What to read: The best of April fiction

Louise Erdrich's tale of a Catholic priest who's secretly a woman, Haruki Murakami's story of a vanished lover, a hilarious debut novel about a fake feng shui master who cons New York society and more.


Salon's critics
April 19, 2001 11:07PM (UTC)

We were tempted. But to prepare you for our favorite fiction this month, we won't trot out that well-worn T.S. Eliot line about April. Instead, consider the opening line of George Orwell's "1984": "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." That's the kind of mood we were in -- ready for something a little bit wild and unexpected -- as we looked over the April fiction offerings.

Publishers traditionally release some of their most adventurous fiction in April, and -- hallelujah -- this year is no exception. The fiction that captivated us shared a boundary-crossing spirit. Call it novelistic wanderlust: This group of authors took us on rousing, even breathtaking journeys to places we'd never been. Some of these trips were geographical -- to colonial Ceylon in one novel, to South Africa in another -- and some were more metaphorical trips, such as one "experimental" novel that left us almost dizzy with readerly satisfaction.

Advertisement:

If you, too, are feeling a little restless, check out these offerings. We're recommending a sparkling, surreal new work by the Japanese cult favorite Haruki Murakami; a hilarious, wildly inventive first novel about a con artist who fakes his way into New York society by pretending to be a feng shui master; a May-December romance set in a post-apartheid South Africa where violence is always just barely held at bay; the latest from National Book Award winner Louise Erdrich, which tells the story of a mysterious Catholic priest on an Ojibwe reservation, who's actually a woman; and more.

Our first pick: A cult-favorite novelist's seductive, eerie tale of a vanished lover

To check out our fiction picks from previous months, click below:

The best of March fiction
Allegra Goodman's hilarious tale of promiscuous spiritual seeking, Pat Barker's tough-minded look at a child who murders, Nuala O'Faolain's searing novel of middle-aged sexuality and more.
By Salon's critics [03/15/01]

The best of February fiction
Amy Tan is back in "Joy Luck" territory, Don DeLillo gets metaphysical, Julian Barnes tackles the eternal triangle and more.
By Salon's critics [02/21/01]

The best of January fiction
Juicy new novels by A.S. Byatt and Peter Carey, love and death in a Bombay apartment house, impolite stories from a young literary light and more.
By Salon's critics [01/11/01]

Advertisement:

The best winter novels
Run away to the circus, to a haunted Indian village, to a secret-filled Scottish island and more with the season's best fiction.
By Salon's critics [11/22/00]


Salon's critics

MORE FROM Salon's critics

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Books Fiction What To Read




BROWSE SALON.COM
COMPLETELY AD FREE,
FOR THE NEXT HOUR

Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access

Click Here
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address

•••


Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •