5 Stunning Debut Novels To Add To Your To-Read Pile

November 7, 2014 2:16 PM

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5 Stunning Debut Novels To Add To Your To-Read Pile

A writer's debut is her crucial first chance to introduce her style and themes to a potential readership -- a task that undoubtedly results in absurd amounts of pressure. (A lukewarm review of David Foster Wallace's debut led to several agonizing days holed up in his bedroom.) A critical flop may not be given a second chance -- although, thankfully, new, worthy attention is being paid to sophomore releases.

Few historical novelists are better armed against these pitfalls than Katy Simpson Smith, who has a PhD in history, an MFA, and, now, a debut novel set in Revolutionary-era North Carolina. Never dry, dense, or false to the spirit of the history, Smith’s narrative flawlessly blends the beauty and ide...

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