Three Novels & a Memoir | Barbara’s Picks, Jul. 2018

Guerrero, Jean. Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir. One World: Random. Jul. 2018. 352p. ISBN 9780399592393. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780399592409. Downloadable. MEMOIR
A PEN/FUSION Emerging Writers Prize winner, Guerrero is the Fronteras reporter for San Diego’s NPR/PBS affiliate, focusing on cross-border issues. Here she writes more personally about her father, a Mexican immigrant who saw himself as a shaman even as he abandoned his family for sojourns in Asia, Europe, and Mexico and overindulgence in crack and whiskey. Her doctor mother thought he was schizophrenic, but Guerrero took his claims seriously, pushing her own limits and eventually discovering that his great-great-grandmother was a curandera, a traditional healer said to commune with the dead. All sorts of borders are crossed here.

Kleine, Andrea. Eden. Houghton Harcourt. Jul. 2018. 272p. ISBN 9781328884084. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781328884541. LITERARY FICTION
Kleine, who won big attention in 2015 with her small-press debut, Calf, returns with the story of sisters Hope and Eden, abducted while waiting for their divorced father to pick them up for the weekend. Twenty-plus years later, Hope is a struggling New York playwright desperate to find her out-of-touch sister; their testimony is needed to keep their abductor in jail. With a 35,000-copy first printing.

Moshfegh, Ottessa. My Year of Rest and Relaxation. Penguin Pr. Jul. 2018. 304p. ISBN 9780525522119. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780525522126. lrg. prnt. Downloadable. LITERARY FICTION
Moshfegh’s McGlue won the Fence Modern Prize in Prose and Eileen the PEN/Hemingway Award; the recent collection Homesick for Another World was a New York Times Notable Book. In the latest spiky offering from this of-the-moment author, one the publisher hopes will break her out, a young woman’s life seems glowy; she’s got good looks, good credentials, a fun job, and an Upper East Side apartment. But with her parents dead and her boyfriend and best friend both trouble, she withdraws for a year of drug-induced grappling with her sense of being emptily out of step with the world.

Williams, Beatriz. The Summer Wives. Morrow. Jul. 2018. 384p. ISBN 9780062660343. $26.99; ekb. ISBN 9780062660367. WOMEN’S FICTION
In summer 1951, when 18-year-old Miranda Schuyler comes to Winthrop Island in Long Island Sound with her mother and new stepfather, she enters uneasily into the high society there even as she befriends Joseph Vargas, who helps out on his father’s lobster boat. Tension between Joseph and Miranda’s half-sister Isobel results in tragedy, shattering the balance between the island’s have-a-lots and not-so-fortunates, and Miranda does not return for nearly two decades, renowned as an actress and questing for justice Once again, thoughtful and substantive entertainment from the New York Times best-selling author.

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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