31 Most Anticipated Books
In 1996 Oprah Winfrey announced the first pick for her new book club and millions of copies of The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard were sold. After 15 years and 70 book recommendations, the original book club ended. Shortly after that, in 2012, the new iteration of Oprah’s Book Club was born with Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. Then in 2019 Oprah’s Book Club was reborn once again and announced on Apple TV. Over the past several decades she has chosen, read and discussed 98 titles. In addition to running her book club, Oprah’s website called Oprah Daily, dedicated to helping people live their best lives, promotes the latest books and recommends upcoming titles.
Below you will find a diverse list of the most anticipated new books for 2023 as found on Oprah Daily. Time to add to your book list and preorder (pub dates are January – July) as we embark on a new year of reading!
Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Sci-Fi Dystopia – May 2023)
The explosive, hotly-anticipated debut novel from the New York Times-bestselling author of Friday Black, about two top women gladiators fighting for their freedom within a depraved private prison system not so far-removed from America’s own.
Loretta Thurwar and Hamara “Hurricane Staxxx” Stacker are the stars of Chain-Gang All-Stars, the cornerstone of CAPE, or Criminal Action Penal Entertainment, a highly-popular, highly-controversial, profit-raising program in America’s increasingly dominant private prison industry. It’s the return of the gladiators and prisoners are competing for the ultimate prize: their freedom.
In CAPE, prisoners travel as Links in Chain-Gangs, competing in death-matches for packed arenas with righteous protestors at the gates. Thurwar and Staxxx, both teammates and lovers, are the fan favorites. And if all goes well, Thurwar will be free in just a few matches, a fact she carries as heavily as her lethal hammer. As she prepares to leave her fellow Links, she considers how she might help preserve their humanity, in defiance of these so-called games, but CAPE’s corporate owners will stop at nothing to protect their status quo and the obstacles they lay in Thurwar’s path have devastating consequences.
Moving from the Links in the field to the protestors to the CAPE employees and beyond, Chain-Gang All-Stars is a kaleidoscopic, excoriating look at the American prison system’s unholy alliance of systemic racism, unchecked capitalism, and mass incarceration, and a clear-eyed reckoning with what freedom in this country really means.
Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor (Mystery Thriller – January 2023)
This is the age of vice, where money, pleasure, and power are everything,
and the family ties that bind can also kill.
New Delhi, 3 a.m. A speeding Mercedes jumps the curb and in the blink of an eye, five people are dead. It’s a rich man’s car, but when the dust settles there is no rich man at all, just a shell-shocked servant who cannot explain the strange series of events that led to this crime. Nor can he foresee the dark drama that is about to unfold.
Deftly shifting through time and perspective in contemporary India, Age of Vice is an epic, action-packed story propelled by the seductive wealth, startling corruption, and bloodthirsty violence of the Wadia family — loved by some, loathed by others, feared by all.
In the shadow of lavish estates, extravagant parties, predatory business deals and calculated political influence, three lives become dangerously intertwined: Ajay is the watchful servant, born into poverty, who rises through the family’s ranks. Sunny is the playboy heir who dreams of outshining his father, whatever the cost. And Neda is the curious journalist caught between morality and desire. Against a sweeping plot fueled by loss, pleasure, greed, yearning, violence and revenge, will these characters’ connections become a path to escape, or a trigger of further destruction?
Equal parts crime thriller and family saga, transporting readers from the dusty villages of Uttar Pradesh to the urban energy of New Delhi, Age of Vice is an intoxicating novel of gangsters and lovers, false friendships, forbidden romance, and the consequences of corruption. It is binge-worthy entertainment at its literary best.
Yellowface by R.F. Kuang (Literary Fiction – May 2023)
What’s the harm in a pseudonym? New York Times bestselling sensation Juniper Song is not who she says she is, she didn’t write the book she claims she wrote, and she is most certainly not Asian American–in this chilling and hilariously cutting novel from R. F. Kuang in the vein of White Ivy and The Other Black Girl.
Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars: same year at Yale, same debut year in publishing. But Athena’s a cross-genre literary darling, and June didn’t even get a paperback release. Nobody wants stories about basic white girls, June thinks.
So when June witnesses Athena’s death in a freak accident, she acts on impulse: she steals Athena’s just-finished masterpiece, an experimental novel about the unsung contributions of Chinese laborers to the British and French war efforts during World War I.
So what if June edits Athena’s novel and sends it to her agent as her own work? So what if she lets her new publisher rebrand her as Juniper Song–complete with an ambiguously ethnic author photo? Doesn’t this piece of history deserve to be told, whoever the teller? That’s what June claims, and the New York Times bestseller list seems to agree.
But June can’t get away from Athena’s shadow, and emerging evidence threatens to bring June’s (stolen) success down around her. As June races to protect her secret, she discovers exactly how far she will go to keep what she thinks she deserves.
