Find Me by Laura van den Berg (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 288 pages, February 17)
You know her because of her applauded story collections, but here we have van den Berg's debut novel. Find Me is the story of one woman's strange and unexpected journey through an America devastated by a mysterious disease. Because she is immune, Joy is studied by doctors trying to find a cure, but eventually she leaves the hospital to find her birth mother. What follows is an exploration of shattered communities and Joy's own identity.
The Four Books by Yan Lianke, transl. by Carlos Rojas (Grove Press, 400 pages, February 24)
This novel takes place during the turbulent Mao years in China, so clearly I'm interested. Set in a labor camp for intellectuals during the Great Leap Forward, The Four Books uses the mythical and surreal to examine the struggle between freedom and authoritarianism. Lianke, winner of the Franz Kafka Prize and a finalist for the Man Booker, is also one of China's most censored writers.