New Releases Tuesday: The Best Books Out This Week
The Perishing by Natashia Deón
Lou, a young Black woman, wakes up in an alley in 1930s Los Angeles, nearly naked and with no memory of how she got there or where she’s from, only a fleeting sense that this isn’t the first time she’s found herself in similar circumstances. Taken in by a caring foster family, Lou dedicates herself to her education while trying to put her mysterious origins behind her. She’ll go on to become the first Black female journalist at the Los Angeles Times, but Lou’s extraordinary life is about to become even more remarkable. When she befriends a firefighter at a downtown boxing gym, Lou is shocked to realize that though she has no memory of ever meeting him she’s been drawing his face since her days in foster care.
Increasingly certain that their paths have previously crossed — perhaps even in a past life — and coupled with unexplainable flashes from different times that have been haunting her dreams, Lou begins to believe she may be an immortal sent to this place and time for a very important reason, one that only others like her will be able to explain. Relying on her journalistic training and with the help of her friends, Lou sets out to investigate the mystery of her existence and make sense of the jumble of lifetimes calling to her from throughout the ages before her time runs out for good.
Set against the rich historical landscape of Depression-era Los Angeles, The Perishing charts a course through a changing city confronting racism, poverty, and the drumbeat of a coming war for one miraculous woman whose fate is inextricably linked to the city she comes to call home.
Reasons to read it: From the author of Grace, a New York Times Best Book of the Year, The Perishing is set in Depression-era Los Angeles and explores racism, poverty, and impending war. This is an ambitious, philosophical story that brings life to the setting — more historical fiction than speculative fiction, despite the premise.