Though the “overnight success” story tends to make headlines, debut novels are more often the result of years of hard work and dedication. This month, we’re highlighting four debuts that deserve some time in the spotlight.
Three of the most highly anticipated novels from 2013 are now available in paperback, and they're sure to spark discussion in your reading group.
It takes real talent to concoct a plot about our celebrity-obsessed culture that’s as outrageous as the stories we can consume every day with the click of a mouse or remote control. Following on his impressive fiction debut, the somber What Happened to Sophie Wilder, Christopher Beha has pivoted away from that novel's dark tone to create a wicked satire that’s every bit the equal of its predecessor in tackling serious moral issues.
Debut author Josh Malerman returns the reader to the thrilling dread of the apocalypse tales of yesteryear by keeping his narrative simple and refusing to allow the “other” in his tale to become known in his novel Bird Box.
In a world where writers are eternally reminded to “write what you know,” debut novels are often thinly veiled memoirs, or at least tentatively tied to the author’s own experience through location or life experience. Not so for screenwriter Laline Paull, whose ambitious first novel, The Bees, doesn’t feature a single human character—and it’s set in the labyrinthine world of the hive.
A beehive is a place of order, control, maybe even oppression. In Laline Paull’s debut novel, The Bees, Flora 717 is a sterile worker bee from the lowest caste of an orchard hive. Like her sisters, she is bound by the motto to accept, obey and serve. But during a period of famine and environmental crisis, Flora is asked to take on new tasks: first, feeding the newborns in the hive’s nursery and then becoming a forager, flying freely in search of pollen and nectar. Her size and strength make her a formidable worker, and she proves to be a quick learner.
In The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden, Jonas Jonasson unfurls a wide, whimsical net that readers will relish being caught up in. Things go from just bad to comically worse to enjoyably ridiculous in this tongue-in-cheek tale. From South Africa to Sweden, from latrine cleanup to atom bomb cover-up, from pillows to presidents and potato farms, Jonasson’s wittily constructed web intertwines historical figures and facts with the exploits of a decidedly less plausible (but more entertaining) cast of characters.
Three of the best books of 2013 are now available in paperback—and guaranteed to delight your reading group. Spanning the globe from Texas to Italy to Chechnya, these memorable stories are sure to spark discussion.
Losing a loved one to the chaos of war would be devastating enough, but lingering doubt as to whether a husband were alive or dead could slowly consume a wife. Especially if her last words to him were an ultimatum: Choose his reporting work, or her. In The Wind Is Not a River, Helen and John Easley find themselves caught in the upheaval of World War II, separated emotionally and physically by...
Amy Tan does not have a fabulous closet befitting a world-famous author. She is in the midst of cleaning it when BookPage calls to talk about her lush new novel, The Valley of Amazement.“It’s a terrible closet,” Tan says with a laugh from her home in New York City. “It’s a teeny-tiny closet. The doors keep going off...