The highly anticipated novel from the bestselling author of "Euphoria," the latest from National Book Award winner James McBride, a moving story inspired by Louise Erdrich's grandfather, and more.
This week's releases include the highly anticipated novel from the bestselling author of Euphoria; the latest from National Book Award winner James McBride; a moving story inspired by Louise Erdrich's grandfather, and more.
Learn more about these and all of our picks for the Best Books of the Month.
Writers & Lovers by Lily King
At 31, Casey is still holding onto her dream of being a novelist. Most of her artist friends have given up their artist dreams for more practical, and lucrative, endeavors; but Casey writes and makes ends meet by waitressing and walking her landlord’s dog. Writers & Lovers is Lily King’s follow up to her 2014 breakthrough novel Euphoria, which was loosely based on the experiences of Margaret Mead, and one might expect King to tread a similar path in this new book. But this is a different novel altogether. That said, it’s a very enjoyable read, a breath of fresh air, with characters that leap off the page. Writers & Lovers is about the uncertainty of dating, and of pursuing the creative life, in a world that values success and stability. Life does not wait for Casey to fulfill her dream, if that dream even comes. So she works and she dates, and she tries to figure it out as she goes. Love and art require daily, often imperceptible, leaps of faith—and this book captures that perfectly. —Chris Schluep
Deacon King Kong by James McBride
James McBride, author of the National Book Award winning The Good Lord Bird and the beloved memoir The Color of Water, has written a propulsive and comic neighborhood epic set in the 1960s with a cast of characters that are beguiling, boozed-filled, and larger than life. When a young drug lord is shot in broad daylight by a bumbling drunk known to everyone as Sportcoat, the Brooklyn neighborhood they live in is upended. As Sportcoat comically and unknowingly dodges the police, his actions ricochet around him, igniting a web of drug wars, backdoor dealings with mobsters, and church brawls that demonstrate just how vital yet fragile communities can be. Deacon King Kong tells the fictional story of one Brooklyn project, but in so doing tells a broader story of race and religion, getting by and getting out, and how grudges and alliances become embedded in the foundations of our neighborhoods. An incredibly satisfying read. —Al Woodworth
The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich
Louise Erdrich pays poignant homage to her grandfather in this sweeping novel about Native American dispossession in the 1950s. Like her grandfather, our titular hero is a humble night watchman, also the tribal chairman of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa in North Dakota. Initially an uneventful post, Thomas Wazhashk’s life is upended when he learns that the U.S. government has earmarked them for “emancipation” (an odd term, he points out, since they were not enslaved). The Night Watchman follows Thomas’s tireless efforts to persuade the U.S. government to honor treaties that protected what remained of their already picked-over lands. And Erdrich further expounds on the scourge of systemic racism, sexual exploitation, and other unsavory sundries through the stories of his extended family, and those in their orbit. Dark much? Yes. But The Night Watchman is tempered by Erdrich’s signature wit and humanity, exposing the light in the wounds of individuals, and a people, fighting for their place in the world. —Erin Kodicek
Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn
Kawai Strong Washburn is making his debut, and it is a knockout. Sharks in the Time of Saviors is mythical and grounded, humorous and heart wrenching, contemporary and timeless. I could tell you it’s about a boy who has the power to tame and to heal, but that makes it sound a little more witchy than it is. So maybe I’ll just say that it’s about three siblings who grew up in Hawaii, dispersed to the mainland for their grown-up lives, and all the while are each trying to figure out their own identities—in relation to themselves, each other, and the legends of their childhood. From the heat of Hawaii, to the riotous banter with their parents, and then the shattering disappointment of falling short of expectations, Washburn’s debut beats with the complexity of familial love. Washburn is a gifted writer, one to watch, and more importantly one to read and expand your view of paradise. —Al Woodworth
You might also like:
- Editors' picks: Best books of 2019
- Celebrity picks - See what your favorite authors are reading and loving
- All ears: The Amazon Book Review Podcast
- Editors' picks: Best books of the Month
- Book award winners
Sign up for the Amazon Book Review: Best books of the month * author interviews * the reading life * and more