Debut fiction books have been big in 2008, with many titles you won't want to miss. Here are some of the big debuts from authors whose books are creating lots of buzz.
'Beginner's Greek' by James Collins
is the debut novel from James Collins, and it’s a shame he’s waited this long to begin. The story of Holly and Peter is a simple, old-fashioned story that’s sweet but not treacly; beautifully-written but not precious. Beginner’s Greek is utterly delightful.
'The English American' by Alison Larkin
Simon & Schuster
The English American
is Alison Larkin's first novel, and it's a work of fiction drawn from the author's own experience as a young English woman who meets her biological parents, two eccentric Americans. Part chick-lit story about finding love, part emotional exploration of the lasting effects of adoption, The English American
is a charmingly-written novel.
'The House at Riverton' by Kate Morton
In The House at Riverton
, Kate Morton weaves together a modern Gothic mystery told from the perspective of a ninety-nine year old woman in a nursing home who was a servant at Riverton during during the 1910s and 1920s. Morton recreates England around World War I well, and draws readers into the emotion of the changing time. The House at Riverton is an enjoyable read.
'Last Last Chance' by Fiona Maazel
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Last Last Chance
, Fiona Maazel’s debut novel, is the frenetic, disjointed narrative of Lucy, a 30-year-old woman struggling to stay sober. Meanwhile, her father was a scientist working on the pneumonic plague; he killed himself after someone stole vials of the plague from his lab. Despite this, Last Last Chance
is billed as a comic novel. While it isn’t exactly a-laugh-a-minute, it does have more humor than its subject would suggest. It’s also surprisingly powerful and moving.
'The Monsters of Templeton' by Lauren Groff
The Monsters of Templeton
is a debut novel that’s gotten a lot of buzz -- and it’s well deserved. Lauren Groff has written a book that’s an ode to her hometown, Cooperstown, New York. Filled with monsters, ghosts, ancestors with secrets, and illegitimate children, The Monsters of Templeton
is monstrously enjoyable.
'The Painter from Shanghai' by Jennifer Cody Epstein
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
The Painter from Shanghai
, from first-time novelist Jennifer Cody Epstein, tells the fictionalized story of Pan Yuliang, a real woman who was one of the most prominent -- and controversial -- painters of the 20th century. Superbly written, Cody Epstein’s novel paints its own haunting and inspiring tale of the woman who went from being sold into prostitution to exhibiting her paintings in the finest salons in Paris.
'The Heretic's Daughter' by Kathleen Kent
The Heretic’s Daughter
tells the story of the Salem Witch Trials. It’s a story that’s been told many times before, but Kent manages to bring fresh passion and urgency to the tragic hysteria that gripped New England in 1692.
'The Story of Edgar Sawtelle' by David Wroblewski
David Wroblewski's debut novel, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
, was chosen for Oprah's Book Club in September 2008. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
is about a man who is born mute and raised on a farm where his parents breed and train dogs. Wroblewski's writing is poetic, and he will draw you in to another world.