Books: Hispanic Heritage Month September 15 – October 15

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month we spotlight some of the best newer books by Latinx authors, both up-and-coming and familiar favorites.

Fruit of the Drunken TreeFruit of the Drunken Tree book cover by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

A novel set against the violence of 1990s Columbia follows a sheltered girl and a teen maid, who forge an unlikely friendship as the families of both struggle to maintain stability amidst Bogotá’s rapidly escalating violence.

The House of Impossible Beauties book cover

The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara

1980, New York City. Burned by her traumatic past, Angel is new to the drag world, new to ball culture, and has a yearning inside of her to help create family for those without. When she falls in love with Hector, a beautiful young man who dreams of becoming a professional dancer, the two decide to form the House of Xtravaganza, the first-ever all-Latino house in the Harlem ball circuit. But when Hector dies of AIDS-related complications, Angel must tend to their house alone. She recruits Venus, a whip-fast trans girl who dreams of finding a rich man to take care of her; Juanito, a quiet boy who loves fabrics and design; and Daniel, a butch queen who accidentally saves Venus’s life.

Lost EmpressLost Empress Book Cover by Sergio de la Pava

A shockingly hilarious novel that tackles both America’s most popular sport and its criminal justice system. From Paterson, New Jersey to Rikers Island to the streets of New York City, a cast of characters is assembled unlike any other in modern fiction: dreamers and exiles, immigrants and night-shift workers, lonely pastors and others at the fringes of society–each with their own impact on the fragile universe they navigate. At the story’s center is Nina Gill, daughter of the aging owner of the Dallas Cowboys. When her brother inherits the team and she is left with the Paterson Pork, New Jersey’s only Indoor Football League franchise, Nina vows to take on the NFL and make the Paterson Pork pigskin kings of America.

Her Body and Other PartiesHer Body and Other Parties book cover by Carmen Maria Machado

A wife refuses her husband’s entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store’s prom dresses. One woman’s surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted house guest.

The Friend book coverThe Friend by Sigrid Nunez

When a woman unexpectedly loses her lifelong best friend and mentor, she finds herself burdened with the unwanted dog he has left behind. Her own battle against grief is intensified by the mute suffering of the dog, a huge Great Dane traumatized by the inexplicable disappearance of its master, and by the threat of eviction: dogs are prohibited in her apartment building.