11 New Books We Recommend This Week

DEACON KING KONG, by James McBride. (Riverhead, $28.) At the center of this raucous novel by the National Book Award-winning author of “The Good Lord Bird” are a hard-drinking church deacon and a sudden, inexplicable act of violence. But that’s just one strand of McBride’s tour de force, a book resounding with madcap characters and sly commentary on race, crime and inequality. Junot Díaz, reviewing it, says that “Deacon King Kong” is “many things: a mystery novel, a crime novel, an urban farce, a portrait of a project community. There’s even some western in here. The novel is, in other words, a lot. Fortunately, it is also deeply felt, beautifully written and profoundly humane; McBride’s ability to inhabit his characters’ foibled, all-too-human interiority helps transform a fine book into a great one.”

EVERYWHERE YOU DON’T BELONG, by Gabriel Bump. (Algonquin, $25.95.) It’s the rare book that can achieve an appropriate balance between heaviness and levity. This debut novel — a comically dark coming-of-age story about growing up on the South Side of Chicago — pulls the feat off “not just generously, but seemingly without effort,” Tommy Orange writes in his review. “Above all this book is personal: Bump’s meditation on belonging and not belonging, where or with whom, how love is a way home no matter where you are, is handled so beautifully that you don’t know he’s hypnotized you until he’s done. Most funny things are funny because they’re real, this book included.”

THE DECADENT SOCIETY: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success, by Ross Douthat. (Avid Reader, $27.) Douthat sees world-weariness and cultural exhaustion throughout American society, and what worries him is that those conditions seem sustainable for many years rather than a prelude to civilizational collapse. Our reviewer, Mark Lilla, calls “The Decadent Society” a “clever and stimulating new book” that contains “a lot about the need for hope and building a ‘ladder to the stars,’ both figuratively and literally. But also the thought that it may take a nudge from divine providence to restore our confidence and ability to reach infinity and beyond.”

WHISTLEBLOWER: My Journey to Silicon Valley and Fight for Justice at Uber, by Susan Fowler. (Viking, $28.) The woman who exposed systemic sexual harassment at Uber tells her story, from her home-schooling in Arizona to her experiences with a corporation that preferred to cover up injustice. “‘Whistleblower’ is a powerful illustration of the obstacles our society continues to throw up in the paths of ambitious young women,” Sheelah Kolhatkar writes in her review, “and the ways that institutions still protect and enable badly behaving men.”

RACE AGAINST TIME: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era, by Jerry Mitchell. (Simon & Schuster, $28.) As a reporter for The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., starting in the 1980s, Mitchell delved into infamous race crimes from decades earlier, helping to secure convictions in cases including the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that killed four girls in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963. “His journalistic coups revealed an uncanny ability to wheedle incriminating remarks from defensive suspects and damning observations from unfriendly witnesses,” Randall Kennedy writes in his review, calling Mitchell’s book “a vivid, quick-paced, accessible account of horrific crimes.”

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