10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in November 2021

If you're looking for new fiction, here are ten picks coming out this month.

THE SENTENCE by Louise Erdrich
The latest story from this beloved and prizewinning author is set in her real-life Minneapolis bookstore and takes place in the times of COVID and the murder of George Floyd. The spirit of a recently deceased customer haunts the bookstore staff, especially Tookie, a formerly incarcerated Ojibwe woman who finds salvation in books. “Funny, evocative, painful, and redemptive… Erdrich’s insights into what her city experienced in 2020 are piercing; all her characters are enthralling, and her dramatization of why books are essential to our well-being is resounding.” (Booklist)

LOVE IN THE BIG CITY by Sang Young Park
Young is a twenty-something gay man and aspiring writer living in Seoul. He shares a studio apartment with his best friend Jaehee, a straight woman, and the two are on the prowl for fun, sex and love--until Jaehee gets married. “A best-seller in Korea for being a significant (and rare!) gay novel, Park’s lost-love(s) narrative is also a universal literary beacon for readers of all backgrounds.” (Booklist)

Ellice Littlejohn, an attorney with Ivy League credentials, is the lone Black woman at her corporate workplace. One morning when she shows up to a meeting she discovers the dead body of her lover Michael Sayles, a man who was white, married, and her boss. But instead of calling the police, Ellice walks away to let someone else discover the crime--she has her own secrets to protect. “Morris builds an escalating thriller plot packed with convincing details about corporate politics and skulduggery... Corporate competition is not only racist and sexist, but deadly in this confident debut thriller.” (Kirkus Reviews)

NOOR by Nnedi Okorafor
In a near-future Nigeria, Anwuli Okwudili’s robotic body augmentations have helped her live with physical and mental disabilities, but they’ve also attracted suspicion. Now on the run for an act of self-defense, she teams up with DNA, a Fulani herdsman and fellow fugitive as they are trailed by malicious megacorporate and governmental forces. “Okorafor has defined Africanfuturism, once and for all, in this tale of scapegoats and revolutionaries... A searing techno-magical indictment of capitalism from one of the strongest voices in fiction.” (Kirkus Reviews)

OUR COUNTRY FRIENDS by Gary Shteyngart
Sasha Senderovsky’s writing career has fizzled, but his onetime success allowed him to purchase a property in upstate New York. When COVID strikes, Senderovsky takes his wife and child to wait it out in the countryside, inviting along a group of friends including a wildly successful tech CEO and a famous actor. “Shteyngart’s pandemic novel is his finest yet.” (New York Times) “The Great American Pandemic Novel only Shteyngart could write, full of hyphenated identities, killer prose, and wild vitality.” (Kirkus Reviews)

42-year-old New York transplant Elinor Hanson is a former model trying to make it as a journalist when she gets a big break covering the oil boom near her North Dakota hometown. As she delves into the story, Elinor is forced to face her troubled past and her identity as a biracial woman, along with issues of racism, sexism and violence against women. “Author Yun has written an absorbing and poignant novel with wonderfully complex characters and no easy answers. Intricate and enthralling.” (Kirkus Reviews)

25-year-old Robin Blyth has a title and an estate, but to make ends meet he finds a civil service position in the Office of Special Domestic Affairs and Complaints. Little does he know that his new job involves magic, curses, and romance with his new colleague Edwin Coursey. “Marske debuts with a breathtaking queer romantic fantasy set in Edwardian England... Sensual erotic scenes, an intriguing magic system, and a puzzling mystery combine to make this novel a wonder.” (Publishers Weekly)

Blue-skinned Kalki is thought to be an incarnation of Vishnu, so his family builds an ashram dedicated to him in their south Indian village. As a ten-year-old, Kalki is faced with three trials to prove his divinity, prompting the lives of his family to fall apart. “Marvelous… The imagery is vivid… and the slow-burn narrative by the end becomes incandescent.” (Publishers Weekly)

HOME READING SERVICE by Fabio Morábito, translated by Curtis Bauer
This novel, a prizewinner in Mexico and now Morabito’s English language debut, follows Eduardo, caretaker for his ill father and manager of the family furniture store in Cuernevaca, a city suffering from violence and organized crime. Following an accident, Eduardo satisfies a community service requirement by reading to the homebound, awakening him to the power of literature and poetry. “A satisfying fable, at once satiric and soulful… Unlike some author readings, this idiosyncratic performance will keep its audience rapt.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Fans of magical realism will want to try this collection of stories about the inhabitants and goings-on of a small Japanese town by the author of Parade (2019), The Nakano Thrift Shop (2017) and Record of a Night Too Brief (2017). “The result is a book that evokes Italo Calvino’s worldly fabulism and Ludmilla Petrushevskaya’s Grimms-ian domestic surrealism, but with a cultural lexicon that is distinctly Japanese. An engaging and winsome book that charms without diminishing the precise unease created by Kawakami’s spare prose.” (Kirkus Reviews)