Penguin Randon House's Fall 2016 Debut Fiction Sampler includes excerpts from nine exciting debut novels. Four of the excerpts are reviewed below.
The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel, by Katherine Arden
Katherine Arden's writing has depth that is unusual in first novels. In this short excerpt, she transports us back to a Russia ruled by dark superstition. In the middle of a frigid cold Russian winter, the children of Pyotr and Marina Vladimirovich are huddled for warmth before a large oven, while their old nurse tells them the folk tale of the "frost-demon, the winter-king Karachun." Marina, joins them and thinks of her mother who with her precognition and beauty enchanted Russian Prince Ivan I. That night Marina tells her husband that, despite her thinness and fragile health, she is pregnant with a girl who will have her late mother's beauty and gift of sight.
Print Length: 336 pages
Publisher: Del Rey (January 10, 2017)
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
Sold by: Random House LLC
The Mothers: A Novel, by Brit Bennett
Brit Bennet's fresh, clear writing makes this a wonderful debut novel. Bright, studious, 17 year old, Nadia Turner turns to ice when her mother commits suicide. Instead of waiting to hear which of the five colleges she had applied to would accept her, Nadia turns her back on her African American community, refusing to attend church despite her father's constant attendance. Instead, she rides buses wherever they may be going, and hangs out in strip clubs. When a motherly stripper sends her to Fat Charlie's, a more accommodating restaurant, she encounters former high school star, Luke, limping from a devastating football injury as he works the bar. Drawn to him because he wore his "pain outwardly, the way she couldn’t," Nadia tries to unfreeze her emotions, but ends up pregnant.
Print Length: 286 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Books (October 11, 2016)
Publication Date: October 11, 2016
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Ninth City Burning, by J. Patrick Black, is an exciting young adult's novel set in a dystopian future. Cadet 6-E-12 -Jaxten of the Academy of Ninth City is the "youngest fontanus in the city," and it's his job to stand for all of the cadets during an attack. After an "atmospheric-incursion," the academy is closed, and Fontanus Jax must defend the city, despite his youth and inexperience, from an enemy, called "Romeo."
Print Length: 488 pages
Publisher: Ace (September 6, 2016)
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
The Nix: A Novel, by Nathan Hill
In Hill's debut novel, a mother and wife abandons her family in 1988 after moving her possessions out slowly over the course of a year. Her son, Samuel Anderson, thinks that "she whittled down her life until the only thing left to remove was herself." Twenty-three years later, the crude, bombastic, cowboy governor of Wyoming has stones thrown at him by sixty year old Faye Anderson-Andresen, who calls him "a pig." While she is the focus of the national news, Samuel Anderson, now an Assistant Professor of English at a college near Chicago, is spending his days wondering why he bothers teaching young people who don't care about Shakespeare, and his nights playing World of Elfquest computer games. Hill cleverly uses the threads of his entangled plot to draw the reader in, and few will be able to resist.
Hardcover: 640 pages
Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (August 30, 2016)
The other excerpts of debut novels are:
The Education of Dixie Dupree by Donna Everhart (Kensington, October 2016)
The Tea Planter's Wife: A Novel by Dinah Jefferies (Crown, September 2016)
Behold the Dreamers: A Novel, by Imbolo Mbue (Random House, August 2016)
The Mortifications: A Novel by Derek Palacio (Tim Duggan Books, October 2016)
First Light by Bill Rancic (Putnam, November 2016)