Incandescence (by Jose)

Being a brief, subjective and incomplete appraisal of fabulous, brilliant, must read New Women Novelists.

All these writers are guaranteed to share a lived experience that will leave a haunting afterimage in your imagination, and which you will undoubtedly recall with a sense of, "Wait, wasn't I there when that happened?"

Nell Zink: When you were a kid, did you ever wave a sparkler on the Fourth of July and accidentally ignite the entire box? That was your anticipation reading Mislaid, Nicotine or Doxology. Only N.Z. would notice that, in spite of our collective paranoia, terrorists should be, "measured in parts per billion."

Julia Phillips: Her debut novel, Disappearing Earth, infected every reader with anxiety and anticipation, and with a bedrock sense of place where few have ever visited: New York Times Ten Best Books, 2019 and finalist for the National Book Award. 

Olga Tokarczuk: You'll get dirt under your fingernails turning pages of Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead--but it's fragrant Polish soil from a rapidly vanishing forest. And, oh yeah, she recently won the Booker International Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Annalee Newitz: Take care reading her second novel, The Future of Another Timeline--some pages are sharp as razors and there could be blood. She's a feminist Neal Stephenson (for historic depth) and Cory Doctorow (for radical thought) rolled into one riot grrl. 

Jenny Erpenbeck: Dealing with the refugee crisis, Go Went Gone revealed Erpenbeck to be the compassionate soul and literary voice of New Germany. Like Angela Merkel, she grew up in totalitarian East Germany and is intimate with being trumped by hateful oppressors.

N.K. Jemisin: You could easily break a nail turning pages of Jemisin's Broken Earth Trilogy, or even a finger, and quite possibly your heart. Hell, you are holding the weight of an entire world in your hands. With the Fifth Season she became the first black novelist to win science fiction's Hugo Award. With the Obelisk Gate and the Stone Sky she won it three years in a row, a first for any author.

Elif Shafak: The most popular woman writer in Turkey is not popular with the country's dictator, Recep Tayyip Erdogan: he'd like to imprison her for acknowledging the Armenian Genocide in the Bastard of Istanbul. The premise of 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World is so original that I won't spoil its shock factor by describing it here.

Ottessa Moshfegh: If you lapse into a coma reading My Year of Rest and Relaxation it won't be because of Moshfegh's crystaline prose; you're probably just overly empathetic. Her new novel, Death in Her Hands, is a metaphysical murder mystery in which an older woman broods over a different form of relaxation. 

Ling Ma: Her debut novel, Severance, is a personal, ordinary, whimsical, zombie apocalypse. Candace Chen exchanges second generation immigrant ambivalence for the banality of office culture, with sublime understatement. Didn't you get the memo? Are the Endtimes really going to be that much different from the workaday world?

Fernanda Melchor: Unflinchingly precise and unsettlingly brutal, Hurricane Season is a storm of human violence in forsaken small-town Mexico that must have been written in the blood of its victims. This courageous novel gives corrosive new meaning to the phrase, "witch hunt."

Yoko Ogawa: If things start disappearing from your life while reading the Memory Police, don't worry, you won't remember them anyway. An unpredictable, timeless paralysis haunts this book in ways that defy the readers's anticipations.

Linn Ullmann: After honing her writing skills on several Scandinavian bestsellers, Ullmann surprised readers with Unquiet. If you decide to write Biofiction, you better have material worth writing about. In her case, it was growing up as a the daughter of genius filmmaker Ingmar Bergman and his superstar Liv Ullmann--lives of incarnate incandescence. 

Mislaid: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062364784
Availability: On Our Shelves Now

Published: Ecco - January 26th, 2016


A sharply observed, mordantly funny, and startlingly original novel from an exciting, unconventional new voice—the author of the acclaimed The Wallcreeper—about the making and unmaking of the American family that lays bare all of our assumptions about race and racism, sexuality and desire.

Nicotine: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062441713
Availability: On Our Shelves Now

Published: Ecco - June 20th, 2017

The “wonderfully talented” (Dwight Garner, New York Times) author of Mislaid returns with a “heady, witty” (Booklist) novel of obsession, idealism, and ownership, centered around a young woman who inherits her bohemian father's childhood home.

