10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in February 2019

There are tons of great books coming out this month. I hope you have room on your holds list!

Black Leopard, Red Wolf
by Marlon James
Multi-award-winning Jamaican author Marlon James follows up his Booker Prizewinning novel A Brief History of Seven Killings (2014) with the first of a series of fantasy novels the New Yorker calls “an African Game of Thrones.” "Readers will discover mermaids, vampires, zombies, and witches, along with edge-of-your-seat chills and cheeky humor... James’ world building weaves in cultural references from Sudan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Mali, Congo, Burkina Faso, and Senegal as he spins his griot’s tale of love, revolutions, murder, and magic. Gender-bending romance, fantastical adventure, and an Afrocentric setting make for an inventive and engaging read. ” (Booklist)

Lost Children Archive
by Valeria Luiselli
A husband, wife, and two young kids from New York on a road trip to Arizona find themselves plummeting into the immigration crisis in the latest novel from the winner of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, two National Book Critics Circle nominations, and a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" award. “Juxtaposing rich poetic prose with direct storytelling and brutal reality and alternating narratives with photos, documents, poems, maps, and music, Luiselli explores what holds a family and society together and what pulls them apart… Her superb novel makes a devastating case for compassion by documenting the tragic shortcomings of the immigration process.” (Publishers Weekly)

American Spy
by Lauren Wilkinson
At the height of the Cold War in the mid-1980s, Marie Mitchell’s stalled FBI career takes a turn when she’s suddenly tapped to join a task force targeting the Marxist and pan-Africanist president of Burkina Faso, Thomas Sankara. “Written as a confession addressed to her twin sons following an assassination attempt on her life, the novel is a thrilling, razor-sharp examination of race, nationalism, and U.S. foreign policy that is certain to make Wilkinson’s name as one of the most engaging and perceptive young writers working today. Marie is a brilliant narrator who is forthright, direct, and impervious to deception—traits that endow the story with an honesty that is as refreshing as it is revelatory. This urgent and adventurous novel will delight fans of literary fiction and spy novels alike.” (Publishers Weekly)

by Elizabeth McCracken
No one knows in Salford, Massachusetts knows where Bertha Truitt came from, but when she opens a bowling alley in the early 1900s, it becomes the center of town and she it’s most notable resident. A quirky family saga with heart featuring love, loss, and bowling from the author of six books including The Giant’s House (1996) and Story Prize winner Thunderstruck & Other Stories (2014). “Mysteries human and supernatural percolate, punctuated by unlikely passions, crimes, and bizarre deaths as scoundrels, godsends, lost souls, and screw-ups converge at the bowling alley... McCracken writes with exuberant precision, ingenious lyricism, satirical humor, and warmhearted mischief and delight.” (Booklist)

The Night Tiger
by Yangsze Choo
In 1930s colonial Malaysia, 11-year-old Ren has been tasked with a mission to find his late employer’s dismembered finger, so that he may reunite it with the corpse and allow the dead’s soul to rest. As Ren pursues the man’s dying wish, Ji Lin finds a mysterious digit while she works a second job at a dance hall. “Choo [author of The Ghost Bride, 2013] weaves her research in with a feather-light touch, and readers will be so caught up in the natural and supernatural intrigue that the serious themes here about colonialism and power dynamics, about gender and class, are absorbed with equal delicacy. Choo has written a sumptuous garden maze of a novel that immerses readers in a complex, vanished world.” (Publishers Weekly)

Leading Men
by Christopher Castellani
Castellani combines fact with fiction to imagine the lives of Tennessee Williams, his longtime lover Frank Merlo, and Swedish ingenue and future film star Anja Blomgren. When the three meet in 1953 at a party thrown by Truman Capote in Portofino, Italy, Williams and Merlo decide to take the young woman under their wing. “Spectacular… Castellani’s novel hits the trifecta of being moving, beautifully written, and a bona fide page-turner. This is a wonderful examination of artists and the people who love them and change their work in large and imperceptible ways.” (Publishers Weekly)

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls
by Anissa Gray
Three adult sisters face devastating challenges in this debut novel. Althea, once the family matriarch and a community leader, may be heading to prison with her husband for fraud. Youngest sister Lillian, who cares for her ailing mother-in-law while struggling with the memory of abuse at the hands of her brother, steps up to take care of Althea’s teenage children. Meanwhile, middle sister Viola is grappling with a separation from her wife and a history of bulimia. “Gray’s engrossing and moving debut novel considers secrets and lies and their effect on the families of three sisters... Alternating among each sister’s perspective, the story unravels at a measured pace, deliciously feeding the reader surprises about the past and present throughout.” (Booklist)

The Hundred Wells of Salaga
by Ayesha Harruna Attah
In late-19th-century Ghana, Aminah’s life is devastated when she is abducted, enslaved and eventually purchased by Wurche, the ambitious daughter of a chief. Ghanaian author Attah “is adept at leading readers across the varied terrain of 19th-century Ghana and handles heavy subjects with aplomb. Two memorable women anchor this pleasingly complicated take on slavery, power, and freedom.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Willa & Hesper
by Amy Feltman
Willa and Hesper are MFA students at Columbia who share a short-lived but passionate romance. Their break up prompts both women to pursue personal journeys around the globe.  “Thoughtful and fascinating… Feltman stays away from happy ending conventions and skillfully weaves glimmers of hope and healing throughout, making for a keenly perceptive novel.” (Publishers Weekly)

Sea Monsters
by Chloe Aridjis
Seventeen-year-old Luisa impulsively runs away from her Mexico City home with a boy she barely knows. They land at a beach on the Pacific Coast, where Luisa becomes obsessed with a band of escaped Soviet circus performers. Aridjis, a Mexican author who lives in London, is best known for her debut novel Book of Clouds (2009), which won the French Prix du Premier Roman Etranger. “This work deftly communicates the wonder and amazement of discovery characterizing Luisa's inner and outer worlds. Aridjis is an accomplished wordsmith, and readers will find themselves rereading many passages in this wise, marvelous novel.” (Library Journal)

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