The Sport of Kings. By C. E. Morgan.
Farrar, $27 (9780374281083).
This ambitious epic of Faulknerian dimension tells multiple stories across many
generations, centering on a Kentucky horse-racing dynasty but extending to the history
of southern racism. An audacious, intelligent, and powerful novel.
Swing Time. By Zadie Smith. Penguin, $27
Smith tells the entwined tales of two
“brown girls” growing up in London enthralled by dance and taking very different
paths to adulthood in a keenly funny,
socially astute, emotionally lush novel about
the quest for meaning, creativity, and love.
(Top of the List winner—Adult Fiction)
The Translation of Love. By Lynne
Kutsukake. Doubleday, $25.95
Kutsukake skillfully creates a vivid and
memorable account of ordinary people struggling to recover from the devastation of war
in her debut novel, set in post-WWII Japan.
The Underground Railroad. By Colson
Whitehead. Doubleday, $26.95
In Whitehead’s commanding, vividly imagined novel, smart and resourceful Cora flees
a Georgia cotton plantation only to discover,
on each stop along an actual Underground
Railroad running in tunnels beneath Southern soil, yet another horrific variation on
The Virginity of Famous Men. By
Christine Sneed. Bloomsbury, $26
Sneed investigates the dynamics of sexual
power, the eroticism of fame, and the impossibility of sequestering pain in her marvelously
lucid, empathic, and witty short stories.
the way, comics creators who provide a fascinating entrée into their industry.
LaRose. By Louise Erdrich. Harper, $27.99
The uneasy relationship between two neighboring families in a North Dakota Ojibwe
community is infinitely complicated by a
tragic accident and a radical attempt at justice in Erdrich’s many-faceted drama.
The Mandibles: A Family, 2029–2047.
By Lionel Shriver. Harper, $27.99
In this sharp satire, Shriver images a post-post-apocalyptic America in which the
country’s financial system goes into free fall
and each member of the multigenerational
Mandible family struggles to adapt.
Miss Jane. By Brad Watson. Norton,
Jane Chisholm was born in rural Mississippi in 1915 with a unique and puzzling
condition—the use of a common channel
for all bodily functions—yet she grows up
and thrives as a deep observer of life and the
Mister Monkey. By Francine Prose. Harper,
In Prose’s consummate comedy of errors,
the beguiling and beleaguered cast members
in a way-off-Broadway children’s musical
broach questions about truth and lies, evolution and extinction, and how we care for
each other and the world.
Moonglow. By Michael Chabon. Harper,
In Chabon’s insightful, funny, bewitching,
and bighearted novel, the narrator’s ailing
grandfather reveals his secrets, including various crimes, his WWII experiences tracking
down Nazi scientists, and the truth about his
The Mothers. By Brit Bennett. Riverhead,
Bennett’s debut novel examines the consequences of secret decisions born of pain
and fear as they play out in the lives of three
The physical resemblance was so strong and yet she didn’t dance like Tracey. Her
arms wheel-barrowed as she moved, her
legs flew back and forth, she was a hoofer,
not an obsessed technician. And she was
funny: walking on her toes or freeze-framing
for a second in an absurd comic attitude, on
one leg, arms in the air, like the hood ornament of an expensive car.
From Swing Time, by Zadie Smith
The Nest. By Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney.
Ecco, $26.99 (9780062414212).
In her novel centered on a disappeared
inheritance, Sweeney, with a flair for realistic and funny dialogue, vividly portrays
each of the four dysfunctional adult Plumb
siblings: suave Jack, artsy Bea, playboy Leo,
and meek Melody.
News of the World. By Paulette Jiles. 224p.
Morrow, $26.99 (9780062409201).
In 1870, facing a 400-mile trip filled with
threats of ambush, a rugged captain accompanies a young girl on her journey through
Texas. Jiles’ lyrical and minimalist style allows the reader to become immersed in the
The Nix. By Nathan Hill. Knopf, $27.95
Cartwheeling among multiple narrators
and located in Norway, Iowa, and Chicago,
Hill’s engrossing, skewering, and preternaturally timely debut spins the galvanizing
stories of three generations derailed in unexpected ways by WWII, the Vietnam War,
and the Iraq War.
Perfume River. By Robert Olen Butler.
Atlantic Monthly, $25 (9780802125750).
In this meditative reflection on aging
and love, as seen through the prism of one
family quietly torn asunder by the lingering
effects of the Vietnam War, Butler shows
again that he is a master of tone, mood,
Small Great Things. By Jodi Picoult.
Ballantine, $28.99 (9780345544957).
Picoult brings together an African American nurse and two white supremacists who
specifically ask that she not handle their
child, who suddenly dies, leading to her being charged with murder in a novel that offers
a thought-provoking examination of racism.
The tunnel, the
tracks, the desperate souls who
found salvation in
of its stations and
was a marvel to be