August 1, 2020
There is an abundance of incredible new fiction awaiting hungry readers this August, so make time to stock up before the coming election takes over everyone’s attention. These five novels will not disappoint.
Buyer, Center for Fiction Bookstore
What Happens at Night
By Peter Cameron
Published by Catapult
One of the most strikingly beautiful novels I have read in a long time, it’s as mysterious and atmospheric and spare as it is powerful. Cameron’s eighth novel is about a couple that has traveled to an unnamed snowy European town to adopt a child in an ill-gotten effort to give the dying wife an extension of life. The eerily eccentric hotel where they stay feels almost out of The Shining. Their fragile marriage, the wife’s health and the arrival of a shaman-like healer make this book’s grip on the reader all-consuming, despite the tenuous threads of their lives.
By Carlos Fonseca
Published by FSG
The finding of a lost archive leads to an examination of art’s place in life in this fascinating new novel translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell. Fonseca is a Costa Rican-born author who is highly lauded in the pantheon of contemporary Latin American writers. His captivating new novel about a museum curator and fashion designer was inspired in part by the Met’s Alexander McQueen 2011 exhibition “Savage Beauty” which, in the author’s words, “reimagine[d] fashion at the very limit where humanity met the animal kingdom.”.
By Alex Landragin
Published by St. Martin's Press
Another new novel about a curious literary discovery, this riddle of a book braids three stories through various times and places and can be read in two directions. It swallows the reader into a fabulous world encompassing Nazi-occupied France, Baudelaire, Walter Benjamin, a female monarch, all beginning with a bookbinder’s uncovering of a puzzling manuscript. Also of note, this Australian resident wrote many of Lonely Planet’s travel guides, which makes his observations and storytelling all the more rich in detail.
The Death of Vivek Oji
By Akwaeke Emezi
Published by Riverhead
Emezi’s 2018 critically acclaimed novel Freshwater was shortlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and their novel for young adults, Pet, was a National Book Award for Young People’s Literature finalist. Understandably, their new novel is eagerly awaited. Now the celebrated writer returns with a story about loss, identity and family, all set against the richly drawn background of southeastern Nigeria..
The Disaster Tourist
By Yun Ko-Eun
Published by Counterpoint
Discover this South Korean writer’s fresh new voice in her first book to be translated into English, a satirical novel perfect for a dark time. A travel writer is commissioned (or sent away after her sexual harassment allegations make her unpopular) to explore eco-tourism on a ravaged desert island. Both fast-paced and witty, this is a great one for fans of Convenience Store Woman.