10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in May 2019

If you are wondering what to read next, we have ten fantastic ideas for you.

The Farm
by Joanne Ramos
Jane, an out-of-work Filipina immigrant, is forced by financial desperation into work as a high-end surrogate at a secretive and luxurious facility in the Hudson Valley. It is the nicest place she’s ever lived, but she’s not allowed to leave, she’s under constant surveillance and she’s separated from her six-month-old daughter, in service to an Orwellian operation that exploits mostly poor women of color. “Throughout, questions of money, ethics, privilege, and ambition arise as each character makes compromises—or straight-up lies to herself... An alarmingly realistic look at the power of wealth and access buoyed by clear, compelling storytelling and appealing, if not always likable, characters.” (Booklist)

The Confessions of Frannie Langton
by Sara Collins
In the early 19th century, Frannie Langton is an enslaved woman from a Jamaican plantation who ends up in London in service to the Benham household, where she falls into a forbidden affair with Marguerite Benham. When the Benhams are found murdered, Frannie is accused of the crime and her trial becomes a sensational scandal. “There's betrayal, depravity, pseudoscience, forbidden love, drug addiction, white supremacy, and, oh yes, a murder mystery with tightly wound knots to unravel... Collins' debut novel administers a bold and vibrant jolt to both the gothic and historical fiction genres, embracing racial and sexual subtexts that couldn't or wouldn't have been imagined by its long-ago practitioners. Her evocations of early-19th-century London and antebellum Jamaica are vivid and, at times, sensuously graphic. Most of all, she has created in her title character a complex, melancholy, and trenchantly observant protagonist… [a] gripping, groundbreaking debut.” (Kirkus Reviews)

The Flight Portfolio
by Julie Orringer
Varian Fry is an American journalist embroiled in an operation to help artists and intellectuals escape Nazi-occupied France, when he crosses paths with Elliott Schiffman Grant, a former Harvard classmate and object of an intense mutual attraction. “Orringer seamlessly combines compelling inventions with complex fact: figures including Marc Chagall and Andre Breton make vivid appearances, while Skiff and his relationship with Fry are unforgettable fictional creations. Brilliantly conceived, impeccably crafted, and showcasing Orringer’s extraordinary gifts, this is destined to become a classic.” (Publishers Weekly)

Red, White & Royal Blue
by Casey McQuiston
This fun, queer romantic comedy with a political twist imagines what happens when Alex Claremont-Diaz, the son of the first woman President of the United States, falls in love with Prince Henry of England. “The impossible relationship between Alex and Henry is portrayed with quick wit and clever plotting. The drama, which involves political rivals, possible betrayals, and even a meeting with the queen, is both irresistible and delicious.” (Publishers Weekly)

New Daughters of Africa
Edited by Margaret Busby           
Publishing legend Busby edited the groundbreaking anthology Daughters of Africa in 1992, celebrating an international collection of writings by women of African descent. She returns with a focus on today’s generation of writers, featuring many of the authors you would expect—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Edwidge Danticat, Roxane Gay, Nnedi Okorafor and Zadie Smith among them—plus many new names, perfect for readers who love to encounter new writers.

Red Birds
by Mohammed Hanif
After his plane crashes in a Middle Eastern desert, Major Ellie is taken to the very refugee camp he was sent to bomb. His rescuer, clever 15-year-old refugee Momo, is scheming ways to find his recently disappeared brother. “Hanif’s superb novel, with its elements of magic realism, is told from multiple points of view, principally those of Momo, Ellie, and—in a whimsical touch—Momo’s dog, Mutt, who may be wiser than the humans… Hanif has written a splendidly satirical novel that beautifully captures the absurdity and folly of war and its ineluctable impact on its survivors. At turns funny and heartbreaking, it is a memorable contribution to the literature of conflict.” (Booklist) Hanif’s 2008 novel A Case of Exploding Mangoes was longlisted for the Booker Prize.

Where We Come from
by Oscar Cásares
12-year-old Orly’s mom recently died, and his dad has sent him to stay with his godmother Nina on the Texas border for a few weeks over the summer. But Nina has a secret—she’s been helping undocumented immigrants and coyotes—and 12-year-old Daniel is currently hiding out in the backyard casita. “As Nina, Orly, and Daniel learn each other's secrets, the reader is treated to a novel that addresses the complexity of immigration, identity, and assimilation while telling close, intimate stories... this quiet, delicate book delivers a truly timeless emotional punch.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Disappearing Earth
by Julia Phillips
On a remote peninsula in eastern Russia, in a city ripe with cultural and ethnic tensions, two young sisters go missing. Over the next twelve months, women across the region feel the impact of the girls’ disappearance as the stories of the survivors intertwine with a gripping mystery. “Dazzlingly original… Phillips, a Fulbright fellow whose work has appeared in Slate and the Atlantic, has written a knock-out novel that combines literary heft with a propulsive plot.” (Library Journal)

Home Remedies: Stories
by Xuan Juliana Wang
A debut collection of 12 stories imagine the lives of millennials of Chinese descent around the globe. “Wang’s formidable imagination is on full display… Wang proves herself a promising writer with a delightfully playful voice and an uncanny ability to evoke empathy, nostalgia, and wonder.” (Publishers Weekly)

China Dream
by Ma Jian, translated by Flora Drew
Director of the China Dream Bureau Ma Daode has influence, wealth, attentive mistresses, and a scheme to control the dreams of his fellow citizens, yet he is haunted by the nightmares of his own past. “Ma (The Dark Road, 2013) has forged an impressive literary career by criticizing the government of the country of his birth, from which his work has been banned for 25 years… In his startling and irreverent parody, Ma finds compassion amid the sex and violence that shape a history of injustice and a nation's vulnerability.” (Booklist)

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