“[Sister Golden Hair] absolutely dazzled me . . . a searingly accurate portrait of a time and a way of thinking—a moment in American history when gleeful abandon had decayed into regular old abandon, and when new cultural freedoms suddenly seemed more dangerous than intoxicating.”
—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things
When Jesse’s family moves to Roanoke, Virginia, in the summer of 1972, she’s twelve years old and already mindful of the schism between innocence and femininity, the gap between childhood and the world of adults. Her father, a former pastor, cycles through spiritual disciplines as quickly as he cycles through jobs. Her mother is chronically dissatisfied, glumly fetishizing the Kennedys and anyone else who symbolizes status and wealth. The residents of the Bent Tree housing development may not seem like beacons of the secret knowledge that Jesse is looking for, but they’re all she’s got. Her neighbor tans on the front lawn and tells tales of her married lover; her classmate playacts being a Bunny at Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Club; the boy she’s interested in fantasizes about moving to Hollywood and befriending David Soul.
In the midst of her half-understanding, Jesse finds space to set up her room with her secret treasures: a Venus Flytrap, her Cher 45s, and The Big Book of Burial Rites. But outside await new sexual mores, muddled social customs, and confused spirituality. It’s a terrifying time—in the shadow of Manson and the hangover from the idealistic sixties—when alienation overtakes liberation. Girlhood has never been more fraught than in Jesse’s telling, its expectations threatening to turn at any point into delicious risk, or real danger. Darcey Steinke captures all of this with an intimate, startling grace.
“Julia Elliott’s magical debut collection, The Wilds, brings together some of the most original, hilarious, and mind-bending stories written in the last two decades. She journeys deep into mythic terrains with an explorer’s courage and a savant’s wit, and the reports she sends back from imagination’s hinterlands are charged with a vernacular that crackles with insight. Angela Carter, Kelly Link, and Karen Russell are similar visionaries in the short story form, but Elliott is very much her own irrepressible voice—and it’s one well worth heeding. The Wilds is simply a milestone achievement.”
—Bradford Morrow, author of The Uninnocent
At an obscure South Carolina nursing home, a lost world reemerges as a disabled elderly woman undergoes newfangled brain-restoration procedures and begins to explore her environment with the assistance of strap-on robot legs. At a deluxe medical spa on a nameless Caribbean island, a middle-aged woman hopes to revitalize her fading youth with grotesque rejuvenating therapies that combine cutting-edge medical technologies with holistic approaches and the pseudo-religious dogma of Zen-infused self-help. And in a rinky-dink mill town, an adolescent girl is unexpectedly inspired by the ravings and miraculous levitation of her fundamentalist friend’s weird grandmother. These are only a few of the scenarios readers encounter in Julia Elliott’s debut collection The Wilds. In her genre-bending stories, Elliott blends Southern gothic strangeness with dystopian absurdities, sci-fi speculations with fairy-tale transformations. Teetering between the ridiculous and the sublime, Elliott’s language-driven fiction uses outlandish tropes to capture poignant moments in her humble characters’ lives. Without abandoning the tenets of classic storytelling, Elliott revels in lush lyricism, dark humor, and experimental play.
“Capacious, capricious, mischievous, The Search for Heinrich Schlögel moves like a quantum experiment, defying boundaries of time, place, chronology. Fluid as light itself, animated by startling imagery, vivid and peculiar characters, The Search for Heinrich Schlögel is a hymn to brooding memory, the enduring need to inhabit story, and a haunting insistence upon endless possibilities within possibility. That is to say, hope.”
—Gina Ochsner, author of The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight
Martha Baillie’s hypnotic novel follows Heinrich Schlögel from Germany to Canada, where he sets out on a solo hike into the interior of Baffin Island. His journey quickly becomes surreal; he experiences strange encounters and inexplicable visions. Time plays tricks on him. When he returns to civilization, he discovers that, though he has not aged, thirty years have passed. Narrated by an unnamed archivist who is attempting to piece together the truth of Heinrich’s life, The Search for Heinrich Schlogel dances between reality and fantasy. Heinrich’s story, as it unfolds, in today’s disappearing North, asks us to consider our role in imagining the future into existence while considering the consequences of our past choices. Brimming with the creativity behind David Mitchell’s masterpiece Cloud Atlas in a far north setting, The Search for Heinrich Schlogel is a sophisticated story with magical underpinnings.
“Baillie’s novel contains real tenderness, rendered in beautiful prose with compelling restraint.”
