Three Big Memoirs: Oct. 2023, Pt. 4 | Prepub Alert

Viet Thanh Nguyen, Raquel Willis, and the Kurzweil family. 

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Kurzweil, Amy. Artificial: A Love Story. Catapult. Oct. 2023. 368p. ISBN 9781948226387. $38. MEMOIR

Kurzweil, whose comics have graced the pages of The New Yorker, offers a memoir in graphic format over three persevering generations. Her father, inventor/futurist Ray Kurzweil, saved documents belonging to his own conductor/pianist father, Frederic, who fled Nazi-infested Vienna in 1938; Ray recently turned to daughter Amy to help build a chatbot that writes in Fred’s voice. Kurweil’s first graphic memoir since 2016’s award-winning Flying Couch.

Nguyen, Viet Thanh. A Man of Two Faces. Grove. Oct. 2023. 400p. ISBN 9780802160508. $28. MEMOIR

If the Pulitzer Prize–winning Nguyen’s extraordinary fiction is reverberant with the awful pain of colonization, war, and the refugee’s life, imagine what his memoir will be like. The flight his family undertook from Vietnam to the United States, his temporary removal from them, the shooting of his parents one Christmas Eve at their grocery store in San Jose, the fractured sense of identity that has pervaded his life—all are summed up in an account that’s both wide-ranging and deeply personal.

Willis, Raquel. The Risk It Takes To Bloom: On Life and Liberation. St. Martin’s. Oct. 2023. 384p. ISBN 9781250275684. $29. MEMOIR

Raised in the South by Catholic parents, Willis discovered the LGBTQ+ community at university and began moving toward a surer sense of herself and her sexuality. A career in journalism led to her recognizing the dangers facing trans women of color in particular, and she has since emerged as a leading Black transgender activist. Here she tracks her life and her liberation; with a 50,000-copy first printing.

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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.

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