Six Books to Curl Up With This Winter – Wall Street Journal
For publishers, winter is a relatively quiet seasonâ€”a time when they can introduce gems that might otherwise be lost in fallâ€™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 â€œThe Invention of Everything Else,â€ 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.
â€˜My Name Is Lucy Bartonâ€™
Elizabeth Strout, Jan. 12
Ms. Stroutâ€™s novel â€œOlive Kitteridgeâ€ 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. Leeâ€™s 2009 debut, â€œThe Piano Teacher,â€ 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 â€œThe Expatriates.â€ The new work, set in present day Hong Kong, looks at three women whose lives cross paths in the cityâ€™s insular expat community.
â€˜Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fistâ€™
Sunil Yapa, Jan. 12
Editorial director Lee Boudreaux picked this debut novel to launch her first imprint at Little, Brown and Co. â€œI just got so blown away by the voice,â€ 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.
Ãlvaro 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. â€œItâ€™s like if Hilary Mantel and Roberto BolaÃ±o and David Mitchell all got together and wrote a novel,â€ said Mr. Enrigueâ€™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.
â€˜What Is Not Yours Is Not Yoursâ€™
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, â€œBoy, Snow, Bird,â€ earned ecstatic reviews. Critics called it â€œbizarre and brilliant,â€ and â€œthe voice-over of a fever dream.â€ 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.
Write to Jennifer Maloney at firstname.lastname@example.org