—Quill and Quire
In a Toronto library, notes appear, written by someone who believes he is Rigoletto, the hunchbacked jester from Verdi’s opera. Convinced that the young librarian, Miriam, is his daughter, he promises to protect her. Little does he know how much loss she has already experienced; or does he? Strikingly original in its structure, composed of 140 highly distilled, lyric “reports,” the novel depicts the tensions between private and public storytelling and the subtle dynamics of a socially exposed workplace. Reports on bizarre public behavior intertwine with reports on the private life of the novel’s narrator. Both mystery and love story, The Incident Report daringly explores the fragility of our individual identities.
Steeped in beauty, wonder, and looping heartbreak, Sean Michaels’s debut novel explores the lies we tell, the truths we imagine, and the lengths we go to survive.
|Walt Whitman’s iconic collection of poems, Leaves of Grass, has earned a reputation as a sacred American text. Whitman himself made such comparisons, going so far as to use biblical verse as a model for his own. So it’s only appropriate that artist and illustrator Allen Crawford has chosen to illuminate—like medieval monks with their own holy scriptures—Whitman’s masterpiece and the core of his poetic vision, “Song of Myself.” Crawford has turned the original sixty-page poem from Whitman’s 1855 edition into a sprawling 234-page work of art. The handwritten text and illustrations intermingle in a way that’s both surprising and wholly in tune with the spirit of the poem—they’re exuberant, rough, and wild. Whitman Illuminated: Song of Myself is a sensational reading experience, an artifact in its own right, and a masterful tribute to the Good Gray Poet.|
|“I am amazed and moved by Pamela Erens’s The Understory. It brings to mind (and stands up well next to) such literary ancestors as Hamsun's Hunger, or Beckett's stories of the evicted, but it is uniquely tender in its treatment of the isolated mind's quest to keep alive what is most radiant and most fragile in the face of the brutal catastrophe of reality. Erens brings extraordinary powers of empathy and technical mastery to the character of Jack Gorse—normally the person we pass on the street and, after a token moment of pity, attempt to forget as rapidly as possible. In this book there is no turning away from him, or more accurately and terribly, from the world as he perceives it.”
— Franz Wright, author of Walking to Martha's Vineyard, winner of the Pulitzer Prize
The Understory—the debut novel from the critically acclaimed author of The Virgins —is the haunting portrayal of Jack Gorse, an ex-lawyer, now unemployed, who walls off his inner life with elaborate rituals and routines. Every day he takes the same walk from his Upper West Side apartment to the Brooklyn Bridge. He follows the same path through Central Park; he stops to browse in the same bookstore, to eat lunch in the same diner. Threatened with eviction from his longtime apartment and caught off-guard by an attraction to a near stranger, Gorse takes steps that lead to the dramatic dissolution of the only existence he’s known. As the narrative alternates between his days in New York City and his present life in a Vermont Buddhist Monastery, The Understory unfolds as both a mystery and a psychological study, revealing that repression and self-expression can be equally destructive.
"Sprawling, atmospheric.... [American Dream Machine has] a feline watchfulness and a poetic sensibility that echoes Bellow's and Updike's prose rhythms along with their voracious, exuberant intelligence."
—New York Times Book Review
|American Dream Machine is the story of an iconic striver, a classic self-made man in the vein of Jay Gatsby or Augie March. It's the story of a talent agent and his troubled sons, two generations of Hollywood royalty. It's a sweeping narrative about parents and children, the movie business, and the sundry sea changes that have shaped Hollywood, and by extension, American life.
Beau Rosenwald—overweight, not particularly handsome, and improbably charismatic—arrives in Los Angles in 1962 with nothing but an ill-fitting suit and a pair of expensive brogues. By the late 1970s he has helped found the most successful agency in Hollywood. Through the eyes of his son, we watch Beau and his partner go to war, waging a seismic battle that redraws the lines of an entire industry. We watch Beau rise and fall and rise again, in accordance with the cultural transformations that dictate the fickle world of movies. We watch Beau's partner, the enigmatic and cerebral Williams Farquarsen, struggle to contain himself, to control his impulses and consolidate his power. And we watch two generations of men fumble and thrive across the LA landscape, learning for themselves the shadows and costs exacted by success and failure. Mammalian, funny, and filled with characters both vital and profound, American Dream Machine is a piercing interrogation of the role—nourishing, as well as destructive—that illusion plays in all our lives.
|“Bianca Stone’s poems are powerful, moving, and original. There is an amazing image center in her brain! Her brain (psyche, heart) can wrestle the matter of life to the ground (a pleasure for matter), and shapechange with it, and it does not give up its ghost but reveals, in joy and sorrow, its spirit.Stone’s poems are highly charged, lively, and interesting. They are fiercely anti-sentimental, and emotionally generous.”
