are altered at the Big Oakland Powwow.
Michael Ondaatje. Knopf, May 8
In Ondaatje’s first work of fiction since 2011, it’s 1945 and 14-year-old Nathaniel and his older sister, Rachel, stay behind in London when their parents move to Singapore, leaving them in the care of a mysterious figure named the Moth.
Beautiful Music by Michael Zadoorian (May 8, trade paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-1-61775-627-6). Set in early 1970s Detroit, a racially divided city still reeling from its violent riot of 1967, this novel is the story of a high school boy’s transformation through music. 15,000-copy announced first printing.
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (Feb. 6, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-61620-134-0). Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are ripped apart when Roy is arrested and sentenced to 12 years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Celestial takes comfort in Andre, her childhood friend and best man at their wedding. When Roy’s conviction is overturned, he returns to Atlanta ready to resume his marriage.
The Farm by Hector Abad, trans. by Anne McLean (Apr. 17, trade paper, $20, ISBN 978-0-914671-92-3). Pilar, Eva, and Antonio Ãngel are the heirs of La Oculta, a farm hidden in the mountains of Colombia. The siblings’ rivalries threaten to tear apart the hard-won legacy their father fought to establish against guerrilla and paramilitary violence. 10,000-copy announced first printing.
Heads of the Colored People: Stories by Nafissa Thompson-Spires (Apr. 10, hardcover, $23, ISBN 978-1-5011-6799-7). Two mothers exchange snide remarks through notes in their kids’ backpacks; a young girl contemplates how best to notify her Facebook friends of her impending suicide. In these stories, Thompson-Spires shines a light on the simmering tensions and precariousness of black citizenship.
Invitation to a Bonfire by Adrienne Celt (June 5, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-63557-152-3) is the story of a love triangle inspired by the Nabokov marriage. In the 1920s, Zoya Andropova, a young refugee from the Soviet Union, finds herself at an elite all-girls New Jersey boarding school, where she meets Leo Orlov, a famous writer and fellow Russian émigré. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo (May 8, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-936787-80-7). When Nigerian army officer Chike Ameobi is ordered to kill innocent civilians, he knows it’s time to desert his post. As he travels toward Lagos and into the heart of a political scandal involving Nigeria’s education minister, he becomes the leader of a band of runaways who share his desire for a new life.
Comemadre by Roque Larraquy, trans. by Heather Cleary (July 10, trade paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-1-56689-515-6). In the outskirts of Buenos Aires in 1907, a doctor becomes involved in a misguided experiment that investigates the threshold between life and death. One hundred years later, a celebrated artist goes to extremes in search of aesthetic transformation, turning himself into an art object. 15,000-copy announced first printing.
The Gunners by Rebecca Kauffman (Mar. 20, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-61902-989-7). Mikey Callahan, a 30-year-old suffering from the clouded vision of macular degeneration, reconnects with his group of childhood friends after one of their members has committed suicide. This core of friends—Mikey, Alice, Lynn, Jimmy, and Sam—search for of truth and forgiveness.
Men and Apparitions by Lynne Tillman (Mar. 13, trade paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-1-59376-679-5). Ezekiel Hooper Stark is first a child obsessed with family photo albums, then a passionate cultural anthropology researcher, then a man betrayed in love. His academic fascinations touch on such subjects as discarded images, pet pictures, spirit mediums, the tragic life of his long-dead cousin and semifamous socialite Clover Adams, and the nature of contemporary masculinity.
The Pisces by Melissa Broder (May 1, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-5247-6155-4). In this humorous novel about love and a merman, Lucy has been writing her dissertation on Sappho for nine years when she and her boyfriend break up in a dramatic flameout. When she moves in with her sister in Los Angeles, she meets Theo, an eerily attractive swimmer.