With its totally immersive first-person voice, Yellowface takes on questions of diversity, racism, and cultural appropriation not only in the publishing industry but the persistent erasure of Asian-American voices and history by Western white society. R. F. Kuang’s novel is timely, razor-sharp, and eminently readable.
The Survivalists by Kashana Cauley (Literary Fiction – January 2023)
A single Black lawyer puts her career and personal moral code at risk when she moves in with her coffee entrepreneur boyfriend and his doomsday-prepping roommates in a novel that’s packed with tension, curiosity, humor, and wit from a writer with serious comedy credentials.
In the wake of her parents’ death, Aretha, a habitually single Black lawyer, has had only one obsession in life—success—until she falls for Aaron, a coffee entrepreneur. Moving into his Brooklyn brownstone to live along with his Hurricane Sandy-traumatized, illegal-gun-stockpiling, optimized-soy-protein-eating, bunker-building roommates, Aretha finds that her dreams of making partner are slipping away, replaced by an underground world, one of selling guns and training for a doomsday that’s maybe just around the corner.
For readers of Victor LaValle’s The Changeling, Paul Beatty’s The Sellout, and Zakiya Harris’s The Other Black Girl, The Survivalists is a darkly humorous novel from a smart and relevant new literary voice that’s packed with tension, curiosity and wit, and unafraid to ask the questions most relevant to a new generation of Americans: Does it make sense to climb the corporate ladder? What exactly are the politics of gun ownership? And in a world where it’s nearly impossible for young people to earn enough money to afford stable housing, what does it take in order to survive?
Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton (Literary Fiction/Thriller – March 2023)
Birnam Wood is on the move . . .
Five years ago, Mira Bunting founded a guerrilla gardening group: Birnam Wood. An undeclared, unregulated, sometimes-criminal, sometimes-philanthropic gathering of friends, this activist collective plants crops wherever no one will notice: on the sides of roads, in forgotten parks, and neglected backyards. For years, the group has struggled to break even. Then Mira stumbles on an answer, a way to finally set the group up for the long term: a landslide has closed the Korowai Pass, cutting off the town of Thorndike. Natural disaster has created an opportunity, a sizable farm seemingly abandoned.
But Mira is not the only one interested in Thorndike. Robert Lemoine, the enigmatic American billionaire, has snatched it up to build his end-times bunker–or so he tells Mira when he catches her on the property. Intrigued by Mira, Birnam Wood, and their entrepreneurial spirit, he suggests they work this land. But can they trust him? And, as their ideals and ideologies are tested, can they trust each other?
A gripping psychological thriller from the Booker Prize-winning author of The Luminaries, Birnam Wood is Shakespearean in its wit, drama, and immersion in character. A brilliantly constructed consideration of intentions, actions, and consequences, it is an unflinching examination of the human impulse to ensure our own survival.
The Racism of People Who Love You by Samira K. Mehta (Essays/Memoir – January 2023)
An unflinching look at the challenges and misunderstandings mixed-race people face in family spaces and intimate relationships across their varying cultural backgrounds
In this emotionally powerful and intellectually provocative blend of memoir, cultural criticism, and theory, scholar and essayist Samira Mehta reflects on many facets of being multiracial.
Born to a white American and a South Asian immigrant, Mehta grew up feeling more comfortable with her mother’s family than with her father’s—they never carried on conversations in languages that she couldn’t understand or blamed her for finding the food was too spicy. But in adulthood, she realized that some of her Indian family’s assumptions about the world had become an indelible part of her.
From this vantage point, Mehta tackles several topics in 7 essays around mixed-race identity:
· Where Are You Really From? A Triptych
· The Racism of People Who Love You
· Failing the Authenticity Test
· Meat Is Murder
· Another Face of American Racism
Popular belief assumes that mixedness gives you the ability to feel at home in more than one culture, but the flipside shows you can feel just as alienated in those spaces.
The Racism of People Who Love You lays bare the pain and the love, the blending of practices, assumptions, and the creation of a culture of hybrid identity.
The Chinese Groove by Kathryn Ma (Literary Fiction – January 2023)
Anne Tyler meets Jade Chang in this buoyant, good-hearted, and sharply written novel about a blithely optimistic immigrant with big dreams, dire prospects, and a fractured extended family in need of his help—even if they don’t know it yet
Eighteen-year-old Shelley, born into a much-despised branch of the Zheng family in Yunnan Province and living in the shadow of his widowed father’s grief, dreams of bigger things. Buoyed by an exuberant heart and his cousin Deng’s tall tales about the United States, Shelley heads to San Francisco to claim his destiny, confident that any hurdles will be easily overcome by the awesome powers of the “Chinese groove,” a belief in the unspoken bonds between countrymen that transcend time and borders.
Upon arrival, Shelley is dismayed to find that his “rich uncle” is in fact his unemployed second cousin once removed and that the grand guest room he’d envisioned is but a crappy sofa. The indefinite stay he’d planned for? That has a firm two-week expiration date. Even worse, the loving family he hoped would embrace him is in shambles, shattered by a senseless tragedy that has cleaved the family in two. They want nothing to do with this youthful bounder who’s barged into their lives. Ever the optimist, Shelley concocts a plan to resuscitate his American dream by insinuating himself into the family. And, who knows, maybe he’ll even manage to bring them back together in the process.