—Sharon Olds, Pulitzer-Prize–winning author of Stag’s Leap
|Someone Else’s Wedding Vows reflects on the different forms of love, which can be both tremendously joyous and devastatingly destructive. The title poem confronts a human ritual of marriage from the standpoint of a wedding photographer. Within the tedium and alienation of the ceremony, the speaker grapples with a strange human hopefulness. In this vein, Stone explores our everyday patterns and customs, and in doing so, exposes them for their complexities. Drawing on the neurological, scientific, psychological, and even supernatural, this collection confronts the difficulties of love and family. Stone rankles with a desire to understand, but the questions she asks are never answered simply. These poems stroll along the abyss, pointing towards the absurdity of our choices. They recede into the imaginative in order to understand and translate the distressing nature of reality. It is a bittersweet question this book raises: Why we are like this? There is no easy answer. So while we look down at our hands, perplexed, Someone Else’s Wedding Vows raises a glass to the future.
"Mountford has written a distinctively entertaining novel that illuminates the spiritual odyssey of a contemporary Dodsworth."
— Starred Publishers Weekly
The Dismal Science tells of a middle-aged vice president at the World Bank, Vincenzo D’Orsi, who publicly quits his job over a seemingly minor argument with a colleague. A scandal inevitably ensues, and he systematically burns every bridge to his former life. After abandoning his career, Vincenzo, a recent widower, is at a complete loss as to what to do with himself. The story follows his efforts to rebuild his identity without a vocation or the company of his wife.
An exploration of the fragile nature of identity, The Dismal Science reveals the terrifying speed with which a person’s sense of self can be annihilated. It is at once a study of a man attempting to apply his reason to the muddle of life and a book about how that same ostensible rationality, and the mathematics of finance in particular, operates—with similarly dubious results—in our world.
|"In This Is Between Us Kevin Sampsell writes with grace and intimacy about the toughest subject of all—love—and manages to capture a relationship in its natural state: wry and wistful, strange and sexy, humming with desire, quaking with vulnerability."
—Jess Walter, Beautiful Ruins
|This Is Between Us, Kevin Sampsell's utterly engrossing debut novel, is a confessional tale of love between two resilient people who have staked their hearts on each other.|
|"The brilliant mind behind Moby Dick in Pictures is back to illustrate Joseph Conrad’s classic."
|Following his massive—and massively successful—Moby Dick in Pictures, artist Matt Kish has set himself upon an equally impressive, and no less harrowing, task: illustrating each page of Joseph Conrad’s masterpiece, Heart of Darkness. Kish’s rich, imaginative drawings and paintings mirror Conrad’s original text and serve to illuminate Marlow’s journey into the heart of the Congo, and into the depths of the human soul. Heart of Darkness is a text ripe for analysis and argument, formally and thematically; it explores matters of imperialism, racism, gender, and the duality of human nature. Kish’s illustrations add another layer, and another voice in the conversation. Heart of Darkness is an essential edition for fans and students of Conrad’s work, but is, above all, a piece of art all its own.
Kish’s introduction lends context to his approach, details his relationship and struggle with Conrad’s work, and illuminates his own creative process. An index in the rear of the book catalogs the sentences and phrases that inspired each of the one hundred original pieces of art.
"Luna creates an array of complex characters caught up in emotions, relationships and situations far from the ordinary as they examine their commitment to their merged family and explore their own ideals and expectations. Enlightening and marked by inventive subject matter, intense reflection and stark eloquence."
|Inspired by the midnineties squat evictions on New York’s Lower East Side, Cari Luna’s gritty debut novel vividly imagines the lives of five squatters, showing readers a life that few people, including New Yorkers who passed the squats every day, know about or understand.|
". . .The Virgins is both skillfully crafted and dangerous . . . .Pamela Erens [has] told a devastating story. The Virgins is a brutal book, but it's flawlessly executed and irrefutably true."
—John Irving, New York Times Book Review
The Virgins is the story of Aviva and Seung’s descent into confusion and shame, as re-imagined in richly detailed episodes by their classmate Bruce, a once-embittered voyeur turned repentant narrator. With unflinching honesty and breathtaking prose, Pamela Erens brings a fresh voice to the tradition of the great boarding school novel.
