11 New Books We Recommend This Week
THE CURSED HERMIT, by Kris Bertin and Alexander Forbes. (Conundrum, $20.) In the second of the graphic novel series Hobtown Mystery Stories, a pair of teenage sleuths are thrown into a loopy adventure at Knotty Pines, a vast and secluded boarding school, thick with bad mojo and elaborate wallpaper, where Lovecraftian evil lurks. Picture Nancy Drew but darker, and watch the creepiness go off the charts.
A LONG PETAL OF THE SEA, by Isabel Allende. Translated by Nick Caistor and Amanda Hopkinson. (Ballantine, $28.) Spanning generations and continents, Allende’s 17th novel follows a couple after they escape the ugly aftermath of the Spanish Civil War on the poet Pablo Neruda’s “ship of hope,” a cargo ship that carried over 2,000 refugees who sought political asylum. Our reviewer Paula McLain writes that Allende “has deftly woven fact and fiction, history and memory, to create one of the most richly imagined portrayals of the Spanish Civil War to date, and one of the strongest and most affecting works in her long career.”
HEATHCLIFF REDUX: A Novella and Stories, by Lily Tuck. (Atlantic Monthly, $23.) In the novella that anchors this collection, Tuck uses the same flat, fragmentary style of her most recent novel, “Sisters,” to reimagine Emily Brontë’s 1847 novel “Wuthering Heights” as a tale of self-delusion and internal conflict in 1960s Virginia. The story is written in a series of short, clipped sections, sometimes a couple of paragraphs, others no more than a line or two per page. The “restrained but remarkably arresting” result, our reviewer Lucy Scholes writes, is “a master class in digression as a narrative device.”
THE RECIPE FOR REVOLUTION, by Carolyn Chute. (Grove, $30.) This sprawling novel about capitalist exploitation and the delusions of growth features a wide-ranging cast, including militia groups, media figures, cultists, callous entrepreneurs, economic outcasts and Republican wives. “The events of the novel take place circa-Y2K, but Chute’s concerns seem very 2020: how reality is named, created, fragmented, trolled, distorted,” our reviewer Nathan Hill writes.
THE ILLNESS LESSON, by Clare Beams. (Doubleday, $26.95.) Much of the feminist dystopian fiction published over the last few years takes place in the future, in worlds uncomfortably similar to our own. “The Illness Lesson,” however, proves that books can fit squarely within that genre even when set in the past — in this case, small-town Massachusetts in 1871. “Think ‘City Upon a Hill’ ideals and ‘The Scarlet Letter’-style misogyny and you’ll have a pretty good idea of this sly debut novel,” our reviewer Siobhan Jones writes, “which scarily hints that, since the 19th century, perhaps not a whole lot has changed.”