Literary Fiction: Layered with History, Mar. 2024, Pt. 2 | Prepub Alert

Literary fiction, historical frames. 

Click here for additional new Prepub Alert columns  

Henriquez, Cristina. The Great Divide. Ecco. Mar. 2024. 336p. ISBN 9780063291324. $30. CD. LITERARY

Working at the construction site of the Panama Canal to earn money for her sister’s surgery, 16-year-old West Indian Ada Bunting aids a young man named Omar who has collapsed. Observing her kindness, John Oswald—a researcher intent on eradicating malaria—quickly hires her to care for his ailing wife. Through these and multiple other characters, Henríquez tells the epic story of the canal. With a 250,000-copy first printing; following The Book of Unknown Americas, The Daily Beast's Novel of the Year.

Lennon, Ferdia. Glorious Exploits. Holt. Mar. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9781250893697. $26.99. LITERARY

Set during the Peloponnesian War but told in contemporary Irish dialect, this debut features two potter friends in Syracuse, Sicily, as thrilled as their compatriots by the unexpected defeat of the invading Athenians but still eager to hear the words of the great Greek playwright Euripides. So off they head to the quarry where Greek POWs are being held to ask them to recite lines. Born of an Irish mother and a Libyan father, rising-star Lennon has been nominated for the Hennessy Emerging Writer Award; this book was bought in the UK after a major auction. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

Marlantes, Karl. Cold Victory. Grove. Jan. 2024. 352p. ISBN 9780802161420. $28. LITERARY

In 1947 Finland, Arnie and Mikhail—the military attachés of the United States and the Soviet Union, respectively—meet at an embassy party and as top-notch skiers challenge each other to a good-natured race. It’s supposed to be secret, but Arnie’s wife is using the match-up as a way to raise money for the local orphanage, too late realizing that a loss for Mikhail would likely mean recall and execution. From the author of the best-selling Matterhorn and the multi-starred saga Deep River.

Orange, Tommy. Wandering Stars. Knopf. Mar. 2024. 336p. ISBN 9780593318256. $29. lrg. prnt. CD. LITERARY

Star, a young survivor of 1864’s Sand Creek Massacre (in present-day Colorado), is held at the Fort Marion Prison Castle and compelled to eschew his language and heritage by a brutal prison guard—as is Star’s son Charles a generation later, at the Carlisle Industrial School for Indians. Charles survives with the help of fellow student Opal Viola, whose own story brings us to 2018 Oakland and events in Orange’s Pulitzer Prize finalist, mega-award-winning There There.

Yuszczuk, Marina. Thirst. Dutton. Mar. 2024. 304p. tr. from Spanish by Heather Cleary. ISBN 9780593472064. $28. MEMOIR

In present-day Buenos Aires, a woman beset with worries about her terminally ill mother and her own heavy self-doubts wanders a cemetery, meeting another woman who turns out to be a vampire, having arrived from Europe in the 19th century. From there, the relationship explodes. A prolific Argentine author and founding editor of a press focusing on women, Yuszczuk makes her U.S. debut.

Click here for additional new Prepub Alert columns  

Author Image
Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; winner of ALA's Louis Shores Award for reviewing; and past president, awards chair, and treasurer of the National Book Critics Circle, which awarded her its inaugural Service Award in 2023.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing