It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for new books! Here are a few of the books out today you should add to your TBR. This is a very small percentage of the new releases this week. Make sure to stick around until the end for some more Book Riot resources for keeping up with new books. The book descriptions listed are the publisher’s, unless otherwise noted.
Victory City by Salman Rushdie
The epic tale of a woman who breathes a fantastical empire into existence, only to be consumed by it over the centuries—from the transcendent imagination of Booker Prize–winning, internationally bestselling author Salman Rushdie.
In the wake of an unimportant battle between two long-forgotten kingdoms in fourteenth-century southern India, a nine-year-old girl has a divine encounter that will change the course of history. After witnessing the death of her mother, the grief-stricken Pampa Kampana becomes a vessel for her namesake, the goddess Pampa, who begins to speak out of the girl’s mouth. Granting her powers beyond Pampa Kampana’s comprehension, the goddess tells her that she will be instrumental in the rise of a great city called Bisnaga—“victory city”—the wonder of the world.
Over the next 250 years, Pampa Kampana’s life becomes deeply interwoven with Bisnaga’s, from its literal sowing from a bag of magic seeds to its tragic ruination in the most human of ways: the hubris of those in power. Whispering Bisnaga and its citizens into existence, Pampa Kampana attempts to make good on the task that the goddess set for her: to give women equal agency in a patriarchal world. But all stories have a way of getting away from their creator, and Bisnaga is no exception. As years pass, rulers come and go, battles are won and lost, and allegiances shift, the very fabric of Bisnaga becomes an ever more complex tapestry—with Pampa Kampana at its center.
Brilliantly styled as a translation of an ancient epic, Victory City is a saga of love, adventure, and myth that is in itself a testament to the power of storytelling.
Reasons to read it: Rushdie’s talent for writing myths made flesh is on full display here. Through this new book, he also explores the inner workings of myth making and history, all with his usual, beautiful prose. Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours, said this book is “A major accomplishment by one of our greatest living writers…It does not resemble any other novel I could name.”
Don’t Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones
*possible spoilers for My Heart Is a Chainsaw*
December 12th, 2019, Jade returns to the rural lake town of Proofrock the same day as convicted Indigenous serial killer Dark Mill South escapes into town to complete his revenge killings, in this riveting sequel to My Heart Is a Chainsaw from New York Times bestselling author, Stephen Graham Jones.
Four years after her tumultuous senior year, Jade Daniels is released from prison right before Christmas when her conviction is overturned. But life beyond bars takes a dangerous turn as soon as she returns to Proofrock. Convicted Serial Killer, Dark Mill South, seeking revenge for thirty-eight Dakota men hanged in 1862, escapes from his prison transfer due to a blizzard, just outside of Proofrock, Idaho.
Dark Mill South’s Reunion Tour began on December 12th, 2019, a Thursday.
Thirty-six hours and twenty bodies later, on Friday the 13th, it would be over.
Don’t Fear the Reaper is the page-turning sequel to My Heart Is a Chainsaw from New York Times bestselling author Stephen Graham Jones.
Reasons to read it: If you read the first in this trilogy and what to see more of Jade’s story, Jones continues with his witty dialogue and astute observations. For those who are new to the series, start with My Heart Is a Chainsaw for an ode to classic slasher movies that follows a troubled half Native American girl as she witnesses murders happening around her that eerily remind her of her favorite movies.
A Spell of Good Things by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀
A dazzling story of modern Nigeria and two families caught in the riptides of wealth, power, romantic obsession, and political corruption from the celebrated author of Stay with Me.
Eniola is tall for his age, a boy who looks like a man. Because his father has lost his job, Eniola spends his days running errands for the local tailor, collecting newspapers, begging when he must, dreaming of a big future.
Wuraola is a golden girl, the perfect child of a wealthy family. Now an exhausted young doctor in her first year of practice, she is beloved by Kunle, the volatile son of an ascendant politician.
When a local politician takes an interest in Eniola and sudden violence shatters a family party, Wuraola’s and Eniola’s lives become intertwined. In her breathtaking second novel, Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ shines her light on Nigeria, on the gaping divide between the haves and the have-nots, and the shared humanity that lives in between.
Reasons to read it: This novel deftly explores class and violence in modern Nigeria. Adébáyọ̀’s characterization is empathetic, but also ruthless when it needs to be. Get ready to cry as you become immersed in a world full of political corruption, balanced with a bit of humor.
Hijab Butch Blues: A Memoir by Lamya H
A queer hijabi Muslim immigrant survives her coming-of-age by drawing strength and hope from stories in the Quran in this daring, provocative, and radically hopeful memoir.
When 14-year-old Lamya H realizes she has a crush on her teacher — her female teacher — she covers up her attraction, an attraction she can’t yet name, by playing up her roles as overachiever and class clown. Born in South Asia, she moved to the Middle East at a young age and has spent years feeling out of place, like her own desires and dreams don’t matter, and it’s easier to hide in plain sight. To disappear. But one day in Quran class, she reads a passage about Maryam that changes everything: when Maryam learned that she was pregnant, she insisted no man had touched her. Could Maryam, uninterested in men, be…like Lamya?
From that moment on, Lamya makes sense of her struggles and triumphs by comparing her experiences with some of the most famous stories in the Quran. She juxtaposes her coming out with Musa liberating his people from the pharoah; asks if Allah, who is neither male nor female, might instead be nonbinary; and, drawing on the faith and hope Nuh needed to construct his ark, begins to build a life of her own — ultimately finding that the answer to her lifelong quest for community and belonging lies in owning her identity as a queer, devout Muslim immigrant.
