Each month, we will pick a handful of buzzworthy and under the radar debut books we feel you’ll enjoy.
There have been a handful of great books that have published in 2019. Both from debut writers as well as favorite returners. March, however, is the first great month as a collective whole.
Debuts alone account for a majority of the terrific titles hitting shelves this month. It was no easy task to choose which titles to list here. In the end, there are a wide variety of genres, writers, and themes.
A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum (Harper; 3/5)
Told from the perspective of multiple generations of Arab-American women, this novel begins with a Palestinian woman who is married off to an American by her parents who gives birth to four daughters. The fact that she never has a son looms over her until a tragic accident. Then the story picks up from her eldest daughter nearly two decades later. Rum’s debut is a heartbreaking portrayal of a culture rarely seen in literature.
Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls by T Kira Madden (Bloomsbury; 3/5)
Born to unwed parents and raised by her mother, T Kira Madden’s memoir really hits its stride when the two women move to a swanky neighborhood to live with her father. There she confronts his alcoholism, navigates being a misfit in a posh school, and her sexual awakening in her teen years.
If, Then by Kate Day Hope (Random House; 3/12)
A very nonlinear story of a crumbling marriage and professional lives of a couple living in Oregon. She’s a doctor who is suddenly having visions she can’t explain. He’s a researcher who can’t be taken seriously. Their neighbors are also struggling to find their footing in the world. If you’re expecting a straightforward domestic affair, think again.
Lot by Bryan Washington (Riverhead; 3/19)
Interconnected by an unnamed narrator, Washington’s stories study the nuances of modern-day struggles in race, class, and sexuality. Set in his native Houston, he explores a youth who struggles from boyhood to adulthood to overcome the expectations of his hyper-masculine father and community that surrounds him.
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams (Scout; 3/19)
Many are likening this to Bridget Jones’ Diary, which is fairly accurate. It also has the titular character struggling to straddle two cultures – her Britishness and Jamaican roots – while the rest of her mostly white, middle-class coworkers skate through life without that worry hanging over them.
The White Elephant by Julie Langsdorf (Ecco; 3/26)
A social satire with bones similar to Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere. A well-to-do neighborhood is turned on its head when a house – dubbed “the white elephant” – begins to be built. Langsdorf unravels a dark commentary on these type of social circles that usually end up on reality television.