From memoirs to fiction we’ve compiled all the new books we’ve put on our shopping list. Stay tuned here and on our podcast for what we thought about these books!
Waking Lions by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen (Little, Brown and Company)
Everything Belongs to Us by Yoojin Grace Wuertz (Random House)
Everything Belongs to Us takes place at the elite Seoul National University in 1970s South Korea during the final years of a repressive regime that also spurred an economic transformation for the country. The novel follows the fates of two women—Jisun, the daughter of a powerful tycoon, who eschews her privilege to become an underground labor activist in Seoul; and Namin, her best friend from childhood, a brilliant, tireless girl who has grown up with nothing, and whose singular goal is to launch herself and her family out of poverty. Drawn to both of these women is Sunam, a seeming social-climber who is at heart a lost boy struggling to find his place in a cutthroat world. And at the edges of their friendship is Juno, whose ambitions have taken him to new heights in the university’s most prestigious social club, called “the Circle,” and yet who guards a dangerous secret that is tied to his status. Wuertz explores the relationships that bind these students to each other, as well as the private anxieties and desires that drive them to succeed.
No Other World by Rahul Mehta (Harper)
In a rural community in Western New York, twelve-year-old Kiran Shah, the American-born son of Indian immigrants, longingly observes his prototypically American neighbors, the Bells. He attends school with Kelly Bell, but he’s powerfully drawn—in a way he does not yet understand—to her charismatic father, Chris. Kiran’s yearnings echo his parents’ bewilderment as they try to adjust to a new world. His father, Nishit Shah, a successful doctor, is haunted by thoughts of the brother he left behind. His mother, Shanti, struggles to accept a life with a man she did not choose—her marriage to Nishit was arranged—and her growing attachment to an American man. Kiran is close to his older sister, Preeti—until an unexpected threat and an unfathomable betrayal drive a wedge between them that will reverberate through their lives. As he leaves childhood behind, Kiran finds himself perpetually on the outside—as an Indian-American torn between two cultures, and as a gay man in a homophobic society. In the wake of an emotional breakdown, he travels to India, where he forms an intense bond with a teenage hijra, a member of India’s ancient transgender community. With her help, Kiran begins to pull together the pieces of his broken past. Sweeping and emotionally complex, No Other World is a haunting meditation on love, belonging, and forgiveness that explores the line between our responsibilities to our families and to ourselves, the difficult choices we make, and the painful cost of claiming our true selves.
The Price of Illusion: A Memoir by Juliet Buck (Atria Books)
Born into a world of make-believe as the daughter of a larger-than-life film producer, Joan Juliet Buck’s childhood was a whirlwind of famous faces, ever-changing home addresses, and a fascination with the shiny surfaces of things. When Joan became the first and only American woman ever to fill Paris Vogue‘s coveted position of Editor in Chief, a “figurehead in the cult of fashion and beauty,” she had the means to recreate for her aging father, now a widower, the life he’d enjoyed during his high-flying years, a splendid illusion of glamorous excess that could not be sustained indefinitely.
Joan’s memoir tells the story of a life lived in the best places at the most interesting times: London and New York in the swinging 1960s, Rome and Milan in the dangerous 1970s, Paris in the heady 1980s and 1990s. But when her fantasy life at Vogue came to an end, she had to find out who she was after all those years of make-believe. She chronicles this journey in beautiful and at times heartbreaking prose, taking the reader through the wild parties and the fashion, the celebrities and creative geniuses as well as love, loss, and the loneliness of getting everything you thought you wanted and finding it’s not what you’d imagined. While Joan’s story is unique, her journey toward self-discovery is refreshing and universal.
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Riverhead Books)
In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through. . . .
Exit West follows these remarkable characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.
Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf by Helen Cooper Buchanan (Simon & Schuster)
When Ellen Johnson Sirleaf won the 2005 Liberian presidential election, she demolished a barrier few thought possible, obliterating centuries of patriarchal rule to become the first female elected head of state in Africa’s history. Madame President is the inspiring, often heartbreaking story of Sirleaf’s evolution from an ordinary Liberian mother of four boys to international banking executive, from a victim of domestic violence to a political icon, from a post-war president to a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and bestselling author Helene Cooper deftly weaves Sirleaf’s personal story into the larger narrative of the coming of age of Liberian women. The highs and lows of Sirleaf’s life are filled with indelible images; from imprisonment in a jail cell for standing up to Liberia’s military government to addressing the United States Congress, from reeling under the onslaught of the Ebola pandemic to signing a deal with Hillary Clinton when she was still Secretary of State that enshrined American support for Liberia’s future. Sirleaf’s personality shines throughout this riveting biography.