“The Ballerina” (in English), by Rachel Capelke Dell (St. Martin, December 7)
In this first suspense thriller, three dancers try to hide their secrets at the Paris Opera Ballet. Delphine returns to Paris after years in Saint Petersburg, choreographing new ballets and hopes to reconcile with her former friends, but their shared past threatens to bring down the production.
Expect plenty of sarcasm and uncomfortably funny scenarios for this group’s characters, spanning from an assistant at a literary magazine to a couple contemplating a threesome for a Bush administration attorney.
“Men of Fortune,” by Nadia Mohamed (Knopf, December 14).
This novel deals with the true story of a Somali sailor in Wales who was falsely accused of murder. With this book, Mohamed became the first British-Somali writer shortlisted for the Booker Prize, saying in an interview that writing the novel, despite its tragic premise, was “curative”.
Read our interview with Muhammad
“Garbo” (in English), by Robert Gottlieb (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Dec. 7)
A veteran editor of The New Yorker and Knopf attempts to outline the life of an actress known for her elusiveness. Greta Garbo stopped acting in her 30s and appeared in only 24 Hollywood films, but she has made a huge impact. Gottlieb traces her life from her early years in working-class Stockholm through her final years as a “hermit around town” in New York, and includes clips from scholars, co-stars, and critics that offer new perspectives on her life.
An Oxford professor presents a fictional autobiography of a seventeenth-century poet who sets out to capture “Milton’s desire to escape time, to be perpetually contemporary”. Readers learn about his adolescence, a pivotal trip to Italy during which Milton met Galileo, and his later years, along with Milton’s influence on the author.
This new collection is based on Hustvedt’s ancestors, both literary and family. (The opening selection begins: “My paternal grandmother was ornate, chubby, and adorable.”) She touches on her intellectual forebears, ponders the allure of mentorship and, perhaps above all, wrestles with the idiosyncrasies of motherhood.
“Twenty Years Later” (in English), by Charlie Donlea (Kensington, December 28)
Victoria, the mysterious character at the center of this literary thriller, was murdered on September 11th while meeting her lawyer in a tower. She had been accused of killing her lover, and her case was essentially forgotten until some of her remains were discovered decades later. But this discovery forces a new accounting with the truth, leading a journalist and retired FBI agent to revisit the mystery.
“White on White” by Aysegul Savas (Riverhead, Dec. 7)
A graduate student moves to a new city to study Gothic nudes, a “mysterious subject, whose greatest challenge will be awareness: to look at the naked human form as medieval did.” Her conversations with the property’s owner, a painter named Agnes, drift from artistic musings to personal history, and the student’s original field of study takes on a deeper dimension.
Read our review