There are tons of new books being released every month, and it can be time-consuming sussing out reviews and recommendations. At The Manual, we want to make it simple: Here are the eight best new fiction books that are fully worth your time.
The River by Peter Heller
For the Outdoorsman
The seventh book by the former writer and editor for Outside Magazine, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic, Peter Heller’s new novel, The River, stays true to his passion for the great outdoors. Two college best friends, Wynn and Jack, embark on a wilderness canoeing trip in northern Canada. The bucolic expedition turns treacherous with wildfires, raging rapids, and the eruption of violence. The first rule of the wilderness: survive at all costs.
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
For the Newlywed
This is the gripping story of African American newlyweds, Roy and Celestial, navigating incarceration for a crime not committed. Author Tayari Jones writes in a language that is both conversational, elevated, and deeply real. Published in 2018, this powerful new fiction quickly hit the New York Times bestsellers list and received the stamp of approval from Oprah’s Book Club. Shifting narratives from Roy to Celestial keep blame hovering without a place to land. If you’ve ever been in a relationship, read this book. Trust me, it doesn’t take long to plow through.
Aerialists by Mark Mayer
For the Non-Book-Reader
Nine short stories reimagine the “freaks” and superhumans of classic circus lore in Aerialists. Exploring the subject with sublime detail, humor, and imagination, Mayer expertly connects the daring actions and basic weirdness that makes us all human. If you haven’t read a full novel since college and think re-entering the practice may be difficult, start now with this short story collection. Laugh, cry, feel like a part of the freak show, and close the last page hungry for more stories.
Dear Black Boy by Martellus Bennett
For the Sports Fan
If the name Martellus Bennett rings any touchdown bells it’s because the author of Dear Black Boy is a former NFL tight end for the New England Patriots. Even as Tom Brady pleads with him to un-retire, Bennett’s Dear Black Boy is sacking all its young readers with love and wisdom. Written as a letter directly addressed to young black kids, Bennett reminds his readers that they are more than athletes; they are dedicated, passionate, determined, prepared to succeed in whatever they pursue, and, most of all, supported.
The Line That Held Us by David Joy
For the True Crime Addict
Darl Moody goes hunting and accidentally shoots a man known to have a violent and revenge-driven family. He calls upon his best friend to help cover up the accident. (We all know that never works.) What follows is an absolutely terrifying novel that makes you feel you’ve entered a dangerous world with no escape. Turn off your latest true crime series for the night and get creeped out reading David Joy’s latest masterpiece of doom.
The Unhappiness of Being a Single Man by Franz Kafka
For the Classics Connoisseur
Wait, new fiction? Yep, this new translation of Franz Kafka’s iconic stories was released in March 2019, giving Kafka fanboys and general classics connoisseurs a “new” book of fresh and lively translations by Alexander Starritt. Revisit “In a Penal Colony,” “A Hunger Artist,” and “The Verdict,” all of which pull you into the absurd nightmares that are the product of Kafka’s brain.
Gods of Howl Mountain by Taylor Brown
For the Whiskey Drinker
The third novel from bestselling author Taylor Brown takes us to the high country of 1950s North Carolina for a gritty and mystery-rich read full of whiskey running, brothel visiting, dark family secrets, and characters too bold and defined to be fiction. After all, that’s part of Brown’s sorcery. Reading is believing. Pairs especially well with American rye.
Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe
For the Traveler
Board your next vacation flight with Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe under your arm and arrive wanting to stay on the plane to finish the chapter. As a staff writer for The New Yorker, Keefe vibrantly tells the story of the bloody conflict in Northern Ireland, rife with guerrilla warfare, IRA activity. terrorists, bomb planting, and cross-country spy games. This historical fiction puts a society under a microscope, exposing the true grime and deception under its shell, and asks the question of whether the consequences of that war have been fully reckoned.