Category Archives: Fiction

Make Your Home Among Strangers

Make Your Home Among Strangers

Picador
Paperback
416 pages • $16.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-09455-1

A Novel

Jennine Capó Crucet

Make Your Home Among Strangers tackles with precision, depth, and nuance the private struggles first-generation college students face.”

The Washington Post

When Lizet—the daughter of Cuban immigrants and the first in her family to graduate from high school—secretly applies and is accepted to an ultra-elite college, her parents are furious at her decision to leave Miami. Just weeks before she’s set to start school, her parents divorce and her father sells her childhood home, leaving Lizet, her mother, and Leidy—Lizet’s older sister, a brand-new single mom—without a steady income and scrambling for a place to live. Amidst this turmoil, Lizet begins her first semester at Rawlings College, distracted by both the exciting and difficult moments of freshman year. But the privileged world of the campus feels utterly foreign, as does her new awareness of herself as a minority. Struggling both socially and academically, she returns to Miami for a surprise Thanksgiving visit, only to be overshadowed by the arrival of Ariel Hernandez, a young boy whose mother died fleeing with him from Cuba on a raft. The ensuing immigration battle puts Miami in a glaring spotlight, captivating the nation and entangling Lizet’s entire family, especially her mother. Pulled between life at college and the needs of those she loves, Lizet is faced with difficult decisions that will change her life forever. Urgent and mordantly funny, Make Your Home Among Strangers tells the moving story of a young woman torn between generational, cultural, and political forces; it’s the new story of what it means to be American today.

(c) Monica McGivern

Jennine Capó Crucet is the author of the story collection How to Leave Hialeah, winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Award, John Gardner Book Prize, and Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award. She was raised in Miami and is currently assistant professor of English and Ethnic Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Make Your Home Among Strangers has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Albion College (MI); California State University Channel Islands; Central College (IA); The College of New Jersey; Elon University (NC); College of the Holy Cross (MA); George Mason University (VA); Hollins University (VA); Holy Names University (CA); Kalamazoo College (MI); Knox College (IL); Maryville University (MO); New College of Florida; Northern Illinois University; Saint Mary’s College (CA); St. Cloud State University ACE Program (MN); University of Massachusetts, Amherst; University of Miami; University of Minnesota School of Education and Human Development; University of North Carolina, Asheville; Ventura College (CA); Whitman College (WA)

The Sellout

The Sellout

Picador
Paperback
304 pages • $16.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-08325-8

A Novel

Paul Beatty

Winner of the Man Booker Prize 

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction

The Sellout is a comic masterpiece, but it’s much more
than just that—it’s one of the smartest and most honest reflections on race and identity in America in a very long time, written by an author who truly understands what it means to talk about the history of the country.”—NPR

A biting satire about a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, Paul Beatty’s The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. It challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial equality—the black Chinese restaurant. Born in the “agrarian ghetto” of Dickens—on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles—the narrator of The Sellout resigns himself to the fate of lower-middle-class Californians. Raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, he spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. He is led to believe that his father’s pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family’s financial woes. But when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realizes there never was a memoir. Fueled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town’s most famous resident—the last surviving Little Rascal, Hominy Jenkins—he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.

Paul Beatty

© Hannah Assouline

Paul Beatty is the author of the novels TuffSlumberland, and The White Boy Shuffle, and the poetry collections Big Bank Take Little Bank and Joker, Joker, Deuce. He was the editor of Hokum: An Anthology of African-American Humor. He lives in New York City.

The Nightingale

The Nightingale

St. Martin’s Griffin
Paperback
592 pages • $16.99
ISBN: 978-1-250-08040-0

A Novel

Kristin Hannah

“A heart-wrenching tour de force that examines the bravery of two sisters in occupied France during WWII.”

Chicago Tribune 

France, 1939. In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France . . . but invade they do. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive. Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can—completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others. Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France.

© Deborah Feingold

Kristin Hannah is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-one novels. A former lawyer turned writer, she lives in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii with her family.

The Nightingale has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Notre Dame of Maryland University

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Children of the New World

Children of the New World

Picador
Paperback
240 pages • $16.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-09899-3

Stories

Alexander Weinstein

“The timely, nuanced stories in Alexander Weinstein’s Children of the New World are some of the most brilliantly disconcerting fiction in recent memory . . . As with George Saunders or Ray Bradbury, Weinstein’s satiric ingenuity seldom overpowers his deep compassion for our wayward species . . . The resulting cautionary tales are superlatively moving and thought-provoking, imbued with disarming pathos and a palpable sense of wonder and loss.”

David Wright, The Seattle Times

Children of the New World introduces readers to a near-future world of social media implants, memory manufacturers, dangerously immersive virtual reality games, and alarmingly intuitive robots. Many of these characters live in a utopian future of instant connection and technological gratification that belies an unbridgeable human distance, while others inhabit a post-collapse landscape made primitive by disaster, which they must work to rebuild as we once did millennia ago. In “The Cartographers,” the main character works for a company that creates and sells virtual memories, while struggling to maintain a real-world relationship sabotaged by an addiction to his own creations. In “Saying Goodbye to Yang,” the robotic brother of an adopted Chinese child malfunctions, and only in his absence does the family realize how real a son he has become. Children of the New World grapples with our unease in this modern world and how our ever-growing dependence on new technologies has changed the shape of our society. Alexander Weinstein is a visionary new voice in speculative fiction for all of us who are fascinated by and terrified of what we might find on the horizon.

