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Hardback Fiction from our 2020 Summer Newsletter

These titles were featured in our 2020 Summer Newsletter.

A Burning by Megha Majumdar

Megha Majumdar has written an astounding debut novel, and my favorite book of the year thus far. Following a terrorist attack in modern-day India, A Burning explores three very different lives. It lays bare the consequences and complexities of class, gender, politics, religion, and race—the social constructs that both empower and imprison the book’s richly drawn characters. It is propulsive, it is important, it is beautifully rendered. A Burning is exactly the book it needs to be, even as it lifts you, even as it breaks your heart. I am filled to the brim with all of it.

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A Burning: A novel Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780525658696
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - June 2nd, 2020

Afterlife by Julia Alvarez

In her first adult novel in over a decade, Julia Alvarez (In the Time of the Butterflies, How the García Girls Lost Their Accents) tells the story of an immigrant writer and recent widow whose life is suddenly filled with uncertainty. Afterlife is a quiet reflection on a lifetime of the things that bring us together and pull us apart from the ones we love. A lovely addition to Alvarez’s work.

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Afterlife Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9781643750255
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books - April 7th, 2020

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The Vanishing Half is the multigenerational story of a Black family spanning from the Civil Rights Era to the end of the twentieth century, centering itself around Stella and Desiree, twin sisters who are separated when one of them leaves to live a life passing as White. What follows is an exploration of family and identity, the complexity of race constructs and their very real effects, what is lost, what can be found. Bennett offers no clear answers, only much to think about, and deliciously so, as you race through to discover how these crucial life choices will affect each character, all of whom you have come to understand and care for immensely.

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The Vanishing Half: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780525536291
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - June 2nd, 2020

Simon the Fiddler by Paulette Jiles

If ever you need to leave behind the fast-paced, app-filled, droning noise of this time, open up the world of Simon the Fiddler. This meandering story, set at the end of the Civil War, follows Simon, his fiddle, his dreams for a simple, peaceful life, and his quest to marry the Irish lass he fell in love with at first sight. There are saloon fights, friendships, alligators, hoop skirts, letter writing, and tragic loss. I’m telling you, I thought the music and the Southern scenes were all going to just fade into the Texas sunset, until I got to the final chapters—plot twist!

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Simon the Fiddler: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062966742
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow - April 14th, 2020

Conjure Women by Afia Atakora

The characters in this transporting book, set before and after the Civil War, still haunt my thoughts. We get to know a mother and daughter—midwives and healers—and the community they serve. Their magic is both a blessing, and a curse and the people who need them can be desperate to believe or quick to condemn. This is a story of people, their overlapping realities, their longing for security, and the unjust world and its rules, rules that we still deal with today. You will love the characters, be curious about what’s true and what is conjured, and shake your head with grief as the story comes to a close.

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Conjure Women: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780525511489
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - April 7th, 2020

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

What if Jesus of Nazareth had a wife? In best-selling author (The Secret Life of Bees) Sue Monk Kidd’s new novel, she imagines just that. With painstaking detail about the historical time, Kidd introduces us to Ana, a young woman born with a gift for words who lives in a time when silence and obedience defined a woman’s place and belonging. Ana’s finding of her voice is intertwined with Jesus’s pursuit for kindness and humanity. What is imagined here is not a tale of one person saving another, but an unfolding love story in which mirroring and respect lead to both risk and reward. Kidd’s ability to hold reverence while infusing new life and perspective to a story that is so known is extraordinary. I cannot explain the beauty and depth of this book, its language, its heart, its anger, its grief, and ultimately its triumph; this is one novel you don’t want to miss.

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The Book of Longings: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780525429760
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking - April 21st, 2020

The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe

The Knockout Queen wrapped its fist around my heart and then squeezed. I mean this literally—the sensation was physical. Rufi Thorpe writes with breathtaking grace and creates a slow build that explodes: the loveability, failings, and deficiencies of everyone, the drift and splintering that time deals to even our closest relationships. The Knockout Queen also has pockets of profundity, both in the adolescent narrator’s wise, shattering musings, and in the grim realities this story contains. Thorpe’s skill makes the experience a pleasure: the effortless dialogue, the wry and funny scenes, and the complex, unforgettable characters that are so human (though it may hurt to admit that humanness can contain a person like the Knockout Queen’s father Ray, who is cut from the same cloth as con man-in-chief Donald Trump, utterly self-serving, with a casual brutality that is beyond redemption. Thorpe reflects our world back to us. I was completely captivated by The Knockout Queen—rushing to consume it but wanting at the same time to savor the rare experience of a book this close to perfect. I wanted it to last and last.

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The Knockout Queen: A novel Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780525656784
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - April 28th, 2020

Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier

Pizza Girl is the metric that every other book released this year will be compared against for me. It’s Juno meets Mulholland Drive. Pizza girl is 18, with a sweet boyfriend who loves her mom; a dead alcoholic dad; and an enigmatic woman who calls on Wednesdays to order a pizza with pickles on it. Who are you when you don’t know what you want out of life? What is motherhood and family? What is desire? The level of attention to detail, the FEELINGS—it’s like the book emerged fully formed for the pit of a pure heart. I can barely contain my love for Pizza Girl.

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Pizza Girl: A Novel Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9780385545723
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday - June 9th, 2020

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