Our Favorite First Lines from New (and Newish) Books
1. Mrs. Osmond
The brilliant Irish novelist John Banville delivers a pitch-perfect sequel to Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady.
A teenage girl obsesses over her falling-out with her best friend and rages inwardly at the sexist imbalance of society.
3. Madame Zero
In these unsettling stories by the young British writer Sarah Hall, fantasy encroaches on the concrete zone of real life, overturning expectation, and exciting the imagination.
Silber’s skillful novel weaves together the lives and voices of a young single mother in New York, her reckless boyfriend, and her characterful, well-traveled aunt.
This provocative collection of modern fables of feminine identity and desire, by the late British novelist and essayist Jenny Diski, comes to American readers for the first time.
6. What We Lose
In Clemmons’ thoughtful debut novel, a young woman with South African and North American roots struggles with her identity and an unplanned pregnancy while wrestling with her mother’s death.
A nonfiction examination of modern adultery and marriage.
In this rueful and funny novel, the narrator, a 30-year old woman, moves home for a year after her father develops Alzheimer’s disease.
The novelist presents her first collection of short stories, glittering gems in which female identity and the supernatural blend and blur, eerily distorting everyday perception.
The narrator has married a man who has two teenage children, and an ex-wife who haunts the new marriage.
Sexton deftly layers the struggles of three generations of a middle-class black family in New Orleans to deflect the buffets of adversity, racism and weather—and to endure.
A brainy thriller for the internet age, about a detached, daring, underprotected teenage girl who narrowly escapes sex slavery by a band of tech-savvy Dadaist art obsessives.
Ward’s third novel takes the reader on a haunting, heartbreaking road trip through the American South, with a family fractured by racism, addiction and prison, but bound to each other through love.
Fairy tale, feminism, science fiction and a splash of horror blend in Machado’s fervidly original short stories.