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New novels to read in 2019

With plenty of forces focused on division over unity, it’s important to remain attentive to the lives we have not lived. Fiction can help enable those connections. Here are eight titles that will be released over the coming months. Their authors hail from seven different countries on five continents. Their creations are audacious, shocking, devoted, isolated, familiar, alien and all too human. 

'Mouthful of Birds' by Samanta Schweblin

1. 'Mouthful of Birds' by Samanta Schweblin These
Photo Credit: Riverhead Books

These weird and wonderfully tormenting short stories slip under your skin like a mashup between Jorge Luis Borges and Stephen King. The young Argentinean author twists her inscrutable tales on the passage of time, familial dynamics and depression into modern parables. (Jan. 8, Riverhead Books)

'Adèle' by Leila Slimani

2. 'Adèle' by Leila Slimani The raw, uninhibited
Photo Credit: Penguin Books

The raw, uninhibited story of a woman who needs to be desired, to the exclusion and sacrifice of everything else. What might appear tawdry in less-skilled hands becomes almost heart-wrenching as the Moroccan-born Slimani's terse prose hurls toward its inevitable conclusion. (Jan. 15, Penguin Books)

'Lot' by Bryan Washington

3. 'Lot' by Bryan Washington This debut collection
Photo Credit: Riverhead Books

This debut collection set in the ethnically rich immigrant communities around Houston is gloriously alive linguistically. Most stories focus on a gay teen and his family -- black mother, Latino father, brother and sister -- navigating drugs, love and their changing neighborhood. (March 19, Riverhead Books)

'Crossing' by Pajtim Statovci

4. 'Crossing' by Pajtim Statovci A gender-fluid Albanian
Photo Credit: Pantheon

A gender-fluid Albanian immigrant searches for both an identity and a home, fleeing to Italy, New York, Spain and Finland. A treacherous turn will have you questioning how we adapt after grasping our desires and how our humanity mutates when hardship is met with hatred. (April 2, Pantheon)

'Lights All Night Long' by Lydia Fitzpatrick

5. 'Lights All Night Long' by Lydia Fitzpatrick
Photo Credit: Penguin Press

Fitzgerald's enthralling debut about a 15-year-old Russian exchange student in small-town Louisiana is difficult to stop reading once you start. Well-written. Well-paced. Memorable characters. In the best possible way, this novel is simply very gratifying. (April 2, Penguin Press)

'Women Talking' by Miriam Toews

6. 'Women Talking' by Miriam Toews Based on
Photo Credit: Bloomsbury Publishing

Based on the true story of a Bolivian Mennonite community where hundreds of women and girls were raped nightly for several years, this is not ordinary dystopian fiction. These mothers and daughters debate how to claim their future without betraying their faith or their families. (April 2, Bloomsbury Publishing)

'Normal People' by Sally Rooney

7. 'Normal People' by Sally Rooney The second
Photo Credit: Hogarth

The second novel from this immensely talented Irish twentysomething is an incisive and aching look at enduring friendship and love. Rooney's prose seems effortless, making Connell and Marianne reverberate almost elementally from the pages. (April 16, Hogarth)

'Diary of a Murderer' by Young-ha Kim

8. 'Diary of a Murderer' by Young-ha Kim
Photo Credit: Mariner Books

The first story collection by this celebrated South Korean author to be translated into English tackles the fragility of our narratives as death and loss intercede. Darkly humorous, particularly the titular serial killer battling dementia. (April 16, Mariner Books)

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