Fiction Next Week

Titles to Watch

Please Look After Mom by Kyung Sook-Shin (Knopf) marks the first U.S. publication by the author, who is popular in South Korea, where this book sold more than a million copies. It’s about the self-absorbed family of a woman who gets lost in a Seoul train station and never reappears, and dramatizes the contrast between rural and city values that have lead to the family’s neglect of this selfless mother. Janet Maslin’s New York Times review doesn’t make it sound like it will jump the cultural divide, though it may help spur further media attention.

Say Her Name by Francisco Goldman (Grove) is this accomplished novelist’s fiction tribute to the wife he lost in a swimming accident in Mexico in 2007, and was excerpted in the New Yorker. It’s been selected as the #1 pick by independent booksellers for the month of April.

 Usual Suspects

I’ll Walk Alone by Mary Higgins Clark (S&S) gets the full treatment by the Wall St. Journal, with a cover story on the veteran mystery writer’s thriving career at age 83, and her children’s resistance to bringing in ghost writers to continue her mega-bestselling legacy when someday she is gone.

44 Charles Street by Danielle Steel (Delacorte) is the story of a 30-something gallery owner who takes in boarders at her West Village brownstone in New York City after her boyfriend leaves. Kirkus calls it, “classic Steel, phoned in. Much repetitious ruminating and a stultifying, unmusical prose style too often obstruct the intended edgy escapism.”

Miles to Go: The Second Journal of the Walk Series by Richard Paul Evans (Simon & Schuster) is the second installment in a series about an executive who loses everything and decides to walk from Seattle to Key West. Library Journal says, “the first book in this five-parter left him in Spokane, so in his search for hope he has a long way to go. . . . for some readers this walk got off to a slow start, so you might want to gauge interest before deciding how many to order.”

Elizabeth I by Margaret George (Viking) depicts the Virgin Queen as an actual virgin married to England, whose interests she pursues with shrewdness, courage, and wisdom borne of surviving the deaths of her family. Library Journal says the writing is formal “neither cinematic nor intimately personal,” and that the plot is “plodding,” with a focus more on accurate history than fiction that may “try the patience of casual readers.”

The Silver Boat by Luanne Rice (Pamela Dorman Books) is a portrait of three far-flung sisters who come home to Martha’s Vineyard one last time.

Mobbed: A Regan Reilly Mystery by Carol Higgins Clark (Scribner) finds private investigator Regan Reilly and her husband, Jack, head of the NYPD Major Case Squad, in a case that takes them through key sites in New Jersey.

The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown) brings back the Lincoln Lawyer for a “satisfying” case that pits him against a real-estate foreclosure mill, according to Kirkus.

Once Upon a Time, There Was You by Elizabeth Berg (Random House) follows the journey of a couple who meet again after their divorce. Library Journal calls it “classic Berg, who’s always beloved if not always tip-top best seller.”

The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer (Riverhead) is about a town where the women pull away from their men, as the high school puts on a production of Lysistrata (in which the women of Greece refuse to have sex until the men end the Peloponnesian War). Publishers Weekly calls it “a plodding story with a killer hook.”

Young Adult

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Claire (Margaret K. Elderry) is the fourth book of the internationally bestselling series, and promises, love, temptation and betrayal.

Movie Tie-in

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Junior Novel (Disney Press) marks the return of Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), and other familiar faces in the film release on May 20.

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