Six Books to Curl Up With This Winter – Wall Street Journal
For publishers, winter is a relatively quiet season—a time when they can introduce gems that might otherwise be lost in fall’s crush of literary heavyweights and commercial fare. The buzziest titles this season range from family dramas to ghost stories. Among the most notable are the latest novel from Pulitzer Prize-winner Elizabeth Strout, a debut novel about the 1999 World Trade Organization protests and a new book from a rising literary star that straddles fantasy and reality. Here are six books to keep the winter doldrums away:
Samantha Hunt, Jan. 5
Zombies are out, ghosts are in. Ms. Hunt, author of “The Invention of Everything Else,” taps into the cultural zeitgeist with a new novel blurring the natural and supernatural. Teenage orphans Nat and Ruth are on the verge of aging out of a group home run by a corrupt, religious fanatic when they meet a traveling con man and begin talking to the dead for money.
‘My Name Is Lucy Barton’
Elizabeth Strout, Jan. 12
Ms. Strout’s novel “Olive Kitteridge” launched her to stardom with a Pulitzer Prize and a 2014 HBO adaptation that won eight Emmy Awards. The book has sold 1.5 million copies, according to Random House. Fans have been eagerly awaiting her latest: In this new novel, the protagonist is recovering from complications after an operation when her mother arrives, rekindling a troubled relationship.
Janice Y.K. Lee, Jan. 12
Ms. Lee’s 2009 debut, “The Piano Teacher,” a tale of two love affairs in midcentury Hong Kong, was a runaway hit, selling more than 400,000 copies in the U.S., according to her publisher. Viking is hoping for a repeat performance with “The Expatriates.” The new work, set in present day Hong Kong, looks at three women whose lives cross paths in the city’s insular expat community.
‘Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist’
Sunil Yapa, Jan. 12
Editorial director Lee Boudreaux picked this debut novel to launch her first imprint at Little, Brown and Co. “I just got so blown away by the voice,” she said. The book is told from the perspective of seven characters on a single day during the explosive 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle. The characters include 19-year-old Victor, who hopes to sell enough marijuana at the protest to buy a plane ticket; his estranged stepfather, the police chief; the finance minister of Sri Lanka; as well as protesters and police officers who clash on a Seattle street corner.
Álvaro Enrigue, Feb. 9
This mind-bending novel made a splash in Latin America and Europe, winning the prestigious Herralde prize in Spain. Now Riverhead brings it to the U.S. in an English translation. “It’s like if Hilary Mantel and Roberto Bolaño and David Mitchell all got together and wrote a novel,” said Mr. Enrigue’s editor at Riverhead, Laura Perciasepe. The book begins with a 16th-century tennis match between the radical Italian artist Caravaggio and Spanish poet Quevedo, playing to the death with a ball made from the hair of beheaded Anne Boleyn.
‘What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours’
Helen Oyeyemi, March 8
In 2013, Granta named Ms. Oyeyemi on its star-making, once-a-decade list of promising, young British novelists. Her most recent novel, “Boy, Snow, Bird,” earned ecstatic reviews. Critics called it “bizarre and brilliant,” and “the voice-over of a fever dream.” Now Ms. Oyeyemi, whose writing is tinged with the strange and magical, offers up a collection of short stories built around the idea of keys, literal and metaphorical. It opens with a baby left at a Catalonian monastery with a key on a chain around her neck.
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