Doxology: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062877789
Availability: On Our Shelves Now

Published: Ecco - August 27th, 2019

Named a Best Book of the Year by:
The New York Times * New York Magazine * Lit Hub 
* TIME * O, the Oprah Magazine * Good Housekeeping

Disappearing Earth: A novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780525520412
Published: Knopf - May 14th, 2019

One of The New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year

National Book Award Finalist
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize
Finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead: A Novel Cover Image
By Olga Tokarczuk, Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780525541332
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Published: Riverhead Books - August 13th, 2019


"A brilliant literary murder mystery." —Chicago Tribune

"Extraordinary. Tokarczuk's novel is funny, vivid, dangerous, and disturbing, and it raises some fierce questions about human behavior. My sincere admiration for her brilliant work." —Annie Proulx

The Future of Another Timeline Cover Image
ISBN: 9780765392107
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Published: Tor Books - September 24th, 2019

A revolution is happening in speculative fiction, and Annalee Newitz is leading the vanguard."--Wil Wheaton

From Annalee Newitz, founding editor of io9, comes a story of time travel, murder, and the lengths we'll go to protect the ones we love.

Staff Pick Badge
Go, Went, Gone Cover Image
By Jenny Erpenbeck, Susan Bernofsky (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780811225946
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Published: New Directions - September 26th, 2017

New York Times Notable Book 2018; Foreign Affairs Best Book of 2018; Lois Roth Award Winner

An unforgettable German bestseller about the European refugee crisis: “Erpenbeck will get under your skin” (Washington Post Book World)

The Broken Earth Trilogy: The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, The Stone Sky Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316527194
Availability: On Our Shelves Now

Published: Orbit - August 4th, 2015

This collectable boxed set edition includes all three books in N. K. Jemisin's incredible NYT bestselling and three-time Hugo award-winning Broken Earth Trilogy.

This complete collection would be a great gift for any occasion and includes The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, and The Stone Sky.

This is the way the world ends for the last time. . .

The Bastard of Istanbul Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143112716
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Published: Penguin Books - January 29th, 2008

A “vivid and entertaining” (Chicago Tribune) tale about the tangled history of two families, from the author of The Island of Missing Trees (a Reese's Book Club Pick)

"Zesty, imaginative . . . a Turkish version of Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club." —USA Today

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World Cover Image
ISBN: 9781635574470
Availability: On Our Shelves Now

Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - September 24th, 2019

Shortlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize
Named a Best Book of the Year by Bookpage, NPR, Washington Post, and The Economist

A moving novel on the power of friendship in our darkest times, from internationally renowned writer and speaker Elif Shafak.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525522133
Availability: On Our Shelves Now

Published: Penguin Books - June 25th, 2019

Named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, Time, NPR, Amazon,Vice, BustleThe New York TimesThe GuardianKirkus Reviews, Entertainment Weekly, The AV Club, & Audible

A New York Times Bestseller

Death in Her Hands: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984879356
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Published: Penguin Press - June 23rd, 2020

"[An] intricate and unsettling new novel . . . Death in Her Hands is not a murder mystery, nor is it really a story about self-deception or the perils of escapism. Rather, it's a haunting meditation on the nature and meaning of art."
-Kevin Power, The New Yorker

Severance: A Novel Cover Image
By Ling Ma
ISBN: 9781250214997
Availability: On Our Shelves Now

Published: Picador - May 7th, 2019

Maybe it’s the end of the world, but not for Candace Chen, a millennial, first-generation American and office drone meandering her way into adulthood in Ling Ma’s offbeat, wryly funny, apocalyptic satire, Severance.

"A stunning, audacious book with a fresh take on both office politics and what the apocalypse might bring." Michael Schaub,

Hurricane Season Cover Image
By Fernanda Melchor, Sophie Hughes (Translated by)
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ISBN: 9780811228039
Published: New Directions - March 31st, 2020

The English-language debut of one of the most thrilling and accomplished young Mexican writers

Longlisted for the National Book Award
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize
Winner of the Internationaler Literaturpreis
New York Public Library Best Books of 2020
Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2020 

The Memory Police: A Novel Cover Image
By Yoko Ogawa, Stephen Snyder (Translated by)
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ISBN: 9781101870600
Published: Pantheon - August 13th, 2019


A haunting Orwellian novel about the terrors of state surveillance, from the acclaimed author of The Housekeeper and the Professor.

Unquiet: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780393357653
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - January 14th, 2020

“Didionesque.” —New York Times Book Review

A heartbreaking and darkly funny portrait of the intricacies of family life, Unquiet is an elegy of memory and loss, identity and art, growing up and growing old.