Stray City by Chelsey Johnson (Mar. 20, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-06-266668-0). Andrea Morales, 24, escaped her Midwestern Catholic childhood—and the closet—to create a home and life for herself within the insular lesbian underground of Portland, Ore. One drunken night, reeling from a bad breakup and a friend’s betrayal, she hooks up with a man. Upon discovering she’s pregnant, Andrea decides to have the baby.
I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon (Mar. 20, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-385-54169-5). In this historical suspense novel, Lawhon unravels the extraordinary twists and turns in Anna Anderson’s 50-year battle to be recognized as Anastasia Romanov. Is she the Russian grand duchess, or is she an imposter, the thief of another woman’s legacy?
Census by Jesse Ball (Mar. 6, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-06-267613-9). When a widower finds out that he doesn’t have long to live, he’s struck by the question of who will care for his adult son, who has Down syndrome. With a desire to see the country on one last trip, the man signs up as a census taker for a mysterious governmental bureau and leaves town with his son.
Disoriental by Négar Djavadi, trans. by Tina Kover (May 1, trade paper, $18, ISBN 978-1-60945-451-7). Kimiâ Sadr fled Iran at age 10 with her mother and sisters to join her father in France. Now 25 and waiting in a Parisian fertility clinic, Kimiâ—storyteller extraordinaire—is inundated by her own memories and the stories of her ancestors, which come to her in unstoppable waves.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Kudos by Rachel Cusk (June 5, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-374-27986-8). Following Outline and Transit, this novel completes Cusk’s trilogy: a woman writer visits a Europe in flux, where questions of personal and political identity rise to the surface, and the trauma of change is opening up new possibilities of loss and renewal.
The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley (May 22, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-374-20843-1) presents a modern retelling of Beowulf, set in American suburbia as two mothers—a housewife and a battle-hardened veteran—fight to protect those they love.
La Bastarda by Trifonia Melibea Obono, trans. by Lawrence Schimel (Apr. 17, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1-936932-23-8). Orphaned Okomo falls in with her village’s outcasts: her gay uncle and a gang of “mysterious” girls reveling in their so-called indecency. Drawn into their illicit trysts, Okomo falls for their leader and rebels against the rigid norms of her culture.
The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick (July 3, trade paper, $15.99, ISBN 978-1-5258-0599-8). Browsing antiques shops in Wiltshire, Alison Bannister stumbles across an old portrait: Mary Seymour, daughter of Katherine Parr, taken to Wolf Hall in 1557 and presumed dead after going missing as a child. The painting of Mary holds a key to Alison’s past.
Lucky Man: Stories by Jamel Brinkley (May 1, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-55597-805-1). A young boy from the Bronx goes swimming with his day camp group at a backyard pool in the suburbs and faces the effects of power and privilege; a pair of college boys on the prowl follow two girls home from a party and have to own their uncomfortable desires.
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata (June 12, hardcover, $22, ISBN 978-0-8021-2825-6). Keiko Furukura takes a job in a convenience store while at in college. At age 36, she is still in the same job, has never had a boyfriend, and has only a few friends. When a similarly alienated but cynical and bitter young man comes to work in the store, he upsets Keiko’s contented stasis.
Only Killers and Thieves by Paul Howarth (Feb. 6, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-269096-8). Two brothers are exposed to the brutal realities of life and the seductive cruelty of power in this debut novel—a story of injustice and honor, set in the untamed frontier of 1880s Australia. 100,000-copy announced first printing.
Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala (Mar. 6, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-128492-2). In this second novel from the author of Beasts of No Nation, Niru is a top student in Washington, D.C., bound for Harvard in the fall. When his conservative Nigerian parents find out he’s queer, events occurs that affect not only Niru but also his best friend, Meredith, daughter of prominent Washington insiders. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
Motherhood by Sheila Heti (May 1, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-62779-077-2). In her late 30s, when her friends are asking when they will become mothers, the narrator of Heti’s novel—after How Should a Person Be?—considers whether she will do so at all, questioning what is gained and what is lost when a woman becomes a mother.
