British author Zadie Smith is known for her literary masterpieces like White Teeth and On Beauty, where she explores cultural identity and race infused with sharp dialogue and distinctive humorous characters. In her latest book, The Fraud, she brings real events to the page in this historical fiction novel set in late 1800’s England and Jamaica. Centered around the “Tichborne Trials,” Smith puts her trained hand towards a story of deception and who is allowed to be believed when the rich and the poor are pitted against one another.
If you love her charismatic storytelling, check out her most recent novel and these stories that share a similar essence.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
Twelve very different characters—mostly black British women across the country through the years— share their stories of love, friendship, and family. While each woman occupies a dedicated chapter within a specific timeframe, their lives intricately intertwine in numerous ways, spanning from close friends and family members to chance acquaintances.
The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka
Set in 1990, Colombo, Maali Almeida, a war photographer with a mysterious past, is dead. While his dismembered body rests in Beira Lake, he finds himself, or his soul rather, in a celestial visa office. In the afterlife, he must race against time to find out who killed him and to connect with the beloved man and woman he loves. In a war-torn Sri Lanka, where scores are settled with hired goons and death squads, the list of suspects is unsurprisingly long.
The Idiot by Elif Batuman
Life is new for Selin in 1995. Having Turkish immigrant parents, she is used to a simpler life. But she’s now at Harvard, and email has been introduced to the world. There she befriends worldly Svetlana and accidentally starts emailing Ivan, a Hungarian math student. She’s barely spoken to him, but with each word she types, their exchange grows, and the act of writing speaks to her in ways she didn’t imagine prior. As the year ends, Ivan goes to Budapest, and Selin teaches English in Hungary. That summer will lead Selin to explore her first love and accept her destined path as a writer.
Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
An Ohio housewife making one cherry pie after the other wants to connect reality and living in the U.S. among things such as Weapons of Mass Destruction or how to hatch an abandoned wood pigeon egg. She’s concerned about her children and surviving as a parent in the era of school shootings. If there is a trick to surviving survivalists, she needs one, and fast.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love as teens despite being under Nigerian military rule. Then Ifemelu goes to America to further her schooling but soon discovers race and its weight upon her, something she never felt at home. Obinze, on the other hand, who planned to join her, is stuck in London undocumented as the 9/11 immigration rules will not allow him entry into the U.S. He finds himself heading back to Nigeria years later, now thriving and wealthy under democratic rule. When Ifemelu returns to Nigeria visiting as a successful writer, the two fall in love all over again but soon will have to discover if that love can face the challenges ahead of them.
Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson
Two young Black British artists meet in a Southeast London pub, and nothing is the same afterward. They both seem to struggle with belonging in their respective private schools. As a photographer and a dancer, they navigate a city that alternately embraces and rejects them, eventually falling in love. But can their commonalities be enough to hold them together amidst a society that only sees them as a Black body incapable of moving outside of stereotypes?
Ordinary People by Diana Evans
In 2008 South London, two couples find themselves at a crossroads. Melissa grapples with new motherhood and soon loses herself in the process. Michael loves Melissa but struggles to remain faithful. In the suburbs, Stephanie and Damian have three children and a happy life but now face a crisis triggered by his father’s death. Set during Barack Obama’s election, this novel explores identity, parenthood, intimacy, and love’s fragility.
Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason
Meet Martha, a woman aware of something amiss within her but uncertain of the cause. Her husband, Patrick, who believes she will be okay, keeps reminding her that everyone has a thing and that she must keep moving forward. Martha doesn’t want kids, she told Patrick before the two married. Patrick only wants to make his wife happy but seems to be failing at it. When Martha finally identifies the issue, it doesn’t matter. Her ultimate wish is out of reach. But maybe it wouldn’t be if she could learn how to start again from scratch.
The Nix by Nathan Hill
Samuel Andresen-Anderson hadn’t seen his mother Faye since she left him as a child. Now years later, he’s a struggling writer living with an online game addiction, and she appears, her face all over the news for protesting a presidential candidate. Then the light bulb goes off, and Samuel uses Faye’s newfound fame to write a tell-all biography, but first, he’ll have to face her after all these years while trying to keep his emotions at bay.
Stories from the Tenants Downstairs by Sidik Fofana
In the Banneker Homes of Harlem, gentrification is heavy on the minds of each tenant. This story follows each one of them. Swan residing in apartment 6B, jeopardizes his newfound stability when he welcomes his friend’s prison release. In 14D, Mini works to raise her and Swan’s baby, hustling as a waitress and hairstylist. The former gymnast, Quanneisha B. Miles, wants to be free but struggles to break free from the Banneker grip. As each story intertwines, they discover a quest to forge new paths for themselves and their loved ones.