This searingly intimate memoir in essays, spanning Lamya’s childhood to her arrival in the United States for college through early-adult life in New York City, tells a universal story of courage, trust, and love, celebrating what it means to be a seeker and an architect of one’s own life.
Reasons to read it: This collection of essays weaves Lamya’s story with stories from the Quran, allowing for an interpretation of the religious text that is not often presented. Lamya is able to speak on their feelings of isolation, otherness, queerness, and spirituality while still maintaining a strong sense of hopefulness.
Stealing by Margaret Verble
A gripping, gut-punch of a novel about a Cherokee child removed from her family and sent to a Christian boarding school in the 1950s — an ambitious, eye-opening reckoning of history and small-town prejudices from Pulitzer Prize finalist Margaret Verble.
Since her mother’s death, Kit Crockett has lived with her grief-stricken father, spending lonely days far out in the country tending the garden, fishing in a local stream, and reading Nancy Drew mysteries from the library bookmobile. One day when Kit discovers a mysterious and beautiful woman has moved in just down the road, she is intrigued.
Kit and her new neighbor Bella become fast friends. Both outsiders, they take comfort in each other’s company. But malice lurks near their quiet bayou and Kit suddenly finds herself at the center of tragic, fatal crime. Soon, Kit is ripped from her home and Cherokee family and sent to Ashley Lordard, a religious boarding school. Along with the other Native students, Kit is stripped of her heritage, force-fed Christian indoctrination, and is sexually abused by the director. But Kit, as strong-willed and shrewd as ever, secretly keeps a journal recounting what she remembers — and revealing just what she has forgotten. Over the course of Stealing, she slowly unravels the truth of how she ended up at the school — and plots a way out.
In swift, sharp, and stunning prose, Margaret Verble spins a powerful coming-of age tale and reaffirms her place as an indelible storyteller and chronicler of history.
Reasons to read it: As the horrors of boarding schools continue to come to light, Verble has written a book that allows us to step away from news headlines and into a more personal space. Kit’s starting characterization as a child makes her abuse and experiences all the more painful to read about. Get ready to feel all the feelings.
Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes
They will fear you and flee you and call you a monster.
The only mortal in a family of gods, Medusa is the youngest of the Gorgon sisters. Unlike her siblings, Medusa grows older, experiences change, feels weakness. Her mortal lifespan gives her an urgency that her family will never know.
When the sea god Poseidon assaults Medusa in Athene’s temple, the goddess is enraged. Furious by the violation of her sacred space, Athene takes revenge — on the young woman. Punished for Poseidon’s actions, Medusa is forever transformed. Writhing snakes replace her hair and her gaze will turn any living creature to stone. Cursed with the power to destroy all she loves with one look, Medusa condemns herself to a life of solitude.
Until Perseus embarks upon a fateful quest to fetch the head of a Gorgon . . .
In Stone Blind, classicist and comedian Natalie Haynes turns our understanding of this legendary myth on its head, bringing empathy and nuance to one of the earliest stories in which a woman — injured by a powerful man — is blamed, punished, and monstered for the assault. Delving into the origins of this mythic tale, Haynes revitalizes and reconstructs Medusa’s story with her passion and fierce wit, offering a timely retelling of this classic myth that speaks to us today.
Reasons to read it: Ancient Greek gods were delightfully — and sometimes not so delightfully — messy, and Haynes’s latest will take you on a Real Housewives–esque tale of revenge and general fuckery as it pertains to Medusa and her ilk.
Our Share of Night by Mariana Enriquez
A woman’s mysterious death puts her husband and son on a collision course with her demonic family in the first novel to be translated into English by the International Booker Prize–shortlisted author of The Dangers of Smoking in Bed.
A young father and son set out on a road trip, devastated by the death of the wife and mother they both loved. United in grief, the pair travel to her ancestral home, where they must confront the terrifying legacy she has bequeathed: a family called the Order that commits unspeakable acts in search of immortality.
For Gaspar, the son, this maniacal cult is his destiny. As the Order tries to pull him into their evil, he and his father take flight, attempting to outrun a powerful clan that will do anything to ensure its own survival. But how far will Gaspar’s father go to protect his child? And can anyone escape their fate?
Moving back and forth in time, from London in the swinging 1960s to the brutal years of Argentina’s military dictatorship and its turbulent aftermath, Our Share of Night is a novel like no other: a family story, a ghost story, a story of the occult and the supernatural, a book about the complexities of love and longing with queer subplots and themes. This is the masterwork of one of Latin America’s most original novelists, “a mesmerizing writer,” says Dave Eggers, “who demands to be read.”
Reasons to read it: Enriquez is your faves’ fave. Silvia Moreno-Garcia says this is “A masterful, unsettling novel from one of Latin America’s most exciting authors.” Kazuo Ishiguro calls her “the most exciting discovery I’ve made in fiction for some time.” And Dave Eggers says she’s “a mesmerizing writer who demands to be read.” In other words, you should pick this one up for a beautifully executed novel that’s haunting and grotesque, sure, but also one that uses its abundance of violence to alter how reality is experienced.
Other Book Riot New Releases Resources
- All the Books, our weekly new book releases podcast, where Liberty and a cast of co-hosts talk about eight books out that week that we’ve read and loved.
- The New Books Newsletter, where we send you an email of the books out this week that are getting buzz.
- Finally, if you want the real inside scoop on new releases, you have to check out Book Riot’s New Releases Index! That’s where I find 90% of new releases, and you can filter by trending books, Rioters’ picks, and even LGBTQ new releases!