Each month, I will pick a handful of buzzworthy and under the radar debut books I feel you’ll enjoy.
April’s selection features family and courtroom dramas, two Parisian set pieces, a Biblical epic, and a dash of LSD. They all represent diverse walks of life ranging from historical novels to artistic memoirs.
The Affairs of the Falcóns by Melissa Rivero (Ecco; 4/2)
A grandiose familial saga of undocumented Peruvians in the 1990s. Matriarch Ana struggles to keep her family afloat as the world lobs up every curve ball it can offer. It is eye-opening to see exactly how much and how little immigration policy has changed.
The Light Years by Chris Rush (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 4/2)
A memoir about hippies, drugs, and life in the desert. Rush is an artist by trade but wrote this to explore how LSD and acid shaped how he saw the world. This is an ideal narrative for anyone who is a fan of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.
Naamah by Sarah Blake (Riverhead; 4/9)
Blakes first novel, after two poetry books, is epic; biblically so. Blake reimagines the Great Flood and puts Noah’s wife at the center of saving civilization with the Ark. It allows Hollywood another original Bible story to adapt, which is good because I’m kind of getting tired of Russell Crowe prancing around with a bad accent.
The Parisian by Isabella Hammad (Grove; 4/9)
In this historical fiction behemoth nearing 600 pages, Hammad takes us to WWI Paris where a Palestinian-born son of a textile merchant is studying. The sweeping novel explores Midhat’s life as it shifts and turns from expectation as the world around him changes just as drastically.
Miracle Creek by Angie Kim (Sarah Crichton; 4/16)
Written by a former trial lawyer, this is a taut courtroom thriller. It moves from the courtroom to explore what it means to be a parent; more specifically, what it means to be a parent who is also an immigrant.
Walking on the Ceiling by Aysegül Savas (Riverhead; 4/30)
Yet another Parisian set novel. This time about a young Turkish woman who moved their after her mother’s death. Part coming-of-age, part exploration of unique friendships the novel is a passionate look into a unique perspective rarely read on page. Fans of Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday will enjoy this one.