10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in March 2017

Looking for your next great read? Here are ten possibilities coming during the month of March.

Exit West
by Mohsin Hamid
In an unnamed country in the Middle East, Saeed and Nadia fall in love amidst the chaos of a burgeoning civil war. As the repression, terror and hardship mounts, they seek their escape. They ultimately find a new life in San Francisco, but will they find happiness? “One of the most bittersweet love stories in modern memory and a book to savor even while despairing of its truths.” (Kirkus Reviews) “A breathtaking novel by one of the world's most fascinating young writers” (NPR) Multi-award winner Hamid is also the author of Booker Prize finalist The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007), and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (2013).

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
by Hannah Tinti
Twelve-year-old Loo’s mom died when she was little, and she lives an itinerant life with her criminal dad, a fence and enforcer with a violent past. When they move back to the fishing town that was Loo’s birthplace and her mother’s hometown, Loo is lured to explore her family secrets, try out some of her own outlaw moves and meet the grandmother she’s forbidden to see. “Marrying taut suspense with dreamy lyricism, Tinti’s beautifully intricate second novel is well worth the wait since 2008’s The Good Thief.” (Publishers Weekly) “Another atmospheric, complexly suspenseful saga… Tinti has forged a breathtaking novel of violence and tenderness.” (Booklist)

Taduno's Song
by Odafe Atogun
Once popular Nigerian musician Taduno wrote lyrics that were too critical of the military dictator. He was forced into exile from his homeland, but is drawn back by a letter from his girlfriend. Upon his return he discovers she’s been imprisoned, putting him in an impossible position: challenge the government, or save his love. “Atogun’s ominous and cautionary fable on the themes of home, exile, identity, and the power of music is infused with anger, loss, and resignation as well as hope. A very impressive debut.” (Booklist)

The Lucky Ones
by Julianne Pachico
Eleven linked short stories offer glimpses of wealth, struggle and violence in Colombia during the peak of the civil war. The tales revolve around a group of wealthy schoolgirls and the adults in their orbit as their lives intersect with sociopolitical conflict, guerilla warfare and the drug trade. “Taken alone—and some have been published as such—the chapters work as complete short stories, full worlds as vibrant and jarring as fever dreams. But together, they form something much larger, revealing a complicated and morally ambiguous web of interconnecting lives. Unsettling and pulsing with life; a brilliantly surreal portrait of life amid destabilizing violence.” (Kirkus)

Sorry to Disrupt the Peace
by Patty Yumi Cottrell
When 32-year-old Manhattanite Helen gets the news that her brother has committed suicide, she buys a one-way ticket home to Milwaukee—even though she hasn’t seen her adoptive parents in five years. Helen’s attempt to investigate her brother’s death becomes an examination of her own life. “Helen’s foggy view of reality is a dark, dark comedic well, and debut novelist Cottrell tells her story with gutsy style, glowing sentences, and true feeling.” (Booklist)

Temporary People
by Deepak Unnikrishnan
Thirty linked stories shed light on the lives of guest workers in the Arabian Gulf, alternating between fantastical and realistic satire. “The author's crisp, imaginative prose packs a punch, and his whimsical depiction of characters who oscillate between two lands on either side of the Arabian Sea unspools the kind of immigrant narratives that are rarely told. An enchanting, unparalleled anthem of displacement and repatriation.” (Kirkus) Winner of the inaugural Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing.

The Idiot
by Elif Batuman
It’s the early 1990s, and Selin, the New Jersey-raised daughter of Turkish immigrants, experiences life, love and email as a freshman at Harvard University. The wry narrator of this semiautobiographical debut novel “ponders profound questions about how culture and language shape feelings and experiences, how differently men and women are treated, and how baffling love is. Selin is entrancing—so smart, so clueless, so funny—and Batuman’s exceptional discernment, comedic brilliance, and soulful inquisitiveness generate a charmingly incisive and resonant tale of the messy forging of a self.” (Booklist) Batuman has written for The New Yorker and the Paris Review and her book The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them (2010) was a National Book Critics Circle finalist.

by Leonardo Padura, translated by Anna Kushner
In 1939, nine-year-old Daniel Kaminsky and his family flee Nazi Germany for Havana, where they bargain for their freedom with their prized possession, a small portrait of Christ painted by Rembrandt. In 2007, the Rembrandt resurfaces in a London auction house, prompting Daniel’s American-born son Elias to travel to Cuba in search of the history of the painting and his family. Library Journal calls it a “splendid saga,” saying “The intensive, richly detailed narrative is at once a portrait of Daniel's Cuban upbringing, a meditation on anti-Semitism, and an intriguing account of the painting.” Padura is an internationally award-wining Cuban author whose books include The Man Who Loved Dogs (2013) and the mystery series featuring Lieutenant Mario Conde.

The Night Ocean
by Paul La Farge
Did H.P. Lovecraft have an affair with his teenage fan Robert Barlow? Writer Charlie Willett has become obsessed with answering this question. Supposedly, Barlow committed suicide in 1951, but Charlie thinks he is still alive and living in Canada. The ensuing investigation results in Charlie’s disappearance, forcing his wife Marina to start an investigation of her own. “Only a virtuoso could pull off a story so intricately plotted and so full of big ideas about morality and truth… La Farge's gift is such that we feel we understand these characters as well as we understand the people we see every day. An effortlessly memorable novel.” (Kirkus) La Farge is the author of Luminous Airplanes (2011).

The Wide Circumference of Love
by Marita Golden
Judge Diane Tate and her architect husband Gregory are at the top of their careers and share a strong marriage and family. But Gregory, 68, starts experiencing memory loss, which escalates to a point where Diane must move him to an assisted living facility and every family member must recalibrate their lives and their relationships to one another. “Golden's redemptive novel is a tale of family survival in which love softens the brutal edges of an insidious disease.” (Kirkus) Golden is an award-winning writer and co-founder of the Hurston/Wright Foundation.


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