Diski, Shafak, Laura Lee Smith, Yan Lianke | Literary Fiction Previews

Diski, Jenny. The Vanishing Princess: Stories. Ecco. Dec. 2017. 208p. ISBN 9780062685711. pap. $15.99. SHORT STORIES
British author Diski may not be a household name, but she has a following among the cognoscenti owing to her ten novels, short fiction, and five books of travel and memoir, and she’s highly regarded for her the incisive essays that appeared regularly London Review of Books. In Gratitude, a raw and honest memoir written while she was dying of cancer, was a National Book Critics Circle finalist in Autobiography. This posthumous collection of stories has a small printing but big in-house support and could be the beginning of resurgent interest in her work.

Shafak, Elif. Three Daughters of Eve. Bloomsbury USA. Dec. 2017. 384p. ISBN 9781632869951. $27. LITERARY
Responsible for international best sellers like The Architect’s Apprentice and The Bastard of Istanbul and long-listed for major honors like the Baileys Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, Turkish author Shafak is outspoken about issues like human rights and freedom of expression, which may be why she currently lives in London. Her book takes place at a dinner party in Istanbul that seems in appropriate, even decadent, as terrorist attacks spark everywhere in the city. At the party, Peri reflects on her time spent at Oxford with free-spirited Iranian Shirin and devout Egyptian-American Mona and the scandal that drove them apart.

Smith, Laura Lee. The Ice House. Grove. Dec. 2017. 448p. ISBN 9780802127082. $25. LITERARY
Johnny MacKinnon is facing business failure, as the ice factory he married into and has managed for decades reels under the weight of OSHA fines following a mysterious accident. He’s also estranged from his son, whose heroin addiction he can no longer overlook. But his collapse on the factory floor, signaling the possibility of serious illness, could be a sort of blessing that will allow him to take time off and repair his life. Author of the novel Heart of Palm and short fiction that has appeared in several best-of anthologies, Smith is positioned for bigger things with what looks to be a beautifully written work.

Yan Lianke. The Years, Months, Days: Two Novellas. Grove. Dec. 2017. 155p. tr. from Chinese by Carlos Rojas. ISBN 9780802126658. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9780802188816 NOVELLAS/LITERARY
A Franz Kafka Prize winner who has been short-listed for the Man Booker International Prize (twice) and the Man Asian Literary Prize, renowned Chinese author Yan doesn’t sugar coat his narratives. “Marrow,” the first of these two novellas, features a widow desperate to provide for her four physically and mentally disabled children, who makes them soup from their father’s bones because she hears that mgight heal them. In “The Years, Months, Days,” a Chinese best seller that won the Lu Xun Literary Prize, drought has forced everyone out of a village but an old man, who cannot endure the march through the mountains and instead survives on a single ear of corn.

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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