"Jodi Angel writes like an angel—in the full sense of the designation--which is to say someone fallen out of the armpit of a restless deity—sharp-eyed, ruthless,and tender at the same time. I'd walk a long way to hear her read these stories, and plan to buy a half dozen copies just so I can give them away saying, 'Look at this. You have never before read anything like this.'"
|Jodi Angel’s second story collection, You Only Get Letters from Jail, chronicles the lives of young men trapped in the liminal space between adolescence and adulthood. From picking up women at a bar hours after mom’s overdose to coveting a drowned girl to catching rattlesnakes with gasoline, Angel's characters are motivated by muscle cars, manipulative women, and the hope of escape from circumstances that force them either to grow up or give up. Haunted by unfulfilled dreams and disappointments, and often acting out of mixed intentions and questionable motives, these boys turned young men are nevertheless portrayed with depth, tenderness, and humanity. Angel’s gritty and heartbreaking prose leaves readers empathizing with people they wouldn't ordinarily trust or believe in.|
“What a riveting, wonderfully intelligent novel! Karen Shepard’s characters vibrate with desire and disappointment, so obdurately individual that a whole world springs to life around them and the past becomes completely present.”
—Andrea Barrett, author of Ship Fever and The Air We Breathe
In June of 1870, seventy-five Chinese laborers arrived in North Adams, Massachusetts, to work for Calvin Sampson, one of the biggest industrialists in that busy factory town. Except for the foreman, the Chinese didn’t speak English. They didn’t know they were strikebreakers. The eldest of them was twenty-two. Combining historical and fictional elements, The Celestials beautifully reimagines the story of Sampson’s “Chinese experiment” and the effect of the newcomers’ threatening and exotic presence on the New England locals. When Sampson’s wife, Julia, gives birth to a mixed-race baby, the infant becomes a lightning rod for the novel’s conflicts concerning identity, alienation, and exile.
"Like Paulo Lins’s sweeping Brazilian saga City of God, Binebine’s Horses of God is the story of a violent, maze-like city-within-a-city—Casablanca’s Sidi Moumen shantytown—its anonymous dreams and scavenger dumps, campfires and soccer matches and 'hashish-scented sky.' But, above all, it’s about Sidi Moumen’s soul and the 'living dead' yearning to escape, to be reborn, to grow wings and soar above its crumbling walls. Binebine writes living, breathing history, vividly capturing our incendiary daily world from the inside out."
—Anderson Tepper, editor, Vanity Fair
On May 16, 2003, fourteen suicide bombers launched a series of attacks throughout Casablanca. It was the deadliest attack in Morocco’s history. The bombers came from the shantytowns of Sidi Moumen, a poor suburb on the edge of a dump whose impoverished residents rarely if ever set foot in the cosmopolitan city at their doorstep. Mahi Binebine’s novel Horses of God follows four childhood friends growing up in Sidi Moumen as they make the life-changing decisions that will lead them to become Islamist martyrs.
"A powerful and intricate novel . . . heartbreaking."
—Michael Ondaatje, author of The Cat's Table
One summer night on a side street in downtown Toronto, Kim Lystrander is attacked by a stranger. In the weeks and months that follow, she returns to the night, in writing, searching for harbingers of the incident and clues to the identity of her assailant. The attack also torments Kim’s father, and as he investigates the crime on his own, he begins to unravel. Entwined in their stories are Kim’s ailing mother, a young Colombian man living in the country illegally, and a woman whose faith-based belief in the duty to give asylum to any who seek it, even those judged guilty, endangers them all.
A novel of profound moral tension and luminous prose, Cities of Refuge shows how a single act of violence connects close-by fears to distant political terrors. It weaves a web of incrimination and inquiry in which mysteries live within mysteries, and stories within stories, and the power to save or condemn rests not only in the forces of history but also in the realm of our deepest longings.
"Portuguese is an enthralling testament to a creative mind beset upon on all sides by attempts at calcification and deleterious circumscription. . . .Portuguese earns its grandeur with a grandeur of spirit that is nearly unparalleled in contemporary verse. Shimoda's lines are by turns gracefully aphoristic and effortlessly metonymic; they transcend their subject--the author himself--by dint of their intelligence, sensitivity, and spiritual awareness. . . .It is not too much to say that Shimoda is writing, somehow, impossibly, the universal autobiography of a nation. . . Very highly recommended." —Huffington Post
|The poems in Portuguese began while Brandon rode city buses around Seattle, and were inspired by his fellow passengers—their voices and their minds, their faces and their bodies, their exuberances and infirmities, and the ways in which they enlivened and darkened the days at once. It was with and within these people that poetry seemed most alive. At the same time, they began as responses to the words and writings of visual artists, mostly painters, whom Brandon was reading while riding the bus, especially Etel Adnan, Eugène Delacroix, Alberto Giacometti, Paul Klee, and Joan Mitchell, all of whom appear in the book. It was with and within these people, also, that poetry seemed most alive.
In both senses, Portuguese is a work of color.
