10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in March 2019

Calling all fiction lovers! Here come the new books for March!

The Old Drift 
by Namwali Serpell
A chance encounter between an English colonist, an Italian hotel manager and an African busboy launches a series of events linking the fates of their descendants, in a complex plot set against the backdrop of the past, present and future of the nation of Zambia. “Serpell expertly weaves in a preponderance of themes, issues, and history, including Zambia’s independence, the AIDS epidemic, white supremacy, patriarchy, familial legacy, and the infinite variations of lust and love… Intricately imagined, brilliantly constructed, and staggering in its scope, this is an astonishing novel.” (Publishers Weekly)

Gingerbread
by Helen Oyeyemi
Winner of the 2010 Somerset Maugham Award (White is for Witching) and a 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award (Mr. Fox) Oyeyemi returns with another novel inspired by classic children’s tales. Harriet Lee is famous for her gingerbread, but when her daughter Perdita bakes up her own confection it leads her into danger. “Oyeyemi takes the familiar contours of a children's tale and twists it into something completely new, unsettling, and uncanny. There are changelings, mysterious rich benefactors, a country that might not exist, corrupt, capitalist factory owners, and living dolls with forthright opinions... A strange, shape-shifting novel about the power of making your own family.” (Kirkus Reviews)

A Woman is No Man
by Etaf Rum
 In 1990, an arranged marriage takes 17-year-old Isra from her home in Palestine to a Palestinian enclave in Brooklyn, where she begins a life of subservience and abuse. As Isra gives birth to four daughters and no sons, the tension intensifies and continues to impact the next generation of young women. “Through well-developed characters and a wonderfully paced narrative, she exposes the impact that the embedded patriarchy of some cultures can have on women while showing more broadly how years of shame, secrets, and betrayal can burden families across generations… Highly recommended.” (Library Journal)

Lot
by Bryan Washington
A collection of stories depict the coming of age of a gay Afro-Latinx young man who is losing his family bit by bit: his often absent father finally leaves, his brother enlists, his sister starts a family, until finally he is left with his mother and their struggling Houston restaurant. “Washington is a dynamic writer with a sharp eye for character, voice, and setting. This is a remarkable collection from a writer to watch.” (Publishers Weekly) You can get a preview of his work in The New Yorker here.

Queenie
by Candice Carty-Williams
25-year-old Jamaican British Londoner Queenie Jenkins is having a terrible year. She’s still reeling from a bad breakup, her dating life is terrible, and she’s moved in with her traditional and judgmental grandparents. “Fast moving and with a strong sense of Queenie’s London, this entertains while tackling topics like mental health and stigma, racism and tokenism, gentrification, and the isolation of social-media and dating-app culture. This smart, funny, and tender debut embraces a modern woman’s messiness.” (Booklist)

The Other Americans
by Laila Lalami
When Moroccan-born restauranteur Driss Guerraoui is killed in a hit and run, a multitude of lives are shaken, including family members, the undocumented man who witnessed the accident, and the detective trying to solve the crime. “Powerful… In a narrative that succeeds as mystery and love story, family and character study, Lalami captures the complex ways humans can be strangers not just outside their “tribes” but within them, as well as to themselves.” (Publishers Weekly) Lalami’s previous novel, The Moor’s Account (2014) won multiple awards and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist.

The Bird King
by G. Willow Wilson
Known for her graphic novels and the World Fantasy Award-winning debut novel Alif the Unseen (2012), Willow takes readers to a fantastical version of Muslim Spain in the era of the Inquisition. Fatima, a concubine of the Sultan, dearly loves her friend Hassam, a mapmaker with mysterious powers. When she inadvertently exposes Hassam to grave danger, Fatima must help him find an escape in this swashbuckling adventure. “This is a novel that thoughtfully contemplates the meaning of love, power, religion, and freedom. But even while exploring all of these heavy issues, this is a fun, immersive adventure that moves at a brisk pace through lush settings, across dangerous terrain, and eventually out to the open sea.” (Booklist)

The Parting Glass
by Gina Marie Guadagnino
After fleeing their native Ireland in 1837, Maire O'Farren and her twin brother Seanin arrive in New York City. Assuming new identities as Mary Ballard and Johnny Prior, they secure work in the tony Walden household where they both fall for the beautiful and rich Charlotte. “Debut author Guadagnino explores love and passion, family and loyalty, and class and gender… Well-researched historical details lend authenticity to Guadagnino's captivating work, right down to the diction of the dialog. The limited opportunities afforded to women and immigrants by society colors this tale of passion and lies.” (Library Journal)

New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color
edited by Nisi Shawl
Lovers of speculative fiction will want to get their hands on this anthology featuring authors of color including Andrea Hairston, Steven Barnes and Rebecca Roanhorse. “This book’s wide range of stories is its greatest strength… every reader will find something worth rereading.” (Publishers Weekly)

Sing to It: New Stories
by Amy Hempel
Hempel, a master of the short story form and winner of multiple awards including the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction, returns with her first collection in over a decade. “Bold, disconcerting, knockout stories… In stories that can be funny, brutal, poetic, blunt, elusive, or all of the above, this accomplished collection highlights Hempel's signature style with its condensed prose, quirky narrators, and touching, disturbing, transcendent moments.” (Publishers Weekly)

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