June 25, 2022
It’s now officially summer and the novels and short fiction this week are all good choices for the season’s reading—whether at the beach, on the porch or sitting under a tree in a city park. They range from a propulsive crime novel to family sagas that will take you to Nigeria and the American West, as well as stories of displacement from Addis Ababa to Iowa and a revelatory broken world in the near future.
Buyer, The Center for Fiction Bookstore
Dele Weds Destiny
By Tomi Obaro
Published by Knopf
This engaging first novel is destined to be one of the big summer hits. Obaro, an editor at BuzzFeed News has created three vivid women—friends for life who met during college in Nigeria. One goes to America, one gets a fairy tale marriage and motherhood until tragedy strikes and the other becomes very, very rich. After thirty years they reunite for a daughter’s grand Nigerian wedding. Obaro was inspired by Toni Morrison to rewrite a gnarly manuscript that was seemingly going nowhere. Happily, she succeeded and while she depicts realities of life in Nigeria—the violence, class issues and sexist politics—the long-lasting friendships take center stage.
Woman of Light
By Kali Fajardo-Anstine
Published by One World
Colorado-born writer Fajardo-Anstine follows up her debut story collection, National Book Award finalist Sabrina & Corina, with a sweeping historical fiction about an Indigenous Chicano family. As usual the matriarchs of the family are the keeper of the stories and secrets. Fajardo-Anstine was inspired by her own relatives’ tales and her grandmother’s memories (see also similarly Martha McPhee’s An Elegant Woman). Five generations of the Lopez family’s journey in the American West are revealed by a memorable heroine. Luz, a laundress, looks back from present day to 1930s Denver and to the Lost Territory which shaped their lives..
By Adam White
Published by Hogarth
This utterly compelling crime novel is a portrait of a small coastal vacation town in Maine that you’ll finish before you know it. The Thatches are a prominent family whose rise to prosperity would not have been a given back when they were in high school. Ed is a descendant of local lobstermen and Steph is now the Town Manager who calls herself the mayor. But, as you might suspect, a dark secret is revealed when a lavish backyard party is crashed by police cruisers. Think Ozarks on the page.
A Down Home Meal for These Difficult Times
By Meron Hadero
Published by Restless Books
The dispossessed peoples of the world are explored in Ethiopian-born Hadero’s dazzling new story collection, which was awarded the Restless Prize for New Immigrant Writing. Her characters, many of them refugees, search for meaning, hope for the future and a place to call home. “Street Sweep” won the AKO Caine Prize for African Writing and others were included in Best American Short Stories. Each story has a lyrical power. As the author says: “To be receptive to what the story needs, I try to step back and almost hear what the story sounds like from a reader’s point of view.” She is a definitely a writer to watch..
By Lidia Yuknavitch
Published by Riverhead
Yuknavitch returns with a speculative story of the future in a place called the Brook, about to be completely submerged in water. Our guide is Laisvé who has the power to travel back and forth through time. The story gives new meaning to the slogan ‘workers of the world unite’ in this poetic and powerful fiction about the search for freedom. Thrust will surely bring the author a wider audience. Don’t miss her viral TED Talk about being a misfit. You will fall in love with her immediately. And look for Kristen Stewart’s adaptation of her memoir, The Chronology of Water. A perfect fit of director to writer.