Five in Bloom

Five in Bloom — 2022 Early Releases

by Sam Florsheim and Max LoSardo

2022 promises many exciting and immersive debuts from a broad collection of writers. Here are five works we’re looking forward to reading.

Charmaine Wilkerson is an American writer based in Italy and a graduate of Barnard College and Stanford University. She is also a former journalist, whose award-winning short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies.

Wilkerson’s debut novel, Black Cake, focuses on two estranged siblings and their mother, Eleanor, who leaves behind a mysterious inheritance for her two children: a traditional Caribbean black cake and a voice recording.

Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of Malibu Rising, describes Black Cake as “a beautiful, deeply resonant story of children trying to understand the mother they have lost. Charmaine Wilkerson transports you across the decades and the globe accompanied by complex, wonderfully drawn characters.”

Jessamine Chan’s first novel, The School For Good Mothers, follows Frida Liu, a young mother who is placed into a government reform program where she is forced to fight for custody of her daughter, Harriet, and redeem herself in the eyes of the state.

Kirkus Reviews praises the novel as “An enthralling dystopian drama that makes complex points about parenting with depth and feeling.”

Chan is a former reviews editor at Publishers Weekly and holds an MFA from Columbia University’s School of the Arts. She currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter; her short stories have appeared in both Tin House and Epoch.

Oscar Hokeah’s debut novel, Calling for a Blanket Dance, is about a young Native American man named Ever aiming to find strength in his familial identity. Told through various character’s perspectives, Calling for a Blanket Dance offers an immersive portrait of a family struggling to live in an environment filled with corruption and injustice.

Hokeah is a citizen of Cherokee Nation and holds an MA in English from the University of Oklahoma. His short stories have been published in South Dakota Review, American Short Fiction, and Red Ink Magazine. He currently lives in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

Susan Power, author of The Grass Dancer, celebrates Calling for a Blanket Dance as “a stunning novel. Oscar Hokeah writes from deep inside the heart of his communities, bringing life to generations of voices who became so real to me they felt like relatives.”

Bonnie Garmus’  highly anticipated debut, Lessons in Chemistry, focuses on the chemist turned cooking show star Elizabeth Zott.  Set in the early 1960s, she finds herself as a single mother, looking to make the best of her surprising stardom.

While this is Garmus’ first novel, she is not new to the world of literature.  She is a copywriter and creative director, focusing on technology, medicine, and education in the US and abroad.  She currently lives in London with her husband and her dog.

Already set for an adaption on Apple TV+, Rachel Yodder, author of Nightbitch calls the novel “a story for all the smart girls who refuse to dumb themselves down despite a culture that demands otherwise. Though a creation of the 50s & 60s, Zott is a feminist icon for our time.”

Xochitl Gonzalez is a writer from Brooklyn, New York.  She received her MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow and recipient of the Michener-Copernicus Prize in Fiction.  She is a contributor to The Atlantic, and has been published in Bustle, Vogue, and The Cut.

Her debut novel, Olga Dies Dreaming, tells the tale of Olga, a wedding planner who grabbles with her social ambitions and Puerto Rican roots in the wake of the devastating Hurricane Maria.

Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest and Good Company, writes that Gonzalez digs deep into the damaged heart of a family, ably dissecting the knottiness of conditional love, identity, loyalty, secrets and the very definition of home… she manages to cover so much ground with wisdom, tenderness and abundant humor makes this book a complete joy.”

Sam Florsheim and Max LoSardo are writers currently living in Brooklyn.

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