Fiction, News

New Fiction January-March 2024 – Ten Novels to Watch For This Quarter!

Excellent New Fiction Books for the First Quarter of 2024 !!! Here are some excellent new novels (and a book of stories) that will be released this quarter:

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You Dreamed of Empires: A Novel

Alvaro Enrigue

(Riverhead Books)

From the visionary author of Sudden Death, a hallucinatory, revelatory colonial revenge story.

One morning in 1519, conquistador Hernán Cortés enters the city of Tenochtitlan – today’s Mexico City. Later that day, he will meet the emperor Moctezuma in a collision of two worlds, two empires, two languages, two possible futures.

Cortés is accompanied by his captains, his troops, his prized horses, and his two translators: Friar Aguilar, a taciturn friar, and Malinalli, an enslaved, strategic Nahua princess. After nearly bungling their entrance fo the city, the Spaniards are greeted at a ceremonial welcome meal by the steely Aztec princess Atotoxtli, sister and wife of Moctezuma. As they await their meeting with the emperor – who is at a political and spiritual crossroads, and relies on hallucinogens to get by – Cortés and his entourage are ensconced in the labyrinthine palace. Soon, one of Cortés’s captains, Jazmín Caldera, overwhelmed by the grandeur of the place, begins to question the ease with which they were welcomed into the city, and wonders at the chances of getting out alive, much less conquering the empire. And what if… they don’t?

You Dreamed of Empires brings Tenochtitlan to life at its height, and reimagines its destiny. The incomparably original Álvaro Enrigue sets afire the moment of conquest and turns it into a moment of revolution, a restitutive, fantastical counterattack, in a novel so electric and so unique that it feels like a dream.


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The Great Divide: A Novel
Cristina Henriquez

(Ecco)

A powerful novel about the construction of the Panama Canal, casting light on the unsung people who lived, loved, and labored there

It is said that the canal will be the greatest feat of engineering in history. But first, it must be built. For Francisco, a local fisherman who resents the foreign powers clamoring for a slice of his country, nothing is more upsetting than the decision of his son, Omar, to work as a digger in the excavation zone. But for Omar, whose upbringing was quiet and lonely, this job offers a chance to finally find connection.

Ada Bunting is a bold sixteen-year-old from Barbados who arrives in Panama as a stowaway alongside thousands of other West Indians seeking work. Alone and with no resources, she is determined to find a job that will earn enough money for her ailing sister’s surgery. When she sees a young man—Omar—who has collapsed after a grueling shift, she is the only one who rushes to his aid.

John Oswald has dedicated his life to scientific research and has journeyed to Panama in single-minded pursuit of one goal: eliminating malaria. But now, his wife, Marian, has fallen ill herself, and when he witnesses Ada’s bravery and compassion, he hires her on the spot as a caregiver. This fateful decision sets in motion a sweeping tale of ambition, loyalty, and sacrifice.

Searing and empathetic,The Great Divide explores the intersecting lives of activists, fishmongers, laborers, journalists, neighbors, doctors, and soothsayers—those rarely acknowledged by history even as they carved out its course.

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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com

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