The Parking Lot Attendant by Nafkote Tamirat (Mar. 13, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-250-12850-8). Tamirat’s coming-of-age story is about a girl in Boston’s tightly knit Ethiopian community who falls under the spell of a charismatic hustler out to change the world. Receiving a starred PW review, it’s a debut novel about national identity and what it means to be an immigrant in America today.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van Der Vliet Oloomi (Feb. 6, hardcover, $24, ISBN 978-0-544-94460-2). Zebra is last in a line of anarchists, atheists, and autodidacts. Her family took refuge in books instead of fighting in war. Now in exile, Zebra leaves New York for Barcelona, retracing the journey she and her father made from Iran to the United States years ago.
Between Earth and Sky by Amanda Skenandore (Apr. 24, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1-4967-1366-7). On a quiet Philadelphia morning in 1906, a newspaper headline catapults Alma Mitchell back to her past. A federal agent is dead, and the murder suspect is Alma’s childhood friend, Harry Muskrat.
Madness Is Better Than Defeat by Ned Beauman (Feb. 13, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-385-35299-4). In 1938, rival expeditions descend on an ancient temple recently discovered in the jungles of Honduras, one to shoot a screwball comedy, the other to ship the temple to New York. A stalemate ensues, and 20 years later a rogue CIA agent sets out to exploit it for his own ends.
The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst (Mar. 13, hardcover, $28.95, ISBN 978-1-101-87456-1). Spanning seven transformative decades in England—from the 1940s to the present—this novel plumbs the complex relationships of a remarkable family. PW starred this novel from a winner of the Man Booker Prize.
There There by Tommy Orange (June 5, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-525-52037-5). Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and trying to get back to the family she left in Oakland; Tony Loneman is a young Native American whose future seems destined to be as bleak as his past, and he has come to the Big Oakland Powwow with dark intentions that threaten the lives of everyone in his path.
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje (May 8, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-525-52119-8). In 1945, 14-year-old Nathaniel and his older sister, Rachel, stay in London when their parents move to Singapore and leave them with the mysterious Moth. He might be a criminal, but they are less concerned as they come to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women joined by a shared history of unspecified service during the war.
Feast Days by Ian MacKenzie (Mar. 13, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-316-44016-5). Recipient of a starred PW review, MacKenzie’s novel follows a young wife relocating with her financier husband to São Paulo, Brazil, where she encounters crime, protests, refugees, gentrification, and the collision of art and commerce, while confronting the crisis slowly building inside her own marriage.
The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea (Mar. 6, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-316-15488-8). In his final days, beloved and ailing patriarch Miguel Angel De La Cruz, known affectionately as Big Angel, summons his entire clan for one last legendary birthday party. But as the party approaches, his mother, nearly 100, dies herself.
Circe by Madeline Miller (Apr. 10, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-316-55634-7). In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child who can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves. Zeus banishes her to an island, where she hones her craft and unwittingly draws the wrath of men and gods.
Sophia of Silicon Valley by Anna Yen (Apr. 10, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-267301-5). A brilliant young Asian woman navigates the thrilling world of Silicon Valley in the boom years of the tech industry, working for some of the greatest minds of our time, including Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, in this satirical novel.
The Chandelier by Clarice Lispector, trans. by Magdalena Edwards (Mar. 27, hardcover, $21.95, ISBN 978-0-8112-2313-3). Lispector’s second novel, available for the first time in English, follows Virginia, a clay sculptor, who seeks freedom via creation. Like the rest of Lispector’s idiosyncratic work, this novel seeks to penetrate the core of interior life.
Slave Old Man by Patrick Chamoiseau, trans. by Linda Coverdale (May 1, hardcover, $19.99, ISBN 978-1-62097-295-3). From the winner of the Prix Goncourt, this is the unsettling story of an elderly slave’s daring escape into the wild from a plantation in Martinique, with his master and a fearsome hound on his heels.