© Jessica Spilos

Alexander Weinstein is the director of the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. He is the recipient of a Sustainable Arts Foundation Award, and his stories have received the Lamar York, Gail Crump, and New Millennium Prizes, have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, and appear in the anthology New Stories from the Midwest. He is an associate professor of creative writing at Siena Heights University and leads fiction workshops in the United States and Europe.

Children of the New World has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

University of Central Missouri

Lila

Lila

Picador
Paperback
272 pages • $16.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-07484-3

A Novel

Marilynne Robinson

National Book Award Finalist
National Book Critics Circle Award Winner

“A meditation on morality and psychology, compelling in its frankness about its truly shocking subject: the damage to the human personality done by poverty, neglect and abandonment.”

The New York Times Book Review

Marilynne Robinson, one of the greatest novelists of our time, returns to the town of Gilead in an unforgettable story of a girlhood lived on the fringes of society in fear, awe, and wonder. Lila, homeless and alone after years of roaming the countryside, steps inside a small-town Iowa church—the only available shelter from the rain—and ignites a romance and a debate that will reshape her life. She becomes the wife of a minister, John Ames, and begins a new existence while trying to make sense of the life that preceded her newfound security. Neglected as a toddler, Lila was rescued by Doll, a canny young drifter, and brought up by her in a hardscrabble childhood. Together they crafted a life on the run, living hand to mouth with nothing but their sisterly bond and a ragged blade to protect them. Despite bouts of petty violence and moments of desperation, their shared life was laced with moments of joy and love. When Lila arrives in Gilead, she struggles to reconcile the life of her makeshift family and their days of hardship with the gentle Christian worldview of her husband which paradoxically judges those she loves. Revisiting the beloved characters and setting of Robinson’s Gilead and HomeLila is a moving expression of the mysteries of existence that is destined to become an American classic.

Marilynne Robinson

© Alec Soth/Magnum Photos

Marilynne Robinson is the author of the novels Home, Gilead (winner of the Pulitzer Prize), and Housekeeping, and four books of nonfiction, When I Was a Child I Read BooksMother Country, The Death of Adam, and Absence of Mind. She teaches at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Lila has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

The University of Scranton (PA)

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Salvage the Bones

Salvage the Bones

Bloomsbury
Paperback
288 pages • $17.00
ISBN: 978-1-60819-626-5

A Novel

Jesmyn Ward

Winner of the National Book Award

“[Salvage the Bones] is a gripping, tightly told tale, and a fine novel . . . This may be the best account you’ll read of Hurricane Katrina. Ward draws much of her story, its tone a wise blend of detachment and ferocity, from her own hardscrabble experiences.”

—Pamela Miller, The Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch’s father is growing concerned. A hard drinker, largely absent, he doesn’t show concern for much else. Esch and her three brothers are stocking food, but there isn’t much to save. Lately, Esch can’t keep down what food she gets; she’s fourteen and pregnant. Her brother Skeetah is sneaking scraps for his prized pitbull’s new litter, dying one by one in the dirt. Meanwhile, brothers Randall and Junior try to stake their claim in a family long on child’s play and short on parenting. As the twelve days that make up the novel’s framework yield to their dramatic conclusion, this unforgettable family—motherless children sacrificing for one another as they can, protecting and nurturing where love is scarce—pulls itself up to face another day. “[Salvage the Bones] is a gripping, tightly told tale, and a fine novel . . . This may be the best account you’ll read of Hurricane Katrina. Ward draws much of her story, its tone a wise blend of detachment and ferocity, from her own hardscrabble experiences.”—Pamela Miller, The Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Jesmyn Ward

© Mike Stanton

Jesmyn Ward grew up in DeLisle, Mississippi. Her debut novel, Where the Line Bleeds received the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Honor Award and was a finalist for both the Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell First Novelist Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award.

Salvage the Bones has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Alabama State University; Christian Brothers University (TN); Florida A&M University; Hampton University (VA); Rhodes College (TN); Rocky Mountain College (MT); Rutgers University, Douglass College (NJ); Salem College (NC); Stanford University (CA); Vanderbilt University (TN); Xavier University of Louisiana

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Here I Am

Here I Am

Picador
Paperback
592 pages • $17.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-13575-9

A Novel

Jonathan Safran Foer

“Dazzling and draining, dazzling and draining—that’s how my response seesawed for most of the time I was reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s new novel . . . Here I Am is a profound novel about the claims of history, identity, family and the burdens of a broken world that weigh upon even the most cleverly evasive people.”

—Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air, NPR

In the book of Genesis, when God calls out, “Abraham!” before ordering him to sacrifice his son, Isaac, Abraham responds, “Here I am.” Later, when Isaac calls out, “My father!” before asking him why there is no animal to slaughter, Abraham responds, “Here I am.” How do we fulfill our conflicting duties as father, husband, and son; wife and mother; child and adult? Jew and American? How can we claim our own identities when our lives are linked so closely to others’? These are the questions at the heart of Jonathan Safran Foer’s Here I Am—his first novel in eleven years. Unfolding over four tumultuous weeks in present-day Washington, D.C., Here I Am is the story of a fracturing family in a moment of crisis. As Jacob and Julia Bloch and their three sons are forced to confront the distances between the lives they think they want and the lives they are living, a catastrophic earthquake sets in motion a quickly escalating conflict in the Middle East. At stake is the meaning of home—and the fundamental question of how much aliveness one can bear.

© Jeff Mermelstein

Jonathan Safran Foer is the author of two bestselling, award-winning novels, Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and a bestselling work of nonfiction, Eating Animals. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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