The Last Painting Of Sara De Vos by Dominic Smith. (Picador) A 17th-century Dutch painting and a forgery of it kick off a highbrow mystery. After the painting is stolen from Marty de Groot, whose family had owned it for generations, Marty’s streak of bad luck comes to an end. Years later, the hidden commonalities between him, the artist — the only female painter in a Dutch guild at the time — and the painting’s forger come into full view.
White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History Of Class In America by Nancy Isenberg. (Penguin, $17.) This masterly cultural history traces the United States’ changing relationship to white poverty — from Britain’s desire to banish its undesirable citizens to North America, to the stigmas and epithets attached to the underclass, to racial anxieties about becoming a “mongrel” nation.
Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave. (Simon & Schuster) In 1939 London, Mary North is given a teaching job just as the city’s students are evacuated, leaving behind only those who are mentally impaired, disabled or black. Cleave drew upon his grandparents’ correspondence for his novel, which Times reviewer Michael Callahan praised for its “ability to stay small and quiet against the raging tableau of war.”
Operation Thunderbolt: Flight 139 And The Raid On Entebbe Airport, The Most Audacious Hostage Rescue Mission In History by Saul David. (Back Bay/Little, Brown) In 1976, hijackers forced the pilot of an Air France flight en route from Tel Aviv to Paris to land in Entebbe, Uganda, and took the plane’s passengers hostage. David recounts the episode in thrilling, minute-by-minute detail, with attention to the masterminds behind the hijacking and the Israeli government’s decision to carry out the dangerous rescue mission.
The Sun In Your Eyes by Deborah Shapiro. (Morrow/HarperCollins) It’s been 10 years since Viv and Lee, the daughter of a musician who died when she was a child, lived together in college, and nearly three since Lee all but dropped from view. But when she suddenly appears, asking Viv to join her on a quest to recover her father’s unfinished album, the trip offers both women a chance at closure.
The Return: Fathers, Sons And The Land In Between by Hisham Matar. (Random House) Matar’s father, a prominent Libyan dissident, disappeared into a notorious regime prison in 1990; his fate remains unknown. This memoir, one of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2016, examines the grief of a family left in the dark, with meditations on dictatorship and art’s capacity to console.
New York Times