10 New Books We Recommend This Week

10 New Books We Recommend This Week

FOUR THOUSAND WEEKS: Time Management for Mortals, by Oliver Burkeman. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27.) How would you spend a week if you knew it were your last? Burkeman, a British journalist based in New York, says that we’re closer to being in that position at all times than it’s comfortable to recognize. (We get about 4,000 weeks, on average; thus the title.) This almost meta work of self-help mixes history, Buddhist-like advice and some actual time-management tips. Burkeman’s tone “is not confident or hectoring,” our reviewer John Williams writes. “He’s in the same leaky boat we’re in, just trying to stop things up where he can.”

DAMNATION SPRING, by Ash Davidson. (Scribner, $28.) Davidson’s immersive, capacious debut novel explores the deep roots of a Northern California logging community. It’s a vivid portrayal of the land and its people, a snapshot of a not-so-distant time, but it also digs into the place’s gnarled history. “It’s a glorious book — an assured novel that’s gorgeously told,” John McMurtrie writes in his review. “Some will no doubt read ‘Damnation Spring’ as a commentary on the divisions that separate Americans today. … But the book is getting at something more timeless and universal: It’s about human nature. It’s about our relationships to our loved ones and our communities, it’s about morality and greed, it’s about our understanding of and respect for the natural world.”

WE ARE THE BRENNANS, by Tracey Lange. (Celadon, $26.99.) Lange’s confident, polished debut novel is about family secrets. An Irish clan in Westchester County welcomes their prodigal daughter home from Los Angeles and, one after another, long-hidden skeletons begin to emerge from their closets. “Lange, as it turns out, is not interested in tidy or comfortable lessons learned,” Liz Moore writes in her review. “When we leave the Brennans, they are perhaps more flawed than they were at the start. But that, to my mind, is what makes them feel human, and what makes the book feel real.”

STRANGE BEASTS OF CHINA, by Yan Ge. Translated by Jeremy Tiang. (Melville House, $25.99.) Elusive creatures flit through a Chinese city in this enchanting novel, alternately avoiding and consorting with its human inhabitants, all the while pursued by a cryptozoologist with a fondness for smokes and booze — a female, science-minded Sam Spade. “The atmosphere of ‘Strange Beasts of China’ is delightful,” Stephen Kearse writes in his review. “Yan captures the fluidness of city life, the way urban space defies definition even for people hellbent on making sense of it. … Human and beast exist in constant flux, clashing, merging and splintering with tectonic regularity.”

EDGE CASE, by YZ Chin. (Ecco, $26.99.) Chin’s debut, about a Malaysian immigrant in America searching for her missing husband and working as a software tester at an artificial intelligence start-up, is not only a subtly provocative depiction of the tech industry, and this country, as tilting ever more off-kilter, but also a realistic portrayal of a woman in crisis. “Chin’s specificity and wonderfully drawn minor characters add depth and richness to a story that another writer might have with the glaring light of moral clarity,” Lauren Oyler writes, reviewing the book alongside another novel about start-up culture.

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