10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in April 2018

Get in line for some of April's best fiction offerings.

The Female Persuasion
by Meg Wolitzer
Greer Kadetsky is a smart but meek college freshman who abandons her fantasies for a conventional life after she has a life-altering encounter with an iconic feminist guest lecturer. “Wolitzer's ambitious and satisfying novel (following The Interestings) charts a Massachusetts girl's coming-of-age and asks pressing questions about what it means to be an empowered modern woman... As in her previous novels, Wolitzer writes with an easy, engrossing style, and her eye for detail seamlessly connects all the dots in the book's four major story lines. This insightful and resonant novel explores what it is to both embrace womanhood and suffer because of it.” (Publishers Weekly)

America Is Not the Heart
by Elaine Castillo
An extended Filipino family finds a new life in the East Bay. Hero leaves behind a painful past and a career as a surgeon to join her uncle and his family in Milpitas, helping with her seven-year-old cousin while seeking her own fulfilling personal life. “My new favorite book, and maybe yours, too… This is Castillo’s first novel, and it is masterful. It has drama and tragedy in spades, but it also has so much love of every kind spilling out of its pages that I closed it each night with a huge, warm smile. I might go home and read it again.” (Paris Review)

by Madeline Miller
After winning the Women's Prize for Fiction for her retelling of Homer in The Song of Achilles (2012), Miller returns with another novel steeped in Greek mythology and feminine power. Circe prefers the company of mortals until she discovers her gift of sorcery, and she is banished to an island where she can learn to sharpen her craft. “Neither the goddess Athena nor the deadliest poison known to man makes Circe flinch. Weaving together Homer’s tale with other sources, Miller crafts a classic story of female empowerment. She paints an uncompromising portrait of a superheroine who learns to wield divine power while coming to understand what it means to be mortal.” (Publishers Weekly)

Heads of the Colored People: Stories
by Nafissa Thompson-Spires
“A bold new voice, at once insolently sardonic and incisively compassionate, asserts itself amid a surging wave of young African-American fiction writers. In her debut story collection, Thompson-Spires flashes fearsome gifts for quirky characterization, irony-laden repartee, and edgy humor... Thompson-Spires' auspicious beginnings auger a bright future in which she could set new standards for the short story.” (Kirkus Reviews)

by Négar Djavadi, translated by Tina Kover
Kimia Sadr is a twenty-five-year-old, irreverent, queer, Iranian exile. While she waits for her appointment at a Parisian fertility clinic, she muses on the future and delves into the past, tracing the history of her birth country, her immediate family, and generations of ancestors. “What is obvious from the beginning of this riveting novel is that Djavadi is an immensely gifted storyteller, and Kimia’s tale is especially compelling. The winner of multiple awards in France, this debut novel in translation follows the fortunes of one Iranian family from the dawn of the twentieth century through the revolution and their Parisian exile… Kimia unthreads the narratives of her family history, and the shaping of her own identity, with the insight and verve of a master storyteller.” (Booklist)

The Oracle Year
by Charles Soule
Will Dando is a struggling New York City musician who has a dream one night that reveals 108 predictions of the future, some trivial and some critically significant. With the help of a friend, Will begins disclosing these predictions online assuming the anonymous identity of “the Oracle”, attracting fame, wealth and danger. “Wildly entertaining… As the world’s population becomes obsessed with the Oracle’s posts—some thinking he’s a savior and others vilifying him—unmasking the Oracle’s identity becomes the prime objective for government agencies, religious groups, and journalists worldwide… Although the premise is a bit shaky, the relentless pacing, richly developed characters, and brilliant ending make this apocalyptic speculative thriller an undeniable page-turner.” (Publishers Weekly) Comic book fans will already be familiar with Soule, the bestselling author of Daredevil, Letter 44, Death of Wolverine, She-Hulk and others.

How to Be Safe
by Tom McAllister
In the chaos following a school shooting, recently fired teacher Anna Crawford is unfairly named as a conspirator. Even once her name is cleared, the consequences are devastating. “Brilliant, tragically timely… This novel is an indictment of gun culture, hot-take journalism, and social media, and if that sounds like a miserable premise for a novel, fear not: McAllister is a brave and stylish writer, and Anna is a singular creation. At first, she seems like a classic unreliable narrator, but it quickly becomes hard to decide which is crazier: Anna or the world she's describing… Intensely smart. Sharply written.” (Kirkus)

You Think It, I’ll Say It
by Curtis Sittenfeld
The bestselling author of Eligible (2016), American Wife (2008) and other novels offers her first story collection, examining the lives of women as they deal with relationships, politics and contemporary life. “Thoroughly satisfying… As in her novels, Sittenfeld’s characters are funny and insightful. Reading these consistently engrossing stories is a pleasure.” (Publishers Weekly)

The Stolen Bicycle
by Wu Ming-Yi, translated by Darryl Sterk
An author’s quest to find his father’s long missing bicycle leads him to unusual encounters and an unexpected exploration of Taiwan’s modern history. Wu Ming-Yi’s latest novel to be translated into English (after The Man with the Compound Eyes, 2014) has won multiple awards in the author’s native Taiwan and is longlisted for this year’s Man Booker International Prize. “Profoundly moving… It’s a novel that confounds conventional expectations of narrative pace and form, even as it burrows deep into the reader’s conscience.” (South China Morning Post)

Though I Get Home
by Y. Z. Chin
“A mosaic of stories about state- and self-imposed silence and what it means to find your voice. The 14 stories in Chin's debut collection are centered around Malaysia: the people, culture, and country. Interconnected (sometimes loosely, sometimes overtly) by characters, the stories also share themes like patriotism, censorship, personhood, and art as protest… A haunting, surprising, and rebellious collection that contains multitudes.” (Kirkus)


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