Our Share of Night by Mariana Enriquez (Horror/Fantasy – February 2023)
A young father and son set out on a road trip, devastated by the death of the wife and mother they both loved. United in grief, the pair travels to her family home, where they must confront the terrifying legacy she has bequeathed. The woman they grieve came from a clan like no other—a centuries-old secret society called the Order that commits unspeakable acts in search of eternal life. For Gaspar, the son, this vampiric cult is his destiny.
Now Gaspar is in danger. As the Order tries to possess him, father and son take flight, yet nothing will stop the Order for nothing is beyond them. Hunted by evil and surrounded by horror, Gaspar and his father attempt to outrun a powerful family that will do anything to ensure its own survival. But can any of us escape the fate that awaits us?
Big Swiss by Jen Beagin (Fiction/LGBT, February 2023)
Greta lives with her friend Sabine in an ancient Dutch farmhouse in Hudson, New York. The house, built in 1737, is unrenovated, uninsulated, and full of bees. Greta spends her days transcribing therapy sessions for a sex coach who calls himself Om. She becomes infatuated with his newest client, a repressed married woman she affectionately refers to as Big Swiss, since she’s tall, stoic, and originally from Switzerland. Greta is fascinated by Big Swiss’s refreshing attitude toward trauma. They both have dark histories, but Big Swiss chooses to remain unattached to her suffering while Greta continues to be tortured by her past.
One day, Greta recognizes Big Swiss’s voice at the dog park. In a panic, she introduces herself with a fake name and they quickly become enmeshed. Although Big Swiss is unaware of Greta’s true identity, Greta has never been more herself with anyone. Her attraction to Big Swiss overrides her guilt, and she’ll do anything to sustain the relationship…
Call and Response by Gothataone Moeng (Short Stories/Fiction – January 2023)
Richly drawn stories about the lives of ordinary families in contemporary Botswana as they navigate relationships, tradition and caretaking in a rapidly changing world.
A young widow adheres to the expectations of wearing mourning clothes for nearly a year, though she’s unsure what the traditions mean or whether she is ready to meet the world without their protection. An older sister returns home from a confusing time in America, only to explain at every turn why she’s left the land of opportunity. A younger sister hides her sexual exploits from her family, while her older brother openly flaunts his infidelity.
The stories collected in Call and Response are strongly anchored in place – in the village of Serowe, where the author is from, and in Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana – charting the emotional journeys of women seeking love and opportunity beyond the barriers of custom and circumstance.
Gothataone Moeng is part of a new generation of writers coming out of Africa whose voices are ready to explode onto the literary scene. In the tradition of writers like Chimamanda Adiche and Jhumpa Lahiri, she offers us insight into communities, experiences and landscapes through stories that are cinematic in their sweep, with unforgettable female protagonists.
A Spell of Good Things by Ayobami Adebayo (Literary Fiction – February 2023)
Ayobami Adebayo, the celebrated author of Stay With Me (A stunning debut novel… in the lineage of great works by Chinua Achebe and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. –Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times) unveils a dazzling story of modern Nigeria and two families caught in the riptides of wealth, power, romantic obsession, and political corruption.
Eniola is tall for his age, a boy who looks like a man. Because his father has lost his job, Eniola spends his days running errands for the local tailor, collecting newspapers, begging when he must, dreaming of a big future.
Wuraola is a golden girl, the perfect child of a wealthy family. Now an exhausted young doctor in her first year of practice, she is beloved by Kunle, the volatile son of an ascendant politician.
When a local politician takes an interest in Eniola and sudden violence shatters a family party, Wuraola and Eniola’s lives become intertwined. In her breathtaking second novel, Ayobami Adebayo shines her light on Nigeria, on the gaping divide between the haves and the have-nots, and the shared humanity that lives in between.
On the Savage Side by Tiffany McDaniel (Mystery/Thriller – February 2023)
Six women—mothers, daughters, sisters–gone missing. When the first is found floating dead in the river, it reveals the disturbing truth of a small Ohio town. Inspired by the unsolved murders of the Chillicothe Six, this harrowing and haunting novel tells the story of two sisters, both of whom could be the next victims, from the internationally-bestselling author of Betty.
Arcade and Daffodil are twin sisters born one minute apart. With their fiery red hair and thirst for an escape, they forge an unbreakable bond nurtured by both their grandmother’s stories and their imaginations. Together, they create a world where a patch of grass reveals an archaeologist’s dig, the smoke emerging from the local paper mill becomes the dust rising from wild horses galloping on the ground, and an abandoned 1950s convertible transforms into a time machine that can take them anywhere.
