Literary Fiction | Prepub Alert, April 2024 Titles

Julia Alvarez and Jane Smiley return, and a host of writers tackle philosophical questions and family relationships. 








Alvarez, Julia. The Cemetery of Untold Stories. Algonquin. Apr. 2024. 256p. ISBN 9781643753843. $28. F

Multi-award-winning and best-selling Alvarez (Afterlife) pens a tale of magical realism about a writer and her stories. Alma Cruz returns to her homeland of the Dominican Republic and buries her untold stories, literally, but they have other ideas and take on lives of their own. With a 75K-copy first printing.

Beams, Clare. The Garden. Doubleday. Apr. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9780385548182. $28. F

Beams’s second novel, after The Illness Lesson, navigates between gothic and historical fiction as it explicates how women’s bodies are annexed. In 1948, Irene Willard arrives at a remote residential hospital after her fifth miscarriage. There are doctors, a garden of mysterious power, and a great deal on the line. With blurbs from Rachel Yoder, Paul Tremblay, and Kelly Link.

Freudenberger, Nell. The Limits. Knopf. Apr. 2024. 368p. ISBN 9780593448885. $29. F

Freudenberger (Lost and Wanted) has racked up numerous accolades, including a Guggenheim fellowship, a Whiting Award, and a PEN/Malamud Award. Her latest novel, set in French Polynesia and New York City, is a heart-wrenching tale that considers race, class, and family as three characters experience a life-changing year during the COVID pandemic.

Hughes, Caoilinn. The Alternatives. Riverhead. Apr. 2024. 352p. ISBN 9780593545003. $28. F

Award-winning Irish poet and novelist Hughes (The Wild Laughter), currently a Cullman Fellow at NYPL, writes a new novel that features four sisters whose parents died tragically. As adults, the women lead separate lives across the globe, until one of them abruptly disappears, and the sisters reunite to search the Irish countryside.

Jennings, Karen. Crooked Seeds. Hogarth: Crown. Apr. 2024. 240p. ISBN 9780593597125. $28. F

Jennings, a South African writer whose novel An Island was longlisted for the Booker Prize, examines national trauma and collective guilt in this story that alternates between 1994, the year that Apartheid ended, and 2028, as a woman’s family home in Cape Town becomes the scene of a criminal investigation.

Khong, Rachel. Real Americans. Knopf. Apr. 2024. 416p. ISBN 9780593537251. $29. F

Opposites Matthew and Lily meet and fall in love, but years later Lily’s son goes looking for the biological father he never knew. Khong’s previous novel, Goodbye, Vitamin, was named a best book of the year by multiple media outlets and is in development for a feature film.

Kim, Crystal Hana. The Stone Home. Morrow. Apr. 2024. 352p. ISBN 9780063310971. $30. F

Kim was named a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 in 2022, and her debut, If You Leave Me, was chosen as a best book of the year by over a dozen publications. Now she tells a dual-timeline coming-of-age story that begins in the 1980s with a young girl and her mother in a South Korean reformatory center. With a 100K-copy first printing.

Lodato, Victor. Honey. Harper. Apr. 2024. 400p. ISBN 9780063309616. $32. F

Lodato’s debut, Mathilda Savitch, won the PEN USA Award. His latest is the story of Honey Fasinga, daughter of a notorious New Jersey mobster, who returns home many years later and finds herself falling in love and having to reckon with her violent past—and deciding if she wants to forgive or avenge.

Lu, Wenyan. The Funeral Cryer. Hanover Square: Harlequin. Apr. 2024. 240p. ISBN 9781335016935. $28.99. F

Lu makes her debut with this novel that won the SI Leeds Literary Prize for best unpublished novel in the UK. Taking place in contemporary rural China, it depicts a woman stigmatized by her job as a funeral cryer—until she takes a leap of faith that turns her life around. With a 75K-copy first printing.

Mukherjee, Neel. Choice. Norton. Apr. 2024. 320p. ISBN 9781324075011. $28.99. F

London-based publisher Ayush obsesses about how one ought to live. As he pursues this and questions every act of consumption, the novel explores the ramifications of choice—and how much choice one really has—through three connected narratives. Mukherjee’s The Lives of Others was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, while A State of Freedom was named a New York Times notable book.

Portero, Alana S. Bad Habit. HarperVia. Apr. 2024. 176p. tr. from Spanish by Mara Faye Lethem. ISBN 9780063336124. $24. F

Spanish activist Portero writes a coming-of-age story about a trans woman growing up in a working-class neighborhood in Madrid, set against the drug- and party-filled 1980s and ’90s. The novella gets a 75K-copy first printing.

Sahota, Sunjeev. The Spoiled Heart. Viking. Apr. 2024. 272p. ISBN 9780593655986. $29. F

Twice-nominated for the Booker Prize and a finalist for the ALA Carnegie Medal, Sahota (China Room) delves into the cascading impact of a small, careless act and long-held secrets as two rivals vie to lead their labor union.

Shriver, Lionel. Mania. Harper. Apr. 2024. 288p. ISBN 9780063345393. $30. F

National Book Award finalist and best seller Shriver (Should We Stay or Should We Go) tackles political division and culture wars through a novel set in an alternate 2011 when the Mental Parity movement—which believes that everyone is equally smart—takes hold, and a lifelong friendship implodes when two women disagree about it.

Smiley, Jane. Lucky. Knopf. Apr. 2024. 384p. ISBN 9780593535011. $29. F

Pulitzer Prize winner Smiley (A Dangerous Business) tells the story of imagined folk musician Jodie Rattler, who grows up in St. Louis in the 1950s and then starts a singing career that sends her across the globe during the heyday of folk music as she searches for love and meaning in her life.

Taylor, Justin. Reboot. Pantheon. Apr. 2024. 288p. ISBN 9780553387629. $28. F

Leaning into ’90s nostalgia, Taylor (Riding with the Ghost) satirizes Hollywood and toxic fandom, as a washed-up former child actor, now a deadbeat dad addicted to alcohol, makes a comeback in a revival of the Buffy rip-off hit teen drama that made him a star. Taylor is an editor at The Literary Review and director of the Sewanee MFA program.

Williams, Fiona. The House of Broken Bricks. Holt. Apr. 2024. 352p. ISBN 9781250896766. $27.99. F

Williams’s debut, set in the English countryside, features the stories of four family members, told through their alternating perspectives. There’s Tess, who longs for London; Richard, who uprooted the family for a farming life; and their 10-year-old twins, one presenting as Black, the other white. This story of belonging and identity won the Bridport Prize Peggy Chapman-Andrews First Novel Award.

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