It’s all in the title: Susan Choi takes the unreliable narrator to the next level in this book, challenging the reader to suspend all judgment and hang on for the ride. Trust Exercise examines perspective and character in a whole new way, leaving the reader to wonder at the end just what, exactly, they’ve been through. As in life, more questions are generated than answers. A great book to awaken your mind to the possibilities of fiction!
Winner of the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize in Canada, Reproduction is a playful novel that begins with the meeting of two very different strangers in a hospital room occupied by their mothers, and weaves through three decades of the family and relationships that follow such an unexpected and unbidden encounter. Williams writes with a poet’s ear and an inventive spark, exploring love, class, race, and the multicultural community in Toronto where this artful story unfolds in ways both light and deeply felt.
This lesbian slow-burn romance hit all the right spots. Under the bright and shiny lights of Hollywood, we meet Jo and her assistant, Emma. Wilsner handles the boss/employee dynamic with skill. The dialogue is smart and the plot a breath of fresh air. There’s a lot of wonderful tension and you’re gonna be yelling, “Kiss already!” But the payoff will be worth it.
This hilarious new collection of stories and essays will make you chuckle, though underneath the humor is deft critique. Marie Kondo’s tidying up is juxtaposed with a tour of World War II internment camps. Sexist techno-orientalism and the meaning of Godzilla are reexamined. Local treasure, UCSC professor emerita, and acclaimed novelist Karen Tei Yamashita has written a book about the Japanese American experience both entertaining and vital in this era of anti-immigration politics.
Make no mistake: Carolina de Robertis has written an epic to stand in the annals of the Western canon. Set in Uruguay, with five protagonists. Women protagonists. Queer women protagonists. Building love, family, and future amidst a violent dictatorship and cultural oppression that would deny them themselves. This novel sings through decades and heartbreak to be vibrantly, fiercely alive and free, as the stories of these five cantoras unfold with vivid, sometimes aching, truth of nation and humanity.
This riveting historical page-turner is complex, unexpected, and empowered. Sara Collins’s Frannie Langton will linger in your mind, and Collins holds a mirror to the white reader’s embedded expectations—demands, even—of black stories and black suffering. Beautifully written, powerfully told, this debut is a standout.
A beautiful French novel exploring the difficult subject of mental illness. Written to the soundtrack of Nina Simone singing Mr. Bojangles, this is a magical love story. A young boy tells the story of watching his parents dance their way through life even as his mother descends into madness. This is a book that will make you laugh and cry. An international bestseller.
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.