But the two sisters can’t escape the generational chaos that grips their family. Growing up in the shadow of the town, the sisters cling tight to one another. As an adult, Arcade wrestles with these memories of her life, just as a local woman is discovered drowned in the river. Soon, more bodies are found. While her friends disappear around her, Arcade is forced to reckon with the past while the killer circles ever closer. Arcade’s promise to keep herself and her sister safe becomes increasingly desperate while the powerful riptide of the savage side becomes more difficult to resist.
Drawing from the true story of women killed in her native Ohio, acclaimed novelist and poet Tiffany McDaniel has written a powerful literary testament and fearless elegy for missing women everywhere.
I Have Some Questions For You by Rebecca Makkai (Mystery/Thriller – February 2023)
Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2023 by TIME, NPR, The Seattle Times, Good Housekeeping, Today, Southern Living, and CrimeReads
The riveting new novel from the author of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist The Great Believers
A successful film professor and podcaster, Bodie Kane is content to forget her past—the family tragedy that marred her adolescence, her four largely miserable years at a New Hampshire boarding school, and the murder of her former roommate, Thalia Keith, in the spring of their senior year. Though the circumstances surrounding Thalia’s death and the conviction of the school’s athletic trainer, Omar Evans, are hotly debated online, Bodie prefers—needs—to let sleeping dogs lie.
But when the Granby School invites her back to teach a course, Bodie is inexorably drawn to the case and its increasingly apparent ﬂaws. In their rush to convict Omar, did the school and the police overlook other suspects? Is the real killer still out there? As she falls down the very rabbit hole she was so determined to avoid, Bodie begins to wonder if she wasn’t as much of an outsider at Granby as she’d thought—if, perhaps, back in 1995, she knew something that might have held the key to solving the case.
In I Have Some Questions for You, award-winning author Rebecca Makkai has crafted her most irresistible novel yet: a stirring investigation into collective memory and a deeply felt examination of one woman’s reckoning with her past, with a transﬁxing mystery at its heart. Timely, hypnotic, and populated with a cast of unforgettable characters, I Have Some Questions for You is at once a compulsive page-turner and a literary triumph.
The Urgent Life by Bozoma Saint John (Memoir – February 2023)
From iconic leader Bozoma Saint John, comes a memoir of grief, and one woman’s drive to thrive in the face of loss
When Bozoma Saint John’s husband, Peter, died of cancer, she made one big decision: to live life urgently. Bozoma was no stranger to adversity, having lost her college boyfriend to suicide, navigated an interracial marriage, grieved a child born prematurely–a process that led to her and Peter’s separation–and coparented the daughter who she and Peter shared. When Peter knew his cancer was terminal, he gave Bozoma a short list of things to do: cancel the divorce, and fix the wrongs immediately.
In The Urgent Life, Bozoma takes readers through the dizzying, numbing days of multiple griefs, and the courage which these sparked in her to live life in accordance with her deepest values time and time again. We witness Bozoma’s journey forward through the highs and the lows, as she negotiates life as a woman determined to learn from tragedies to build a remarkable life worth living even in her brokenness.
Bozoma’s story is extraordinary, but her grief is not uncommon, and her courage is sure to touch any reader who has loved, mourned and is finding a path through loss and grief, as well as anyone who is maneuvering a pivot and wants to live life to its fullest.
Liliana’s Invincible Summer by Cristina Rivera Garza (Memoir – February 2023)
A haunting, unforgettable memoir about a beloved younger sister and the painful memory of her murder, from one of Mexico’s greatest living writers (Jonathan Lethem).
Can you enjoy yourself while you are in pain? The question, which is not new, arises over and over again during that eternity that is mourning.
In the early hours of July 16, 1990, Liliana Rivera Garza was murdered by her abusive ex-boyfriend. A life full of promise and hope, cut tragically short, Liliana’s story instead became subsumed into Mexico’s dark and relentless history of domestic violence. With Liliana’s case file abandoned by a corrupt criminal justice system, her family, including her older sister Cristina, was forced to process their grief and guilt in private, without any hope for justice.
In luminous, poetic prose, Rivera Garza tells a singular yet universally resonant story: that of a spirited, wondrously hopeful young woman who tried to survive in a world of increasingly normalized gendered violence. It traces the story of her childhood, her early romance with a handsome–but possessive and short-tempered–man, through the exhilarating weeks leading up to that fateful July morning, a summer when Liliana loved, thought, and traveled more widely and freely than she ever had before.
Using her remarkable talents as a scholar, novelist, and poet, Cristina Rivera Garza returns to Mexico after decades of living in the United States to collect and curate evidence–handwritten letters, police reports, school notebooks, architectural blueprints–in order to render and understand a life beyond the crime itself. Tracing the full arc of their childhood and adolescence in central Mexico, through the painful and confusing years after Liliana’s death, Rivera Garza confronts the trauma of losing her sister, and examines from multiple angles how this tragedy continues to shape who she is–and what she fights for–today.
An Autobiography of Skin by Lakiesha Carr (Fiction – February 2023)
Heat. Fire. Rain so blue. The blackness. The color of our hue.
