All Our Names
by Dinaw Mengestu
All Our Names takes place in 1970s Uganda, where a young student embraces a revolutionary movement but must flee increasing violence by emigrating to a small town in the American Midwest. Mengestu’s latest novel “returns to themes of alienation and exile but also explores the challenges and possibilities of love amid bleak circumstances” and “portrays the intersection of cultures experienced by the immigrant with unsettling perception” (Publishers Weekly). Mengestu received accolades for his first two books, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (2007) and How to Read the Air (2010). He is the winner of a MacArthur Genius Award, a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Award, and was on the most recent New Yorker 20 Under 40 List.
Boy, Snow, Bird
by Helen Oyeyemi
Oyeyemi’s latest novel is a retelling of Snow White set in 1950s New England. When a white woman gives birth to a dark-skinned daughter, she realizes that her husband and her stepdaughter are African Americans passing as white. “Dense with fully realized characters, startling images, original observations and revelatory truths, this masterpiece engages the reader's heart and mind as it captures both the complexities of racial and gender identity in the 20th century and the more intimate complexities of love in all its guises” (Kirkus Reviews). Oyeyemi is one of Granta's Best Young British Novelists and the author of Mr. Fox (2011).
by Phil Klay
Reviewers are passionately recommending Redeployment, a debut short story collection about soldiers on the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan and veterans returning to domestic life. Author Klay is a marine veteran of the Iraq War, Dartmouth graduate and Hunter College MFA. The New York Times called these stories “gritty, unsparing and fiercely observed,” demonstrating “a keen awareness of language and storytelling craft”.
The Black-Eyed Blonde
by Benjamin Black
Benjamin Black is the pseudonymous mystery-writing alter ego of Booker Prize winner John Banville. Black’s newest mystery pays tribute to Raymond Chandler by offering a new Philip Marlowe story in a “pitch-perfect recreation of the character and his time and place” (Publishers Weekly). Chandler fans will likely approve—“the homage game is a tricky one to play, but Black makes all the right moves” (Booklist). You can listen to an NPR review here.
Every Day Is for the Thief
by Teju Cole
We’re still waiting for pre-publication reviews, but anticipation is high for the U.S. release of Every Day Is for the Thief. Teju Cole’s novel/travelogue is about a Nigerian writer returning to Lagos after a few years of living in New York City. His first book, Open City (2011), won multiple awards, was a New York Times Notable Book and landed on more than 20 Best Books of the Year lists including the New Yorker, NPR and Kirkus.
The Orchard of Lost Souls
by Nadifa Mohamed
Mohamed’s second novel (after Black Mamba Boy, 2010) captures the brutal violence against women taking place in Somalia in the late 1980s. Three women—a soldier, a nine-year-old refugee, and a widow—cross paths more than once as they navigate their treacherous circumstances. “Mohamed evokes the burgeoning unrest of a city on the brink of chaos with vibrant, evocative language and imagery, crafting a story that will stay with readers long after the final page is turned” (Booklist). Like Oyeyemi (mentioned above) Mohamed recently was named one of the Best Young British Novelists by Granta.
The Ghost Apple
by Aaron Their
A private college in New England with a satellite campus in the Caribbean falls on hard times, lowers its standards, and enters into a troubling partnership with Big Anna®, a snack food corporation in this satire of academia and corporate America. The story unfolds through an “insanely fun mixture” of letters, diary entries, course listings, meeting minutes, emails, newsletters, annual reports, advertisements and more (Booklist). Kirkus calls it “an improbable laugh riot” that “manages to lampoon corporate evil without ever underestimating or dismissing it.”
by Mai Jia, translated by Olivia Milburn and Christopher Payne
A bestseller in the author’s native China, Decoded revolves around an autistic mathematical genius who becomes a code breaker for a top secret agency. When he realizes that he is pitted against his former professor and mentor, he finds himself teetering on the edge of a breakdown. Booklist calls Decoded a “heartbreaking and thought-provoking” work which will leave you “pondering the collective sanity of a world shrouding knowledge in enigmas” and Publishers Weekly calls it “a fascinating story, neatly interwoven with complex mathematical theory.”
by Rene Denfeld
The Enchanted is a grim but magical novel that takes place on death row in a rundown, corrupt prison, where a fallen priest and an investigator try to exonerate those awaiting execution, and an inmate copes by envisioning magical phenomena such as golden horses galloping underneath the prison floor. Library Journal urges: “Read this magical book, and prepare to be spellbound.” Booklist praises: “Denfeld's humanizing of the potential for horror that is within all of us and her insistence that the reader see the beauty in the darkest corners of life sizzles through her sharp prose, which both makes us flinch and invites us to imagine.” This is the first novel from the author of the non-fiction book All God's Children: Inside the Dark and Violent World of America's Street Families (2007).
by Kenneth Calhoun
In a unique twist on the zombie apocalypse theme, Kenneth Calhoun has imagined a worldwide epidemic of incurable insomnia in his debut novel Black Moon. Amid outbreaks of anger, violence and insanity among the sleepless, those who can still sleep seek their missing family members, exhausted scientists seek a cure, and wily opportunists stockpile and steal sleeping pills. “Calhoun's literary dystopia, which features beautiful writing, arresting imagery, and powerful metaphors” is “a deeply lyrical exploration of humanity at the extremes” (Library Journal).
Are you looking forward to an upcoming new release? Tell us about it!
Posted on Friday, 3/7/2014 by Christy Thomas, Librarian, Main Library