10 New Books We Recommend This Week

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YOUNG MUNGO, by Douglas Stuart. (Grove, $27.) As tender, heartbreaking and evocative as his Booker-winning debut, “Shuggie Bain,” Stuart’s second novel takes us back to 1980s Glasgow, and the impossible intensity of first love. In the words of our reviewer, Yen Pham, “Stuart writes beautifully, with marvelous attunement to the poetry in the unlovely and the mundane. … The novel is precise, primarily in rendering what is visible to the eye rather than in fine-grained interiority.”

THE TROUBLE WITH HAPPINESS: And Other Stories, by Tove Ditlevsen. Translated by Michael Favala Goldman. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26.) These stories, first published in the 1950s and ’60s, starkly examine the ways that motherhood, marriage and midlife crises can upend dreams. “Whether the premise of these stories is a trip to the beauty salon or a back-street abortion, their message is the same. Family life is a hell from which there’s no escape,” Fernanda Eberstadt writes in her review. “The world depicted in her fiction is grim, but her limpid, deadpan voice insists nonetheless that art, beauty and even a working-class girl’s dream of one day possessing a silky umbrella ‘like a butterfly’s radiant wings’ are things that must be fought for.”

LOVE MARRIAGE, by Monica Ali. (Scribner, $27.99.) When future in-laws come together in the lead-up to a wedding, not only are the secrets of the supposedly happy couple laid bare, so are the problems of their parents. In her fifth novel, Ali dives into the wreck of monogamy and surfaces with treasures that are both scandalous and touching. “Why is dysfunction so enthralling when it isn’t your problem?” Elisabeth Egan writes in her latest Group Text column. “And this is before we get into religious differences, cultural appropriation, gender roles, sexual proclivities and Brexit.”

DISORIENTATION, by Elaine Hsieh Chou. (Penguin Press, $28.) Following a Ph.D. candidate at a mid-tier Massachusetts university as she wrestles with the work of a (fictional) Chinese American poet, this funny and insightful campus satire has plenty to say about art, identity, Orientalism and the politics of academia. “The zaniness is, on balance, entertaining, rising to a delightful climax,” Steph Cha writes, reviewing the book alongside another novel about the danger and wonder of art, Lisa Hsiao Chen’s “Activities of Daily Living” (below). “The construction holds, with no lack of charm or character.”

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