"Exceptional debut, a heartfelt coming-of-age story. . . .Using spare, precise prose, and with a fresh, strong voice, Jaffe explores Julie’s budding sexuality, her unexpected attraction to Alexis, her awareness of the limitations of friendship, and the angst young women face as they begin to confront adulthood." —STARRED, Publishers Weekly
It’s 1992, and the world is caught up in the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the Balkan Wars, but for fifteen-year-old Julie Winter, the news is noise. In Portland, Oregon, Julie moves through her days in a series of negatives: the skaters she doesn’t think are cute, the trinkets she doesn’t buy at the craft fair, the umbrella she refuses to carry despite the incessant rain. Her family life is routine and restrained, and no one talks about Julie’s older brother, a one-time Olympic-hopeful swimmer who now lives in self-imposed exile in Berlin. Julie has never considered swimming herself, until Alexis, the girls’ swim team captain, tries to recruit her. It’s a dare, and a flirtation—and a chance for Julie to find her brother, or to finally let him go. Anything could happen when her body hits water.
"[The New and Improved Romie Futch] reminds the cynical, seen-it-all reader sometimes strangeness is enough. Elliott's work . . . contains brilliance." —Kirkus
Meet the South’s newest antihero: Romie Futch. Down on his luck and pining for his ex-wife, the fortysomething taxidermist spends his evenings drunkenly surfing the Internet, then passing out on his couch. In a last-ditch attempt to pay his mortgage, he becomes a research subject at the Center for Cybernetic Neuroscience, where “scientists” download humanities disciplines into his brain. Suddenly, Romie and his fellow guinea pigs are speaking in hifalutin SAT words and hashing out the intricacies of postmodern subjectivity. With his new and improved brain, Romie hopes to reclaim his marriage, revolutionize his life, and revive his artistic aspirations. While tracking down specimens for elaborate animatronic taxidermy dioramas, he learns of “Hogzilla,” a thousand-pound feral hog with supernatural traits that has been terrorizing the locals. As his Ahab-caliber obsession with bagging the beast brings him closer and closer to this lab-spawned monster, Romie gets pulled into an absurd and murky underworld of biotech operatives, FDA agents, and environmental activists.
Part surreal satire, part Southern Gothic tall tale, The New and Improved Romie Futch is a disturbing yet hilarious romp through a strange New South where technology can change the structure of the human brain and genetically modified feral animals ravage the blighted landscape. In Romie Futch, Julia Elliott has created an unwitting and ill-equipped protagonist who nevertheless will win your heart.
Praise for Jim Krusoe:
“Krusoe’s sure and subtle imaginings of such characters—yearning, isolated and finally enigmatic—place him among the foremost creators of surreal Americana.”
—New York Times Book Review
In an underground apartment building called “the Burrow”—essentially purgatory—“twilight souls” inhabit the space between life and death. Through their stories, and the ways in which their lives, past and present, intertwine, Jim Krusoe creates a poignant tale about what constitutes a life, what remains when we die, and what we possibly
carry with us into the next world.
"What an improbable, richly peopled saga! Kimball Taylor follows his hunch so deep into the world of polleros and the borderlands where they do their human smuggling that you’ll forget you’re reading non-fiction. El Indio, his clients, the authorities, and the harsh country they all do battle with—not to mention all the merry, ubiquitous bicycles rolling through the story—this completely original concoction reads like Latin American magical realism, except it’s reported-out and grounded in fact. Wonderful stuff."—William Finnegan, author of Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life and Cold New World: Growing Up in a Harder Country
It wasn’t surprising when the first abandoned bicycles were found along the dirt roads and farmland just across the border from Tijuana—the area’s residents were accustomed to all kinds of refuse and detritus—but the bikes kept coming: mountain bikes, touring bikes, BMXs, and beach cruisers, all piling up, day after day. They went from curiosity, to nuisance, to phenomenon. But until they caught the eye of journalist Kimball Taylor, only a small cadre of human smugglers—coyotes—and migrants could say how or why they’d gotten there. This is the true story of 7,000 bikes that made an incredible journey and one young man from Oaxaca who arrived at the border with nothing but the clothes on his back, built a small empire, and then vanished. Taylor follows the trail of the border bikes as they make their way through a surprisingly diverse spectrum of society’s most powerful institutions, and, with the help of an unlikely source, he reconstructs the rise of one of Tijuana’s most innovative coyotes. Touching on issues of immigration and globalization, as well as the history of the US/Mexico border, The Coyote’s Bicycle is at once an immersive investigation of an outrageous occurrence and a true-crime, rags-to-riches, coming-of-age story.