Features

The Best New Books of November 2018

Including two Chicago-based authors.

Did you know the day before Thanksgiving is the busiest reading day of the year? Don’t get stuck in an airport without one (or three) of these 12 new books, including the returns of Lucia Berlin, Jonathan Lethem, and Mathias Énard, plus Chicago-based authors Maryse Meijer and Laura Adamcyzk.

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Northwood
By Maryse Meijer
Catapult
November 6

A gorgeous follow-up to Meijer’s devastating debut, Heartbreaker, this novella follows a young woman into the woods as she flees from violence. (Chicago-based author)

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Those Who Knew
Idra Novey
Viking
November 6

I became a fan of Novey after reading her brilliant debut Ways to Disappear a couple of years ago, so I am really excited that she is back with a new novel. This book is extremely timely in the context of the #MeToo movement and Trump era, giving us a thought provoking look at the prevailing misogyny in our society. This probing, propulsive literary thriller is about a powerful politician and his murky past with a young woman that finally catches up with him.

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The Lonesome Bodybuilder
Yukiko Motoya
Translated by Asa Yoneda
Soft Skull Press
November 6

Absurd, creepy, and thoroughly engrossing, this Japanese short story collection is an absolute masterpiece. From the story of a housewife who takes up bodybuilding to one about a newlywed who notices that her husband’s features begin to slide around his face, this provocative book will keep you turning pages with its sheer creativity.

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The Feral Detective
By Jonathan Lethem
Ecco
November 6

The author of Motherless Brooklyn is back with another detective novel, this time set in California’s iconic Inland Empire. It might be Lethem’s most propulsive book to date.

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Evening in Paradise: More Stories
By Lucia Berlin
FSG
November 6

Three years ago, FSG published A Manual for Cleaning Women, which brought the late Berlin into the light for a new legion of fans. This second volume includes the best of the rest of her short fiction.

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The Best Bad Things
By Katrina Carrasco
MCD Books
November 6

A historical crime novel set in the Pacific Northwest, starring a Pinkerton detective who’s fired for going undercover as a man.

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Seventeen
By Hideo Yokoyama
Translated by Louise Heal Kawai
MCD Books
November 13

Six Four was one of the best thrillers of 2017. In this follow-up, a devastating Japanese plane crash in 1985 leads to a pulse-pounding investigative mystery 17 years later.

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Muck
By Dror Burstein
Translated by Gabriel Levin
FSG
November 13

A modern spin on the book of Jeremiah, starring two Jerusalem poets grappling with a dark prophecy.

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Hardly Children: Stories
By Laura Adamczyk
FSG Originals
November 20

A thrilling, moving debut story collection from Adamcyzk, the books editor at The A.V. Club in Chicago.

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My Sister, the Serial Killer
Oyinkan Braithwaite
Doubleday
November 20

An audacious debut about a femme fatale which provides an offbeat look at sisterhood. Sly and morbidly funny, this is a provocative modern noir about violence and the lengths we would go to protect our loved ones.

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Hannah Versus the Tree
Leland De la Durantaye
McSweeney’s
November 20

Billed as a ”mythopoetic thriller,” this is a brutally haunting, lyrical debut. The stunning prose deftly combines an ancient fable about vengeance with a contemporary story which takes on timely issues like anarchism, sexual violence, and political justice.

TellThem

Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants
by Mathias Énard
New Directions
November 27

The author of Compass imagines Michelangelo’s time in Constantinople.

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