Literary Glitter | Fiction Previews, Jul. 2018

Christensen, Kate. The Last Cruise. Doubleday. Jul. 2018. 304p. ISBN 9780385536288. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385536295. Downloadable. LITERARY
PEN/Faulkner Award winner Christensen takes us on the final voyage of the 1950s-era ocean liner Queen Isabella, as guests nostalgically enjoy fine dining, retro drinks, and luscious jazz, with both cell phones and children banned. Belowdecks, tensions simmer among the crew, some of whom know the ship is creakier than it looks.

Florio, Gwen. Silent Hearts. Atria. Jul. 2018. 336p. ISBN 9781501181924. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501181948. LITERARY
An award winner for her Lola Wicks detective series, Florio has also reported from conflict zones in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq, which informs her new work. In 2001, American aid worker Liv Stoellner hopes that a move with her husband to post-Taliban Kabul will save her marriage, even as she befriends Farida Basra, an educated Pakistani woman uncomfortable in her own arranged marriage to the son of an Afghan strongman.

Gessen, Keith. A Terrible Country. Viking. Jul. 2018. 352p. ISBN 9780735221314. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780735221321. Downloadable. LITERARY
In 2008, with girlfriend, job prospects, and funds all missing in action, Brooklyn-based Andrei Kaplan agrees to travel to his native Moscow to care for his ailing grandmother, still in the apartment Stalin gave her. Even as he becomes involved with activist Yulia, Andrei realizes that neither Russia nor America is really home. The first novel in a decade from n+1 founding editor Gessen, author of All the Sad Young Literary Men.

Healey, Emma. Whistle in the Dark. Harper. Jul. 2018. 384p. ISBN 9780062309716. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062309747. LITERARY
“I can’t remember.” That’s what 15-year-old Lana says repeatedly as she lies bruised and confused in a hospital bed after having been missing for four days. Always worried about Lana’s emotional seesawing, her mother quietly goes off to reconstruct Lana’s lost time and discover what happened to her. Healey’s No. 1 internationally best-selling debut novel Elizabeth Is Missing won the Costa First Novel Award.

Kracht, Christian. The Dead. Farrar. Jul. 2108. 208p. tr. from German by Daniel Bowles. ISBN 9780374139674. $25. ebk. ISBN 9780374717711. LITERARY
Award-winning Swiss author Kracht’s Imperium was a PW Best Book and a Huffington Post Best Fiction Book for 2015, and the LJ review declared it “essential reading for those interested in the quirky characters of history.” Here’s deep history as Swiss film director Emil Nägeli travels to Japan in the early 1930s, ostensibly to make a film celebrating Hitler but in fact aiming to reveal his awful threat to the world.

Kumar, Amitava. Immigrant, Montana. Knopf. Jul. 2018. 320p. ISBN 9780525520757. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780525520764. Downloadable. LITERARY
Perhaps best known for his literary meditation Lunch with a Bigot and the winner of numerous awards and fellowships for his often genre-crossing works, Kumar captures the immigrant experience from the perspective of a live-wire young Indian named Kailash (nicknamed Kalashnikov, or AK for short) as he wrestles with his desires and ambitions and adjusts to his university studies in New York.

Mason, Zachary. Metamorphica. Farrar. Jul. 2018. 304p. ISBN 9780374208646. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780374709839. LITERARY
Mason, who debuted by reimagining the travels and travails of Odysseus in his New York Times best-selling The Lost Books of the Odyssey, now reimagines Ovid’s epic poem about ceaseless change. (In between was a second, much-praised novel, Void Star.) Narcissus, Pygmalion and Galatea, Midas and Atalanta, even Ovid himself are all seen in a bright new light.

Rich, Simon. Hits and Misses: Stories. Little, Brown. Jul. 2018. 224p. ISBN 9780316468893. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780316468879. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316518239. Downloadable. SHORT STORIES
Former Saturday Night Live writer, New Yorker contributor, two-time Forbes 30 Under 30 designee, and past president of the Harvard Lampoon, Rich boasts a handful of deftly droll story collections. Here’s the latest, wherein Paul Revere’s horse shares a revisionist view of that famous ride and a World War II dictator gets celebrity-style magazine coverage. With a 30,000-copy first printing.

Ryan, Donal. From a Low and Quiet Sea. Penguin. Jul. 2018. 192p. ISBN 9780143133247. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9780525505020. LITERARY
A Man Booker and Desmond Elliott prize long-listee who’s won multiple Irish literary awards, Ryan deserves attention. Here, three unsettled men look for what they’ve lost: restless Lampy misses the girl who got away, wheeler-dealer John has crumpled under the weight of his father’s disapproval and brother’s death, and Farouk has fled Syria with his wife and daughter, choosing uncertainty over debasement or death.

Shaykh, Hanan al-. The Occasional Virgin. Pantheon. Jul. 2018. 240p. ISBN 9781524747510. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781524747527. Downloadable. LITERARY
Lebanese-born, Cairo-educated, and London-based, al-Shaykh writes piercingly about Middle East upheaval and especially women in the Arab-Muslim world. Somewhere along the French Riviera, two young women from Beirut—Muslim-raised Huda and Christian-raised Yvonne—reflect on their tumultuous lives and struggles with work and love.

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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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