10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in October 2017

Here are 10 tough-to-resist fiction releases coming this month.

Manhattan Beach
by Jennifer Egan
Egan follows Pulitzer Prize-winner A Visit from the Goon Squad (2010) with a World War II era historical novel. Anna supports her mother and sister by working at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, assuming dangerous employment as a diver who performs underwater repair on ships. A chance encounter with nightclub owner Dexter Styles leads Anna to piece together the reasons behind her father’s mysterious disappearance. “A more traditional novel than the raucous and inventive Goon Squad, although the two books offer many of the same pleasures, including fine turns of phrase, a richly imagined environs and a restless investigation into human nature… This is a novel that deserves to join the canon of New York stories.” (New York Times)

Her Body and Other Parties: Stories
by Carmen Maria Machado
Machado’s debut collection of eight genrebending stories is a contender for both the National Book Award and the Kirkus Prize. “It’s a wild thing, this book, covered in sequins and scales, blazing with the influence of fabulists from Angela Carter to Kelly Link and Helen Oyeyemi, and borrowing from science fiction, queer theory and horror.” (New York Times) “The writing is always lyrical, the narration refreshingly direct, and the sex abundant, and although the supernatural elements are not overt, every story is terrifying.” (Booklist)

The King Is Always Above the People: Stories
by Daniel Alarcón
Alarcón, author of award-winning books Lost City Radio (2007) and At Night We Walk in Circles (2013) returns with a short story collection that earned a spot on the National Book Award longlist. “A superb collection of 10 stories about wanderers, lovers, and fractured families... Throughout the collection, Alarcón writes with a spellbinding voice and creates a striking cast of characters. Each narrative lands masterfully and memorably, showcasing Alarcón’s immense talent.” (Publisher’s Weekly)

The Power
by Naomi Alderman
In the 21st century, women around the world discover they have the ability to emit an electrical charge with their fingertips—they can stun, shock or even kill. This power leads to a new cultural order in which women wield political, religious, and cultural sovereignty. “A big, brash, page-turning, drug-running, globetrotting thriller… But it’s also endlessly nuanced and thought-provoking, combining elegantly efficient prose with beautiful meditations on the metaphysics of power, possibility and change… The Power is an instant classic of speculative fiction.” (The Guardian) The Power received the United Kingdom’s 2017 Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Unkindness of Ghosts
by Rivers Solomon
Three centuries ago, the spaceship Matilda departed the destroyed planet earth. The colonists of Matilda are brutally divided among racial lines, but Aster, a skilled healer raised as a slave, may have discovered the key to liberation. “In this debut, Solomon uses the generation ship as a setting to explore race, disability, family, sexuality, and the way humans are haunted by the ghosts of the past... Infused with the spirit of Octavia Butler and loaded with meaning for the present day.” (Booklist)

by Nicola Lagioia, translated by Antony Shugaar
Clara Salvemini, daughter of a corrupt construction magnate, dies a violent death that is ruled a suicide. Her suspicious demise compels her estranged half-brother Michele to return home to investigate, exposing dark family secrets. “A complex novel, intricately orchestrated and, above all, inventively composed… Not recommended for the casual reader (or easily scandalized), but those who persevere will be swept up in a rich and rewarding literary experience. A mesmerizing exploration of failure, resilience, and profound, multifaceted loss.” (Kirkus Reviews) Ferocity won Italy’s Strega Prize and is Lagioia’s first work to be published in English.

As Lie Is to Grin
by Simeon Marsalis
David is a freshman struggling as a Black student at a predominately white New England college. He feels isolated and he misses his ex-girlfriend. Sometimes he lies that he’s from Harlem and his mother’s a drug addict, but neither of these things are true. And now he’s having visions of a young man in a gray suit who may or may not be real. “Marsalis’ deep and creative coming-of-age tale confronts race and omitted history. An exciting, thought-provoking debut.” (Booklist) As Lie Is to Grin is a finalist for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize.

Dogs at the Perimeter
by Madeleine Thien
Janie was a child in Phnom Penh when she suffered at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. As an adult living in Montreal, she is haunted by the scars of her past. “First published in Canada in 2011 and released here after the success of Do Not Say We Have Nothing, which was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, this second novel by Thien is a moving, powerful, beautifully written study that illuminates Janie's reality. An important addition to the canon of diaspora and refugee literature.” (Library Journal)

by Emily Fridlund
Fridlund’s story collection follows her debut novel History of Wolves (2017), shortlisted for this year’s Booker Prize. “Fridlund tells stories of an eccentric family seeking to survive, a teenage couple endeavoring to veil their raw desires with words, two siblings who have completely different perceptions of the same reality, and the loneliness within the friendship of two women, among others. She unpacks these situations with thoughtful diction and complex characters, and her subdued and controlled language sets what is unsaid at the fore, unveiling hope, despair, and the paradoxes that are often ignored in such close relationships. Fridlund’s intelligent and conversational voice impressively manipulates the emotional atmosphere of her stories and will draw readers deep into exploring these seemingly commonplace topics even after they’ve put the book down.” (Booklist)

Uncommon Type
by Tom Hanks
Yes, that Tom Hanks! The Oscar-winner offers 17 stories in his fiction debut, and although every story mentions a typewriter, only one of them features an actor. “Thoroughly engaging… The stories are brief and sometimes seem abbreviated, but they possess a real feel for character and a slice-of-life realism that combine to deliver considerable depth beneath the surface. A surprising and satisfying book from a first-time fiction writer.” (Booklist) You can get a taste from one story published in The New Yorker a few years ago. And, did you know that Tom Hanks grew up in Oakland and graduated from Skyline High School?

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Hi Rik! Happy

Hi Rik! Happy reading!

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