"Taylor's straightforward prose captures the nuances of being at an age where you cannot see the differences between being a teenager and being an adult."—Publishers Weekly
|Looking back, Martha could’ve said no when Mr Booker first tried to kiss her. That would’ve been the sensible thing to do. But Martha is sixteen, she lives in a small dull town—a cemetery with lights—her father is mad, her home is stifling, and she’s waiting for the rest of her life to begin. Of course Martha would kiss the charming Englishman who brightened her world with style, adventure, whiskey, cigarettes and sex.
But Martha didn’t count on the consequences.
Me and Mr Booker is a story about feeling old when you’re young and acting young when you’re not.
"A harrowing evocation of mental illness, and of one woman's terrifying inability to bear the burdens of motherhood. A sustained exercise in dread for the reader, but a surprisingly sympathetic portrait nonetheless." —Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk about Kevin
A single mother takes her two sons on a trip to the seaside. They stay in a hotel, drink hot chocolate, and go to the funfair. She wants to protect them from an uncaring and uncomprehending world. She knows that it will be the last trip for her boys.
Beside the Sea is a haunting and thought-provoking story about how a mother's love for her children can be more dangerous than the dark world she is seeking to keep at bay. It's a hypnotizing look at an unhinged mind and the cold society that produced it. With language as captivating as the story that unfolds, Véronique Olmi creates an intimate portrait of madness and despair that won't soon be forgotten.
"Misfit is amazing...It’s about how someone can be explored externally, while also internally examined: a book about identity, privacy, and intimacy that both exposes and conceals the subject."
–Ann Beattie, author of Mrs. Nixon: A Novelist Imagines a Life
Marilyn Monroe is one of the most iconic figures in the history of Hollywood, and her legendary work on the big screen is eclipsed only perhaps by the lengend of her life off it. Adam Braver’s Misfit centers on the last weekend of Monroe’s life, which she spent at Frank Sinatra’s resort, the Cal Neva Lodge, in Lake Tahoe. Melding facts with fiction, Braver takes moments throughout Monroe’s life—her childhood, her marriages with Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, her studies with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio, and her role in The Misfits, the film Miller wrote for her—and explores how they informed her tragic end.
"Krusoe’s latest is a self-reflective coming-of-age story wrapped in a fable and sprinkled with wry observations…Parsifal becomes a piquant commentary on tensions between nostalgia and reality, the past and the present, and humanity’s need for myths.”
There's a war going on between the earth and the sky, but that doesn’t stop Parsifal, a humble fountain pen repairman, from revisiting the forest where he was raised by his mom, a woman with a taste for Victoria’s Secret lingerie. On his journey, Parsifal, a wise fool if there ever was one, encounters several librarians, a therapist, numerous blind people, and Misty, a beautiful woman who may well be under the influence of recreational drugs. Head-spinning and hilarious, Parsifal is a book like no other about the entanglement of the past and present, as well as the limitations of the future.
What Happened to Sophie Wilder is an old fashioned literary novel in the very best sense--thoughtful and intellectual, moving and well-wrought. Like its restless, yearning characters, it's not afraid of the big questions, God and love, work and love, friendship and love, and yet the solace this impressive debut finds lies as deeply in the page as in the flesh or the spirit. Beha has managed to produce a book that is satisfying for anyone who reads in order to live."
—Helen Schulman, author of This Beautiful Life
Charlie Blakeman has just published his first novel, to almost no acclaim. He's living on New York's Washington Square, struggling with his follow-up, and floundering within his pseudointellectual coterie when his college love, Sophie Wilder, returns to his life. Sophie is also struggling, though Charlie isn't sure why, since they've barely spoke, after falling out a decade before. Now Sophie begins to tell Charlie the story of her life since then, particularly the story of the days she spent taking care of a dying man with his own terrible past and of the difficult decision he forced her to make. When she disappears once again, Charlie sets out to discover what happened to Sophie Wilder. Christopher Beha's debut novel explores faith, love, friendship, and, ultimately, the redemptive power of storytelling.
Hypnotic and profoundly disquieting, The Listeners is the story of a woman whose life is shaped by tragedy. Thirtysomething Quinn is the survivor of a fractured and eccentric childhood marred by the death of her younger sister. Twenty years later she is in the midst of a decade-long slide down the other side of punk-rock stardom after her successful music career was abruptly halted. Sassy and smart, tough but broken, Quinn is at loose ends. She develops unique strategies for coping, but no matter what twisted tactic she conjures to keep her psyche intact, the past won’t stay away. Leni Zumas portrays a world twisted on its axis by loss, in all its grotesque beauty. From the first line the prose is glorious: pricklingly honest and hallucinatory, a lucid dream world realized. Marking the debut of a major American writer,The Listeners is about what lurks in the shadows and what happens when what's lurking insists on being seen.
