Spring is set to arrive in the next few days and with it the hope of renewal and new life. While the current state of the world might invoke fear and apprehension in many, one cannot forget the beauty of nature and the blossoming of life. For many, new reading material is part and parcel of the change of the seasons. The following books represent some of the best new novels for spring and are sure to be big hits at bookstores around the country.
The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk
Olga Tokarczuk’s The Books of Jacob is a historical epic following the life of Jacob Frank, a Jewish man who lived in 18th Century Poland and claimed to be the messiah. At nearly a thousand pages, The Books of Jacob follows a third-person narrative style, transporting readers into the minds of those around Frank. First published in Poland in 2014, the novel won Tokarczuk the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2018. While readers might find Frank’s ideas on morality questionable, reviewers say that it is a modern masterpiece that lives up to the expectations of a sprawling epic.
To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara
To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara is an alternate history novel centering on what would have happened had the United States split into multiple countries following the Civil War. Yanagihara divides her novel into three different epochs 100 years apart as characters change appearance and identity with the sands of times. The final moments of To Paradise take place in the dark reality of 2093, where dystopian governments race to control pandemics that are the scourge of humanity. While praising Yanagihara’s ambition, reviewers warn that To Paradise’s multiple time jumps and complex narrative will confuse readers while nevertheless providing awe-inspiring storytelling.
Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart
Douglas Stuart’s Young Mungo is a follow-up to his debut novel Shuggie Bain, which was itself a critical and commercial darling when it was released in 2020. Described as a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet, the book follows two men from Glasgow as they fall in love for the first time. The duo’s blossoming romance is complicated, however, by tensions between their working-class families and culturally ingrained ideas of masculinity. Reviews of Young Mungo say that despite the novel’s grim narrative, it nevertheless leaves readers with a sense of hope.