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Anis Shivani

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The Most Anticipated Books for the Rest of 2010

Posted: 07/24/10 09:40 AM ET

From important new fiction by Jonathan Franzen and Yiyun Li to penetrating critiques of the current political situation by Matt Taibbi and Chris Hedges, there is a lot to look forward to from publishers at all levels for the rest of the summer and the fall.

This selection tries to be wide-ranging and eclectic, focusing as much on the work of independent presses as the major houses, the quieter literary stars as much as the megastars.

It's a good season for translations--look for an exciting new translation of Doctor Zhivago by the acclaimed team of Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, to finally give Boris Pasternak his due in the English language, and for Susan Bernofsky's translation of the German author Jenny Erpenbeck. There are quiet novels which pack a strong philosophical punch, like Michael Knight's The Typist, as well as the brash, no-holds-barred, whimsical fiction of Gary Shteyngart. Salman Rushdie is following up his earlier fantasy, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, with another fairytale, Luka and the Fire of Life, and V. S. Naipaul, travel writer extraordinaire, gives us a book exploring the roots of African belief. From Manu Joseph we have one of the most exciting recent debut novels, his satire shredding all the illusions of globalization-era India. And Sam Miller tries to do the complex urban spaces of Delhi some justice with his walking tours.

The good--and even great--books are out there in plenty. Tell us in your comments which books you're most anticipating for the remainder of 2010 and why.

In addition to those featured, here are some additional books that should create waves in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction.

Fiction

Charles Yu's How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe (Pantheon, Sept.); Xiaoda Xiao's The Visiting Suit (Two Dollar Radio, Nov.); Jim Powell's The Breaking of Eggs: A Novel (Penguin, July); Salman Rushdie's Luka and the Fire of Life (Random House, Nov.); Cynthia Ozick's Foreign Bodies (Houghton Mifflin, November)--a reimagining of Henry James's The Ambassadors; Dinaw Mengestu's How to Read the Air (Riverhead, Oct.); Barry Hannah's Long, Last, Happy: New & Selected Stories (Grove, Nov.); Ismail Kadare's The Accident: A Novel (Grove, Nov.)--here's an author who richly deserves the Nobel Prize; Mona Simpson's My Hollywood (Knopf, Sept.); Lan Samantha Chang's All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost(Norton, Sept.); Jenny Erpenbeck's Visitation (New Directions, Sept.); Yiyun Li's Gold Boy, Emerald Girl (Random House, Sept.); Boris Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago, newly translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (Pantheon, Oct.); Michael Knight's The Typist: A Novel (Grove, August); John Reimringer's Vestments (Milkweed, Sept.); and Nadine Gordimer's Life Times: Stories, 1952-2007 (FSG, Nov.).

Poetry

Beckian Fritz Goldberg's Reliquary Fever: New and Selected Poems (New Issues Press, Oct.); Richard Wilbur's Anterooms: New Poems and Translations (Houghton Mifflin, Nov.); Seamus Heaney's Human Chain: Poems (FSG, Sept.); Ai's No Surrender: Poems (Norton, Sept.); Gjertrud Schnackenberg's Heavenly Questions (FSG, Oct.); Major Jackson's Holding Company (Norton, August); Thomas Sayers Ellis's Skin, Inc.: Identity Repair Poems (Graywolf, Aug.); Julie Carr's Sarah--Of Fragments and Lines (Coffee House, Sept.); Steve Healey's Ten Mississippi (Coffee House, Sept.); and Charles Simic's Master of Disguises (Houghton Mifflin, Oct.).

Nonfiction

Gabriel Josipovici's What Ever Happened to Modernism? (Yale University Press, Sept.); Andrew Bacevich's Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War (Metropolitan, Aug.)--following up on his indispensable The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced By War (2006); Robert Reich's Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future (Knopf, Sept.); Tom Grimes's Mentor: A Memoir (Tin House Books, Aug.)--about Grimes's relationship with Frank Conroy, Iowa Writers' Workshop director; R. Tripp Evans's Grant Wood: A Life (Knopf, Oct.); Mark Twain's Autobiography, Vol. 1 (University of California, Nov.)--uncensored, exactly as he left it.

Manu Joseph, "Serious Men: A Novel"
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Norton, August
This is arguably the best of the recent crop of novels by Indian writers, on par with Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger (2008) and Rana Dasgupta's Solo (forthcoming, 2011). It does for India in the age of globalization what Salman Rushdie and Rohinton Mistry did for earlier eras. A Dalit working for the Institute of Theory and Research falsely presents his ten-year-old son as a genius, while his Brahmin employer sends up a balloon in space to discover alien microbes falling on earth. This supremely self-confident satire refuses to bend to any received notions of Indian fiction. Joseph tells the Huffington Post: "I only think there are stories set in different places and India is just one such setting--a delicious setting though for a writer. I wanted to tell the story of what is inside the minds of two different men, how they look at the world, how they look at women, and how they react to their own circumstances. And I wanted to tell this story in an uncompromising way. I really did not care for the reactions when I wrote this story, and from the reactions I have got so far I like human beings more than I did before I wrote this book."
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