12 promising novels for spring 2013

Here are 12 spring 2013 fiction titles that we're looking forward to picking up.

1.'King of Cuba,' By Cristina García

Award-winning novelist Cristina García (“Dreaming in Cuban”) returns to her homeland with parallel stories of two 80-something men. One is the Castro-like dictator of Cuba now in his dotage, and the other is a Miami-based exile who blames El Comandante for ruining his life – and who now hopes for revenge. (May) 

'The Blind Man’s Garden,' By Nadeem Aslam

Acclaimed Pakistani novelist Nadeem Aslam’s latest work tells the story of Pakistani brothers who – in the aftermath of 9/11 and the American invasion – slip across the border to Afghanistan, one intent on fighting and the other hoping to heal and protect. (April) 

'The Golem and the Jinni,' by Helene Wecker

It sounds like the setup for a really strange joke: “A golem and a jinni walk into a bakery in early 19th-century New York....” But this debut novel – part fantastic tale, part historical fiction – is one of the most highly anticipated fiction releases of the spring. (April)

'And the Mountains Echoed,' by Khaled Hosseini

“Kite Runner” fans are already ordering copies of Khaled Hosseini’s new novel built around an extensive network of characters and family ties stretching from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos. (May) 

'On Sal Mal Lane,' by Ru Freeman

Journalist and author Ru Freeman’s second novel portrays the relationships binding a mix of families and children – Tamil and Sinhalese, Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim – all living on the same street during the run-up to the Sri Lankan civil war. (May) 

'The Woman Upstairs,' by Claire Messud

Bestselling author Claire Messud moves from Manhattan (“The Emperor’s Children”) to Cambridge, Mass., for this story of an elementary school teacher disappointed with her life who finds herself hopelessly – and unwisely – attracted to the lives of the Syrian-Italian family of one of her students. (April)

'All That Is,' by James Salter

In his first novel in more than 30 years, award-winning author James Salter follows 40 years in the life of a World War II vet who enjoys a prestigious career in publishing yet fails to make meaningful connections. (April) 

'The Movement of Stars,' by Amy Brill

Inspired by the real-life Maria Mitchell, this historical romance novel set in 19th-century Nantucket follows the story of a young Quaker woman whose devotion to the study of astronomy leads her into a world larger and more complicated than she could have imagined. (April) 

'Submergence,' by J.M. Ledgard

This second novel from British journalist J.M. Ledgard – which one critic recommends for “thinking readers” – is divided between the present life of a journalist held captive by Al Qaeda in Somalia and his memories of the affair he had in France with a brilliant oceanographer. (March)

'Between My Father and the King,' by Janet Frame

This posthumous collection of 28 short stories – some never before published – by distinguished New Zealand author Janet Frame takes readers from despair to wonder and on to deep meaning, always accompanied by powerful writing. (May)

'We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves,' by Karen Joy Fowler

Bestselling author Karen Joy Fowler (“The Jane Austen Book Club”) moves into new territory with this stunning novel about a young woman raised – as part of a psychology experiment – with a chimp as her sister, and the aftershocks of that experience. (May) 

'We Need New Names,' by NoViolet Bulawayo

This debut novel from Zimbabwean native NoViolet Bulawayo tells the story of a 10-year-old girl uprooted from her home in Zimbabwe when she leaves to join an aunt in America. (May)