Leading the pack is The Lioness (Doubleday), by Chris Bohjalian ’82. On their honeymoon in Tanzania’s Serengeti in 1964, a glamorous Hollywood actress, her new husband and their entourage expect to enjoy exotic wildlife and luxurious accommodations, but instead find their lives in danger when they are taken hostage by Russian mercenaries. The long list of previous Bohjalian bestsellers includes, among other novels, Midwives, The Sandcastle Girls, Hour of the Witch and The Flight Attendant, which has been adapted into an HBO Max series.
In Marti Dumas ’98’s middle-grade fantasy novel Wildseed Witch (Harry N. Abrams), #BlackGirlMagic is actual magic, and a tween named Hasani discovers that she has it. Hasani is a “Wildseed”—a witch from a family of non-witches—which makes her a misfit among the wealthy legacy witches at her exclusive charm(ed) school, Les Belles Demoiselles. Wildseed Witch is the first book in a new series; Dumas is also the author of the Jaden Toussaint series and other titles for young readers.
First published in 1852, Andrés Avelino de Orihuela’s The Sun of Jesús del Monte remained in obscurity for more than 150 years, until it was rereleased in the original Spanish in 2008. Now David Luis-Brown ’89, an associate professor at Claremont Graduate University, offers an English translation, along with an introduction, textual essay and afterword (University of Virginia Press). Centered on La Escalera (“the Ladder Rebellion”), a major real-life anti-colonial and anti-slavery insurrection in Cuba in 1843–44, the novel is a resounding denunciation of white supremacy and a call for racial equality.
Illustration by Susanna Gentili