From Buarque to Thien | Literary Fiction Previews, Oct. 2017, Pt. 1

Buarque, Chico. My German Brother. Farrar. Oct. 2017. 192p. tr. from Portuguese by Alison Entrekin. ISBN 9780374161200. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780374715137. LITERARY
In this new novel from celebrated Brazilian singer/songwriter Buarque, set in 1960s São buarquePaulo, teenage reprobate Ciccio snitches a book from the extensive library of his icily unobservant scholar father and finds a letter suggesting that his father had an affair with a woman in Berlin. What’s more, Ciccio might have a German brother, whom he begins to obsessively track down, even as he struggles for his father’s respect.

Dueñas, María. The Vineyard. Atria. Oct. 2017. tr. from Spanish by Nick Caistor. 624p. ISBN 9781501124532. $26. LITERARY
In late 1800s Mexico, financially upended Mauro Larrea risks what little he has left on a vineyard in Spain, which he intends to sell until he travels there and meets a widow intent on protecting her heritage. Colorful background is provided by Mexico City, glorious colonial Havana, and Andalusia. From the New York Times best-selling author of The Time in Between. [Spanish-language edition: La Templanza. ISBN 9781501125195. pap. $16.]

Feldman, Joshua Max. Start Without Me. Morrow. Oct. 2017. 288p. ISBN 9780062668721. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062668745. lrg. prnt. LITERARY
Recovering alcoholic Adam heads home for Thanksgiving to a family that expects him to fail again. At the airport restaurant, he meets flight attendant Marissa, who dreads her own holiday visit to her in-laws as issues of race, class, and social status trouble her marriage. Thus the author of the highly praised The Book of Jonah looks at battered idealism and resistant hope. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

Hanks, Tom. Uncommon Type: Some Stories. Knopf. Oct. 2017. 416p. ISBN 9781101946152. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101946169. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. SHORT STORIES
Two-time Academy Award winner Hanks apparently has some other tricks up his sleeve.hanks This story collection ranges from a man who worries that his sudden ESPN fame for bowling perfect games will ruin his life to an Eastern European immigrant struggling to adjust to New York after his life and family have been sundered by civil war. Thoughtful, then, and an attention getter.

McCormack, Mike. Solar Bones. Soho. Sept. 2017. 224p. ISBN 9781616958534. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781616958541. LITERARY
Winner of the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature for Getting It in the Head, also a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, McCormack opens his newest work on All Souls Day with the spirit of Marcus Conway sitting contemplatively at his kitchen table. There he recalls a life led in rural Ireland and the events through the years that brought him inevitably to where he is now.

McGhee, Alison. Never Coming Back. Houghton Harcourt. Oct. 2017. 256p. ISBN 9781328767561. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781328764348. LITERARY
When she leaves her remote Adirondack home for college, Clara Winter is roundly encouraged by her devoted but independent-minded mother never to return. Ten years later, when Clara finally makes it back, she wonders why her now ailing mother pushed her out and what her future holds. From the author of the best seller Shadow Baby, a Today show book club pick.

McIntosh, Matthew. TheMystery.doc. Grove. Oct. 2017. 1664p. ISBN 9780802124913. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780802189172. LITERARY
In post-9/11 America, a young writer struggles with the follow-up to his first novel, seeking for a new means of expression as he combines pop-up ads, search results, text messages, film and television stills, and bits of classical literature to tell the story of a man who awakens with no memory. An empty computer document called mystery.doc might lead him somewhere. From the author of the Los Angeles Times best seller Well; metafiction that’s big—look at the page count.

Raisin, Ross. A Natural. Random. Oct. 2017. 400p. ISBN 9780525508779. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780525508786. LITERARY
From one of Granta’s Best of Young British Writers, whose debut novel, God’s Own raisinCountry, was short-listed for nine literary awards, comes the story of a young soccer player named Tom who suddenly realizes that he might not achieve his dreams. At 19, he’s stuck playing for a small club after being dumped by the Premier League academy. The team captain’s wife is disillusioned, too, having followed her husband from club to club, which makes for a common meeting ground with Tom.

Szalay, David. London and the South-East. Graywolf. Oct. 2017. 352p. ISBN 9781555977931. pap. $16. LITERARY
Never before published in the United States, this debut novel by Man Booker Prize short-listed author Szalay features a young man desperately unhappy with his ad sales work. A new job proves to be not as it was described but manages to change his life.

Thien, Madeleine. Dogs at the Perimeter. Norton. Oct. 2017. 272p. ISBN 9780393354300. pap. $15.95. LITERARY
In another debut novel from a Man Booker Prize short-listed author now being published here, a Montreal woman who survived Cambodia’s Killing Fields as a child remains so haunted by her experiences that she abandons her family to stay with a friend who also suffered Khmer Rouge violence. His disappearance forces her to face the past.


Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @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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