Adjustment Day by Chuck Palahniuk (May 1, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-393-65259-8). Smug, geriatric politicians hatch a nasty fate for the burgeoning population of young males; working-class men dream of burying the elites; and professors propound theories that offer students only the bleakest future. When it arrives, Adjustment Day inaugurates the new, disunited states.
Going for a Beer: Selected Short Fictions by Robert Coover (Feb. 6, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-393-60846-5). In this selection of 30 of Coover’s stories, readers will find an invisible man tragically obsessed by an invisible woman; a cartoon man in a cartoon car who runs over a real man who is arrested by a real policeman with cartoon eyes; and a stick man who reinvents the universe.
Fox by Dubravka Ugresic, trans. by Ellen Elias-Bursac and David Williams (Apr. 17, trade paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-1-940953-76-2), takes readers from Russia to Japan, through Balkan minefields and American road trips, and from the 1920s to the present. 10,000-copy announced first printing.
Good Trouble: Stories by Joseph O’Neill (June 12, hardcover, $22, ISBN 978-1-5247-4735-0). In these stories from the author of Netherland, a lonely wedding guest talks to a goose, two poets struggle over whether to participate in a “pardon Edward Snowden” verse petition, a husband lets his wife face a possible intruder in their home, and a potential co-op renter in New York City can’t find anyone to give him a character reference.
The Occasional Virgin by Hanan Al-Shaykh (July 10, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-5247-4751-0). Yvonne and Huda relax by the sea on the French Riviera. Both women spent their childhoods in Beirut—Yvonne in a Christian family and Huda raised in the Muslim faith—and while they left Beirut behind, they cannot escape their families’ reach.
Back Talk by Danielle Lazarin (Feb. 6, trade paper, $16, ISBN 978-0-14-313147-2). In one story in this debut collection, a woman at the end of her marriage tests her power when she inadvertently befriends the neighbor trying to buy her apartment. In another, a 16-year-old grieving her mother’s death experiences first love and questions how much more heartbreak she and her family can endure.
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh (July 10, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-525-52211-9). A young woman trying to duck the world embarks on an extended hibernation with the help of a terrible psychiatrist and the battery of medicines she prescribes.
What You Don’t Know About Charlie Outlaw by Leah Stewart (Mar. 27, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-7352-1434-7). Actor Charlie Outlaw flees newfound fame to a remote island searching for a chance to reevaluate his recent breakup with his girlfriend. Soon after his arrival, a solitary hike into the jungle takes him into danger.
Bring Out the Dog: Stories by Will Mackin (Mar. 6, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-8129-9564-0). A debut linked story collection from a U.S. Navy veteran, which received a starred PW review, follows a team of SEALs who, from 2008 to 2011, serve and try to survive together, primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan.
You Think It, I’ll Say It: Stories by Curtis Sittenfeld (Apr. 24, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-399-59286-7). Among the 10 stories in Sittenfeld’s first story collection are “The World Has Many Butterflies,” in which married acquaintances play a strangely intimate game with devastating consequences, and “Vox Clamantis in Deserto,” in which a shy Ivy League student learns the truth about a classmate’s seemingly enviable life.
Moon Brow by Shahriar Mandanipour, trans. by Khalili Sara (Apr. 17, trade paper, $19.99, ISBN 978-1-63206-128-7). This imaginative love story is narrated by two angel scribes perched on the shoulders of a shell-shocked Iranian soldier searching for the woman who visits his dreams.
The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer (Apr. 3, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-59448-840-5). Greer Kadetsky is a shy college freshman when she meets Faith Frank, who has been a central pillar of the women’s movement for decades. Greer—madly in love with her boyfriend but still longing for purpose—feels her inner world light up. 200,000-copy announced first printing.