“A masterful account of North Africans trying to sneak across the Straits of Gibraltar into Spain . . . A fine debut: richly atmospheric and evocative, at once a sharply narrated tale of suspense and a carefully constructed memoir of inner grief.”
Mahi Binebine’s courageous novel takes place in Morocco, where seven would-be immigrants gather one night near the Strait of Gibraltar to wait for a signal from a trafficker that it is time to cross. While they wait, their stories unfold: Kacem Judi is an escapee from the civil war in Algeria; Nuara, with her newborn child, hopes to find her husband, who hasn’t been in touch for months since moving to France; and Aziz, the young narrator, and his cousin Reda are severed, in different ways, from their families in southern Morocco. They all share a longing to escape and a readiness to risk everything. Welcome to Paradise delves into a world that most readers know only from stories on the nightly news, delivering a compassionate and striking portrait of human desperation.
Dr. Miranda is faced with a tragedy: his father has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and has only a few weeks to live. He is also faced with a dilemma: How does one tell his father he is dying? Ernesto Duran, a patient of Dr. Miranda’s, is convinced he is sick. Ever since he separated from his wife he has been presenting symptoms of an illness he believes is killing him. It becomes an obsession far exceeding hypochondria. The fixation, in turn, has its own creeping effect on Miranda’s secretary, who cannot, despite her best intentions, resist compassion for the man. Alberto Barrera Tyszka’s tender, refined novel interweaves the stories of four individuals as they try, in their own way, to come to terms with sickness in all its ubiquity.
“Gwenaëlle Aubry’s No One is a beautifully rendered and conceived work. Structured like a duet, with writing by her dead father and herself, No One is about the search for a wanderer father in the morass of his unstable identity. It is an impassioned novel, a psychoanalytic double session, an examination of the limits of language, and an act of filial devotion.”
—Lynne Tillman, author of Someday This Will Be Funny
Recalling the work of writers such as Jean Rhys, Marguerite Duras, and Virginia Woolf, Glaciers portrays how the fleeting moments of one day can reveal an entire life.
Isabel is a single, twentysomething thrift-store shopper and collector of remnants, things cast off or left behind by others. Glaciers follows Isabel through a day in her life in which work with damaged books in the basement of a library, unrequited love for the former soldier who fixes her computer, and dreams of the perfect vintage dress move over a backdrop of deteriorating urban architecture and the imminent loss of the glaciers she knew as a young girl in Alaska.
“In an age of soulless, cookie-cutter computer illustrations, Matt Kish's intense and obsessive drawings, paintings, and montages are a riotous delight. Kish's artwork renews our age-old love of expressive handmade imagery. He humanizes his material in a way that has all but disappeared from the design scene. It's great to see that passion again.”
—Paula Scher, Pentagram
Matt Kish has illustrated Herman Melville’s classic, Moby-Dick, creating an image a day based on text selected from every page of the 552-page Signet Classics edition. Kish refused to set any boundaries for the artwork and employed a deliberately low-tech approach. He used found pages torn from old, discarded books, as well as a variety of mediums, including ballpoint pen, marker, paint, crayon, ink, and watercolor. By layering images on top of existing words and images, Kish has crafted a visual masterpiece that echoes the layers of meaning in Melville’s narrative.
In the tradition of Vladimir Nabokov and Henry Miller, John Franc's masterful novel explores sexual obsession, as a group of male friends delve further and further into the world of brothels under the gleaming surface of their cosmopolitan city. Told through an anonymous collective point of view, the narrative names no character or location, implying that these men speak for all men.
"Stories—subtly disturbing, ruthlessly brilliant—by eighteen top-of-the-trend writers."
—Ursula K. Le Guin
Meet the daughters of Franz Kafka, Mary Shelley, the Brothers Grimm, and Angela Carter. Fantastic Women assembles the work of eighteen inventive, insightful women authors who steep their narratives in a heady potion of surrealism and macabre black comedy. The results are wildly creative stories that capture the truth about human nature far more than much of the fiction (or, for that matter, the nonfiction) being written today.
"In the tradition of the great noir novels, Wire to Wire, is really something. Like being in a stolen car with no brakes in a world of train hopping, sex, violence, and drugs. It’s all edge from start to finish."
—Willy Vlautin, author of The Motel Life
Wire to Wire assembles a cast of train-hopping, drug-dealing, glue-huffing lowlifes, in a stunning homage to one of our most popular enduring genres—the American crime novel.
