New releases: March 2017 – fiction

Post 179

It’s the first (wednes)day of March, do you know what time it is? Yes, time to look at the newest top 5 releases of the fiction genre. As usual, I’ve taken this list and added my own thoughts, other new releases of March 2017 can be found by genre right here on Goodreads.

By the way, I’ve started to notice that a lot of these books are usually published at the same day per genre. Do publishers just agree on dates to publish all their new books in the same genre? So weird! But, let’s get to it:

  1. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
    Publication date: March 7th 2017
    In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.  Exit West follows these characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.
  2. Edgar and Lucy by Victor Lodato
    Publication date: March 7th 2017
    Eight-year-old Edgar Fini remembers nothing of the accident people still whisper about. He only knows that his father is gone, his mother has a limp, and his grandmother believes in ghosts. When Edgar meets a man with his own tragic story, the boy begins a journey into a secret wilderness where nothing is clear—not even the line between the living and the dead. In order to save her son, Lucy has no choice but to confront the demons of her past. Profound, shocking, and beautiful, Edgar and Lucy is a thrilling adventure and the unlikeliest of love stories.
  3. All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg
    Publication date: March 7th 2017
    Who is Andrea Bern? When her therapist asks the question, Andrea knows the right things to say: she’s a designer, a friend, a daughter, a sister. But it’s what she leaves unsaid—she’s alone, a drinker, a former artist, a shrieker in bed, captain of the sinking ship that is her flesh—that feels the most true. Everyone around her seems to have an entirely different idea of what it means to be an adult: her best friend, Indigo, is getting married; her brother—who miraculously seems unscathed by their shared tumultuous childhood—and sister-in-law are having a hoped-for baby; and her friend Matthew continues to wholly devote himself to making dark paintings at the cost of being flat broke. But when Andrea’s niece finally arrives, born with a heartbreaking ailment, the Bern family is forced to reexamine what really matters. Told in gut-wrenchingly honest, mordantly comic vignettes, All Grown Up is a breathtaking display of Jami Attenberg’s power as a storyteller, a whip-smart examination of one woman’s life, lived entirely on her own terms.
  4. The Idiot by Elif Batuman
    Publication date: March 14th 2017
    A portrait of the artist as a young woman. A novel about not just discovering but inventing oneself. The year is 1995, and email is new. Selin, the daughter of Turkish immigrants, arrives for her freshman year at Harvard. She signs up for classes in subjects she has never heard of, befriends her worldly Serbian classmate, Svetlana, and begins corresponding with Ivan, an older mathematics student from Hungary. Selin may have barely spoken to Ivan, but with each email they exchange, the act of writing seems to take on new and increasingly mysterious meanings. At the end of the school year, Ivan goes to Budapest for the summer, and Selin heads to the Hungarian countryside, to teach English. On the way, she spends two weeks visiting Paris with Svetlana. For Selin, her summer in Europe is a journey further inside herself: a coming to grips with the ineffable and exhilarating confusion of first love, and with the growing consciousness that she is doomed to become a writer.
  5. The Night Ocean by Paul La Farge
    Publication date: March 7th 2017
    Marina Willett, M.D., has a problem. Her husband, Charlie, has become obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft’s life: in the summer of 1934, the horror writer lived with a gay teenage fan named Robert Barlow in central Florida. What were the two of them up to? Just when Charlie thinks he’s solved the puzzle, a new scandal erupts, and he disappears. The police say it’s suicide. Marina doesn’t believe them. The Night Ocean follows the lives of some extraordinary people: Lovecraft, the most influential American horror writer of the 20th century; Barlow, a seminal scholar of Mexican culture who killed himself after being blackmailed for his homosexuality; his student, future Beat writer William S. Burroughs; and L.C. Spinks, a kindly Canadian appliance salesman and science-fiction fan. As a heartbroken Marina follows her missing husband’s trail, the novel moves across the decades and along the length of the continent, from a remote Ontario town, through New York and Florida to Mexico City. 

Just from looking at the covers, number 3 immediately drew my attention. But reading the description changed my mind and I did not that book to my to-read list. I like the first book, but I don’t feel up to reading about a refugee love story interspersed with fantastical elements (hint: the doors are actually magic, and don’t just represent the escape from one’s home country into a new and unknown world). I would read a refugee story, whether with or without a love angle and based on true events or not. I also like the idea of magical doors that transport you to new locations. But I think the mix of the two of them would be too weird and different. I like book number 3 but I’m not in the mood for a family drama right now. So I’ve decided to put number 4 and 5 on the list! Batuman’s book just sounds so interesting: the start of e-mail, how a writer uses it to find her passion and discovering herself in the process. And the last book on the list is something I really love: based upon true events (H.P. Lovecraft) with a modern-day angle (the missing husband). Yummy!

How about you guys? I’d love to read about it in the comments!

Happy reading,

Loes M.

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