Jump to any of most anticipated books of 2023
Monstrilio by Gerardo Sámano Córdova
Grieving mother Magos cuts out a piece of her deceased eleven-year-old son Santiago’s lung. Acting on fierce maternal instinct and the dubious logic of an old folktale, she nurtures the lung until it gains sentience, growing into the carnivorous little Monstrilio she keeps hidden within the walls of her family’s decaying Mexico City estate. Eventually, Monstrilio begins to resemble the Santiago he once was, but his innate impulses—though curbed by his biological and chosen family’s communal care—threaten to destroy this fragile second chance at life.
A thought-provoking meditation on grief, acceptance, and the monstrous sides of love and loyalty, Gerardo Sámano Córdova blends bold imagination and evocative prose with deep emotional rigor. Told in four acts that span the globe from Brooklyn to Berlin, Monstrilio offers, with uncanny clarity, a cathartic and precise portrait of being human.
Longlisted for the 2023 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, Fiona McFarlane’s blazingly brilliant, The Sun Walks Down, tells the story of a boy lost in colonial Australia. Told in many ways and by many voices, this novel radiates with love, art, and the unbearable divine. A visionary tale; mythic, vivid, and bright with meaning.
Moon Witch, Spider King by Marlon James
In Moon Witch, Spider King, Sogolon the Moon Witch takes center stage and gives her own account of what happened in the search for a mysterious boy who disappeared. But the novel is more than that: It’s also the story of how an abused, overlooked girl focuses the love and anger within her to become the Moon Witch and defy the Aesi, the powerful chancellor to the king. It takes brains, courage, and cunning to challenge the Aesi, which Sogolon takes on for reasons that are distinctly her own.
Part adventure tale, part chronicle of an indomitable woman who bows to no man, it is a propulsive novel that explores power, personality, and the unexpected places where they overlap.
The End of the End of the Earth by Jonathan Franzen
A collection of Jonathan Franzen‘s essays and speeches from the past five years, in which he grapples with the most important and heated ethical subjects of the day: environmentalism, capitalism, wealth inequality, race, technology, and the role of art. These essays are in praise of empathy, and of the beauty and power of nature and art.
Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton
Birnam Wood is on the move . . . A landslide has closed the Korowai Pass on New Zealand’s South Island, cutting off the town of Thorndike and leaving a sizable farm abandoned. The disaster has created an opportunity for Birnam Wood, an unregulated, sometimes-criminal, sometimes-philanthropic guerrilla gardening collective that plants crops wherever no one will notice.
For years, the group has struggled to break even. Then Mira, Birnam Wood’s founder, stumbles on an answer: occupying the farm at Thorndike would mean a shot at solvency at last. But Mira is not the only one interested in Thorndike. The enigmatic American billionaire Robert Lemoine has snatched it up to build his end-times bunker, or so he tells Mira when he catches her on the property. Intrigued by Mira and Birnam Wood, he makes them an offer that would set them up for the long term. But can they trust him? And, as their ideals and ideologies are tested, can they trust one another?