As much as we all would love to get back to “normal,” it looks like lockdowns will continue, in some form, into fall. Take advantage of your time at home with the season’s most exciting novels — and one juicy non-fiction read about much-missed Broadway.
Singular Sensation: The Triumph of Broadway
Michael Riedel (non-fiction, Avid Reader Press)
The title of this book is now bittersweet, with theaters shuttered for the foreseeable future; “Singular Sensation” offers a happier, insightful look back at some of Broadway’s biggest triumphs, from “Sunset Boulevard” to “The Lion King.” From one of Broadway’s most respected commentators and Post columnist.
Tana French (fiction, Viking)
Ex-cop Cal Hooper thought he’d be getting a bit of peace and quiet when he traded in the streets of Chicago for a sleepy Irish village and a fixer-upper cottage. But when a neighborhood kid starts stopping by and asks him to track down a missing sibling, Cal finds himself getting caught up in all sorts of shady dealings.
The Lost Shtetl
Max Gross (fiction, HarperVia)
What if there was a town the Nazis somehow missed? That’s what has somehow happened with the tiny Jewish burg of Kreskol, deep in the Polish forest. For decades, they’ve lived in isolation, away from modern technology and the wars that almost destroyed the continent. But when one couple gets divorced and subsequently heads out of town and another villager is sent to track them down, a chain of events is set in motion that will lead to the town’s discovery by the outside world. A gorgeous debut.
Leave the World Behind
Rumaan Alam (fiction, Ecco)
Amanda, Clay and their two kids have headed out to Long Island for a relaxing vacation in a house with a pool. But relaxation never comes. The rental’s owners knock on the door late at night bearing news: A large-scale blackout has forced them to seek refuge in their own home. Out on Long Island, with cell service down, no one knows what is happening, or how far-reaching the catastrophe is.
The Lying Life of Adults
Elena Ferrante (fiction, Europa Editions)
The Italian literary sensation is back with another novel set in Naples (the new title is not part of the original Neapolitan series.) It begins with adolescent Giovanna overhearing her father say to her mother that his daughter’s face is becoming ugly — like her much-maligned Aunt Vittoria. A coming-of-age novel set in different parts of the same city.
Fredrik Backman (fiction, Atria Books)
An apartment open house turns into an active hostage situation when a failed bank robber bursts in and holds the house hunters captive. It’s a motley group, and one of them has locked himself in the apartment’s only bathroom. From the author of “A Man Called Ove.
When No One is Watching
Alyssa Cole (fiction, William Morrow)
Sydney Green’s Brooklyn neighborhood is changing around her, with her neighbors selling their brownstones to aggressive agents, stores becoming more expensive and condos cropping up on every block. As she starts to work on her pet project, a historic tour of Black Brooklyn, she starts to wonder if there isn’t something more sinister at work: Did her neighbors really sell, or did they disappear?
One by One
Ruth Ware (fiction, Gallery/Scout Press)
Eight co-workers of a London-based tech start-up are snowed in at a luxurious ski resort in the French Alps. It would be a delightful scenario, if not for the fact that several of them are feuding, one of them doesn’t belong at all, the power has shut down, and people keep turning up dead.
Jonathan Lethem (fiction, Ecco)
Things have stopped working: cars, computers, airplanes, etc., all in an event known as The Arrest. It takes Sandy Duplessis, a Hollywood screenwriter, to an organic farm in rural Maine. And then one day, his former writing partner shows up in an amazing retrofitted nuclear-powered super-car.
Robert Galbraith (fiction, Mulholland Books)
In this Cormoran Strike novel (book 5), Private Detective Strike is visiting relatives in Cornwall when a woman approaches him to ask for help finding her mother, who went missing in the early 1970s. Strike normally doesn’t handle cold cases, but this one has him intrigued.
To Be a Man: Stories
Nicole Krauss (fiction, Harper)
A collection of short stories exploring everything from relationships to issues of modern masculinity and femininity, from Tel Aviv to New York, Los Angeles to South America.
Emma Cline (fiction, Random House)
From the author of “The Girls” comes a collection of 10 stories with remarkable range. In one, a father picks up his son at a boarding school after a violent act; in another, a young woman peddles her underwear to strangers. There’s also a nanny to a celebrity family, who hides out after a tabloid scandal.
Martin Amis (fiction, Knopf)
A novel based on Amis’ closest friend, Christopher Hitchens, from their earliest days as young magazine staffers in London to Hitchens’ death. A loving look at a long-running friendship, their literary circle and life.
