Imagine a world in which the economy has tanked, jobs have dried up, society has crumbled, and people are doing anything and everything they can just to scrape by. For most of us, such a cataclysmic state of affairs is all too easy to envision, which makes Margaret Atwood’s latest dystopian thriller, The Heart Goes Last, all the more unsettling and eerily prophetic.
In 2012, Claire Vaye Watkins burst onto the literary landscape with her prize-winning short story collection, Battleborn. In Gold Fame Citrus, Watkins follows through on her literary promise with an excellent novel, set in a drought-ridden California in a future that feels alarmingly near.
The most common advice to aspiring authors is “Write what you know.” Clearly Elisabeth Egan took this advice to heart when penning her debut novel, A Window Opens, a literary anthem for 21st-century working mothers.
Growing up may be hard to do under the best of circumstances, but for two best friends at the dawn of the millennium, it's outright agony.
What do two twin sisters who star in a Coney Island sideshow, a woman whose mother-in-law may have had her committed to an insane asylum, and a sanitation worker who finds an orphaned baby girl while completing his rounds one night have in common? The question sounds like the set up to a rather ghoulish joke, and yet untangling this mystery forms the basis of Leslie Parry’s dazzling debut, Church of Marvels.
When she married Prince William back in 2011, Kate Middleton didn’t just capture the heart of a future king—she also ensnared the imaginations of women worldwide. Will and Kate’s royal romance has been meticulously documented by the press and even been the subject of a Lifetime movie. Now it serves as the inspiration for the first adult novel by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, the duo behind the snarky celebrity-fashion blog, Go Fug Yourself, and authors of two young adult novels (Messy and Spoiled).
The first thing that is immediately apparent about Hanya Yanagihara’s second novel, A Little Life, is that it has been incorrectly named: There is nothing little about this novel—not the lives depicted within it or the size of its author’s ambitions and talents. And not the page count, either. It is a hulking doorstop of a book, perfect for the reader who likes to burrow into a book for weeks at a time.
New Orleans-based writer Tom Cooper’s The Marauders is a debut novel that does nothing in half measures. It isn’t afraid to take risks, dabble in darkness and skirt the edge of ruin, and this is what makes it such an exciting read.
Greek mythology and Bulgarian fairy tales have never felt as modern as they do in Wildalone, Krassi Zourkova’s debut novel. Building on the momentum established by Stephenie Meyer’s ever-popular Twilight franchise, the Bulgarian-born Zourkova introduces fans of supernatural romance to a dark and heady new love triangle involving a gifted musician and two bewitching brothers.
If the mark of a great author is not merely how much she incites the imaginations of readers but the extent to which she inspires fellow writers, then there can be no doubt that Jane Austen is the greatest author of them all. Just when you think the market for Austen spinoffs has reached capacity, a new book comes onto the scene that turns the genre on its head. Such is the case with First Impressions, Charlie Lovett’s delightful new novel.