New Contemporary Fiction! April Davila and Lily King

Are you looking for some new books to enjoy, because you’ve read everything you own while Sheltering In Place At Home? Here are some recently-published fiction titles that are set either now or in recent years.

The first one is not only a new book, it’s a new author. I was definitely attracted by the title of April Davila’s debut novel: 142 Ostriches (ebook here). How can there be 142 ostriches all in the same place? I want to read that book, please! This book is set at an ostrich ranch (oh, I get it now!) in the Mojave Desert. It’s written in first person from the viewpoint of Tallulah Jones, a young woman who has lived with her grandmother on the ranch and who isn’t sure she wants her future to be dominated by ostrich ranching. If you love stories about family drama, this one will hit all the right stops for you. Also, the descriptions of the ostriches and the desert landscapes are fabulous and really take you right into that world. The narrator’s voice reminds me of the early Barbara Kingsolver books, especially The Bean Trees (ebook here). This was a fascinating and satisfying read.

The second one is a book I was not entirely sure I would like when I started reading it. Lily King’s novel Writers & Lovers (ebook here) begins at a writers’ retreat in New England called the Red Barn. The story is told in first person from the point of view of Casey, who is 31 years old and reeling from the recent death of her mother, and having trouble putting aside her grief and using her unique experience at Red Barn to work on her debut novel, which has been six years in the making. When she returns to her life in Boston, she is working a stressful waitress job and worrying about her student loan debt. Casey is anxious and conflicted, and I came to care deeply for her and wanted her to succeed. I enjoyed the reflections on the writing process and the dialogue between the characters. The part of the story where Casey describes to an audience of high school students how her fiction writing fits into her life moved me to tears. It was beautiful. The resolution was perfect. I ended up loving this book.

Other new fiction titles to enjoy:

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld (ebook here): political fiction

Mazes of Power by Juliette Wade : political fiction, alternate universe

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (ebook here): family drama, baby boomer generation


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