10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in March 2020

Ready for some fresh fiction? Here are 10 fantastic books coming out this month.

The Night Watchman
by Louise Erdrich
Multi-award winning author Erdrich continues her chronicles of Native American lives in North Dakota with a story inspired by the life and letters of her grandfather. Thomas Wazhashk is a Chippewa Council member and an activist fighting congressional efforts to rescind Native American land treaties; he works nights as a watchman at a local factory. Patrice, his niece, also works there. She’s the recent class valedictorian who rejects a future of marriage and kids and plans to save up for a move to Minneapolis. Erdrich “delivers a magisterial epic that brings her power of witness to every page. High drama, low comedy, ghost stories, mystical visions, family and tribal lore — wed to a surprising outbreak of enthusiasm for boxing matches — mix with political fervor and a terrifying undercurrent of predation and violence against women. For 450 pages, we are grateful to be allowed into this world.” (New York Times)

Fiebre Tropical
by Juliana Delgado Lopera
Francisca is a Columbian teenager recently immigrated to Florida with her mother, sister and grandmother in a coming of age/coming out story that’s unabashedly hilarious, affecting and liberally punctuated with Spanish. Francisca misses her old life, is disillusioned with Miami, and is forced to attend an evangelical church where she meets Carmen, the alluring pastor’s daughter. “Ebullient and assertive… You can open this novel anywhere and find sunbeams, the signs of a writer who is grinding their own colors.” (New York Times)

These Ghosts Are Family
by Maisy Card
In 1970’s London, Abel Paisley assumed a different identity and severed ties with his wife and family in Jamaica. As Stanford Solomon he moved to New York and started a new family. 35 years later he unleashes his secret and the focus shifts to his family members, intertwining their narratives with those of their ancestors. “This is a wonderfully ambitious novel: It sprawls in time from the uncertain present to the horror of slavery on a Jamaican plantation, examining racism, colorism, and infidelity and how they obscure and fracture a lineage… An intriguing debut with an inventive spin on the generational family saga.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Days of Distraction
by Alexandra Chang
The twenty-four-year-old narrator of Days of Distraction is fed up with her job at a Silicon Valley tech magazine, where she is the only woman of color. When she learns her boyfriend is moving to Ithaca, NY for graduate school, she sees it as an opportunity for a fresh start. As she moves across the country she finds herself delving deeper into her family history, exploring her identity, and observing life with an even keener eye. “Meditations on themes like racism, capitalism, the role of technology in our lives, and complicated family relationships are simultaneously uniquely insightful and accessible to anyone who has grappled with these issues themselves. Beautifully crafted and deeply thoughtful.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Sharks in the Time of Saviors
by Kawai Strong Washburn
A pivotal moment in the lives of the working class Filipino-Hawaiian Flores family happens on vacation in 1995, when seven-year-old Nainoa falls overboard a ship and is rescued and delivered back unharmed by a quiver of sharks—a legendary story that compounds when he discovers his power to heal others as a teen. Nainoa and his two siblings grow up and leave Hawaii to carve out their own lives until tragedy draws them back. “Lyrical and gritty…Their stories go in unexpected directions, from hilarious to heartbreaking. Striking style, memorable characters, and a believably miraculous premise add up to a beautifully crafted first novel.” (Kirkus Reviews)

That Hair
by Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida, translated by Eric M. B. Becker
Mila, the daughter of an Angolan mother and a Portuguese father, moves from her birthplace in in Luanda, Angola to Lisbon, Portugal at age three. Her curly hair becomes a symbol of her life story, cultural values, colonization and geopolitics in this semi-autobiographical novel. “Unforgettable… The book is a tight but kaleidoscopic view of an ongoing cultural conversation about identity, inherited trauma, and intersectionality.” (Publishers Weekly)

The Mountains Sing
by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai
The history of the Trần family over four generations is set against the tumultuous background of Vietnam in the 20th century. Diệu Lan’s life of privilege as a young person fades as she persists through tragedy after tragedy, and she ultimately shares her story with her granddaughter Hương when she becomes her sole caregiver. “Widely published in Vietnamese, poet, nonfiction writer, and translator Nguyễn’s first novel in English balances the unrelenting devastation of war with redemptive moments of surprising humanity.” (Booklist)

Hurricane Season
by Fernanda Melchor, translated by Sophie Hughes
In a small Mexican village, the murdered body of the local Witch is discovered by a group of kids. The Witch was a local legend, and her death prompts those who knew her to share legends and rumors about her, as well as their own dark secrets and desires. “Forceful, frenzied, violent, and uncompromising, Melchor’s depiction of a town ogling its own destruction is a powder keg that ignites on the first page and sustains its intense, explosive heat until its final sentence.” (Publishers Weekly)

Under the Rainbow
by Celia Laskey
Big Burr, Kansas has been called the most homophobic town in the US. When a non-profit organizes a queer task force to embed themselves in the community, who knows what will happen? “Under the Rainbow will ring true for a wide audience, regardless of gender expression and sexuality, for its wry humor and universal truths.” (Lambda Literary)

This Town Sleeps
by Dennis E. Staples
On an indigenous reservation in Minnesota, Marion Lafournier is a gay Ojibwe man in his twenties who enters into a secret affair with a closeted white man and former classmate. Meanwhile, the spirit of a dog connects him to legendary Ojibwe basketball star Kayden Kelliher, who was murdered at age 17, interconnecting the past with the present. “Staples’ first novel is an arresting look at the intersection of past and present… this is an auspicious debut with a memorable protagonist.” (Booklist)

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