In her second novel, Hammad follows a British Palestinian actor who travels to Israel, where her sister lives, in the wake of a breakup. Soon, she is pulled into a production of “Hamlet” staged in the West Bank, prompting a deeper look at her own political and artistic values.
Grove Press, April 4
This disturbing new history focuses on D.C. Stephenson, a grand dragon of the Indiana Ku Klux Klan who helped plot the group’s national strategy. “The Klan owned the state,” Egan writes, “and Stephenson owned the Klan.” But he was a known monster who abused women, which Egan argues helped to curb his rise: After he kidnapped and raped Madge Oberholtzer in 1925, her testimony helped turn public opinion against him, leaving many to abandon the Klan.
Viking, April 4
Smith, who has chronicled the royal family for decades, now looks at George VI — the father of Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret — and his unexpected and steadying reign. (The younger brother of Edward VIII, George didn’t expect to rule, until Edward abdicated in order to marry the American Wallis Simpson.) Queen Elizabeth II gave Smith access to her parents’ letters and diaries in order to write this account.
Random House, April 4
Greek Lessons, by Han Kang. Translated by Deborah Smith and Emily Yae Won.
The author’s earlier novel “The Vegetarian” became a sensation after winning the International Booker Prize in 2016. Here, a woman who has all but lost her voice after two family tragedies studies ancient Greek and forms a close bond with her teacher.
Hogarth, April 18
January, 1742: A company of starving, half-dead men on a ramshackle raft washed up on the Brazilian shore with an extraordinary tale. They had been on the Wager, a British ship dispatched during a conflict with Spain that wrecked off the coast of Patagonia. Months later, three more men landed in Chile — and claimed that the others were actually mutineers. Grann, a New Yorker staff writer and the author of “Killers of the Flower Moon” and other books, narrates this story with plenty of verve.
Doubleday, April 18
Building on an essay she wrote in The Paris Review during the height of #MeToo, Dederer explores the moral dimensions of art made by people who behaved monstrously, from Pablo Picasso to V.S. Naipaul to Ernest Hemingway. As she grapples with her own complicity, Dederer raises some thorny questions: Should we give leeway to geniuses? Is there a meaningful difference in monstrosities carried out by women?
Knopf, April 25
In her second memoir, the author takes on racism, economic uncertainty and the devastating effects of an unequal health care system. Chung was adopted, and her Korean heritage made her an outlier in her mostly white community. Her parents lived not paycheck to paycheck, “but emergency to emergency.” As an adult, despite her own success, Chung still couldn’t help her parents overcome their challenges.
Ecco, April 4
A series of reflections examines the condition of being Black in North America, weaving in letters, photographs and more.
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, April 25
Sally is a comedy writer for a show that resembles “Saturday Night Live,” and she’s fed up: Divorced, in her 30s and scarred by heartbreak, she’s tired of seeing men promoted over her and keeping quiet about their mediocrity. She writes a sketch teasing her male colleagues’ tendency to date the beautiful female celebrities who host the show. But all bets are off when she falls for Noah, an aging pop star who also seems to be a genuinely decent guy.
Random House, April 4
Lehane is known for his earlier novels “Mystic River” and “Shutter Island,” as well as his TV writing for shows such as “The Wire” and “Boardwalk Empire.” Here he tells the story of two crimes in 1974 Boston: One summer night, a Black man is found dead after being struck by a subway, while a teenage girl goes out and never comes home. As the girl’s mother, Mary Pat, investigates, she realizes the two events may be linked.
Harper, April 25
In a series of essays, Kelleher investigates the darker sides to our adornments: the crushed-up beetles in our lipstick, the cow bones in our dishware. There’s no shame or artifice to appreciating beauty, she argues, but we have a moral imperative to understand its costs.
Simon & Schuster, April 25