Literary Glitter | Fiction Previews, Jun. 2018

Faye, Gaël. Small Country. Hogarth: Crown. Jun. 2018. 224p. tr. from French. ISBN 9781524759872. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781524759896. Downloadable. LITERARY
Ten-year-old Gabriel’s life in Burundi is completely upended when adjacent Rwanda erupts hideously in flames. Based on songwriter/rapper Faye’s own experiences, this debut novel captured numerous awards in France, including the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens, and has been sold to 30 territories worldwide.

Immergut, Debra Jo. The Captives. Ecco. Jun. 2018. 288p. ISBN 9780062747549. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062747563. LITERARY
State prison psychologist Frank Lundquist is topsy-turvied when his new patient turns out to be Miranda Greene, his high school’s golden girl and once the object of his desperate desire. MacDowell/Michener Fellow Immergut published a story collection in 1992; this novel got a big rush at the London Book Fair. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

Kumarasamy, Akil. Half Gods: Stories. Farrar. Jun. 2018. 224p. ISBN 9780374167677. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780374717223. SHORT STORIES/LITERARY
This collection from Kumarasamy, who won multiple awards at the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan, ranges across religious lines and from Calcutta to New Delhi to New Jersey as it follows the lives of a beleaguered Sri Lankan family.

Li, Lillian. Number One Chinese Restaurant. Holt. Jun. 2018. 304p. ISBN 9781250141293. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781250141309. CD. LITERARY
In this debut from a University of Michigan Hopwood Award winner (impressive), trouble strikes the family-run Beijing Duck House in Rockville, MD, as owner Jimmy considers upscaling, brother Johnny and his daughter Annie can’t seem to reconcile, and Annie  takes risks with an employee’s son.

McLaughlin, James A. Bearskin. Ecco. Jun. 2015. 352p. ISBN 9780062742797. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062742810. LITERARY
Hiding out from the Mexican drug cartels he betrayed, Rice Moore works deep in the Virginian Appalachia as the protector of a forest preserve. Bear poaching, signaled by the first carcass he finds, puts an end to his peace. Must be an amazing debut; check out the 150,000-copy first printing.

Machado de Assis, Joaquim Maria. The Collected Stories of Machado de Assis. Liveright: Norton. Jun. 2018. 992p. tr. from Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa & Robin Patterson. ISBN 9780871404961. $35. LITERARY
Considered among Brazil’s greatest writers and a powerful influence on 20th-century Latin American fiction, Machado de Assis (1839–1908) was not much translated until the 1960s and is still not well known here today. Costa and Patterson here assemble Machado’s seven story collections into a single magnum opus for all readers of the classics.

Makkai, Rebecca. The Great Believers. Viking. Jun. 2018. 432p. ISBN 9780735223523. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780735223547. Downloadable. LITERARY
Makkai swings between 1980s Chicago and contemporary Paris as she portrays Yale Tishman, losing friend Nico and his partner to the new AIDS virus while bringing an amazing collection to the art gallery where he works, and Nico’s younger sister Fiona, seeking her estranged daughter in the City of Light while contemplating how the virus upended her family.

Øyehaug, Gunnhild. Wait, Blink: A Perfect Picture of Inner Life. Farrar. Jun. 2018. 256p. tr. from Norwegian by Kari Dickinson. ISBN 9780374285890. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780374715007. LITERARY
Big in-house enthusiasm for award-winning Norwegian author Øyehaug’s tale of multiple women, including literature student Sigrid, undermined by her older lover; performance artist Trine, balancing work and motherhood; and movie director Linnea, dreaming of the film she won’t make.

Reed, Joe Mungo. We Begin Our Ascent. S. & S. Jun. 2018. 192p. ISBN 9781501169205. $26. LITERARY
A couple with a new baby and uncertain prospects, professional cyclist Sol and geneticist Liz are balancing on a knife edge. Then he starts doping, her research flounders, and they face big moral questions. A highly touted debut.

Shepherd, Peng. The Book of M. Morrow. Jun. 2018. 480p. ISBN 9780062669605. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062669629. LITERARY
In a scary new world, losing one’s shadow—inexplicable in itself—also presages a complete loss of memory. Ory and wife Max have avoided the Forgetting by hiding at an abandoned hotel, but Max runs away when her shadow evaporates, afraid she will bring Ory grief. Peng debuts with a 50,000-copy first printing.

Slouka, Mark. All That Is Left Is All That Matters: Stories. Norton. Jun. 2018. 160p. ISBN 9780393292282. $24.95. SHORT STORIES/LITERARY
Acclaimed for his long fiction (The Visible World was a British Book Award finalist) and nonfiction (Essays from the Nick of Time won the PEN/Diamonstein-Speilvogel Award), Slouka also boasts PEN/O. Henry and Best American Short Stories honors. His characters here, in settings ranging from occupied Czechoslovakia to the Pacific Northwest, fight to stay on top.

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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