Exquisite Prose & Breakout Authors | Literary Fiction Previews, Sept. 2017

Hasbún, Rodrigo. Affections. S. & S. Sept. 2017. 144p. tr. from Spanish by Sophie Hughes. ISBN 9781501154799. $23; ebk. ISBN 9781501154812. LITERARY
Named one of Granta’s 22 Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists in 2010 and one of the “Bogotá 39” at 2007’s Hay Festival, Bolivian-born, Texas-based Hasbún is an author smart hasbunreaders should know. Now he’s making his English-language debut with a slim but juicy-sounding novel that could have wide appeal, and it’s based on a real-life individual. Cameraman for Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl, Hans Ertl flees with his family to Bolivia shortly before the end of World War II. There, he becomes fascinated with the legend surrounding the lost Inca city of Paitití and persuades two of his daughters to join his efforts to find it. The expedition fractures the family and shows up Ertl as the megalomaniac that he is.

Kukafka, Danya. Girl in Snow. S. & S. Aug. 2017. 368p. ISBN 9781501144370. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501144394. LITERARY
In small-town Colorado, sparkling high schooler Lucinda Hayes lies dead on a playground carousel, and the narrative unwinds the stories of three people painfully connected to her. Outsider Cameron Whitley was obsessed with Lucinda and begins coming apart after her death. Jade Dixon-Burns hated Lucinda for breezily preempting her babysitting job and her best friend without even realizing it. And Officer Russ Fletcher must trek through his own sad past to investigate Lucinda’s death, worried that Cameron, the son of a former partner, is guilty. Lots of in-house love for this debut novel by an assistant editor at Riverhead and definitely literary/pop crossover.

McAffee, Annalena. Hame. Knopf. Sept. 2017. 592p. ISBN 9781524731724. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9781524731731. LITERARY
Mhairi McPhail has fled New York and a bad marriage for the remote Scottish island that was her grandfather’s birthplace, where she’s tasked with writing a biography and establishing a museum honoring the island’s renowned poet—Grigor McWatt, the Bard of Fascaray. In the process, she learns fascinating things about McWatt, about the island, and about herself. Founding editor of the Guardian‘s literary supplement, McAffee has authored eight children’s books and the adult novel The Spoiler, a spiky chronicle of old school–new school tensions in 1990s London’s newspaper world. Hame is Scots for “home, and this sounds delightful.

Mathews, Brendan. The World of Tomorrow. Little, Brown. Sept. 2017. 560p. ISBN 9780316382199. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780316382205. LITERARY
In June 1939, Francis and Michael Dempsey board an ocean liner sailing from Ireland to New York, mathewswhere their brother Martin lives. They’ve just lifted a pile of money from the IRA, so it’s perhaps no surprise that once they arrive, Michael disappears and Francis is stalked by a killer. Meanwhile, the paths of all three brothers cross with jazz musicians, a mob boss, a gifted heiress, and a Jewish artist from Nazi-occupied Prague, forming a colorful backdrop as the brothers reckon with their family’s revolutionary past. A big debut from Fulbright scholar Mathews, published in Salon, Glimmer Train, and more; with a 75,000-copy first printing.

Meades, Christopher. Hanna Who Fell from the Sky. Park Row: Harlequin. Sept. 2017. 352p. ISBN 9780778328735. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781460300350. LITERARY
Author of The Last Hiccup, which won the 2013 Canadian Author’s Award for Fiction, Meades makes his U.S. debut with the story of a young woman facing a tremendous choice. Hanna lives in an isolated religious community with her father, his four wives, and her 14 siblings. At age 18, about to become the fifth wife of a much older man, she encounters a stranger who challenges her to reconsider everything she’s been taught. Can she leave behind the security of home for the larger, grander world? Billed as a breakout with mainstream appeal; a 100,000-copy first printing.

Oksanen, Sofi. Norma. Knopf. Sept. 2017. 288p. ISBN 9780451493521. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780451493538. Downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY
Winner of big awards like the Swedish Academy Nordic Prize and the Prix Femina, Finnish-normaEstonian author Oksanen is known here for the sharply affecting Purge and When the Doves Disappeared. She follows suit with a new novel set in contemporary Helsinki, where Anita Naakka has leapt in front of a speeding train. Her daughter, Norma, has an extraordinary secret—she has supernatural hair that picks up the moods of those around her—and at the funeral, as she talks to a stranger, her hair lets her know that her mother may not have killed herself. Fantasy, mystery, exquisite writing, a young woman’s coming to terms—what’s not to like?

Peery, Janet. The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs. St. Martin’s. Sept. 2017. 288p. ISBN 9781250125088. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250125095. LITERARY
A National Book Award finalist in 1996 for her debut novel, The River Beyond the World—and also a highly regarded writer of short fiction, with two collections to her name—Peery has kept us waiting a long time for her second novel. It’s perceptive domestic drama set in blue-collar Amicus, KS, where town judge Abel Campbell is celebrating his birthday with his family when ne’er-do-well youngest son Billy passes out in a plate of birthday cake. Time for the family to confront his addictive and generally destructive behavior, enabled by his mother, which has absorbed too much of their lives. In-house buzz.

 

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Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (bhoffert@mediasourceinc.com, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.

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