There’s a lot of good fiction coming out this month, so let’s get right to it. Sarah Dunn’s The Arrangement is a “dryly humorous story about a marriage that goes dangerously off-road” when a Hudson Valley couple decides to try having an open marriage—just for six months. Our review called it “a polished, amusing, and highly entertaining take on modern relationships, parenthood, and suburbia.”
If you’re looking for something darker but just as readable, try Dan Chaon’s Ill Will (March 7), a “genre-bending thriller that starts with a drowning but widens to encompass murder, cancer, drug addiction, and satanic ritual abuse.” That’ll take your mind off things! (See our interview with Chaon.)
Paul LaFarge’s The Night Ocean is “a many-layered literary mystery”: when a writer disappears from the mental hospital he’s been in, his wife, a psychologist, begins looking for him in a tale that encompasses everything from “science-fiction fandom, internet trolls, and literary hoaxes [to] ancient Mexican civilizations.”
Deepak Unnikrishnan’s Temporary People is a series of linked stories about the lives of temporary foreign workers in the Arabian Peninsula: “The author’s crisp, imaginative prose packs a punch, and his whimsical depiction of characters who oscillate between two lands…unspools the kind of immigrant narratives that are rarely told.”
Jami Attenberg’s All Grown Up sounds deceptively simple: it’s a series of scenes from the life of a 39-year-old single, child-free woman in New York who’s “neither an aspirational figure nor a cautionary tale of urban solitude. She is, instead, a human being.” Our review calls it “deeply perceptive and dryly hilarious…a necessary pleasure.”
And if you’re in the mood for a historical romance, try Alyssa Cole’s An Extraordinary Union, set during the Civil War, in which a free African-American woman poses as a slave to work as a spy in Virginia. She “risks her own life and the outcome of the war by falling in love with a fellow spy of another race.” Our review calls it “a masterful tale that bodes well for future work from Cole.”
Laurie Muchnick is the fiction editor.