Top Pick: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
An Oprah’s Book Club pick in 2018, Tayari Jones’ electrifying fourth novel, An American Marriage, tells the story of Roy and Celestial, a newly married couple whose future looks bright. Celestial is an up-and-coming artist and Roy is a business executive, but their lives are shattered when the couple travels to Roy’s hometown in Louisiana, where he’s wrongfully accused of a terrible crime and sentenced to 12 years in prison. Jones presents a poignant portrait of the once-optimistic couple and the injustices they face as husband and wife during Roy’s incarceration. When he’s released after serving almost half his sentence, the pair struggles to resume their lives and regain a sense of normalcy. Told in part through the letters Roy and Celestial exchange while he’s imprisoned, Jones’ skillfully constructed narrative feels all too timely. It’s at once a powerful portrayal of marriage and a shrewd exploration of America’s justice system.
The Girls in the Picture
by Melanie Benjamin
This richly atmospheric novel follows the friendship between silent-era screen queen Mary Pickford and screenwriter Frances Marion as they carve out careers in an industry dominated by men.
Jefferson’s Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in a Young America
by Catherine Kerrison
Historian Kerrison uncovers the fascinating lives of Martha and Maria, Thomas Jefferson’s daughters with Martha Wayles Skelton, as well as Harriet, his daughter with Sally Hemings who forges a life for herself outside the bonds of slavery.
Three Daughters of Eve
by Elif Shafak
Shafak explores feminism, politics and religion in modern Istanbul through this complex portrait of Peri, an affluent wife and mother.
Heads of the Colored People
by Nafissa Thompson-Spires
Long-listed for the 2018 National Book Award, these shrewdly observed, expertly crafted stories of the African-American experience signal the arrival of an important writer.