Coming of Age in Apartheid-era South Africa | Debut Spotlight

South African–born, Toronto-based first novelist Bianca Marais’s Hum If You Don’t Know the Words tells the absorbing coming-of-age story of nine-year-old Robin Conrad. Living as a young white girl in Apartheid-era South Africa, Robin forms a new family after losing her own.

Top Debut Novels | Fiction Previews, May 2017, Pt. 2

Alyan, Hala. Salt Houses. Houghton Harcourt. May 2017. 320p. ISBN 9780544912588. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780544912380. LITERARY/SAGA This embracing and salt-sharp tale by Palestinian American poet and clinical psychologist Alyan magnifies the problem of displacement in the Middle East by chronicling the fate of one family continually uprooted after the Six-Day War of 1967. After her […]

Jio, Kinsella, Lipman, & More | Pop Fiction, Feb. 2017, Pt. 3

Hepworth, Sally. The Mother’s Promise. St. Martin’s. Feb. 2017. 336p. ISBN 9781250077752. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466889927. CD: Macmillan Audio. WOMEN’S Australian author Hepworth splashed down big with her debut, The Secrets of Midwives, and followed up quickly with The Things We Keep. Now she’s back breaking hearts with the story of single mother Alice, her […]

A Political Murder, a World War II Affair, & The Girl Who Slept with God | Debut Fiction Previews, Aug. 2015, Pt. 1

Bartsch, Jeff. Two Across. Grand Central. Aug. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9781455554621. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781455554607. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455590070. COMING OF AGE Brilliant but socially maladroit teenagers Stanley and Vera meet when they tie for first place in the National Spelling Bee, then try to escape their too-controlling parents by entering into an in-name-only marriage. […]

Fiction Previews, Sept. 2013, the Last Roundup; from Terry McMillan to Debut Novelists Allen, Crawford, Daly, & More

Allen, Lisa Van. The Wishing Thread. Ballantine. Sept. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9780345538550. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9780345537829. WOMEN’S FICTION Owners of the Stitchery Yarn Shop in Tarrytown, NY, the Van Ripper women can reputedly grant wishes by stitching them into their knitted goods. But the Stitchery’s matriarch has just died, leaving a will that could […]

Best Books 2012: Memoir

Busch, Benjamin. Dust to Dust. Ecco: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780062014849. $25.95; eISBN  9780062096784. Busch addresses the sustaining value of art in the face of life and death from the perspective of one who has been to war. (LJ 3/1/12) Cusk, Rachel. Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation. Farrar. ISBN 9780374102135. $23; eISBN 9781466820180. This memoir is full of […]

Librarians’ Best Books of 2011: Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding

Librarians’ Best Books of 2011: Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding