Wandering Stars by Tommy Orange (February 27, 2024)
Colorado, 1864. Star, a young survivor of the Sand Creek Massacre, is brought to the Fort Marion Prison Castle, where he is forced to learn English and practice Christianity by Richard Henry Pratt, an evangelical prison guard who will go on to found the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, an institution dedicated to the eradication of Native history, culture, and identity. A generation later, Star’s son, Charles, is sent to the school, where he is brutalized by the man who was once his father’s jailer. Under Pratt’s harsh treatment, Charles clings to moments he shares with a young fellow student, Opal Viola, as the two envision a future away from the institutional violence that follows their bloodlines.
Oakland, 2018. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield is barely holding her family together after the shooting that nearly took the life of her nephew Orvil. From the moment he awakens in his hospital bed, Orvil begins compulsively googling school shootings on YouTube. He also becomes emotionally reliant on the prescription medications meant to ease his physical trauma. His younger brother, Lony, suffering from PTSD, is struggling to make sense of the carnage he witnessed at the shooting by secretly cutting himself and enacting blood rituals that he hopes will connect him to his Cheyenne heritage. Opal is equally adrift, experimenting with Ceremony and peyote, searching for a way to heal her wounded family.
Extending his constellation of narratives into the past and future, Tommy Orange once again delivers a story that is by turns shattering and wondrous, a book piercing in its poetry, sorrow, and rage — a masterful follow-up to his already-classic first novel, and a devastating indictment of America’s war on its own people.
American Mother by Colum McCann with Diane Foley (March 5, 2024)
In late 2021, Diane Foley sat at a table across from her son’s killer, Alexanda Kotey, a member of the ISIS group known as “The Beatles” who plead guilty to the kidnapping, torture, and murder of her son seven years before. Kotey was about to go serve life imprisonment and this was Diane’s chance to talk to the man who had been involved with brutally taking her son’s last breath. What would she say to his killer? What would he reveal to her? Might she even be able to summon forgiveness for him?
So begins American Mother — which reads alternately like a thriller, a biography, a mystery, a memoir, and a literary examination of grace.
Diane looks back on the early days when Jim was a child and his journey to journalism, and the killing fields of the world where he reports with indefatigable determination and insight on the plight of those caught up in the agonies of war. She guides us through her family history and the difficulties they faced when Jim was captured. And she also charts the tenacity it takes to turn her grief into grace as she seeks to give voice to those who are still being kidnapped and wrongfully detained around the world.
Few journeys are more worthy than this and, in this astonishing book, we are all invited to celebrate the lives of those who are never, in the end, gone.
Anita De Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez (March 5, 2024)
Who gets to leave a legacy?
1985. Anita de Monte, a rising star in the art world, is found dead in New York City; her tragic death is the talk of the town. Until it isn’t. By 1998 Anita’s name has been all but forgotten ― certainly by the time Raquel, a third-year art history student is preparing her final thesis. On College Hill, surrounded by progeny of film producers, C-Suite executives, and international art-dealers, most of whom float through life knowing that their futures are secured, Raquel feels herself an outsider. Students of color, like Raquel, are the minority there, and the pressure to work twice as hard for the same opportunities is no secret.
But when Raquel becomes romantically involved with a well-connected older art student, she finds herself unexpectedly rising up the social ranks. As she attempts to straddle both worlds, she stumbles upon Anita’s story, raising questions about the dynamics of her own relationship, which eerily mirrors that of the forgotten artist.
Moving back and forth through time and told from the perspectives of both women, Anita de Monte Laughs Last is a propulsive, witty examination of power, love, and art, daring to ask who gets to be remembered and who is left behind in the rarefied world of the elite.
The Morningside by Téa Obreht (March 5, 2024)
There’s the world you can see. And then there’s the one you can’t. Welcome to the Morningside.
After being expelled from their ancestral home in a not-so-distant future, Silvia and her mother finally settle at the Morningside, a crumbling luxury tower in a place called Island City where Silvia’s aunt Ena serves as the superintendent. Silvia feels unmoored in her new life because her mother has been so diligently secretive about their family’s past, and because the once-vibrant city where she lives is now half-underwater. Silvia knows almost nothing about the place where she was born and spent her early years, nor does she fully understand why she and her mother had to leave. But in Ena there is an opening: a person willing to give the young girl glimpses into the folktales of her demolished homeland, a place of natural beauty and communal spirit that is lacking in Silvia’s lonely and impoverished reality.
Enchanted by Ena’s stories, Silvia begins seeing the world with magical possibilities and becomes obsessed with the mysterious older woman who lives in the penthouse of the Morningside. Bezi Duras is an enigma to everyone in the building: She has her own elevator entrance and leaves only to go out at night and walk her three massive hounds, often not returning until the early morning. Silvia’s mission to unravel the truth about this woman’s life, and her own haunted past, may end up costing her everything.
Startling, inventive, and profoundly moving, The Morningside is a novel about the stories we tell—and the stories we refuse to tell—to make sense of where we came from and who we hope we might become.
Real Americans by Rachel Khong (April 30, 2024)
Real Americans begins on the precipice of Y2K in New York City, when twenty-two-year-old Lily Chen, an unpaid intern at a slick media company, meets Matthew. Matthew is everything Lily is not: easygoing and effortlessly attractive, a native East Coaster, and, most notably, heir to a vast pharmaceutical empire. Lily couldn’t be more different: flat-broke, raised in Tampa, the only child of scientists who fled Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Despite all this, Lily and Matthew fall in love.