A magisterial, intimate look at Black womanhood–the grief that is carried within the body and the bonds of love that grant strength
A middle-aged woman feed slots at a secret, back-room parlor. A new mother slowly realizes that no amount of success can erase Blackness. A young woman returns home to join the other women in her family in waging spiritual combat with the ghosts of their past.
An Autobiography of Skin is a masterful portrait of interconnected generations in the South from a singular new voice, offering a raw and tender view into the private lives of Black women. It is at once a powerful look at how trauma is carried inside the body, inside the flesh and skin, and a dazzling testament to how healing can be found within–in love, mercy, gratitude, and freedom.
Old Babe in the Wood by Margaret Atwood (Short Stories/Fiction – March 2023)
A dazzling collection of short stories from the internationally acclaimed, award-winning author of The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments, stories that look deeply into the heart of family relationships, marriage, loss and memory, and what it means to spend a life together
Margaret Atwood has established herself as one of the most visionary and canonical authors in the world. This collection of fifteen extraordinary stories–some of which have appeared in The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine–explore the full warp and weft of experience, speaking to our unique times with Atwood’s characteristic insight, wit and intellect.
The two intrepid sisters of the title story grapple with loss and memory on a perfect summer evening; “Impatient Griselda” explores alienation and miscommunication with a fresh twist on a folkloric classic; and “My Evil Mother” touches on the fantastical, examining a mother-daughter relationship in which the mother purports to be a witch. At the heart of the collection are seven extraordinary stories that follow a married couple across the decades, the moments big and small that make up a long life of uncommon love–and what comes after.
Returning to short fiction for the first time since her 2014 collection Stone Mattress, Atwood showcases both her creativity and her humanity in these remarkable tales which by turns delight, illuminate, and quietly devastate.
Take What You Need by Idra Novey (Fiction – March 2023)
In her most powerful book yet, award-winning writer Idra Novey has conjured a novel of “astonishing and singular” honesty (Rumaan Alam) with two determined, unforgettable female voices.
Set in the Allegheny Mountains of Appalachia, Take What You Need tracks the aftermath of a long estrangement between a stepmother and daughter. Leah is a web editor and young mother who’s sought an urban life and clean break from her rural childhood. But with her stepmother Jean’s death, Leah must return to sort through what’s been left behind.
What Leah discovers is astonishing: Jean has filled the house with giant sculptures she’s welded from scraps of the area’s industrial history. There’s also a young man now living in the house who’s played an unknown role in Jean’s last years and in her art.
With great verve and humor, Idra Novey zeroes in on the joys and difficulty of family, the ease with which we let distance mute conflict, and the power we can draw from creative pursuits.
Passionate and resonant, Take What You Need explores the continuing mystery of the people we love most, and what can be built from what others have discarded–art, unexpected friendship, a new contentment of self. This is Idra Novey at her very best.
Lone Women by Victor Lavalle (Historical Fiction – March 2023)
Blue skies, empty land—and enough room to hide away a horrifying secret. Or is there? Discover a haunting new vision of the American West from the award-winning author of The Changeling.
Adelaide Henry carries an enormous steamer trunk with her wherever she goes. It’s locked at all times. Because when the trunk is opened, people around her start to disappear…
The year is 1914, and Adelaide is in trouble. Her secret sin killed her parents, and forced her to flee her hometown of Redondo, California, in a hellfire rush, ready to make her way to Montana as a homesteader. Dragging the trunk with her at every stop, she will be one of the “lone women” taking advantage of the government’s offer of free land for those who can cultivate it—except that Adelaide isn’t alone. And the secret she’s tried so desperately to lock away might be the only thing keeping her alive.
Told in Victor LaValle’s signature style, blending historical fiction, shimmering prose, and inventive horror, Lone Women is the gripping story of a woman desperate to bury her past—and a portrait of early twentieth-century America like you’ve never seen.
Hang the Moon by Jeanette Walls (Historical Fiction – March 2023)
From Jeannette Walls, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Castle, comes a riveting new novel about an indomitable young woman in Virginia during Prohibition.
Most folk thought Sallie Kincaid was a nobody who’d amount to nothing. Sallie had other plans.
Sallie Kincaid is the daughter of the biggest man in a small town, the charismatic Duke Kincaid. Born at the turn of the 20th century into a life of comfort and privilege, Sallie remembers little about her mother who died in a violent argument with the Duke. By the time she is just eight years old, the Duke has remarried and had a son, Eddie. While Sallie is her father’s daughter, sharp-witted and resourceful, Eddie is his mother’s son, timid and cerebral. When Sallie tries to teach young Eddie to be more like their father, her daredevil coaching leads to an accident, and Sallie is cast out.
Nine years later, she returns, determined to reclaim her place in the family. That’s a lot more complicated than Sallie expected, and she enters a world of conflict and lawlessness. Sallie confronts the secrets and scandals that hide in the shadows of the Big House, navigates the factions in the family and town, and finally comes into her own as a bold, sometimes reckless bootlegger.
