SNEAK PREVIEW: The New Books For 2017

By Carole Reedy

One of the pleasures of a new year is to check the publication dates of new books by favorite authors. Here are a few titles to whet your appetite. Some of my favorite writers are on this list! Yours too, I hope.

PAUL AUSTER

4321 (January 31 publication date)

At the top of my list is this new novel by the prolific writer of The New York Trilogy, Brooklyn Follies, and The Music of Chance, among other fiction, poetry, screenplays, essays, and memoirs.

This is Auster’s first in seven years, and it has garnered praise from Kirkus Reviews, Booklist and Publishers Weekly (three of the industry’s top reviewers). Kirkus Reviews states that “Auster reminds us that not just life, but also narrative, is always conditional, that it only appears inevitable after the fact.” Booklist calls it “structurally audacious, funny and soulful,” while Publishers Weekly notes that the new novel is a “significant and immersive entry to a genre that stretches back centuries and includes Augie March and Tristram Shandy.”

COLM TOIBIN

House of Names (May 9 publication date)

Few of us will forget the film Brooklyn, based on Toibin’s novel of the same title, but his other novels are just as compelling, especially Nora Webster and The Master (based on the life of Henry James). This latest addition to his collection is a retelling of the story of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon, bringing “modern sensibility and language to an ancient classic.” Goodreads gives it five stars.

VIET THANH NGUYEN

The Refugees (February 7 publication date)

One of the most praised and read novels of 2015 and winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize, among other rewards, was his brilliant work The Sympathizer. His latest is a collection of stories about immigration, identity, love, and family.

HARUKI MURIKAMI

Men Without Women (May 9 publication date for English edition)

Another collection of short stories, this one by the internationally acclaimed author who each year is listed among those most likely to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. You may recognize the title as one of Ernest Hemingway’s, for a book of his short stories. No doubt it is a book for women as well as men!

DAVID SEDARIS

Theft by Finding (June 6 publication date)

This collection of essays from his diaries from 1977 to 2002 is sure to be a delight and a best seller. Sedaris is a regular contributor to The New Yorker magazine and BBC Radio 4. His books Me Talk Pretty One Day, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim are among his gems.

SVETLANA ALEXIEVICH

The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II (July 25 publication date for English edition)

Immediately recognizable as the 2015 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Alexievich has written an account of Soviet women in WWII that will finally be published in English. More than 200 of the 500,000 women who participated in the war speak out about becoming soldiers in 1941 in a compelling work of literature written by this journalist from the Ukraine. Her Voices from Chernobyl also received well-deserved praise.

GEORGE SAUNDERS

Lincoln in the Bardo (January 25 publication date)

Surprisingly, this is Saunders first novel. Up until now he has written short stories and novellas, winning many prizes, including the National Magazine Award for fiction in 1994, 1996, 2000, and 2004. In 2006 he received a MacArthur Fellowship. Saunders has also been a finalist for the National Book Award. Thus, this novel is highly anticipated, and it appears it will not disappoint. The story, told by many voices, takes place over a single night in a graveyard. Many noted writers sing the praises of Saunders works, among them Thomas Pynchon, Dave Eggers, Zadie Smith, Junot Diaz, and Jonathan Franzen. Good enough for me!

RICHARD FORD

Between Them: Remembering My Parents (May 2 publication date)

Pulitzer-Prize winner for The Sportswriter, Ford this time brings us a personal account of his parents’ life in mid 20th century America and his changing perceptions.

I leave you these selections with a promise to report on other new books for 2017, many of which I’m sure will appear on our top-ten lists at the end of 2017. HAPPY READING IN 2017!

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