"In Bright Before Us, Katie Arnold-Ratliff writes sentences that are as luminous and candid as X-rays, laser-traceries of the human heart. Young Francis is a fascinating and exquisitely drawn character, and the urgency of his story left me breathless."
—Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!
Facing the prospect of fatherhood, disillusioned by his fledgling teaching career, and mourning the loss of a former relationship, Francis Mason is a prisoner of his past mistakes. When his second-grade class discovers a dead body during a field trip to a San Francisco beach, Francis spirals into unbearable grief and all-consuming paranoia.
"A seriously strange, funny and affecting novel about imagining another life while being stuck in this one."
Toward You completes Jim Krusoe's bittersweet trilogy about the relationship between this world and the next. Bob has spent several years trying to build a machine that will communicate with the dead. He's gotten more or less nowhere. Then two surprising things happen: he receives an important message from a dog, and a former girlfriend, Yvonne, reenters his life. These events make Bob even more determined to perfect the Communicator, as he calls his invention, in the belief that it will change his friendless, humdrum life for the better.
"Your Wildest Dreams, Within Reason makes you laugh out loud, and at the same time it inspires wonder. . .Mike Sacks is not just a sensational comic writer, but a sensational writer—period."
Your Wildest Dreams, Within Reason collects Mike Sacks’s unique humor pieces into one handsome, convenient volume. Originally published in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Esquire, and McSweeney’s, among other venerable publications, Sacks’s writing is original and sharp, yet broadly funny. Whether it’s a groom tweeting his wedding and honeymoon in real time, or a publisher offering editorial suggestions for The Diary of Anne Frank, Sacks’s work tangles contemporary social satire with his absurdist sensibilities.
“I was immediately mesmerized . . . Its beauty matches its depth and her achievement is as brilliant as it is haunting.”
Set in apartheid South Africa, Agaat portrays the unique, forty-year relationship between Milla, a sixty-seven-year-old white woman, and her black maidservant turned caretaker, Agaat. With haunting, lyrical prose, Marlene van Niekerk creates a story about love and loyalty.
"Morris has enough guts to reveal all of his character's insecurities, but enough empathy to never revel in them."
—Time Out Chicago
In this stunning story collection inhabited by dreams and disappointments, good intentions and small triumphs, Keith Lee Morris chronicles the lives of men lost in the liminal spaces between adolescence and adulthood.
"Hot Springs is a road trip layered with desire and mistake and the impossibility of keeping a secret from rising through the years."
—Ron Carlson, author of The Signal
"Utterly charming—I love this little general and the strange and wondrous and precise world he lives in."
—Aimee Bender, author of Willful Creatures
What magical message is a giant snowflake trying to bring to a little general, and to the world? In a time of violent military solutions to global problems, this illustrated allegory by leading poet Matthea Harvey has a powerful resonance.
"...these stories are about alienation and displacement...at least some Russians are still reading—not only themselves but their classics—as they write themselves out of cultural amnesia."
—Maxim D. Shrayer, The Globe and Mail
Few countries have undergone more radical transformations than Russia has since the fall of the Soviet Union. The stories in Rasskazy: New Fiction from a New Russia present twenty-two depictions of the new Russia from its most talented young writers. Selected from the pages of the top Russian literary magazines and written by winners of the most prestigious literary awards, most of these stories appear here in English for the first time.
"...rich language...splendid characters...Heyns' story goes beyond Simon's coming-of-age and broaches something much bigger: society's own struggles with coming-of-age."
—Amy Wallen, The Los Angeles Times
A tender chronicle of a boy's coming of age in South Africa during the apartheid years of the sixties.
“Smart and funny...Krusoe is an engaging writer and an acute observer of his own brand of quotidian strangeness.”
—John Haskell,The New York Times Book Review
Abandonment, life, death, and, oddly, Cleveland are explored in the hilarious second installment of Jim Krusoe's trilogy about resurrection.
“Potent, fragile and tender, When I Forgot is really the story of ‘When I Remembered,’ of a woman summoning the courage to unlock her memories and share them, and feeling the relief of exhaling breath held too long.”
—Liesl Schillinger, The New York Times Book Review (cover)
An astonishingly assured and compelling debut, When I Forgot explores the relationship between a sister and her brother, the past that they share, and the memories that shape their lives forever.
"Jan Elizabeth Watson's debut, Asta in the Wings, follows two mavens of make-believe—seven-year-old Asta and her nine-year-old brother, Orion—as they reckon with the brutal realities of the adult world in the wilds of rural Maine."
A poignant and darkly funny story narrated by Asta Hewitt, a resourceful seven-year-old growing up in an isolated house in Maine. Shut off from the outside world and restricted to the company of a delusional mother and a bookish older brother, Asta is content to be part of a "society of three."
