January 7, 2022
Welcome to 2022. Was your New Year’s resolution to read more this year? Perhaps you received a Center for Fiction Gift Card you want to redeem? These five new novels will inspire you to get started. The storytelling in each makes me feel certain this year will be filled with great adventures, edification and entertainment.
Buyer, The Center for Fiction Bookstore
By HANYA YANAGIHARA
Published by DOUBLEDAY
Seven years since her powerful novel, A Little Life, Yanagihara returns with an even more ambitious story with three timelines and a cast of indelible characters, three centuries apart: a Wharton-like Washington Square in the 1890s; the AIDS crisis in both Manhattan and Hawaii; and ‘Zone 8,’ a dystopian story set in 2093 that takes place after a plague. Like her previous book, it is an instant classic. This book must be read to appreciate Yanagihara’s extraordinary literary accomplishment. You’ll want a first edition—and we’ll have signed copies while they last.
By MARK PRINS
Published by W. W. NORTON
Classics nerds rejoice! Prins’s novel will delight you with inside jokes about 2nd century Silver Age poets, limping iambs, Latin translations and the Daphne and Apollo myth. The classics angle is just a bonus to this absorbing story about a graduate student and her mentor amid the insulated and competitive atmosphere of Oxford higher learning. The antics give way to a darker story of unchecked ambition and questionable morality. The dynamic between Tessa and Chris is at once co-dependent and pervy—is it love or obsession, or are they using each other? You’ll devour this smart, creepy novel..
The School for Good Mothers
By JESSAMINE CHAN
Published by SIMON & SCHUSTER
A crucial lapse of judgement: an overtired divorced mother, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, leaves her baby alone for two hours. Very quickly the novel moves to a Handmaid’s Tale-like setting as she is sent to a school (more like a prison) for bad mothers. Here they attempt to reboot these women through a shaming, tortuous regimen using mechanical dolls filled with blue liquid. Chan’s first novel is totally chilling, but it is also a moving story of a mother’s endless love for her child and her plight to undo a momentary disastrous decision. A remarkable debut.
Olga Dies Dreaming
By XOCHITL GONZALEZ
Published by FLATIRON BOOKS
Olga’s choice of careers as a successful Manhattan wedding planner might disappoint her very political family, however her personal life has been even more problematic. But someone new has entered her life, bringing fresh possibilities yet also a challenge to face some hard truths about her past. In following Olga through the pursuit of love, the return of her absent activist mother, her brother’s political career as an ambitious congressman in a Brooklyn Latinx community and confronting the worst hurricane in Puerto Rico’s history, Gonzalez creates a moving search for personal identity..
By JABARI ASIM
Published by SIMON & SCHUSTER
If you liked Robert E. Jones’s wonderful The Prophets, this is a no-brainer for you. Asim’s story is an intimate portrait of a group of slaves (they consider themselves the Stolen people), their daily trials, their attempts to love and to survive the cruelty and violence that rains down upon them. Their private language is “a song of dreams and drums, whispered promises and incantations.” Then their world is tested further by a dubious minister with tempting promises. What paths will they choose, and how much will they risk? Asim, who has written nonfiction, poetry and children’s books as well, has crafted a thrilling novel.