Yaa Gyasi’s ‘Transcendent Kingdom’ and 6 more must-read new books

Others worth a read include Jessica Goudeau’s refugee saga and Max Allan Collins and A. Brad Schwartz’s story of what happened to Eliot Ness after he left Chicago for Cleveland.

SHARE Yaa Gyasi’s ‘Transcendent Kingdom’ and 6 more must-read new books
Author Yaa Gyasi.

Author Yaa Gyasi.


Looking for a good book to read this Labor Day weekend? Here are 7 new books to consider:

‘Transcendent Kingdom’ by Yaa Gyasi

Alfred A. Knopf, fiction, $27.95

What it’s about: Yaa Gyasi follows her 2016 best-seller “Homegoing” with an intimate story of a Ghanian family in Alabama and the family’s struggles with opioid addiction, depression, grief and faith.

The buzz: “At once a vivid evocation of the immigrant experience and a sharp delineation of an individual’s inner struggle,” Publishers Weekly writes. Says The New York Times: “Gyasi follows her highly acclaimed ‘Homegoing’ with another moving family story.”

‘After the Last Border’ by Jessica Goudeau

Viking, nonfiction, $27

What it’s about: ASubtitled “Two Families and the Story of Refuge in America,” Jessica Goudeau’s new book takes readers on a journey into American culture through the eyes of two women who came to the United States as refugees, one from Myanmar, the other from Syria. Author Jessica Goudeau based her narrative nonfiction recreation of their experiences on hundreds of hours of interviews.

The buzz: “The book raises issues of refugee resettlement that the United States never truly has resolved,” The Associated Press writes, saying Goudeau’s “book may not change national policy implemented by a president reflexively opposed to welcoming refugees, but in bringing the stories of Mu Naw and Hasna to us, the author shows that welcoming them doesn’t just save their lives and their children’s but that their contribution to the American story ultimately enriches us all.”

‘Eliot Ness and the Mad Butcher’ by Max Allan Collins and A. Brad Schwartz

William Morrow, nonfiction, $29.99

What it’s about: “This meticulously researched but often gloomy account of the life and times of Eliot Ness . . . focuses on the legendary lawman’s career, starting at the end of Prohibition, when he became Cleveland’s safety director,” Publishers Weekly says, and “led the hunt for the Mad Butcher, a serial killer who terrorized Cleveland by killing and dismembering mostly indigent men and women.” Ness, by the way, didn’t get his man this time, the way he did Al Capone in Chicago. Ad much of the book deals with his more mundane work in Cleveland and his ultimate unraveling.

The buzz: “The real-life Ness, as revealed in Max Allan Collins and A. Brad Schwartz’s ‘Eliot Ness and the Mad Butcher,’ was less the hard-boiled hero of popular culture than a humane and forward-thinking lawman,” The Wall Street Journal writes.

‘Daddy’ by Emma Cline

Random House, fiction, $27

What it’s about: A collection of 10 short stories from the author of “The Girls,” Emma Cline’s latest is peopled with characters on the edge skirting the violence just underneath the surface.

The buzz: “The payoffs are as gratifying as they are shattering,” Publishers Weekly says.

‘The Death of Vivek Oji’ by Akwaeke Emezi

Riverhead Books, fiction, $27

What it’s about: The heart-wrenching story of a Nigerian family’s struggle to understand a gender-nonconforming child after their violent death.

The buzz: “Vividly written and deeply affecting,” Kirkus Reviews says.

‘Vesper Flights’ by Helen Macdonald

Grove Press, nonfiction, $27

What it’s about: The falconer and writer of the best-selling memoir “H Is for Hawk” returns with a collection of essays about the natural world.

The buzz: “Exemplary writing about the intersection of the animal and human worlds,” Kirkus Reviews says. “Sometimes bogs down beneath the weight of its adjectives,” The New York Times writes. “Still, her evocative sense of place and her meticulous observations burst through the purple prose.”

Helen Macdonald’s “Vesper Flights.”

Grove Press

‘Dear Life’ by Rachel Clarke

Thomas Dunne Books, nonfiction, $28.99

What it’s about: A palliative care specialist shares her professional and personal journey to understand death and dying as she worked to improve the quality of her patients’ final days.

The buzz: “Clarke is writing about dying, but also, eloquently, about living,” says The Guardian, calling the book “heart-wrenchingly tender and candid.”

Rachel Clarke’s “Dear Life.”

Thomas Dunne Books

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