War, Immigration, & Top-Flight Fiction | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2018

Abouzeid, Rania. No Turning Back: Life, Loss, and Hope in Wartime Syria. Norton. Mar. 2018. 384p. ISBN 9780393609493. $26.95. CURRENT EVENTS/MIDDLE EAST
For her in-depth coverage of the Middle East, Beirut-based Abouzeid has earned numerous honors, from the George Polk Award to the European Commission’s Anna Lindh Journalist Foundation Award. Here she gives a history of the war that has shattered Syria, moving from the crushed demonstrations against Assad’s dictatorship in 2011 through the rise of numerous factions, including the Islamic State, to the rubble, the multitudinous refugees, and the fractured state they have left behind.

Bloom, Amy. White Houses. Random. Mar. 2018. 240p. ISBN 9780812995664. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780812995671. lrg. prnt. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY/HISTORICAL FICTION
New York Times best seller Bloom (Lucky Us), a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, draws inspiration from real-life figures as she reimagines the deep friendship between AP reporter Lorena Hickok and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. The novel is told from Hickok’s perspective, opening with her childhood and eventually intertwining her life and the First Lady’s as it takes us behind the scenes at the White House, where Hickok lived. (She also had a little white house on Long Island, hence the title.) With a three- to five-city tour.

Chivers, C.J. The Fighters. S. & S. Mar. 2018. 384p. ISBN 9781451676648. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781451676679. CURRENT EVENTS/MIDDLE EAST
Senior writer for the New York Times and a writer-at-large for the New York Times Magazine, Chivers won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing for the story on which this book is based. Here, he offers a you-are-there view of the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq since September 11, 2001, accompanying soldiers as they go on airstrikes, face sniper attacks, engage in counterguerilla warfare, and hunt down Osama bin Laden. Some fighters are tracked over many years and multiple tours to give the long view on our longest wars.

Hilgers, Lauren. Patriot Number One: American Dreams in Chinatown. Crown. Mar. 2018. 336p. ISBN 9780451496133. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780451496157. Downloadable: Random Audio. SOCIAL SCIENCE/IMMIGRATION
While living and working in China, journalist Hilgers interviewed protest leader Zhuang Liehong, who had been arrested for his activities. Later, after she moved to New York, he called her to explain that he and his wife, Little Yan, were planning to escape from their American tour group and move to Flushing, Queens. Then they arrived on her doorstep. Hilgers, who won a MacDowell fellowship to complete this book, chronicles their experiences as new immigrants as she captures key issues from language schools to underground banks to illegal dormitories. New York set, nationally relevant.

Hollinghurst, Alan. The Sparsholt Affair. Knopf. Mar. 2018. 432p. ISBN 9781101874561. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101874585. Downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY FICTION
The winner of Man Booker, Somerset Maugham, James Tait, and E.M. Forster honors and a National Book Critics Circle finalist for his recent The Stranger’s Child, Hollinghurst returns with a rich evocation of one man’s impact on family and friends over seven decades. It opens at 1940s Oxford, where dynamic David Sparsholt has succeeded in charming Evert Dax, the solitary son of a famed novelist, and moves through Sparsholt holidays in Cornwall, offbeat gatherings at the Dax household, the experiences of David’s son Johnny in the 1970s London artworld, and the increasing openness of gay life during that time.

Iweala, Uzodinma. Speak No Evil. Harper. Mar. 2018. 224p. ISBN 9780061284922. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062199096. lrg. prnt. LITERARY FICTION
Iweala boomed into our consciousness in 2005 with his debut novel, Beasts of No Nation, a multi-award-winning and multi-best-booked title that got its author named a Granta Best of Young American Novelists. It was worth the wait for his second novel, featuring a Harvard-bound Nigerian American teenager at a prestigious Washington, DC, school, who wrestles with the recognition that he is gay. The disapproval of his religious family leads to rapidly unwinding tragedy. With a 50,000-copy first printing; don’t miss.

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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