Since she transcribes a sex therapist’s sessions, Greta, this novel’s unlikely heroine, is privy to all manner of intimate revelations. She falls for one, a married woman whom she thinks of as Big Swiss (owing to her ancestry and cool detachment from her emotional wounds). Things become more complicated when Greta recognizes the woman at the local dog park — and they begin an affair.
Scribner, Feb. 7
A Harvard professor goes wide in this study of the humanities and human creativity, looking at standout moments and what they can tell us about our past and future. As he guides readers along a Nefertiti to TikTok continuum, he shows how cultural exchange and innovation help societies address some of life’s most existential questions.
Norton, Feb. 7
In this autobiography, the author grapples with her complicated and often painful upbringing in 1970s New York. Her mother is the renowned literary agent Lynn Nesbit, but the real focus here is her late father, Richard Gilman, a drama critic and professor at the Yale School of Drama. After the marriage imploded, Nesbit shared revelations about her husband’s behavior with her adolescent daughter, who was left to make sense of his behavior and legacy.
Norton, Feb. 7
A best-selling historian turns to fiction in this story of the Hundred Years’ War, which follows a troop of mercenaries hired to help England invade France in the mid-1300s. There’s plenty of action and bloodshed in this novel, the first in a promised trilogy.
Viking, Feb. 14
Infidelity, jealousy, malevolent neediness — there’s all manner of abhorrent behavior in this study of some notably unhappy relationships. Roald Dahl resented Patricia Neal, an acclaimed actress, after her star power surpassed his. Elsa Morante and Alberto Moravia were terribly ill-suited, even as they produced some of postwar Italy’s most enduring literature. “Lives” also includes a lesbian couple, Una Troubridge and Radclyffe Hall, who enact a common dynamic seen in the book — one partner who insists on suppressing the other’s ambition.
Harper, Feb. 7
Our Share of Night, by Mariana Enriquez. Translated by Megan McDowell
Enriquez’s frightening short stories have made her one of the most popular Latin American authors writing today. This new novel follows a grieving father, Juan — a medium who can make contact with dark, supernatural forces — who tries to protect his son from the family of his late wife.
Hogarth, Feb. 7
Schulman, a staff writer at The New Yorker, gives a spirited, occasionally dishy history of the ceremony, touching on the award’s most notable controversies and existential questions.
Harper, Feb. 21
Harris’s earlier book “Kids These Days” was a broad cultural history of millennials, zeroing in on the unfair …….