Friday, February 18, 2011

8 Spring Fiction Titles to Watch for: the Heavy Hitters

Is your favourite author publishing a new title this spring? There are lots of great fiction announcements hitting the press—here are a few that caught my eye.

The Dawn Country : a people of the longhouse novel
by Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear (March):

The 18th installment in the long running First North Americans series of historical fiction novels that chronicle the lives of first peoples in North America (the series began in 1990 with People of the Wolf.) The series might make good reading for folks who were fans of the Jean Auel Earth's Children series which was similarly epic in scope.

Love You More
by Lisa Gardner (March)

Continuing the popular series featuring detective D.D. Warren. Fast-paced and filled with suspense, the publisher teases us with this intro: "One question, a split-second decision, and Brian Darby lies dead on the kitchen floor. His wife, state police trooper Tessa Leoni, claims to have shot him in self-defense, and bears the bruises to back up her tale. For veteran detective D. D. Warren it should be an open-and-shut case. But where is their six-year-old daughter?"

The Tiger's Wife
by Téa Obreht (March)

It might seem strange to include a first novel in a list of heavy hitting forthcoming fiction, but there has been lots of buzz around this novel from the 25 year old Yugoslavia born American author who was named to the New Yorkers' 20 Under 40 fiction list last summer. The author's website describes the book: "In a Balkan country mending from years of conflict, Natalia, a young doctor, arrives on a mission of mercy at an orphanage by the sea. By the time she and her lifelong friend Zóra begin to inoculate the children there, she feels age-old superstitions and secrets gathering everywhere around her. Secrets her outwardly cheerful hosts have chosen not to tell her. Secrets involving the strange family digging for something in the surrounding vineyards. Secrets hidden in the landscape itself."

Elizabeth I: a novel
by Margaret George (April)

An author who is well known for her historical biographies—particularly of regal women—returns with a novel of the life of Virgin Queen, Elizabeth Tudor. The publisher says "This is a magnificent, stay-up-all-night page-turner that is George's finest and most compelling novel and one that is sure to please readers of Alison Weir, Philippa Gregory, and Hilary Mantel".

Swim Back to Me
by Ann Packer (April)

From the author of The Dive From Clausen's Pier which became a book club favourite back in 2002, a new collection of short stories that feature Packer's masterful depiction of human relationships and emotions. Although a story collection, to novel readers: the stories are linked by a common narrative that reveals the "transformation of a single family over the course of a lifetime."

The Pale King
by David Foster Wallace (April)

For many of us awaiting this book, the plot is almost secondary, what's most important is that this is the posthumously released final novel from DFW. For those who haven't read Wallace before, he was an influential, widely admired, American postmodern author or fiction and essays. The Pale King was the novel he was working on at the time of his death in 2008, and although unfinished, has been edited for publication by Michael Pietsch who was Wallace's editor for Infinite Jest. The publisher has given this glimpse into the story: "The agents at the IRS Regional Examination Center in Peoria, Illinois, appear ordinary enough to newly arrived trainee David Foster Wallace. But as he immerses himself in a routine so tedious and repetitive that new employees receive boredom-survival training, he learns of the extraordinary variety of personalities drawn to this strange calling. And he has arrived at a moment when forces within the IRS are plotting to eliminate even what little humanity and dignity the work still has."

Daughters in Law
by Joanna Trollope (April)

In this novel, a family welcomes their third daughter-in-law to the fold after their youngest son marries. The family power dynamic has been long established with the mother at the top, but with a new family member to consider, the balance soon begins to shifts. For fans of emotionally charged novels that chronicle the lives of women and their families, from an author billed by her publisher as the "master of domestic drama".

Midnight and the Meaning of Love
by Sister Souljah (April)

I finally read Sister Souljah's urban fiction classic The Coldest Winter Ever last year. The story of Winter Santiaga, the daughter of a New York drug dealer whose coming-of-age is a roller coaster of peaks and valleys. It was a quick, compelling read that is part soap opera, part morality tale. Souljah has already penned one follow-up: 2008's Midnight: a gangster love story and this spring, her fans will be excited for the latest, also focused on the popular character Midnight.

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