The wait is over: The National Book Foundation released its most hotly anticipated longlist, its Award for Fiction, on Friday. The 10 books are a mix of blockbuster titles from high-profile writers, including Jennifer Egan and 2011 National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward; buzzy debuts, like Lisa Ko’s The Leavers; and indie titles that have flown under the radar, like Carol Zoref’s Barren Island.
The books themselves ― intergenerational family sagas, heartwrenching love stories and finely crafted short fiction ― vary in form but all explore universal themes that are particularly resonant today: What makes up a family, what love means, how choices and external forces shape a family over generations. Several of the books delve into the struggles faced by immigrants; others bring to life the struggles of people marginalized in their homelands.
Here’s the entire 2017 Longlist for the National Book Award for Fiction (with descriptions via the National Book Foundation):
Elliot Ackerman, Dark at the Crossing
“An Arab American man attempting to enter Syria wrestles with loss, grief, and redemption as he desperately searches for a cause.” (Knopf / Penguin Random House)
Daniel Alarcón, The King Is Always Above the People: Stories
“Alarcón [...] explores loss, uncertainty, and power in The King Is Always Above the People, a collection of wide-ranging stories concluding in a novella.” (Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House)
Charmaine Craig, Miss Burma
“Miss Burma [...] follows members of the Karen ethnic minority group compelled to fight against repression and violence in their own country.” (Grove Press / Grove Atlantic)
Jennifer Egan, Manhattan Beach
“Egan follows a female diver seeking answers to her father’s disappearance in the hope of understanding his fate and her own in Manhattan Beach, her first historical novel.” (Scribner / Simon & Schuster)
Lisa Ko, The Leavers
“A son and the mother who abandoned him attempt to make sense of their circumstances while worlds apart.” (Algonquin Books / Workman Publishing)
Min Jin Lee, Pachinko
“Pachinko [...] chronicles a Korean family forced from their homeland as, over the course of many years, they experience the particular challenges of displacement.” (Grand Central Publishing / Hachette Book Group)
Carmen Maria Machado, Her Body and Other Parties: Stories
“An eerie and provocative debut that delves into the realities and violence of women’s lives in worlds that aren’t quite our own.” (Graywolf Press)
Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, A Kind of Freedom
“A Kind of Freedom [...] investigates racial disparities in the South through the stories of three generations of a Louisiana family fighting for the lives they wish for.” (Counterpoint Press)
Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing
“A fractured Mississippi family struggles to stay connected as they road trip across the state.” (Scribner / Simon & Schuster)
Carol Zoref, Barren Island
“Barren Island [...] follows characters grappling with questions of morality and liberty while living in isolation on an industrial island in the 1930s.” (New Issues Poetry & Prose)
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.