It’s the season of big, glorious novels to transport you to other times and other places. There’s plenty to choose from this spring, from both debut authors with mind-blowing first books and established writers back with more epic storytelling.
Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
Barbara Kingsolver needs no introduction. The author of The Poisonwood Bible, The Lacuna, many other novels and critically acclaimed non-fiction, returns with a modern adaptation of Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield. Kingsolver tells the story of Demon’s life set against the backdrop of the devastating opioid epidemic.
The Unfolding by A.M. Homes
In her first novel since winning the Women’s Prize with May We Be Forgiven, A.M. Homes returns with a biting satire of the American dream. Picking at the scabs of division in American society, Homes follows the family of Big Guy, his wife Charlotte, and daughter Meghan, as their relationships start to shatter in the wake of the 2008 presidential election.
Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson
From the award-winning author of Life after Life – an adaptation of this novel was recently screened on TVNZ with Aotearoa’s own Thomasin Mackenzie in the lead role – comes the tale of Nellie Croker and her empire of nightclubs in 1920s London. Lush and engaging, and full of Atkinson’s trademark narrative skill and wit.
Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Taylor Jenkins Reid is back too, with yet another engrossing novel. Fierce and ambitious, Carrie Soto retires with every record in women’s tennis history – but six years later, another player claims her crown. Carrie’s determined to win it back, even if it means facing all her greatest demons.
Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies by Maddie Mortimer
At just 26, Maddie Mortimer’s debut novel is seriously accomplished – written in short, poetic vignettes, this novel charts Lia’s diagnosis and treatment for cancer. Dark and wild, and quietly affecting, this novel honours family, desire, loss, and forgiveness, all in a brave and melodic style.
Joan by Katherine J. Chen
A reimagining of the famous Joan of Arc, written in gorgeous lyrical prose. This Joan bursts out of a brutal childhood to take a place at the head of the French army, but who can she trust? This feminist celebration of the historic figure is thrilling storytelling.
Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo
Described as a Zimbabwean version of Animal Farm, Bulawayo’s political satire Glory tells the story of the animal kingdom Jidada, and the ousting of the leader Old Horse after a 40-year rule. Bulawayo’s debut novel, We Need New Names, was shortlisted for the Booker prize, and Glory is bursting with the same gorgeous writing and extraordinary humour.
Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty
Winner of the inaugural Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize, Rabbit Hutch is set in Vacca Vale, Indiana, a fictional town slowly decaying in the United States rust-belt. Blandine, a beautiful and incredibly intelligent young woman, is given a chance to escape her life of poverty and destitution, and Gunty explores Blandine’s choices with exquisite and daring prose.