The Wide World | Literary Fiction Previews, Sept. 2018


Cullen, Helen. The Lost Letters of William Woolf. Graydon House: Harlequin. Sept. 2018. 384p. ISBN 9781525892080. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781488096730. LITERARY
In a debut compared to Nina George’s The Little Paris Bookshop, lost letters end up at the Dead Letters Depot, where letter detectives wade through missing zip codes, illegible handwriting, smudgy ink, lost labels, and left-off street names to find the recipients. One detective is so enthralled by a series of letters addressed only to “My Great Love” that he tries to solve the mystery behind them. With an 80,000-copy first printing.

D’Eramo, Luce. Deviation. Farrar. Sept. 2018. 400p. tr. from Italian by Anne Milano Appel. ISBN 9780374138455. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780374717063. LITERARY
Published in Italy in 1979 and an international best seller Americans missed, this work features fascist-raised young Lucia, who decides to prove that those ridiculous stories about Nazi atrocities are all wrong. A trip north to volunteer as camp labor shows her the hellacious truth, but leaving the camp is a lot harder than arriving. Soberingly, a fictionalized account of the author’s own experiences.

Evans, Diana. Ordinary People. Liveright: Norton. Sept. 2018. 320p. ISBN 9781631494819. $26.95. LITERARY
Orange Prize winner Evans offers a tale of two couples in crisis. In South London, Michael misses the passion he once shared with wife Melissa, who’s wrapped up with motherhood but getting tired of how much it defines her now. Friends Stephanie and Damian have a different problem. She loves their unruffled suburban life, while he has higher aspirations, particularly after the death of his activist father.

Kiesling, Lydia. The Golden State. MCD: Farrar. Sept. 2018. 304p. ISBN 9780374164836. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780374718060. LITERARY
Editor of the Millions and author of nonfiction featured in The Best American Essays 2016, Kiesling offers a first novel about young wife and mother Daphne, whose Turkish husband is being barred from the country. Tipping over the edge, Daphne flees San Francisco with toddler Honey but finds that living in high-desert Altavista only intensifies her dismay. Then she’s caught between secessionist neighbor Cindy and ailing, elderly Alice.

Laing, Olivia. Crudo. Norton. Sept. 2018. 96p. ISBN 9780393652727. $21. LITERARY
Laing’s To the River was short-listed for the Ondaatje Prize; The Trip to Echo Spring, for the Costa Book Award; and The Lonely City, for the National Book Critics Circle Award. So her debut novel should be a winner. In summer 2017, a commitment-averse writer named Kathy wrestles with her decision to marry even as right-wing populism, climate-changed waters, and tempers over Trump and Brexit are rising.

Mason, Daniel. The Winter Soldier. Little, Brown. Sept. 2018. 336p. ISBN 9780316477604. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780316477581. LITERARY
Mason, who made a name for himself with the international best seller The Piano Tuner while still a medical student, returns with a story featuring a medical student—22-year-old Austrian Lucias, who, during World War I, enlists to work at a field hospital. He’s the only doctor at his post, in the far-off, frigid Carpathian Mountains, and he’s never even picked up a scalpel. His decision regarding one unconscious patient changes everything.

Saviano, Roberto. The Piranhas: The Boy Bosses of Naples. Farrar. Sept. 2018. 368p. tr. from Italian by Antony Shugaar. ISBN 9780374230029. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780374717537. CD. LITERARY
Gomorrah, an  investigation of the ultra-violent Italian organization known as the Camorra, won Saviano multiple awards; international sales; screen, television, and theater adaptations; and a permanent police escort. Here he uses fiction to portray the new gangs ruling the streets of Naples, kids called the paranze who love their PlayStations and strut the streets with pistols and AK-47s. A Macmillan reading group selection.

Teo, Sharlene. Ponti. S. & S. Sept. 2018. 288p. ISBN 9781501173110. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501173134. LITERARY
Winner of the inaugural Deborah Rogers Writers’ Award, this Singapore-set debut features isolated teenager Szu, living a low life with her former actress mother, who now conducts séances with her sister. Things change considerably when Szu meets and befriends the wealthy, smart-mouthed Circe.

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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