New releases: March 2018 – fiction

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It’s the first Wednesday of March! That means that it’s time to look at some new releases again. As always, the first Wednesday of the month is reserved for the fiction genre. So below we will be looking at the top 5 of newest releases according to Goodreads. Something education-y, followed by something musical, something female-powered, something about cats (??) and finally something that’s going to be either religious or philosophical. Those are my guesses based on the covers. I already feel like most of them are wrong, so let’s dive right in! Other new releases of March 2018 can be found by genre right here on Goodreads.

  1. The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman
    Publication date: March 20th, 2018
    Rome, 1955. The artists gather for a picture at a party in an ancient villa. Bear Bavinsky, creator of vast canvases, larger than life, is at the centre of the picture. His wife, Natalie, edges out of the shot. From the side of the room watches little Pinch – their son. At five years old he loves Bear almost as much as he fears him. After Bear abandons their family, Pinch will still worship him, striving to live up to the Bavinsky name; while Natalie, a ceramicist, cannot hope to be more than a forgotten muse. Trying to burn brightly in his father’s shadow, Pinch’s attempts flicker and die. Yet by the end of a career of twists and compromises, Pinch will enact an unexpected rebellion that will leave forever his mark upon the Bear Bavinsky legacy.
  2. Every Note Played by Lisa Genova
    Publication date: March 20th, 2018
    An accomplished concert pianist, Richard received standing ovations from audiences all over the world in awe of his rare combination of emotional resonance and flawless technique. Every finger of his hands was a finely calibrated instrument, dancing across the keys and striking each note with exacting precision. That was eight months ago. Richard now has ALS, and his entire right arm is paralyzed. His fingers are impotent, still, devoid of possibility. The loss of his hand feels like a death, a loss of true love, a divorce—his divorce. He knows his left arm will go next. Three years ago, Karina removed their framed wedding picture from the living room wall and hung a mirror there instead. But she still hasn’t moved on. Karina is paralyzed by excuses and fear, stuck in an unfulfilling life as a piano teacher, afraid to pursue the path she abandoned as a young woman, blaming Richard and their failed marriage for all of it. When Richard becomes increasingly paralyzed and is no longer able to live on his own, Karina becomes his reluctant caretaker. As Richard’s muscles, voice, and breath fade, both he and Karina try to reconcile their past before it’s too late.
  3. Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao
    Publication date: March 6th, 2018
    A searing, electrifying debut novel set in India and America, about a once-in-a-lifetime friendship between two girls who are driven apart but never stop trying to find one another again. When Poornima first meets Savitha, she feels something she thought she lost for good when her mother died: hope. Poornima’s father hires Savitha to work one of their sari looms, and the two girls are quickly drawn to one another. Savitha is even more impoverished than Poornima, but she is full of passion and energy. She shows Poornima how to find beauty in a bolt of indigo cloth, a bowl of yoghurt rice and bananas, the warmth of friendship. Suddenly their Indian village doesn’t feel quite so claustrophobic, and Poornima begins to imagine a life beyond the arranged marriage her father is desperate to lock down for her. But when a devastating act of cruelty drives Savitha away, Poornima leaves behind everything she has ever known to find her friend again. Her journey takes her into the darkest corners of India’s underworld, on a harrowing cross-continental journey, and eventually to an apartment complex in Seattle. Alternating between the girls’ perspectives as they face relentless obstacles, Girls Burn Brighter introduces two heroines who never lose the hope that burns within them. 
  4. Stray City by Chelsey Johnson
    Publication date: March 20th, 2018
    All of us were refugees of the nuclear family… Twenty-four-year-old artist Andrea Morales escaped her Midwestern Catholic childhood—and the closet—to create a home and life for herself within the thriving but insular lesbian underground of Portland, Oregon. But one drunken night, reeling from a bad breakup and a friend’s betrayal, she recklessly crosses enemy lines and hooks up with a man. To her utter shock, Andrea soon discovers she’s pregnant—and despite the concerns of her astonished circle of gay friends, she decides to have the baby. A decade later, when her precocious daughter Lucia starts asking questions about the father she’s never known, Andrea is forced to reconcile the past she hoped to leave behind with the life she’s worked so hard to build. A thoroughly modern and original anti-romantic comedy, Stray City is an unabashedly entertaining literary debut about the families we’re born into and the families we choose, about finding yourself by breaking the rules, and making bad decisions for all the right reasons. 
  5. Anatomy of a Miracle by Jonathan Miles
    Publication date: March 13th, 2018
    Rendered paraplegic after a traumatic event four years ago, Cameron Harris has been living his new existence alongside his sister, Tanya, in their battered Biloxi, Mississippi neighbourhood where only half the houses made it through Katrina. One stiflingly hot August afternoon, as Cameron sits waiting for Tanya during their daily run to the Biz-E-Bee convenience store, he suddenly and inexplicably rises up and out of his wheelchair. In the aftermath of this “miracle,” Cameron finds himself a celebrity at the centre of a contentious debate about what’s taken place. And when scientists, journalists, and a Vatican investigator start digging, Cameron’s deepest secrets–the key to his injury, to his identity, and, in some eyes, to the nature of his recovery–become increasingly endangered. Was Cameron’s recovery a genuine miracle, or a medical breakthrough? And, finding himself transformed into a symbol, how can he hope to retain his humanity?

So obviously, I am horrible at predicting what fiction books will be about, just based on the cover. But I blame that mostly on the fact that fiction’s not really a genre. It’s a class, every book is either fiction or non-fiction, and then they are further divided into genres. I’m usually better at judging books by their covers in a specific genre, especially when I’ve read that genre extensively.

Anyway, we ended up with a family drama set in the Italian art scene. The second book is about a musician suffering from ALS, now adjusting to a life without music, hoping to reconcile with his estranged wife (a failed musician herself) in the process. Definitely something musical! But still, there’s much more to the story than that. I did guess correctly about the third book: it’s definitely about female empowerment. Two poor Indian girls share a special friendship as children, and spend the rest of their lives battling circumstances and life to come through the other side and find each other again. The fourth book is not about cats, as I already suspected. It’s about a lesbian mother who got pregnant after a misguided one night adventure with a man, and now her daughter is asking questions about where she came from and she needs to dive back into her past. The fifth book turned out to be both philosophical and religious! I don’t even know how to describe it beyond that, it’s definitely not something I’d ever read!

Happy reading,

Loes M.

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