You will fall in love with Sallie Kincaid, a feisty and fearless, terrified and damaged young woman who refuses to be corralled.
The Great Reclamation by Rachel Heng (Historical Fiction – March 2023)
Set against a changing Singapore, a sweeping novel about one boy’s unique gifts and the childhood love that will complicate the fate of his community and country
Ah Boon is born into a fishing village amid the heat and beauty of twentieth-century coastal Singapore in the waning years of British rule. He is a gentle boy who is not much interested in fishing, preferring to spend his days playing with the neighbor girl, Siok Mei. But when he discovers he has the unique ability to locate bountiful, movable islands that no one else can find, he feels a new sense of obligation and possibility–something to offer the community and impress the spirited girl he has come to love.
By the time they are teens, Ah Boon and Siok Mei are caught in the tragic sweep of history: the Japanese army invades, the resistance rises, grief intrudes, and the future of the fishing village is in jeopardy. As the nation hurtles toward rebirth, the two friends, newly empowered, must decide who they want to be, and what they are willing to give up.
An aching love story and powerful coming-of-age that reckons with the legacy of British colonialism, the World War II Japanese occupation, and the pursuit of modernity, The Great Reclamation confronts the wounds of progress, the sacrifices of love, and the difficulty of defining home when nature and nation collide, literally shifting the land beneath people’s feet.
Butter by Gayl Jones (Short Stories – April 2023)
A wide-ranging collection, including two novellas and ten stories exploring complex identities, from the acclaimed author of Corregidora, The Healing, and Palmares.
Gayl Jones, who was first edited by Toni Morrison, has been described as one of the great literary writers of the 20th century and was recently a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction. This new collection of short fiction is only the second in her rich career and one that displays her strengths in the genre in many facets. Opening with two novella-length works, “Butter” and “Sophia,” this collection features Jones’s legendary talents in a range of settings and styles, from the hyperrealist to the mystical, in intricate multipart stories, in more traditional forms, and even in short fragments.
Her narrators are women and men, Black, Brown, Indigenous; her settings are historical and contemporary, in South America, Mexico, and the US; her themes eeldlcenter on complex identities, unorthodox longings and aspirations. She writes about spies, photographers, playground designers, cartoonists, and baristas; about workers and revolutionaries, about environmentalism, feminism, poetry, film, and love, but above all about our multicultural, multiethnic, and multiracial society.
Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld (Contemporary Romance – April 2023)
A comedy writer thinks she’s sworn off love, until a dreamily handsome pop star flips the script on all her assumptions. Romantic Comedy is a hilarious, observant and deeply tender novel from New York Times–bestselling author Curtis Sittenfeld.
Sally Milz is a sketch writer for “The Night Owls,” the late-night live comedy show that airs each Saturday. With a couple of heartbreaks under her belt, she’s long abandoned the search for love, settling instead for the occasional hook-up, career success, and a close relationship with her stepfather to round out a satisfying life.
But when Sally’s friend and fellow writer Danny Horst begins dating Annabel, a glamorous actor who guest-hosted the show, he joins the not-so-exclusive group of talented but average-looking and even dorky men at the show—and in society at large—who’ve gotten romantically involved with incredibly beautiful and accomplished women. Sally channels her annoyance into a sketch called the “Danny Horst Rule,” poking fun at this phenomenon while underscoring how unlikely it is that the reverse would ever happen for a woman.
Enter Noah Brewster, a pop music sensation with a reputation for dating models, who signed on as both host and musical guest for this week’s show. Dazzled by his charms, Sally hits it off with Noah instantly, and as they collaborate on one sketch after another, she begins to wonder whether there might actually be sparks flying. But this isn’t a romantic comedy; it’s real life. And in real life, someone like him would never date someone like her…right?
With her keen observations and trademark ability to bring complex women to life on the page, Sittenfeld explores the neurosis-inducing and heart-fluttering wonder of love, while slyly dissecting the social rituals of romance and gender relations in the modern age.
A History of Burning by Janika Oza (Historical Fiction – May 2023)
An epic, sweeping historical debut novel “about what it means to be part of a family and lineage, in all its heartbreaking and wondrous complexity” spanning continents and a century, and how one act of survival can reverberate through generations (Rachel Khong, author of Goodbye, Vitamin).
At the turn of the twentieth century, Pirbhai, a teenage boy looking for work, is taken from his village in India to labor on the East African Railway for the British. One day Pirbhai commits an act to ensure his survival that will haunt him forever and reverberate across his family’s future for years to come.
Pirbhai’s children are born and raised under the jacaranda trees and searing sun of Kampala during the waning days of British colonial rule. As Uganda moves towards independence and military dictatorship, Pirbhai’s granddaughters, Latika, Mayuri, and Kiya, are three sisters coming of age in a divided nation. As they each forge their own path for a future, they must carry the silence of the history they’ve inherited. In 1972, under Idi Amin’s brutal regime and the South Asian expulsion, the family has no choice but to flee, and in the chaos, they leave something devastating behind.
