Six Essential Debuts from LJ

Fun fact: Macmillan is publishing three of Library Journal’s six Winter 2015 debut novels recommended by the Pre-Pub Queen herself, Barbara Hoffert!

FIND ME by Laura van den Berg
On Sale: February 17, 2015
Van den Berg’s first collection of stories was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick and a finalist for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award; her second won the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award for Fiction. So the cognoscenti will be paying attention to her first novel, another example of the literary dystopian fiction that’s sweeping the country. Also sweeping the country, in van den Berg’s pages: an illness that leads to memory loss and death. But the ironically named Joy, who works nights at a Boston-area grocery store and drowns bad memories in cough syrup, is immune. That leads first to hospitalization (those curious doctors), then a road trip to find the mother who abandoned her. Heady stuff.

THE INFERNAL by Mark Doten
On Sale: February 17, 2015
A senior editor at Soho Press whose work has appeared in venues like Conjunctions and New York magazine, Doten augments our efforts to understand contemporary East-West anguish with a novel whose premise is particularly arresting. As the fighting in Iraq heats up, a badly burned boy appears near the Akkad Valley, and the U.S. government is worried about what he knows or might have seen. An interrogator sprung from prison and an exacting instrument of torture elicit from the boy an outpouring of voices (including those of Osama bin Laden and Condoleezza Rice) that together capture a world remade by the war on terror.

THE WEDNESDAY GROUP by Sylvia True
On Sale: March 3, 2015
British author True is making eyes pop with this first novel about five women who meet in a therapy group, where they examine what it’s like to be married to sex addicts. (Maybe their husbands should be in therapy, too?) Gail, a distinguished judge, is getting letters from the latest girlfriend of her theology professor husband, who says he’s sworn off promiscuity. Hannah stumbled over her husband having sex with a male prostitute. Bridget’s husband is addicted to match-making websites, while Lizzy’s is a porn addict. And Flavia’s husband has just been arrested for groping a teenage girl, which means she might end the marriage.

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