The Free World By David Bezmogis, out now
A family of immigrants fleeing Soviet Latvia in the 1970s hashes out intergenerational conflicts as they wait to leave Rome for the West in this debut novel.
To Sound in the Know: Bezmogis is himself an immigrant from Latvia. He arrived in Toronto in 1980 and now lives in New York. So he’s actually a double immigrant, if coming to the U.S. from Canada counts. Does it?
Mister Wonderful: A Love Story By Daniel Clowes, out April 12
This graphic novel, born in the pages of the New York Times Magazine, stars Marshall, a grumpy 40-year-old, divorced gem of a guy, who is just searching for the perfect (by his own precise definitions) female counterpart.
To Sound in the Know: Two of Clowes’ previous graphic novels, Ghost World and Art School Confidential, have already been made into movies.
Bossypants By Tina Fey, out now
Part memoir of her journey from Pennsylvania to Chicago to 30 Rock, part insight on the state of modern comedy. All funny.
To Sound in the Know: It’s Tina Fey and already nobody will shut up about it. What else do you need to know?
The Pale King By David Foster Wallace, out April 15
… sort of IRS trainee David Foster Wallace arrives at his new exam center in Peoria to find that boredom isn’t just yawninducing—it’s also threatening humanity.
To Sound in the Know: Little, Brown wanted to release the book April 15 (what was previously tax day, get it?), but Amazon started selling it early, causing a bit of a kerfuffle among bookstore owners. And you know what happens when bookstore owners get mad…
The Tragedy of Arthur: A Novel By Arthur Phillips, out April 19
The Brooklyn-based novelist gets playful in his latest, where the twin children (one of them named Arthur Phillips) of a forger help him to get what he claims is a long-lost Shakespearean play authenticated and published.
To Sound in the Know: Phillips is a former Jeopardy champion, which means he’s stared into the eyes of the Great Trebek and lived to tell the tale.
The Great Night By Chris Adrian, out April 26
A modern day retelling of Midsummer Night’s Dream set in a park in San Francisco. Three people bound for a party get waylaid by fairies (no Castro jokes), monsters and ghosts of their past relationships.
To Sound in the Know: Adrian, one of the New Yorker’s "20 under 40," is also a pediatric fellow in oncology at UCSF and has attended Harvard Divinity School. So yes, he’s a better human than you.
My New American Life By Francine Prose, out April 26
An Albanian immigrant au pair working in New Jersey has her idyllic if boring suburban existence interrupted by the arrival of a few dangerous countrymen toting guns.
To Sound in the Know: Prose is the president of the PEN American Center and we’re still convinced that her name is fake.