As Pirbhai’s grandchildren, scattered across the world, find their way back to each other in exile in Toronto, a letter arrives that stokes the flames of the fire that haunts the family. It makes each generation question how far they are willing to go, and who they are willing to defy to secure their own place in the world.
A History of Burning is an unforgettable tour de force, an intimate family saga of complicity and resistance, about the stories we share, the ones that remain unspoken, and the eternal search for home.
The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese (Historical Fiction – May 2023)
From the New York Times–bestselling author of Cutting for Stone comes a stunning and magisterial new epic of love, faith, and medicine, set in Kerala and following three generations of a family seeking the answers to a strange secret
The Covenant of Water is the long-awaited new novel by Abraham Verghese, the author of Cutting for Stone. Published in 2009, Cutting for Stone became a literary phenomenon, selling over 1.5 million copies in the United States alone and remaining on the New York Times bestseller list for over two years.
Spanning the years 1900 to 1977, The Covenant of Water is set in Kerala, on South India’s Malabar Coast, and follows three generations of a family that suffers a peculiar affliction: in every generation, at least one person dies by drowning—and in Kerala, water is everywhere. The family is part of a Christian community that traces itself to the time of the apostles, but times are shifting, and the matriarch of this family, known as Big Ammachi—literally “Big Mother”—will witness unthinkable changes at home and at large over the span of her extraordinary life. All of Verghese’s great gifts are on display in this new work: there are astonishing scenes of medical ingenuity, fantastic moments of humor, a surprising and deeply moving story, and characters imbued with the essence of life.
A shimmering evocation of a lost India and of the passage of time itself, The Covenant of Water is a hymn to progress in medicine and to human understanding, and a humbling testament to the hardships undergone by past generations for the sake of those alive today. It is one of the most masterful literary novels published in recent years.
Oh My Mother! by Connie Wang (Memoir – May 2023)
A dazzling mother-daughter adventure around the world in pursuit of self-discovery, a family reckoning, and Asian American defiance
In Chinese, the closest expression to “oh my god” is “wo de ma ya.” It’s an interjection, a polite expletive, something to say when you’re out of words. Translated literally, it means “oh my mother”–the instinctual first person you think of when you’re on the cusp of losing it, or putting it all together.
In each essay of this hilarious, heartfelt, and pitch-perfectly honest memoir, journalist Connie Wang explores her complicated relationship to her stubborn and charismatic mother Qing Li through the “oh my god” moments in their travels together, venturing into the world to find their place in it, and sometimes rail against it–as well as against each other.
This brilliantly original work of feminism and flaw is Eat, Pray, Love for a new generation–if our real-life heroine had Minor Feelings and Trick Mirror in her suitcase and her always endearing, occasionally infuriating mother in the copilot seat; and if, instead of finding themselves through pasta and yoga, this iconic mother-daughter duo attended a Magic Mike strip show in Vegas, experimented with edibles in Amsterdam, and flip-flopped through Versailles, wondering where their next trip would lead.
The God of Good Looks by Breanne Mc Ivor (Fiction – May 2023)
Combining the honesty, warmth, and humor of Queenie and a modern-day Bridget Jones’s Diary, this entertaining, transportive, and luminous debut novel from award-winning writer Breanne Mc Ivor follows a young Trinidadian woman finding her voice and a new kind of happy ending.
Bianca Bridge has always dreamt of becoming a writer. But Trinidadian society can be unforgiving, and having an affair with a married government official is a sure-fire way to ruin your prospects. So when Obadiah Cortland, a notoriously tyrannical entrepreneur in the island’s beauty scene, offers her a job, Bianca accepts, realizing that working on his magazine is the closest to her dreams she’ll get.
As Bianca begins to embrace her power and creative voice, she starts to suspect Obadiah is not the elite tyrant he seems. She’s right. Born in one of the poorest parts of Trinidad, Obadiah has clawed partway up society’s ladder and built his company around his meticulously crafted persona. Now, he’s not about to let anyone, especially Bianca, see past his façade.
When Bianca’s ex-lover threatens everything she’s rebuilt, jeopardizing all she’s come to love about her new life, she’s surprised to find support from the most unlikely ally and, finally, draws the strength to fight back like her mother taught her.
Sharp-witted and fiercely fun, The God of Good Looks alternates between Bianca’s diary entries and Obadiah’s first-person narrative to portray modern Trinidad’s rigid class barriers and the fraught impact of beauty commodification in a patriarchal society. Boisterous, moving, and full of meaty, universally relatable questions, Mc Ivor’s sparkling debut is an open-hearted, awakening tale about prejudice and pride, the masks we wear, and what we can become if we dare to take them off.
Quietly Hostile by Samantha Irby (Nonfiction Essays – May 2023)
A much-anticipated, hilarious new essay collection from #1 New York Timesbestselling unabashed fan-favorite Samantha Irby invites us to share in the gory particulars of her real life, all that festers behind the glitter and glam.
