Vince Granata‘s memoir Everything is Fine is one of the most heartbreaking books I’ve ever read. I think that term is thrown out a lot; however, the story inside it truly made me weep. Vince’s brother, with undiagnosed schizophrenia, killed their mother. His memoir is about that event and what came after. How could he still love his brother? How would their family move on? So many questions I asked myself how I’d react in Granata’s shoes but couldn’t.
Everything is Fine is a moving mediation on pain and suffering, but also love and persistence. We corresponded via email about his background and why this memoir had to be written.
Continue reading “Vince Granata knew he always had to write his heartbreaking and revealing memoir Everything is Fine” →
In her debut novel, Cherie Jones tells a cautionary tale set mostly in Barbados. A grandmother uses a story about one-armed sister. Her granddaughter Lala listens to what happens to girls who disobey their mothers but the question is, does she absorb the story?
Years later, Lala is married to a petty burglar and their seemingly cozy lives are upended in a spiral of violence, crime, and deceit. What unfolds is, How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House, a devastating debut that is a must-read. Be warned though: you’ll want to finish this in one sitting. So block out a lot of time one you start this.
Continue reading “A Life of Books with Cherie Jones, author of How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House” →
Below, Cherie Jones answers the A Life of Books Questionnaire for Debutiful.
It’s hard to believe it’s March again. The past year has been difficult for us all, but hopefully debut books helped get you through 2020. Let’s kick off the “new year” with another 10 debuts that will make you laugh, cry, and question everything you thought you knew.
These debuts are about families coming to terms with their grief, mothers moving on from dark times in their life, women named Sarah, and money.
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Sanaë Lemoine has lived all over the globe. When she was creating The Margot Affair, a specific time and place kept calling to her. Thus, Margot was born as a seventeen year old living in Paris.
Margot is on the cusp of adulthood when she decides to change the course of her own life, and as a result changes the trajectory of all of her relatives’ lives. When she reveals she is the secret daughter of a politician and a famous actress, her secret world is unspooled and readers get to watch as the wall of lies built up around her comes tumbling down.
Continue reading “Sanaë Lemoine on France, teenagers, and creating The Margot Affair” →
The House of Deep Water, the debut novel from Jeni McFarland, is an intimate portrait of three women arriving back to the town they grew up in. Beth was one of the small Michigan town’s only black residents and arrives with her two teenager children to help get her life back on track after experiencing devastating trauma. There’s also Linda, who recently left a bad marriage while pregnant. Her mother, Paula, who abandonded her family years ago also returns. All three are seeking a sense of community and family.
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Each month, Debutiful will recommend a handful of buzzworthy and under-the-radar debut books for you to read.
Spring is upon us and all of our to be read piles are heating up. The working list of debuts to read that are publishing this month was 14 and that, I’m sure, doesn’t even scratch the surface. Expect another list shortly called ‘6 more debut books from Winter 2020 you should read.’ There have been an insane amount of stellar debuts published so far this year.
Continue reading “6 debut books you should read this March” →
Time, family, and memory. Those were what was on Meng Jin’s mind as she began writing her debut novel, Little Gods. These questions drove her to write a layered novel about a mother from Beijing during the Tiananmen Square protests and her daughter, living in America, decades later.
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The Center for Fiction announced the seven book shortlist for their First Novel Prize. Of the seven, six were featured previously on Debutiful. Three were interviewed here (see below), while another I interviewed for Electric Literature.
Continue reading “The 2019 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize announced” →
The characters that inhabit All the Water in the World, the debut novel from Karen Raney, are like tapping into the third season of your favorite television series. They’re all incredibly rounded and grounded.
In the midst of dealing with her relationship with her mother, learning to love for the first time, and all of the pains of being 16-years-old, Maddy is also diagnosed with cancer. Told between alternating chapters from Maddy and then her mother’s perspective, the story is equally heartwarming and heartbreaking.
Continue reading “Karen Raney on crafting the characters in her coming-of-age debut ‘All the Water in the World’” →
Angie Kim‘s journey from a young Korean girl to a trial lawyer in America is already a story worth exploring. Then she shifted gears and wrote one one of this year’s best debuts, Miracle Creek.
Continue reading “Angie Kim on creating the marvelous and mysterious ‘Miracle Creek’” →