The best in upcoming fiction and nonfiction, from big-name novelists to provocative newbies.
Spring Books Preview
Spring 2023 Books Preview

April is the cruelest month for many things — but not, thank the publishing gods, your Goodreads new-releases queue. This spring's literary cup overflows with fresh tales from major names (Verghese, Lehane), thrilling debuts, and masters of nonfiction in all its forms.

Spring Books Preview Charles Frazier, The Trackers
Credit: Ecco

The Trackers by Charles Frazier

The author of dad-bookshelf stalwarts Cold Mountain and Varina pivots from the Civil War to the Great Depression with another richly panoramic doorstopper — this time about a young WPA painter tasked with tracking down a wealthy man's runaway wife from the Wyoming plains through San Francisco to the swamps of Florida. (April 11)

Spring Books Preview Gina Chung, Sea Change
Credit: Vintage

Sea Change by Gina Chung

Call it My Octopus Teacher II: Depressive Boogaloo. In Chung's lightly fantastical debut, 30-year-old Ro is in the thick of a quarter-life crisis: Her marine-biologist father disappeared years ago, her ex-boyfriend is off to train for a mission to Mars, and a giant cephalopod named Dolores may be her only friend at the mall aquarium where she begrudgingly cleans the tanks and does other menial tasks. Can Ro find a leg (or eight arms) to stand on? (April 11)

Spring Books Preview Dennis Lehane, Small Mercies
Credit: Harper

Small Mercies by Dennis Lehane

The bard of Boston returns with a raw-knuckled tale of school integration, racial tension, and a pair of suspicious deaths that rattles both sides of that divide circa 1974. Readers of Gone Baby Gone and Mystic River will recognize the broad outlines: blue-collar clashes, tenacious detectives, ornery moms. And of course Southie: an indelible place where "most kids came out of the womb clutching a Schlitz and a pack of Luckies." (April 11)

Spring Books Preview David Grann, The Wager
Credit: Doubleday

The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny, and Murder by David Grann

Few writers working today spin buried histories into gold quite like Grann; the Killers of the Flower Moon scribe's heavily researched recounting of a wrecked British vessel that washed up on the shores of 18th-century Brazil — and the tangle of wildly conflicting narratives that ensued — has already been snapped up for adaptation by Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese, who will release their film version of Moon later this year. (April 18)

Spring Books Preview Nicholas Binge, Ascension
Credit: Riverhead Books

Ascension by Nicholas Binge

Why did a brilliant scientist spend 30 years in a madhouse, then violently take his own life? It might have something to do with a snow-capped mountain that suddenly materialized in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on a long-ago mission he never spoke of, but you'll have to read deep into Binge's eerie metaphysical thriller — which recalls literary nightmare fodder like Scott Smith's The Ruins and Jeff Vandermeer's Annihilation — to find out. Sleep tight! (April 25)

Chain Gang All Stars: A Novel by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Credit: Pantheon

Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

The title is not a metaphor: Gladiator meets Mad Max at the penal colony in the brutal, world-building latest from Adjei-Brenyah (Friday Black), in which two women fight to earn their freedom in a dystopian near-future prison system, or die trying. (May 2)

Spring Books Preview Claire Dederer, Monsters
Credit: Knopf

Monsters: A Fan's Dilemma by Claire Dededer

Roman Polanski, Michael Jackson, Picasso: How do we navigate the moral obstacle course of loving the art but not the artist? And how do we shape our own private hierarchies of what we will and won't accept? Springboarding off her viral Paris Review essay, author and essayist Dededer delves into the deeply personal clash between ethical obligation and aesthetic pleasure. (Perhaps not surprisingly, one sex dominates here, but men are not the only culprits; J.K. Rowling gets her own chapter.) (April 25)

Spring Books Preview Mary Beth Keane, The Half Moon
Credit: Scribner

The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane

Once again, Keane mines the family strife and secrecy that made her absorbing 2019 debut Ask Again, Yes one of the bigger book-club breakouts of the last several years. Here, a full marriage story is compressed within the span of a single week as charming, gregarious bartender Malcolm and his conscientious lawyer wife Jess confront the longtime fissures in their union and the many dreams deferred. (May 2)

Spring Books Preview Abraham Verghese, The Covenant of Water
Credit: Grove Press

The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese

Verghese's 2009 novel Cutting for Stone spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list and sold over one million copies (Obama was a fan). Fourteen years later, the Ethiopian-born physician and Stanford professor returns with this shimmering 700-page epic set on the Malabar Coast of India amidst a family beset by a singular sort of curse: in every generation, at least one member drowns. (May 2)

Spring Books Preview The Making of Another Motion Picture Masterpiece Tom Hanks
Credit: Knopf

The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece by Tom Hanks

A novel by a major motion-picture star about the making of a major motion picture? Oscar winner and general American treasure Tom Hanks is too universally beloved to make pure Malkovich-Malkovich chaos out of all that; instead, his warmhearted storytelling winds from post-WWII to the present day, as an underground comic book inspired by a war-hero uncle becomes a, well, you know. (May 9)

Spring Books Preview RF Kuang, Yellowface Publisher ‏ : ‎ William Morrow

Yellowface by RF Kuang

The recent mini-boom in satirical lit-world metafiction gets a wicked boost from Kuang's sly, ruthless portrait of a white Yale grad who steals her late Asian classmate's unpublished masterwork and passes it off as her own, complete with a new nom de plume and ethnically ambiguous makeover. Will it all go to hell in a karmic hand-basket? Your first two guesses don't count. (May 16)

Spring Books Preview Emma Cline, The Guest Publisher ‏ : ‎ Random House

The Guest by Emma Cline

While the world awaits an elusive screen adaptation of her sensational 2016 debut The Girls, Cline (Daddy) quietly continues to be one of the best and most discomfiting young writers working today. In Guest, she turns her X-ray gaze to Alex, a 22-year-old grifter with more than a little Mr. Ripley Goes to the Hamptons in her survival-of-the-fittest schemes and machinations. (May 2)

Samantha Irby, Quietly Hostile Publisher ‏ : ‎ Vintage
Credit: Vintage

Quietly Hostile by Samantha Irby

"This is not an advice book. And I don't know anything," Irby's latest begins. Instead, the bottle-rocket wit behind the bestselling essay collections Wow, No Thank You and We Are Never Meeting in Real Life loosens herself like a one-woman fun-kraken on whatever topic catches her keen observational fancy: pelvic floors, rest-stop convenience stores, a deep abiding love for the Dave Matthews Band. (May 16)

Spring Books Preview Luis Alberto Urrea Good Night Irene
Credit: Little, Brown and Company

Good Night, Irene by Luis Alberto Urrea

Urrea (The Hummingbird's Daughter, The House of Broken Angels) bends a fertile bough from his own family tree in Irene, a sweeping novel loosely based on his mother's experiences as a plucky, rebellious Red Cross volunteer with the so-called Donut Dollies on the battlefields of WWII, and the love stories — both romantic and platonic — that followed her home. (May 30)

The Celebrants by Stephen Rowley Publisher ‏ : ‎ G.P. Putnam's Sons
Credit: G.P. Putnam's Sons

The Celebrants by Stephen Rowley

"Big Chill, but make it Gen X-y and at least 30% more gay": That's one potential logline for the fizzy, emotionally intelligent latest from Guncle author Rowley, in which a group of college friends continue to reunite decades after the death of one of their own, having vowed to give each other "living funerals" — without realizing how literal the next one might be. (May 30)

Related content: