My library holds list has been maxed out all year and there are no signs of it waning as there are so many great-sounding books coming out. It is a constant shuffle of moving books on and off (and adding titles to my 'virtual later shelf'). How to whittle it down to just ten? But here are ten forthcoming books (what better way to start the week off) I can't wait to read.
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje -- "From the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author of The English Patient: a mesmerizing new novel that tells a dramatic story set in the decade after World War II through the lives of a small group of unexpected characters and two teenagers whose lives are indelibly shaped by their unwitting involvement." (May 8).
Theory of Bastards by Audrey Schulman -- "'Stage four. Surgery. Recovering.' While those are the simple words that once described Dr. Francine Burk’s situation, the reality is much more complex. Her new reality is bacon rinds for breakfast and feeling unduly thrilled by her increasing ability to walk across a room without assistance. And it’s being offered a placement at a prestigious research institute where she can put to good use her recent award money. With the Foundation’s advanced technological resources and a group of fascinating primates, Francine can begin to verify her subversive scientific discovery, which has challenged the foundations of history―her Theory of Bastards. (April 24).
Basic Black with Pearls by Helen Weinzweig -- "Shirley and Coenraad’s affair has been going on for decades, but her longing for him is as desperate as ever. She is a Toronto housewife; he works for an international organization known only as the Agency. Their rendezvous take place in Tangier, in Hong Kong, in Rome and are arranged by an intricate code based on notes slipped into issues of National Geographic. He recognizes her by her costume: a respectable black dress and string of pearls; his appearance is changeable. But something has happened, the code has been discovered, and Coenraad leads Shirley (who prefers to be known as “Lola Montez”) to the last place she wants to go: her home city, the city of her impoverished immigrant childhood. In Toronto, Shirley will seek her lover in a series of locations that echo back to her the trauma of the origins she’s long since left behind in her life of upper-bourgeois stability. Eventually, her wanderings lead her back to her own house, where she discards her pearls, and trades in her basic black for a dress of vibrant multicolored silk." A lost feminist classic--I am hoping it might be my April NYRB selection! (April 17).
Orchid and the Wasp by Caoilinn Hughes -- "In this dazzlingly original debut novel, award-winning Irish writer Caoilinn Hughes introduces a heroine of mythic proportions in the form of one Gael Foess. A tough, thoughtful, and savvy opportunist, Gael is determined to live life on her own terms. Raised in Dublin by single-minded, careerist parents, Gael learns early how a person’s ambitions and ideals can be compromised— and she refuses to let her vulnerable, unwell younger brother, Guthrie, suffer such sacrifices." (july 10).
All the Beautiful Girls by Elizabeth J. Church -- "A powerful novel about a gutsy showgirl who tries to conquer her past amongst the glamour of 1960s Las Vegas—and finds unexpected fortune, friendship, and love." (March 6).
Straying by Molly McCloskey -- "From “an extravagantly gifted writer who deserves to be widely read” (Rachel Cusk, The Telegraph), this intimate, quietly stunning novel tells the story of a young American expat who settles in Ireland in the late 1980s, marries, and lives through the consequences of an affair." (February 20).
The Broken Girls by Simone St. James -- "Vermont, 1950. There's a place for the girls whom no one wants--the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It's called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it's located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming--until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . . Vermont, 2014. As much as she's tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister's death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister's boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can't shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case." (March 20).
The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman -- "Conceived while his father, Bear, cavorted around Rome in the 1950s, Pinch learns quickly that Bear's genius trumps all. After Bear abandons his family, Pinch strives to make himself worthy of his father's attention--first trying to be a painter himself; then resolving to write his father's biography; eventually settling, disillusioned, into a job as an Italian teacher in London. But when Bear dies, Pinch hatches a scheme to secure his father's legacy--and make his own mark on the world." (March 20).
The Balcony by Jane Delury -- "What if our homes could tell the stories of others who lived there before us? Set in a small village near Paris, The Balcony follows the inhabitants of a single estate-including a manor and a servants' cottage-over the course of several generations, from the Belle Époque to the present day, introducing us to a fascinating cast of characters. A young American au pair develops a crush on her brilliant employer. An ex-courtesan shocks the servants, a Jewish couple in hiding from the Gestapo attract the curiosity of the neighbors, and a housewife begins an affair while renovating her downstairs. Rich and poor, young and old, powerful and persecuted, all of these people are seeking something: meaning, love, a new beginning, or merely survival." (March 27).
The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager -- "The Last Time I Lied follows a young woman as she returns to her childhood summer camp to uncover the truth about a tragedy that happened there fifteen years ago." Why do I love these 'cold case' dipping into the past sorts of stories . . . ? (July 10).