In this relentlessly twisty literary thriller from New York Times bestselling author Kimberly McCreight, a desperate intervention brings together a group of college friends 10 years after graduation—a reunion marked by lies, betrayal, and murder.
Everyone has those friends. Doesn’t matter how long it’s been, or how badly they’ve occasionally behaved, or how late it is when that call finally comes—you show up. No questions asked. Honestly, that’s how the five of us ended up here in the Catskills. We did have the best of intentions. Especially after what happened to Alice all those years ago, we can’t bear to think of losing anyone else. In fact, we’ll do anything to make sure that doesn’t happen. We’ll go so much farther than we ever thought we would. In the end, maybe that’s what caught up with us. That, and the fact that we’re such a complicated group—so much history and so many big personalities. Secrets, too, that can slip out at the most inopportune moments. Of course, we love each other despite all of those things. We love each other no matter what. There’s something so beautiful about that kind of unconditional love. It can turn ugly, though. Or maybe that’s just us. After all, we’ve already been through so much together. And we have so very much to hide.
Tired of covering the grating dysfunction of Washington and the increasingly outrageous antics of President Henry Caine, White House correspondent Sofie Morse quits her job and plans to leave politics behind. But when she gets a call from the office of First Lady Lara Caine, asking Sofie to come in for a private meeting with Lara, her curiosity is piqued. Sofie, like the rest of the world, knows little about Lara—only that Lara was born in Soviet Russia, raised in Paris, and worked as a model before moving to America and marrying the notoriously brash future president.
When Lara asks Sofie to write her official biography, and to finally fill in the gaps of her history, Sofie’s curiosity gets the better of her. She begins to spend more and more time in the White House, slowly developing a bond with Lara who, to Sofie’s surprise, is entirely candid about her mysterious past. The First Lady doesn’t hesitate to speak about her beloved father’s work as an undercover KGB officer in Paris—and how he wasn’t the only person in her family working undercover during the Cold War. As her story unfolds, Sofie can’t help but wonder why Lara Caine is rehashing such sensitive information. Why to her? And why now?
For fans of The Secrets They Kept and American Wife, Our American Friend is a propulsive Cold War era spy thriller crossed with a fictional biography of a First Lady. Spanning from the 1970s to the present day, traveling from Moscow and Paris to Washington and New York, Anna Pitoniak’s novel is a gripping page-turner about power and complicity and how sometimes, the fate of the world is in the hands of the people you’d never expect.
Abandoned by her parents, Olga is raised by her grandmother in a Prussian village around the turn of the 20th century. Smart and precocious, endearing but uncompromising, she fights against the prejudices of the time to find her place in a world that sees women as second-best. When Olga falls in love with Herbert, a local aristocrat obsessed with gaining all the power, glory and greatness the modern age can provide, her life is irremediably changed. Their love goes against all odds and encounters many obstacles, entwined with the twisting paths of German history, leading us from the late 19th to the early 21st century, from Germany to Africa and the Arctic, from the Baltic Sea to the German south-west. Unfolding across centuries, Olga is an epic romance, and a wrenching tale of devotion to a restless man in a fateful moment of great rebellion. Though Olga lives her life within the margins of others, her magnetic presence breathes vivid life into these pages. Told in three distinct parts—which brilliantly shift from different points of view to the epistolary form—Schlink paints a full portrait of a singular woman’s complex life.
Shruti Swamy’s debut, A House Is a Body: Stories (Algonquin Books, 2020), was a finalist for both the PEN / Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection and the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. Now, Swamy brings us an accomplished and immersive coming-of-age novel set in Bombay in the 1960s and 70s. As a child, Vidya exists to serve her family, watch over her younger brother, and make sense of a motherless world. One day she catches sight of a class where the students are learning Kathak, a precise, dazzling form of dance that requires the utmost discipline and focus. Kathak quickly becomes the organizing principle of Vidya’s life, even as she leaves home for college, falls in love with her best friend, and battles demands on her time, her future, and her body. Can Vidya give herself over to her art and also be a wife in Bombay’s carefully delineated society? Can she shed the legacy of her own imperfect, unknowable mother? Must she, herself, also become a mother? Intensely lyrical and deeply sensual, with writing as rhythmically mesmerizing as Kathak itself, The Archer is about the transformative power of art and the possibilities that love can open when we’re ready.
When Fly and Stela meet in 21st Century New York City, it seems like fate. He’s a Black American musician from a mixed-religious background who knows all about heartbreak. She’s a Catholic science teacher from the Caribbean, looking for lasting love. But are they meant to be? The answer goes back decades—all the way to their parents’ earliest loves. Vibrant and emotionally riveting, Monster in the Middle moves across decades, from the U.S. to the Virgin Islands to Ghana and back again, to show how one couple’s romance is intrinsically influenced by the family lore and love stories that preceded their own pairing. What challenges and traumas must this new couple inherit, what hopes and ambitions will keep them moving forward? Exploring desire and identity, religion and class, passion and obligation, the novel posits that in order to answer the question “who are we meant to be with?” we must first understand who we are and how we came to be.
In this stunning debut novel—a tale of self-discovery and feminist awakening—a feisty Nigerian-Ghanaian girl growing up amid the political upheaval of late 1960s postcolonial Ghana begins to question the hypocrisy of her patriarchal society, and the restrictions and unrealistic expectations placed on women.
In The School For Good Mothers, the main character, Frida Liu, is struggling. She doesn’t have a career worthy of her Chinese immigrant parents’ sacrifices. She can’t persuade her husband, Gust, to give up his wellness-obsessed younger mistress. Only with Harriet, their cherubic daughter, does Frida finally attain the perfection expected of her. Harriet may be all she has, but she is just enough.
Until Frida has a very bad day.
The state has its eyes on mothers like Frida. The ones who check their phones, letting their children get injured on the playground; who let their children walk home alone. Because of one moment of poor judgment, a host of government officials will now determine if Frida is a candidate for a Big Brother-like institution that measures the success or failure of a mother’s devotion.
Faced with the possibility of losing Harriet, Frida must prove that a bad mother can be redeemed. That she can learn to be good.
A searing page-turner that is also a transgressive novel of ideas about the perils of “perfect” upper-middle class parenting; the violence enacted upon women by both the state and, at times, one another; the systems that separate families; and the boundlessness of love, The School For Good Mothers introduces, in Frida, an everywoman for the ages. Using dark wit to explore the pains and joys of the deepest ties that bind us, Chan has written a modern literary classic.
For generations, Rich Gundersen’s family has chopped a livelihood out of the redwood forest along California’s rugged coast. Now, his wife Colleen is wondering if the herbicides used by the logging company are causing all of the miscarriages in their community—hers included. Is this even a safe place to raise their young son Chub? As mudslides take out clear-cut hillsides and salmon vanish from creeks, her search for answers threatens to unravel not just Rich’s livelihood, but their marriage too, dividing a town that lives and dies on timber along the way. Told from the perspectives of Rich, Colleen, and Chub, in prose as clear as a spring-fed creek, this intimate, compassionate portrait of a community clinging to a vanishing way of life amid the perils of environmental degradation makes Damnation Spring an essential novel for our time.
A blazing new talent debuts with the story of a status-driven wedding planner grappling with her absent mother, her glittering career amongst New York’s elite and her Puerto Rican roots in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
A novel for anyone who has loved and lost, and lived to tell the tale, this gorgeously written debut is a love story told in reverse, starting with the heart-rending breakup, and weaving back together an already unraveled tapestry, from tragic break-up to magical first kiss.