8 New Books We Recommend This Week

Our fiction recommendations this week include a “gleeful romp” of a series mystery, along with three novels by some heavy-hitting young writers: Téa Obreht, Helen Oyeyemi and Tommy Orange. (How heavy-hitting, and how young? Consider that Obreht was included in The New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” issue in 2010 — and she’s still under 40 today. So is Oyeyemi, who was one of Granta’s “Best Young British Novelists” in 2013, while Orange, at 42, has won the PEN/Hemingway Award, the John Leonard Prize and the American Book Award. The future is in good hands.)

In nonfiction, we recommend a painter’s memoir, a group biography of three jazz giants, a posthumous essay collection by the great critic Joan Acocella, and a journalist’s look at American citizens trying to come to terms with a divided country. Happy reading. Gregory Cowles

After being displaced from their homeland, Silvia and her mother move into the Morningside, a weather-beaten luxury apartment building in “Island City,” a sinking version of New York in the middle of all-out climate collapse. Silvia learns about her heritage through the folk tales her aunt Ena tells her, and becomes fascinated with the mysterious woman who lives in the penthouse apartment.

In their ninth crime-solving tale, the Victorian-era adventuress and butterfly hunter Veronica Speedwell and her partner discover that a wax mannequin is actually a dead young woman, expertly preserved.

Berkley | $28

Acocella, who died in January, may have been best known as one of our finest dance critics. But as this posthumous collection shows, she brought the same rigor, passion and insight to all the art she consumed. Whether her subject is genre fiction, “Beowulf” or Marilynne Robinson, Acocella’s knowledge and enthusiasm are hard to match. We will not see her like again.

Farrar, Straus & Giroux | $35

This follow-up to Orange’s debut, “There There,” is part prequel and part sequel; it trails the young survivor of a 19th-century massacre of Native Americans, chronicling not just his harsh fate but those of his descendants. In its second half, the novel enters 21st-century Oakland, following the family in the aftermath of a shooting.

In Oyeyemi’s latest magical realist adventure, our hero is a woman named Hero, and she is hurtling through the city of Prague, with a shape-shifting book about Prague, during a bachelorette weekend. But Hero doesn’t seem to be directing the novel’s action; the story itself seems to be calling the shots.

Riverhead | $28

On one memorable occasion in 1959, three outstanding musicians came together for what may be the greatest jazz record ever, Davis’s “Kind of Blue.” Kaplan, the author of a Frank Sinatra biography, traces the lives of his protagonists in compelling fashion; he may not be a jazz expert but he knows how to tell a good story.

From her early days as an Abstract Expressionist who hung out with Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning at the Cedar Bar to her later success as a pioneering photorealist, Flack worked and lived at the center of New York’s art world over her long career; here she chronicles the triumphs, the slights, the sexism and the gossip, all with equal relish.

Penn State University Press | $37.50

Agile and bracing, Finkel’s book trails a small network of people struggling in the tumultuous period between the 2016 and 2020 U.S. presidential elections. At the center is Brent Cummings, a white Iraq war veteran who is trying to cope with a country he no longer recognizes.

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