The Book of Two Ways
Jodi Picoult (fiction, Ballantine Books)
Dawn is on a plane when the flight attendant makes the announcement no one ever wants to hear: Prepare for a crash landing. Her life flashes past in an instant, yet her thoughts are not of her husband —but of a man she last saw 15 years ago. Miraculously, Dawn survives the crash, but everything has changed in a split second and she wonders if fate is offering her a second path.
The Midnight Library
Matt Haig (fiction, Viking)
What if there was a library on the edge of the universe, and it contained an infinite number of books? One tells the story of a person’s life as it is, the other contains the many paths a life could have taken. Would any of the alternate lives have turned out better?
Fifty Words for Rain
Asha Lemmie (fiction, Dutton)
Nori is the daughter of a Japanese aristocrat and a Black American GI. She is taken in by her Japanese grandparents, who then keep her hidden from a society that makes no room for her. She finds an unlikely ally in her older half-brother Akira, heir to the family fortune.
Cassidy Lucas (fiction, Harper Perennial)
In wealthy Santa Monica, heartbreaker fitness coach Zach Doheny has been found dead on the floor of his gym. His death reverberates through the community, and the novel takes a look back at the months leading up to his passing and the different characters — from wealthy, fitness-obsessed moms in unhappy marriages to his undocumented Mexican half-sister and her fears of deportation — involved in his life. Perfect for fans of “Big Little Lies.”
Phil Klay (fiction, Penguin Press)
In Colombia, the United States has teamed up with local forces to deal with the violent narco gangs. A group of soldiers get ready to raid a drug lord’s house, aided by an American drone. From the author of “Redeployment.”
That Time of Year
Maria Ndiyae (fiction, Two Lines Press)
Herman and his wife and child are on vacation, but the tourist season is ending and it’s time for them to return to Paris. But his wife and child are nowhere to be found, and the weather has turned cold. Frantic pleas to the local police are ignored, and no one seems to take their disappearance seriously. A literary horror story.
Alice Hoffman (fiction, Simon & Schuster)
The prequel to “Practical Magic” that traces a centuries-old curse to its origin, beginning with Maria Owens, accused of witchcraft in 1600s Salem. Maria was abandoned as a baby in rural England and taught about the “unnamed arts” by a woman named Hannah. After she is abandoned by a man who claims he loves her, she follows him to Massachusetts and invokes the curse that will mark her family.
The Cold Millions
Jess Walter (fiction, Harper)
From the author of “Beautiful Ruins” comes a novel about two scrappy brothers in an early 20th-century America, where the gap between rich and poor is wide. The brothers line up for day gigs with meager compensation; while one simply wants stability, the other is an activist fighting for fair pay.
Saving Stalin: Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, and the cost of Allied Victory in Europe
John Kelly (non-fiction, Hachette Books)
A vivid look at the relationship between Allied leaders of Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union. In the summer of 1941, Roosevelt’s trusted adviser Harry Hopkins arrived in Moscow to determine whether or not the US should give aid to Russia, as they had to Britain. From the author of the highly acclaimed book “The Great Mortality,” about the Black Death of 1348.
John Banville (fiction, Hanover Square Press)
The year is 1957, and Detective Inspector St. John Strafford has been called to County Wexford to investigate a murder: A parish priest has been found dead at Ballyglass House, the estate of the secretive Osbornes. The community is Catholic, Stafford is Protestant — and he’s obstructed at every turn.
Here is the Beehive
Sarah Crossan (fiction, Little, Brown)
Ana Kelly is an estate lawyer, accustomed to calls about death. But one day she receives a call from Rebecca Taylor, informing her that Taylor’s husband Connor has died in an accident. Ana has been having a secret affair with Connor for the past three years. In the wake of this news, she finds herself seeking out a friendship with her one-time adversary.
The Evening and the Morning
Ken Follett (fiction, Viking)
A prequel to “The Pillars of the Earth,” set in 997 CE, as the Middle Ages begins. In turbulent times, three characters — a boatbuilder, a Norman noblewoman and a monk — find their lives intertwined.
Christina Baker Kline (fiction, Custom House)
Nineteenth-century Australia is the setting for this novel from the author of “Orphan Train,” the story of a new society told through the eyes of Evangelina and Hazel, two women sent to Van Diemen’s Land, a penal colony in Australia; and Mathinna, an orphaned Aboriginal who was forcibly relocated from her home and has been adopted by the new governor of Van Diemen’s Land.
Sue Miller (fiction, Harper)
Graham and Annie were married for nearly 30 years, a golden couple whose marriage was the envy of many in their circle. But when Graham dies suddenly and Annie is left to pick up the pieces, she discovers that he was unfaithful to her — and begins to wonder how well she really knew him.
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