The year is Marching along and so is the stream of new release fiction. If your To Be Read pile is looking a little thin, here’s some interesting looking releases this coming month that you can use to fatten it up.
by Rene Denfeld (March 4)
A debut novel of darkness and redemption whose style “combines the empathy and lyricism of Alice Sebold with the dark, imaginative power of Stephen King”. “The enchanted place is an ancient stone prison, viewed through the eyes of a death row inmate who finds escape in his books and in re-imagining life around him, weaving a fantastical story of the people he observes and the world he inhabits. Fearful and reclusive, he senses what others cannot. Two outsiders venture here: a fallen priest, and the Lady, an investigator who searches for buried information from prisoners’ pasts that can save those soon-to-be-executed.”
I’m intrigued by a jacket blurb by Night Circus author Erin Morgenstern, “The Enchanted wrapped its beautiful and terrible fingers around me from the first page and refused to let go after the last. A wondrous book that finds transcendence in the most unlikely of places . . . So dark yet so exquisite.” If The Enchanted can provide even half the magic of Morgenstern’s own debut, we may have something interesting on our hands. (M)
Boy Snow Bird
by Helen Oyeyemi (March 4).
Included in Granta Magazine’s 2013 list of best British writers under 40, Helen Oyeyemi has spent the last few years building up accolades and has produced a startling number of literary novels (5) for someone so young. For those who don’t yet know Oyeyemi, Novelist describes her as an author of”imaginative, surreal, and intricately plotted coming-of-age stories that blend magic realism, atmospheric gothic fiction, and meta-literary playfulness.”
Her latest is set in the US and examines racial prejudice and history. “In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty—the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman. A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she’d become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy’s daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as lightskinned African Americans passing for white. Among them, Boy, Snow, and Bird confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold.” (M)
The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger (March 18)
A debut novel that puts a funny twist on a marriage gone wrong. “Twenty-nine-year-old Sophie Diehl is happy toiling away as a criminal law associate at an old line New England firm where she very much appreciates that most of her clients are behind bars. Everyone at Traynor, Hand knows she abhors face-to-face contact, but one weekend, with all the big partners away, Sophie must handle the intake interview for the daughter of the firm’s most important client. After eighteen years of marriage, Mayflower descendant Mia Meiklejohn Durkheim has just been served divorce papers in a humiliating scene at the popular local restaurant, Golightly’s. She is locked and loaded to fight her eminent and ambitious husband, Dr. Daniel Durkheim, Chief of the Department of Pediatric Oncology, for custody of their ten-year-old daughter Jane…” Witty, stylish and told in a epistolary style, this might be a good book for folks who enjoyed 2012’s Where’d You Go Bernadette. (M)
Every Day is for the Thief
by Teju Cole (March 25)
Fan’s of Teju Cole’s 2011 debut novel Open City have been waiting impatiently for a new novel from the young Nigerian-American author, and they need wait no more. Much like Open City, the writing in Cole’s latest is described as “spare, precise prose that sees humanity everywhere” as the author explores the story of a young American returning to his native Nigeria for the first time in 15 years. If you’ve not yet read Cole, you’re in for a treat: the publisher suggests that readers of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Michael Ondaatje should particularly take note of Cole’s work. (M)
The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line
by Rob Thomas (March 25)
Moving off in an totally different direction here’s one that I’ll admit might be a bit of a dice throw. I guess I’m putting my faith in the brand, I guess and am a little excited about this original Veronica Mars mystery novel. Yup, you read that right. I guess with the new Veronica Mars film coming out in March, this book should be no surprise: this book is set after the action of the film (see how they made you watch the film and read the book with this one!) and promises to have Veronica “ready to take on Neptune’s darkest cases with her trademark sass and smarts”. (M)