New in Paperback: ‘Deacon King Kong’ and ‘The Undocumented Americans’

YELLOW BIRD: Oil, Murder, and a Woman’s Search for Justice in Indian Country, by Sierra Crane Murdoch. (Random House, 400 pp., $18.) In this “remarkable first book,” our reviewer, David Treuer, observed, Murdoch brings “the same fanaticism and dignity” that Lissa Yellow Bird brought to her search for a missing oil worker to the “search for and meaning of modern Native America.”

DEACON KING KONG, by James McBride. (Riverhead, 400 pp., $17.) “A mystery novel, a crime novel, an urban farce. … There’s even some western,” is how our reviewer, Junot Díaz, described the National Book Award winner’s latest work of fiction, set in the Brooklyn housing projects of the 1960s and one of the Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2020. “Fortunately, it is also deeply felt, beautifully written and profoundly humane.”

THE UNDOCUMENTED AMERICANS, by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio. (One World, 208 pp., $17.) One of the first undocumented students to be accepted to Harvard, the Ecuadorean author traversed America over the course of a decade, “gaining access to vigilantly guarded communities whose stories are largely absent from modern journalism and literature,” according to our reviewer, Caitlin Dickerson, who called this 2020 National Book Award finalist “captivating.”

RECOLLECTIONS OF MY NONEXISTENCE: A Memoir, by Rebecca Solnit. (Penguin, 256 pp., $16.) The title, our reviewer, Jenny Odell, noted, refers to the author’s instinct as a young woman to disappear. Invoking hopscotch (“back up a little, cover the same ground again”), Solnit, of “mansplaining” fame, traces how she found her voice as a person and a writer.

KIM JIYOUNG, BORN 1982, by Cho Nam-Joo. (Liveright, 176 pp., $14.95.) This Kafkaesque novel about the “everyday horrors” of gender inequality in South Korea begins when a young stay-at-home mother is driven to a psychotic break. “Like Gregor Samsa,” our reviewer, Euny Hong, wrote, Jiyoung feels “so overwhelmed by social expectations that there is no room for her in her own body; her only option is to become something — or someone — else.”

TRUTH IN OUR TIMES: Inside the Fight for Press Freedom in the Age of Alternative Facts, by David E. McCraw. (St. Martin’s Griffin, 304 pp., $17.99.) In the words of our reviewer, Preet Bharara, this “spirited and hopeful” insider’s view of what it was like to be a lawyer for The Times in the Trump era is “a love letter to the First Amendment.”

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