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Nine New Books By Latinx Writers You’ve Got To Read

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, check out these new books by Daniel José Older, Valeria Luiselli, Shea Serrano, and more!

Posted on September 16, 2019, at 6:51 p.m. ET

Lost Children Archive, Valeria Luiselli (Knopf, out now)

As thousands of families are being separated and detained at the US–Mexico border, another family takes a cross-country trip from New York to Arizona. In search of Apacheria, the stolen home of the Apaches, they listen to the news about the “immigration crisis” along the way. As tension mounts in the car and outside it, Luiselli focuses on the ways in which empathy, justice, and passion play out within one family’s summer. —Arianna Rebolini

The Affairs of the Falcóns, Melissa Rivero (Ecco, out now)

When Ana Falcón fled Peru for New York with her husband and two young children in the 1990s, she was only looking to escape economic and political hardship, to give her family a chance — now, she is struggling to keep them afloat. Up against inhumane working conditions, an intimidating loan shark, and a cousin who might throw them out of her home at any moment, Ana is forced to consider just how much she’s willing to sacrifice. —A.R.

Dominicana, Angie Cruz (Flatiron Books, out now)

“The first time Juan Ruiz proposes, I’m eleven years old, skinny and flat-chested,” Ana Canción, the narrator of Cruz’s third novel, informs us on the first page. It’s a harbinger of things to come for Ana, who marries Juan four years later in a business deal arranged by her parents. Whisked away from the Dominican Republic to New York City in the late ’60s, Ana must reckon with her own loneliness, her drunken cheating husband, and her homesickness. Though the plot points are grim, Cruz tells the story with a raucous sense of humor and writes in short, present-tense chapters that help make this a propulsive though heartbreaking read.

Cantoras, Carolina de Robertis (Knopf, out now)

It’s 1977 in Uruguay, and the country is under a military dictatorship. Groups of five or more people can’t gather in private spaces without a permit; while homosexuality isn’t outlawed outright, it doesn’t need to be — being openly gay is an automatic prison sentence. Under these dire straits, five women — ringleader Flaca, activist Romina, housewife Anita, the mysterious Malena, and the teenage Paz — go on an excursion to an isolated beach where they can just be themselves — “cantoras,” or women who sing, a code name for lesbians. Over the course of 35 years, De Robertis charts the fortunes of these women as they fall in and out of love and navigate the country’s tumultuous politics.

Taína, Ernesto Quiñonez (Penguin Random House, out now)

With a premise that could be straight out of a telenovela, 15-year-old Taína is pregnant but insists she’s a virgin. 17-year-old Julio, who lives in the same housing project as Taína and is desperately in love with her, embarks on a foolhardy mission to help Taína out and his plans involves a sketchy uncle, a dose of magic, and just a few ethically dubious decisions.

Ordinary Girls, Jaquira Díaz (Algonquin, Oct. 29)

This debut memoir from Puerto Rican writer Díaz is an unflinching, queer coming-of-age story. Shuttling between Puerto Rico and Miami Beach, Díaz spares no punches writing about her tough upbringing, grappling with her queerness and a difficult family life.

Movies (And Other Things), Shea Serrano (Twelve, 10/5)

One of the funniest people on Twitter, period, Serrano has become famous for his hilarious, idiosyncratic pop culture takes. In his latest book, featuring killer illustrations by Arturo Torres, Serrano ranks his favorite rom coms and debates which race Kevin Costner ‘white saviored’ the best.

The Book of Lost Saints, Daniel José Older (Imprint, Nov. 5)

Ghosts feature prominently in Older’s first adult fiction book, which focuses on a multigenerational Cuban family grappling with the aftereffects of the Cuban Revolution. Narrated by Marisol, who was killed during the war and haunts her nephew Ramon living in New Jersey in 2004, hoping that he will dig up the truth about her disappearance. Weaving back and forth in time, the novel is a slippery ode to complicated families, inspired in part by Older’s own.

The Mutations, Jorge Comensal, translated by Charlotte Whittle (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Nov. 12)

When lawyer Ramón Martinez discovers he has oral cancer and that the only way to treat it is to get his tongue surgically removed, it sets into motion a series of catastrophic events for his middle-class family. Available to read in English for the first time, this debut novel has been attracting a lot of buzz on both sides of the border. ●

UPDATE

Updated to include Shea Serrano's new book coming out on October 5.

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