This season, watch for new books by Emily St. John Mandel, Chris Bohjalian, Monica Ali and Douglas Stuart; a literary vampire story by Claire Kohda; and new novels in translation.
Following his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “A Visit From the Goon Squad,” this story features familiar characters, including the friends and descendants of music producer Bennie Salazar and his protege, Sasha, who is now an installation artist from fame. But you don’t need to know “Goon Squad” to appreciate this book, which opens with the “demi-god of technology” Bix Button, who created technology that allows people to upload their memories to a external consciousness and browse the experiences shared by other users.
Scribner, April 5
“Young Mungo”, by Douglas Stuart
Stuart follows his debut novel, ‘Shuggie Bain’, which won the Booker Prize and won praise for its portrayal of Scottish working life, with a love story set in a Glasgow housing project. Two young men, Mungo and James, fall in love and imagine a better future while protecting their secret.
Grove, April 5
As a young boy, Faraz is taken from his mother, who works in Lahore’s red-light district, and sent to live with distant relatives in a more respectable part of town. Years later, her father – a political operative with connections throughout the city – asks her to return to the neighborhood to help contain the fallout from the murder of a young girl.
Riverhead, April 5
Smith has a particularly fast literary metabolism: his most recent novels, called the Seasonal Quartet, incorporated contemporary political and social events – Brexit, immigration debates, climate change – virtually in real time. His last opens when Sandy receives a mysterious call from an old classmate. Ingredients? An antique lock and key, a confusing interaction with border control, and a bit of pun that could explain it all.
Pantheon, May 3
Ali’s 2003 novel “Brick Lane” centers on a young Bangladeshi woman who enters into an arranged marriage and lives in Britain, and later discovers her own desires and strengths. Now Ali is once again focusing on a marriage – between Yasmin, a 26-year-old woman of Indian descent who is studying to be a doctor, and Joe, a middle-class white man whose mother is an outspoken feminist. . As the families prepare for the wedding, their beliefs and traditions shift, a betrayal threatens to derail the wedding, and a years-old secret is revealed.
Scribner, May 3
The lives of characters living centuries apart converge in this time-traveling novel. They include the son of an aristocrat on a transatlantic voyage, a grieving composer, and a writer visiting Earth from his interstellar colony on his book tour. During the visit, the writer faces endless questions from readers about the imaginary disease she wrote about — perhaps a sly reference to Mandel’s own experience when talking about his earlier novel, “Station Eleven,” which has taken on new resonance during the pandemic.
Knopf, April 5
This first film follows Daiyu, an 1880s Chinese woman who reinvents herself to survive a series of tragedies. As a child, she was kidnapped and taken from China to the United States in the 1880s, sold into prostitution, and escaped from California to Idaho. Later, she lives as a man and faces both external threats – including the rising tide of anti-Asian sentiment – and her private aspirations.
Iron, April 5
“Trust”, by Hernan Diaz
In Gilded Age New York, Benjamin and Helen Rask have risen to the top of society. The couple is the object of fascination: he is a successful Wall Street trader, she is the daughter of offbeat socialites, and together they amass a huge fortune. As the book progresses, readers gain insight into their story, with each new perspective releasing layers of intrigue and deleted history.
Riverhead, May 3
BOOKS IN TRANSLATION
“Faces”, by Tove Ditlevsen. Translated by Tiina Nunnally.
Ditlevsen’s collected memoir, published last year in English as ‘The Copenhagen Trilogy’, was among the Book Review’s 10 best books of 2021, earning praise for “astonishing clarity, humor and frankness “. Two works of fiction by the Danish writer will be released this year, including “The Faces”, a novel about a children’s book author in 1960s Copenhagen, struggling with creative frustrations, marital infidelity and the specter of madness. “The Trouble With Happiness” is also set in mid-century Copenhagen, following all sorts of unhappy people. But if you know Ditlevsen’s writing, you know she finds a way to make even misery bright.
The Faces (Picador, April 19)
The Problem with Happiness (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, April 19)
“All Night Lovers” by Mieko Kawakami. Translated by Sam Bett and David Boyd.
Kawakami has been a feminist voice in her home country of Japan with novels that address the inner lives of women. In this book, she follows Fuyuko, a lonely 30-something proofreader whose ties to the outside world are a tenuous friendship with a co-worker and her annual walks on her birthday. But when she meets a physics professor in Tokyo, their shared fascination with light pulls Fuyuko out, helping her confront her past – and her desire to change her life.
Europe, May 3
Paradise, by Fernanda Melchor. Translated by Sophie Hughes.
Long listed for the International Booker, this novel follows two miserable teenagers who meet in a gated community in Mexico. Franco Andrade is consumed by thoughts of his neighbor, the wife of a TV personality, and has an unhealthy appetite for pornography, while Polo, the community gardener, desperately seeks to escape his own predicament. Together, they concoct a plan that quickly escalates into violence and risk.
New Directions, April 26
In Garmus’ first novel, a frustrated chemist finds herself at the head of a cooking show that sparks a revolution. Welcome to the 1960s, when a woman’s arsenal of tools was often limited to the kitchen – and where Elizabeth Zott is determined to upend the status quo one meal at a time.
Double day, April 5
We’ve seen sexy vampires, scary vampires, and psychic vampires, but never one quite like this ambitious debut. Lydia is a 23-year-old Métis artist whose appetite can only be satiated with a large serving of blood. With the mind and eye of a poet, Kohda examines cravings, desire and emptiness.
HarperVia, April 12
“Fervor”, by Alma Katsu
The author of “The Hunger” and “The Deep” — two hair-raising, winding novels with deceptively simple titles — returns with “The Fervor.” After mining the Donner Party and the high seas for suffering and trauma, Katsu places “The Fervor” in a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II. The conditions there are pretty hellish… and then a mysterious disease starts spreading among the prisoners.
Putnam, April 26
Hacienda San Isidro is the home of your worst nightmares. As we learn on the first page of Cañas’ supernatural thriller story (think “Mexican Gothic” meets “Rebecca”), “white stucco walls stood like the bones of a long-dead beast. protruding from a dark, cracked earth”. A newlywed finds herself caught in the clutches of this spooky place after being abandoned there by her new husband.
Berkley, May 3
“The Lioness”, by Chris Bohjalian
If you’re taking a long flight and don’t know which book to bring, Bohjalian’s novels are always a safe bet. If you’re going on a safari, you might want to approach his latest with caution: it’s the story of a lavish expedition to Tanzania in 1964 gone horribly wrong. Travelers are Hollywood A-listers; wildebeest and zebra abound; and Bohjalian steers this one-story runaway Land Rover into hugely entertaining territory.
Double day, May 10
A renowned artist living under an assumed identity (she’s a starving journalist, go figure) comes face-to-face with her past in Walker’s long-awaited and highly-anticipated sequel to “Dietland.” This feminist gothic thriller takes readers from 2017 New Mexico to 1950 Connecticut – straight into the bullseye of a gun dynasty.
Harper, May 17