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April 15, 2017 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Historical Fiction
Barkskins. By Annie Proulx. 2016. Scribner, $32 (9780743288781).
Proulx’s woodland saga begins in the seventeenth century with the clash between European settlers and Native Americans and tells the dramatic stories of generations of individuals who either loved or destroyed North America’s vast verdant forests.
The Bones of Paradise. By Jonis Agee. 2016. Morrow, $25.99 (9780062413475).
Agee’s haunting family tale, set in Nebraska just after the massacre at Wounded Knee, in 1890, follows the struggles of two families, one white, the other Lakota, as they face loss, guilt, and vengeance.
The Book of Harlan. By Bernice J. McFadden. 2016. Akashic, $29.95 (9781617754456).
Harlan leads a fairly routine life as a young black musician in Jazz Age Harlem; then he and his close friend are invited to perform in Paris, where they get entangled with the Third Reich’s brutality.
The Gustav Sonata. By Rose Tremain. 2016. Norton, $26.95 (9780393246698).
In Tremain’s nuanced novel, Gustav, a Swiss kindergartner in 1948, displeases his mother when he befriends Anton, a Jewish classmate, launching a profound exploration of the cost of remaining neutral both personally and politically.
The Hamilton Affair. By Elizabeth Cobbs. 2016. Arcade, $25.99 (9781628727203).
Cobbs’ finely tuned fictional biography of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s most intriguing founders, with an emphasis on his marriage to the beautiful, vivacious Elizabeth Schuyler, is tempestuous and sensational.
Huck out West. By Robert Coover. 2017. Norton, $26.95 (9780393608441).
Coover brilliantly envisions what comes next when Huckleberry Finn lights out for the territories, hitting the highs and lows of the Wild West and nailing Mark Twain’s tone, deadpan dark humor, and social commentary.
Lincoln in the Bardo. By George Saunders. 2017. Random, $28 (9780812995343).
Anchored to a poignant historical moment—the death of President Abraham Lincoln’s young son, Willie—Saunders’ boldly imagined, funny, and exquisitely sensitive novel is downright surreal in its cemetery-set action and ghostly cast.
Music of the Ghosts. By Vaddey Ratner. 2017. Touchstone, $26 (9781476795782).
Ratner, herself a Cambodian refugee, tells a haunting tale of the legacy of the Khmer Rouge horrors through the lives of 13-year-old Teera and her aunt, who flee after their village is destroyed.
The Underground Railroad. By Colson Whitehead. 2016. Doubleday, $26.95 (9780385537032).
In Whitehead’s commanding and imaginative novel, smart and resourceful Cora flees a Georgia cotton plantation only to discover, on each stop along an actual Underground Railroad running in tunnels beneath Southern soil, yet another horrific variation on racial tyranny. Winner of the 2017 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.
The Wonder. By Emma Donoghue. 2016. Little, Brown, $27 (9780316393874).
In Donoghue’s psychologically powerful novel, it’s 1859, and English nurse Lib Wright is trying to determine if Anna O’Donnell, an 11-year-old girl in an Irish village, truly hasn’t eaten for four months or if this “extraordinary wonder” is nothing more than a scam.
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