Falcones, Ildefonso. The Barefoot Queen. Crown. Nov. 2014. 752p. ISBN 9780804139489. $28. HISTORICAL
In this latest from the author of the internationally best-selling The Cathedral of the Sea, set in mid-18th-century Spain, a newly freed Cuban slave named Caridad meets the gypsy Milagros, and the two women become fast friends, even as they fall in love with crusading men and try to evade the royal edict outlawing gypsies. A big push to break out Falcones here.
Kadare, Ismail. Twilight of the Eastern Gods. Grove. Nov. 2014. 224p. tr. from Albanian by David Bellos. ISBN 9780802123114. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780802191854. LITERARY
The first winner of the Man Booker International Prize, Albanian author Kadare has a dedicated readership worldwide. Here he gives us writerly insight into how it all started with this fictionalized account of his life as a graduate student at Moscow’s famed Gorky Institute for World Literature, starting in 1958.
Lennon, J. Robert. See You in Paradise: Stories. Graywolf. Nov. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9781555976934. pap. $16. LITERARY
Winner of the Barnes & Noble 1997 Discover Great New Writers Award, Lennon has gone on to write edgy and different novels from Castle to Mailman. Here he collects stories written over 15 years, featuring stories about sexual dysfunction, career chaos, high-stakes adoption, and friends returned from the dead on a girlfriend-stealing mission. Great stuff for sophisticates.
Mazzucco, Melania G. Limbo: Farrar. Nov. 2014. 416p. tr. from Italian by Virginia Jewiss. ISBN 9780374191986. $28. LITERARY
A winner of multiple awards in her native Italy, including the Strega prize for Vita, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, Mazzucco tells the story of Manuela Paris, who left behind a shiftless adolescence to become a soldier and returns home from Afghanistan a platoon commander haunted by a horrific battle in the desert. Meeting a stranger who’s also in limbo startles Manuela awake.
Self, Will. Shark. Grove. Nov. 2014. 400p. ISBN 9780802123107. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780802192400. LITERARY
Second in a loosely linked trilogy that opened with Umbrella, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, this new novel also features psychiatrist Zack Busner, who makes the mistake of joining several patients at his London therapeutic community in an LSD trip. All this around the time that American ground forces were ordered to pursue the Vietcong into Cambodia and four students were killed at Kent State University, which is going to be relevant.
Venturini, Fred. The Heart Does Not Grow Back. Picador. Nov. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781250052216. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781250052223. LITERARY/SF
A debut novelist just showing his stuff—his story “Gasoline” appears in Chuck Palahniuk’s forthcoming (and fascinating) Burnt Tongues collection—Venturi offers the story of a high school milquetoast who discovers after terrible tragedy that he has an unusual gift: he can regenerate his organs and limbs. Later, when he meets a special girl from his past, he decides to use his superpower to save her from an abusive husband.