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11 New Books We Recommend This Week


THE DISCOMFORT OF EVENING, by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld. Translated by Michele Hutchison. (Graywolf, paper, $16.) The title of this best-selling Dutch novel, which in August won the International Booker Prize, refers to the point in the evening when cows begin to low and call for relief, their udders heavy with milk. But the story — set among dairy farmers who belong to a strict Protestant sect and who have recently lost their oldest child in an ice-skating accident — is about painful repletion of another kind, and of solace that never arrives. “This is Rijneveld in short: an earthy and irreverent new voice, thrillingly uninhibited in style and subject matter,” our critic Parul Sehgal writes. “The novel teems — I say this admiringly — with all the filth of life.”

THE SPACE BETWEEN WORLDS, by Micaiah Johnson. (Del Rey, $28.) Hundreds of versions of Earth exist in this debut science-fiction novel, and Cara can travel to most of them to help her employer extract resources and information. As a metaphor for neoliberal imperialism, this tale is profoundly satisfying; as a work of art, it’s even better. “Cara is so mesmerizing a character that I was helpless before every twist and turn of plot, riveted by her pain, love and secrets,” Amal El-Mohtar writes, reviewing it in her latest Otherworldly column. “The book remained two steps ahead of my imagination, rattling it out of complacency and flooding it with color and heat.”

THE GLASS KINGDOM, by Lawrence Osborne. (Hogarth, $27.) An American woman is on the lam with a suitcase full of cash in Osborne’s latest novel, which is set in a Bangkok rattled by monsoons and social unrest. As chaos grows, her refuge, a modern apartment complex, grows more prisonlike. Osborne’s command of mood keeps the reader’s pulse racing. “The novel begins to exert a sinister pull,” Louise Doughty writes in her review. “It is at this point that the full force of Osborne’s acutely drawn but bleak and bitter vision comes into play.”

TRANSCENDENT KINGDOM, by Yaa Gyasi. (Knopf, $27.95.) Gyasi’s philosophical second novel marks a departure from her first, the acclaimed multigenerational epic “Homegoing.” Here, a young neuroscience Ph.D. student and her mother, a devout and nearly bedridden depressive who immigrated to Alabama from Ghana, learn the capacity — and limitations — of science and religion to heal a relationship rived by grief. “The transcendent kingdom of this Ghanaian, Southern, American novel is finally not a Christian or a scientific one, but the one that two women create by surviving a hostile environment, and maintaining their primal connection to each other,” our reviewer, Nell Freudenberger, writes.

THE SADDEST WORDS: William Faulkner’s Civil War, by Michael Gorra. (Liveright, $29.95.) Gorra’s complex and thought-provoking meditation on Faulkner is rich in insight, making the case for the novelist’s literary achievement and his historical value — as an unparalleled chronicler of slavery’s aftermath, and its damage to America’s psyche. “Through the ineffable, through his relentless drive to describe what cannot be said directly, Faulkner plunges us into the harrowing canyons of the nation’s past,” Ayana Mathis writes in her review. “Gorra’s well-conceived, exhaustively researched book probes history’s refusals.”

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