In 2021, fifteen-year-old Nick Chen has never felt like he belonged on the isolated Washington island where he lives with his single mother, Lily. He can’t shake the sense she’s hiding something. When Nick sets out to find his biological father, the journey threatens to raise more questions than it provides answers.
In immersive, moving prose, Rachel Khong weaves a profound tale of class and striving, race and visibility, and family and inheritance—a story of trust, forgiveness, and finally coming home.
Exuberant and explosive, Real Americans is a social novel par excellence that asks: Are we destined, or made? And if we are made, who gets to do the making? Can our genetic past be overcome?
Long Island by Colm Tóibín (May 7, 2024)
Eilis Lacey is Irish, married to Tony Fiorello, a plumber and one of four Italian American brothers, all of whom live in neighboring houses on a cul-de-sac in Lindenhurst, Long Island, with their wives and children and Tony’s parents, a huge extended family that lives and works, eats and plays together. It is the spring of 1976 and Eilis, now in her forties with two teenage children, has no one to rely on in this still-new country. Though her ties to Ireland remain stronger than those that hold her to her new land and home, she has not returned in decades.
One day, when Tony is at his job and Eilis is in her home office doing her accounting, an Irishman comes to the door asking for her by name. He tells her that his wife is pregnant with Tony’s child and that when the baby is born, he will not raise it but instead deposit it on Eilis’s doorstep. It is what Eilis does — and what she refuses to do — in response to this stunning news that makes Tóibín’s novel so riveting.
Long Island is about longings unfulfilled, even unrecognized. The silences in Eilis’ life are thunderous and dangerous, and there’s no one more deft than Tóibín at giving them language. This is a gorgeous story of a woman alone in a marriage and the deepest bonds she rekindles on her return to the place and people she left behind, to ways of living and loving she thought she’d lost.
The God of the Woods by Liz Moore (June 11, 2024)
Early morning, August 1975: a camp counselor discovers an empty bunk. Its occupant, Barbara Van Laar, has gone missing. Barbara isn’t just any thirteen-year-old: she’s the daughter of the family that owns the summer camp and employs most of the region’s residents. And this isn’t the first time a Van Laar child has disappeared. Barbara’s older brother similarly vanished fourteen years ago, never to be found.
As a panicked search begins, a thrilling drama unfolds. Chasing down the layered secrets of the Van Laar family and the blue-collar community working in its shadow, Moore’s multi-threaded story invites readers into a rich and gripping dynasty of secrets and second chances. It is Liz Moore’s most ambitious and wide-reaching novel yet.
Trust Her by Flynn Berry (June 25, 2024)
Three years after they narrowly escaped the IRA’s worst punishment for informing, Northern Irish sisters Tessa and Marian Daly have built a new life in Dublin with their young children. Though Tessa is haunted by the abrupt and violent end to her old life, she does her best to immerse herself in the joys of Finn’s childhood and the rhythms of her new job at the Irish Observer.
It’s a small island, though, and just as quickly as they disappeared, figures from the sisters’ past surface to drag them back into the conflict. Tessa is told she must track down her old handler from MI5, Eamonn, and attempt to turn him into an IRA informant, or lose everything.
Tessa’s reunion with Eamonn revives a host of feelings she has long attempted to bury. As their relationship intensifies and the pressure mounts, long-held secrets rise to the surface, and Tessa must navigate a treacherous landscape of shifting loyalties, all while trying to protect her beloved son.
With her signature hair-raising suspense, razor-sharp prose, and rich emotional depth, Edgar Award winner Berry has crafted both an unforgettable portrait of two fierce women in the Daly sisters, and her most spellbinding thriller to date.
Long Island Compromise by Taffy Brodesser-Akner (July 9, 2024)
“Were we gangsters? No. But did we know how to start a fire?”
In 1980, a wealthy businessman named Carl Fletcher is kidnapped from his driveway, brutalized, and held for ransom. He is returned to his wife and kids less than a week later, only slightly the worse, and the family moves on with their lives, resuming their prized places in the saga of the American dream, comforted in the realization that though their money may have been what endangered them, it is also what assured them their safety.
But now, nearly forty years later, it’s clear that perhaps nobody ever got over anything, after all. Carl has spent the ensuing years secretly seeking closure to the matter of his kidnapping, while his wife, Ruth, has spent her potential protecting her husband’s emotional health. Their three grown children aren’t doing much better: Nathan’s chronic fear won’t allow him to advance at his law firm; Beamer, a Hollywood screenwriter, will consume anything—substance, foodstuff, women—in order to numb his own perpetual terror; and Jenny has spent her life so bent on proving that she’s not a product of her family’s pathology that she has come to define it. As they hover at the delicate precipice of a different kind of survival, they learn that the family fortune has dwindled to just about nothing, and they must face desperate questions about how much their wealth has played a part in both their lives’ successes and failures.
Long Island Compromise spans the entirety of one family’s history, winding through decades and generations, all the way to the outrageous present, and confronting the mainstays of American Jewish life: tradition, the pursuit of success, the terror of history, fear of the future, old wives’ tales, evil eyes, ambition, achievement, boredom, dybbuks, inheritance, pyramid schemes, right-wing capitalists, beta-blockers, psychics, and the mostly unspoken love and shared experience that unite a family forever.
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