The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner (May 8, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-4767-5655-4). It’s 2003, and Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at a prison deep in California’s Central Valley. Outside is her young son, Jackson. Inside is a new reality: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive, casual acts of violence, and the absurdities of institutional living.
Simon & Schuster
Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday (Feb. 6, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-5011-6676-1). This novel connects the story of Alice, a young American editor, and her relationship with a famous older writer to the story of Amar, an Iraqi-American man who, on his way to Kurdistan, is detained by immigration officers and spends the last weekend of 2008 in a holding room at London’s Heathrow airport.
The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar (May 1, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-5011-6903-8). Two girls living 800 years apart—a modern-day Syrian refugee seeking safety and a medieval adventurer apprenticed to a legendary mapmaker—both brave the unknown beside their companions as they are pulled by the promise of reaching home at last.
Where the Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson (Feb. 20, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-61695-887-9). With his single mother in jail, Sequoyah, a 15-year-old Cherokee boy, is in foster care with the Troutt family. Sequoyah has spent years mostly keeping to himself, living with his emotions pressed deep below the surface—until he meets 17-year-old Rosemary, another youth staying with the Troutts.
This Could Change Everything by Jill Mansell (June 5, trade paper, $15.99, ISBN 978-1-4926-6422-2). Essie Phillips never meant her private rant about her boss to go to everyone in her address book, but as it goes viral, her life changes dramatically. When secrets are revealed and new friends are made, Essie might not have such a hard time adjusting to her new life. 55,000-copy announced first printing.
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (Feb. 6, hardcover, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-312-57723-0). Hannah’s novel, starred by PW, is about a family in crisis. A young father and POW returns from Vietnam suffering from PTSD. The family, barely making ends meet in 1974, moves from Seattle to the untamed wilderness of Kaneq, Alaska, to claim a parcel of land left to Ernt by a slain Army buddy.
Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts (May 29, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-250-16159-8). Shooters arrive one evening at a mall outside Portland, Maine. The violence lasts only eight minutes before the killers are taken down, but for those who lived through it, the effects last forever.
The Adulterants by Joe Dunthorne (Mar. 6, hardcover, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-941040-87-4). Ray is a 30-something freelance tech journalist living with his pregnant wife in Northeast London. Through escalating catastrophes, his merciless mental commentary on the foibles of those around him and the vicissitudes of modern urban life continue: internet trolls, sadistic estate agents, open marriages, and the threat posed by more sensitive men.
Blue Self-Portrait by Noémi Lefebvre, trans. by Sophie Lewis (Apr. 3, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1-945492-10-5). On a flight from Berlin to Paris, a woman haunted by composer Arnold Schoenberg’s self-portrait reflects on her romantic encounter with a pianist. This novel unfolds among repetitions and variations that explore the possibilities and limitations of art, history, and connection.
Lion Cross Point by Masatsugu Ono, trans. by Angus Turvill (Apr. 10, hardcover, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-931883-70-2). Ten-year-old Takeru arrives at his family’s home village in a scorching summer, remembering unspeakable acts against his mother and brother. As Takeru befriends Mitsuko, his new caretaker, and Saki, his spunky neighbor, he inches toward a new idea of family and home, while he sees a strange figure called Bunji.
Mem by Bethany C. Morrow (May 22, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-944700-55-3). A scientist in Montreal discovers a method that allows people to have their memories extracted from their minds, whole and complete, and stored in creatures called Mems. Dolores Extract #1, the first Mem capable of creating her own memories and allowed to live on her own, is summoned back to the Vault, where the Mems are kept.
America Is Not the Heart by Elaine Castillo (Apr. 3, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-7352-2241-0). When Hero de Vera arrives in America, disowned by her parents in the Philippines, her uncle, Pol, who has offered her a fresh start and a place to stay in the Bay area, knows not to ask about her past. Only his daughter Roni asks Hero why her hands seem to constantly ache.
Correction: An earlier version of this review misstated the name of one of the characters in The Pisces.