Hotly anticipated ever since its release was announced in January, the big book of next week is Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed. Can it live up to expectations set by the author’s previous titles? Entertainment Weekly thinks so … A debut that begins in another strife-torn area of the world, We Need New Names gets a rare advance rave from the NYT‘s Michiko Kakutani … Alex Grecian, whose first mystery, The Yard was a librarian favorite, publishes a sequel, The Black Country… Norwegian author Jo Nesbo releases a new thriller, The Redeemer, and Jeff Shaara views the Siege of Vicksburg in The Chain of Thunder … plus, released for the first time is a previously unpublished long narrative poem by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Full ordering information for all the titles highlighted here, plus many more, are available on our downloadable spreadsheet, New Title Radar, Week of May 20.
We Need New Names, NoViolet Bulawayo, (Hachette/Little, Brown)
Called a “deeply felt and fiercely written debut novel,” in an early review by Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times, this debut is about a young woman escaping the brutality of Zimbabwe to live with her aunt in “Destroyedmichygen” (Detroit, Michigan). Says Kakutani, “Darling is 10 when we first meet her, and the voice Ms. Bulawayo has fashioned for her is utterly distinctive — by turns unsparing and lyrical, unsentimental and poetic, spiky and meditative.” It is also an IndieNext pick for June.
The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, George Packer, (Macmillan/FSG)
The author of the award-winning The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq, Packer writes here about the U.S. “unwinding” into polarized factions and warns that it is “a superpower in danger of coming apart at the seams, its elites no longer elite, its institutions no longer working.” Says the New Yorker (for which Packer is a staff writer), “Packer unpacks the current state of United States democracy by weaving together profiles of Americans as varied as tobacco farmers, Washington insiders, Newt Gingrich, and Jay-Z.”
Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success, Phil Jackson with Hugh Delehanty, (Penguin Press)
Prepub attention (in the L.A. Times and the Chicago Tribune, of course) is already causing legendary basketball coach Jackson’s memoir cum self-help leadership book to rise on Amazon
Margaret Thatcher: From Grantham to the Falklands, Charles Moore, (RH/Knopf)
This authorized biography is scheduled for coverage next week on the CBS Early Show, NPR’s Diane Rehm Show and MSNBC’s Morning Joe.