Magical Realism | Prepub Alert, August 2024 Titles

Ghosts, magical silk-spinning spiders, a parallel universe, wandering shadows, and a unicorn woman make appearances in these tales of magical realism.








Balibrera, Gina María. The Volcano Daughters. Pantheon. Aug. 2024. 368p. ISBN 9780593317235. $28. F

Balibrera debuts with a novel spanning the 1920s–40s that follows two sisters who live in El Salvador under the rule of a brutal dictator and flee the genocide of the country’s Indigenous people. They are followed by the ghosts of their murdered friends as they travel the globe from Hollywood to Paris and reinvent their lives.

Collins, Bridget. The Silence Factory. Morrow. Aug. 2024. 384p. ISBN 9780063220010. $30. F

Best-selling Collins’s (The Betrayals) latest begins in 1820 as James and Sophia Ashmore-Percy travel to a remote island in search of rare specimens. Decades later, audiologist Henry Latimer is summoned by Sir Edward Ashmore-Percy to cure his daughter of deafness, but Henry instead becomes obsessed with Edward’s business, which uses magical spiders to spin silk that can shield sound.

Dyer, Alli. Strange Folk. Atria. Aug. 2024. 320p. ISBN 9781668045770. $28.99. F

In Dyer’s debut, Lee walked away from her magical family in Appalachia. She returns home when she has nowhere else to go, but she still doesn’t want to have anything to do with magic. After someone targeted by her grandmother’s spell dies, Lee searches for answers while rediscovering her own power.

Frey, Rea. In Every Life. Harper Muse. Aug. 2024. 368p. ISBN 9781400243136. pap. $18.99. F

Frey’s (The Other Year) latest explores dual realities. Harper’s husband has cancer, and he wants her to find a new partner before he dies. She doesn’t agree but then encounters the man who got away and finds herself in a parallel universe where all her what-ifs are reality.

Hough, Julianne & Ellen Goodlett. Everything We Never Knew. Sourcebooks Landmark. Aug. 2024. 320p. ISBN 9781464217968. pap. $17.99. F

YA author Goodlett (Rise) and Hough, dancer and host on Dancing with the Stars, team up. Lexi Cole has built a successful, comfortable life, but then she begins experiencing strange events—she can feel other people’s emotions and glimpse their memories. She’ll need to face her past, however, before she can embrace these new abilities and help others.

Howard, Alex. The Ghost Cat. Hanover Square: Harlequin. Aug. 2024. 256p. ISBN 9781335012333. $21.99. F

UK author Howard (Library Cat) makes his U.S. debut with this tale of a ghost cat, who spends his last day alive curled up by the fire in 1902. He returns as a ghost cat, haunting the inhabitants of an Edinburgh tenement and witnessing history across two centuries.

Jones, Gayl. The Unicorn Woman. Beacon. Aug. 2024. 224p. ISBN 9780807030035. $26.95. F

Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist Jones (The Birdcatcher) writes about Black army veteran Buddy Ray Guy, who returns home to a Jim Crow community rather than accolades. As he searches for love, meaning, and a mythical ideal, he also reminisces about his time in postwar France and those he met, including the Unicorn Woman.

Jungeun, Hwang. One Hundred Shadows. Erewhon Bks. Aug. 2024. 192p. tr. from Korean by Jung Yewon. ISBN 9781645661443. $19.95. F

South Korean author Jungeun’s debut novella is an award-winning international best seller written in response to the 2009 Yongsan Disaster, in which displaced tenants were attacked by police and security guards during protests. In a Seoul slum slated for demolition, residents’ shadows have begun to rise and wander away, and the community starts to fade.

Kurkov, Andrey. Jimi Hendrix Live in Lviv. HarperVia. Aug. 2024. 416p. tr. from Russian by Reuben Woolley. ISBN 9780063354548. pap. $19.99. F

Previously published in the UK, this already made the International Booker Prize longlist while Kurkov’s last book, Grey Bees, won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Here he writes of strange, magical occurrences in Lviv, Ukraine, as an eccentric group gathers around a mysterious grave and bands together to investigate the anomalies.

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