The markers of a good book can be many, but there is one that should rank as the highest—it should be so riveting that we are unable to put it down. There are few joys in life than picking up a captivating book and hungrily reading it from cover to cover in one sitting. So, if you’re someone who’s always looking out for new book recommendations, and consider adding novels to your to-be-read list a serious sport, then it’s an exciting time for you. This year has been ripe with exciting new releases left, right, and centre—from a no-holds-barred perspective on White privilege, to heart-warming romantic comedies, there is something for everyone.
Bazaar India picks their six favourites from the recently-released lot.
Yellowface by R F Kuang
Bestselling fantasy writer R F Kuang’s latest novel, Yellowface is a scathing look at the publishing industry, told through the lens of White privilege, racism, and cultural appropriation. June Hayward passes off her late friend Athena Liu’s work as hers by using an ambiguous author’s photo. The book turns out to be a critical success, and instead of thinking of the stealing as unethical, Hayward convinces that this is a way of honouring her friend and her talent. But soon, others start to question her identity, and whether she’s telling the truth.
The Bee Sting by Paul Murray
Paul Murray, an Irish novelist known for his critically-acclaimed books such as An Evening of Long Goodbyes and Skippy Dies, is back with his latest—a dark comedy following the financial misfortune of the Barnes family. Their once-successful car business comes crashing down and the book follows its aftermath—the way different members of the family react to their new fate and the moments in their past that led to this.
The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese
Abraham Verghese, the acclaimed author of Cutting for Stone, has finally released his long-awaited novel, The Covenant of Water. The novel spans through seven decades in the 1900s, as it traces three generations of a family that is plagued with a strange curse—at least one member dies from drowning. While in any other setting this plot point wouldn’t have the same effect, in the backwaters of Kerala, where the story is set, the curse takes on a whole new, eerie meaning.
Family Lore by Elizabeth Acevedo
Mostly known for her award-winning YA novels, Acevedo’s debut book for adults has the same characteristics as her other novels—strong female characters, representation for POCs, and heartfelt storytelling. The protagonist, Flor, has a unique but unnerving gift—the ability to predict when someone will die. Then, one day, she invites her family including her three sisters Matilde, Pastora, and Camila to a living wake without giving them any explanation. Has she seen her own death? Or is someone from their family about to die?
Happy Place by Emily Henry
YA fans will be well-acquainted with Emily Henry’s highly-popular work in the romantic comedy genre, which make for great beach reads—in fact, one of her books is called Beach Read! The plot has all of the romantic tropes one could think of—fake relationship, forced proximity, and second chances—and yet, instead of being a mish mash, Henry deftly makes the story sing. It follows a couple who recently went through an emotional break-up, but must pretend to be together for their annual week-long holiday with their closest friends, so as to not spoil everyone’s mood. Will they be able to pull it off?
Sahela Re: A Novel by Mrinal Pande
Written by journalist and author Mrinal Pande, and translated by Priyanka Sarkar, Sahela Re is an ode to an era when music was revered to the point of being considered holy. The story’s protagonist is Vidya, an acclaimed music connoisseur who undertakes the herculean task of chronicling the history of Hindustani classical music. Along the way, she discovers the multi-faceted lives of artists, the beauty of the craft, and how true music can inspire and change lives.