Beloved writer Samantha Irby has returned to the printed page for her much-anticipated, sidesplitting fourth book following her 2020 breakout, Wow, No Thank You, a Vintage Books Original.
The success of Irby’s career has taken her to new heights. She fields calls with job offers from Hollywood and walks the red carpet with the iconic ladies of Sex and the City. Finally, she has made it. But, behind all that new-found glam, Irby is just trying to keep her life together as she always had.
Her teeth are poisoning her from inside her mouth, and her diarrhea is back. She gets turned away from a restaurant for wearing ugly clothes, she goes to therapy and tries out Lexapro, gets healed with RReiki, explores the power of crystals, and becomes addicted to QVC. Making light of herself as she takes us on an outrageously funny tour of all the details that make up a true portrait of her life, Irby is once again the relatable, uproarious tonic we all need.
The Late Americans by Brandon Taylor (Fiction/LGBT – May 2023)
The author of the Booker Prize finalist Real Life and the bestselling Filthy Animals returns with a deeply involving new novel of young men and women at a crossroads
In the shared and private spaces of Iowa City, a loose circle of lovers and friends encounter, confront, and provoke one another in a volatile year of self-discovery. At the group’s center are Ivan, a dancer turned aspiring banker who dabbles in amateur pornography; Fatima, whose independence and work ethic complicates her relationships with friends and a trusted mentor; and Noah, who “didn’t seek sex out so much as it came up to him like an anxious dog in need of affection.” These three are buffeted by a cast of poets, artists, landlords, meat-packing workers, and mathematicians who populate the cafes, classrooms, and food-service kitchens of Iowa City, sometimes to violent and electrifying consequence. Finally, as each prepares for an uncertain future, the group heads to a cabin to bid goodbye to their former lives—a moment of reckoning that leaves each of them irrevocably altered.
A novel of intimacy and precarity, friendship and chosen family, The Late Americans is Brandon Taylor’s richest and most involving work of fiction to date, confirming his position as one of our most perceptive chroniclers of contemporary life.
When the Hibiscus Falls by M. Evelina Galang (Short Stories – June 2023)
Seventeen stories traverse borderlines, mythic and real, in the lives of Filipino and Filipino American women and their ancestors.
Moving from small Philippine villages of the past to the hurricane-beaten coast of near-future Florida, When the Hibiscus Falls examines the triumphs and sorrows that connect generations of women. Daughters, sisters, mothers, aunties, cousins, and lolas commune with their ancestors and their descendants, mourning what is lost when an older generation dies, celebrating what is gained when we safeguard their legacy for those who come after us. Featuring figures familiar from M. Evelina Galang’s other acclaimed and richly imagined novels and stories, When the Hibiscus Falls dwells within the complexity of family, community, and Filipino American identity. Each story is an offering, a bloom that unfurls its petals and holds space in the sun.
Crook Manifesto by Colson Whitehead (Historical Fiction – July 2023)
Two-time Pulitzer Prize winning Colson Whitehead continues his Harlem saga in a powerful and hugely-entertaining novel that summons 1970s New York in all its seedy glory.
It’s 1971. Trash piles up on the streets, crime is at an all-time high, the city is careening towards bankruptcy, and a shooting war has broken out between the NYPD and the Black Liberation Army. Amidst this collective nervous breakdown furniture store owner and ex-fence Ray Carney tries to keep his head down and his business thriving. His days moving stolen goods around the city are over. It’s strictly the straight-and-narrow for him — until he needs Jackson 5 tickets for his daughter May and he decides to hit up his old police contact Munson, fixer extraordinaire. But Munson has his own favors to ask of Carney and staying out of the game gets a lot more complicated – and deadly.
1973. The counter-culture has created a new generation, the old ways are being overthrown, but there is one constant, Pepper, Carney’s endearingly violent partner in crime. It’s getting harder to put together a reliable crew for hijackings, heists, and assorted felonies, so Pepper takes on a side gig doing security on a Blaxploitation shoot in Harlem. He finds himself in a freaky world of Hollywood stars, up-and-coming comedians, and celebrity drug dealers, in addition to the usual cast of hustlers, mobsters, and hit men. These adversaries underestimate the seasoned crook – to their regret.
1976. Harlem is burning, block by block, while the whole country is gearing up for Bicentennial celebrations. Carney is trying to come up with a July 4th ad he can live with. (“Two Hundred Years of Getting Away with It!”), while his wife Elizabeth is campaigning for her childhood friend, the former assistant D.A and rising politician Alexander Oakes. When a fire severely injures one of Carney’s tenants, he enlists Pepper to look into who may be behind it. Our crooked duo have to battle their way through a crumbling metropolis run by the shady, the violent, and the utterly corrupted.
CROOK MANIFESTO is a darkly funny tale of a city under siege, but also a sneakily searching portrait of the meaning of family. Colson Whitehead’s kaleidoscopic portrait of Harlem is sure to stand as one of the all-time great evocations of a place and a time.