The Village Voice declared that Tin House "may very well represent the future of literary magazines."
Satellite Convulsions: Poems from Tin House celebrates Tin House magazine's commitment to publishing innovative contemporary poetry by both established and emerging poets.
"Adam Braver's November 22, 1963 focuses on the singular event of President Kennedy's assassination, fusing fiction and fact from eyewitnesses and other sources to make for a blazingly original, brilliantly concretized historical novel from the author of Mr. Lincoln's War."
November 22, 1963 chronicles the day of John F. Kennedy's assassination and explores the intersection of stories and memories and how they represent and mythologize that defining moment in history.
"Morris is heir to the Richard Ford of Rock Springs."
An intriguing tale of darts, drugs, and death. Russell Harmon is the self-proclaimed king of his small-town Idaho dart league, but all is not well in his kingdom.
"What a fantastic novel. Salvation is an absolute knockout. I read it without stopping and fell in love by the end of the day."
—Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones
Sometimes funny, sometimes eerie, Salvation is the story of the coming of age of Crane Cavanaugh, born into a family of three former charlatan preachers and two older siblings living in poverty in rural Iowa. A budding scientist, Crane narrates her life from the moment of birth, with a rich awareness of the natural world and her own precarious spot in it.
"This book is not just funny—it's eerie, and vivid, and strangely sad, too. His work is full of the most curious urgency: I love to keep reading, and I don't know what I'm waiting for, exactly, but I know whatever I find will hover in my peripheral vision for awhile after I'm done, and that's exactly what happened here."
—Aimee Bender, author of The Girl in the Flammable Skirt
Things don’t always work out the way they ought to—or do they?—in this unsettling darkly comic novel. Girl Factory is an exploration of memory, desire, and the nature of storytelling, all set against the backdrop of a frozen yogurt shop's underbelly.
"Literature—creative literature—unconcerned with sex, is inconceivable."
Do Me goes all the way with the funniest, boldest, hottest, and most richly imagined explorations of sex by some the finest contemporary writers.
"These short stories are as smart as pinpricks, magic tricks. They go off like a string of firecrackers."
—Kelly Link, author of Magic for Beginners
Lucy Corin’s daring debut story collection leads the reader through a world where characters behave normally in the most extreme situations and bizarrely with almost no provocation at all. Unpredictable and playful, Corin brilliantly dissects time, people, places, and things, truly rendering how it feels to be human.
“Ovenman is a welcome addition to the literature of the lovably hapless by a young writer with talent to burn.”
—George Saunders, author of Pastoralia and In Persuasion Nation
Skateboarder, restaurant worker, and punk rocker wannabe, the antihero of Jeff Parker’s uproariously funny debut novel adds a new twist to the classic coming-of-age story. When Thinfinger, a ne’er-do-well with a slightly tarnished heart of gold, relies on Post-it notes to help him make sense of the chaos and momentum of his life: a girlfriend who dreams he murders her, a long lost Biodad who writes letters filled with lies, a televised war that is over before it has even begun, and a robbery he can’t remember committing.
“Mary Otis sees things from the odd angle, which is the literary one. It makes her stories true-to-life, funny, brave, and amazing.”
—Lorrie Moore, author of Birds of America
Poignant and sharply rendered, Mary Otis’s debut collection seeks answers to the questions of whom we love and why, how we search for love, lose it, or find it—sometimes at the last moment and in the most unlikely places.
“Here is a talented writer at the bright edge of his career.”
—Ron Carlson, author of A Kind of Flying
In his debut short story collection, award-winning writer Josh Goldfaden limns the magical, witty, and touching world of these singular characters and their hidden compulsions and idiosyncrasies.
"Zak Smith, with uninhibited bravado and exactly the right kind of insanity, has done something remarkable in [Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon's Novel Gravity's Rainbow] : created a series of images that approach the richness of their source. He draws a lurid and intoxicating netherworld, complete in its own right and, at the same time, an illuminating companion to the novel."
—Emily Barton, Los Angeles Times
Artist Zak Smith has created more than 750 pages of drawings, paintings, and photos—each derived from a page of Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow. Smith aimed to be “as literal as possible,” but his images are as imaginative and powerful as the prose they honor.
“Mathson’s voice is dead-on, fresh, and completely winning. Michele Matheson is a find.”
—Jim Krusoe, author of Iceland
It’s Christmastime in Los Angeles and Max is lying on the beach, attempting to survive one day without heroin. Her failure to do so inspires the adventures of a lifetime—a tour of the bizarre that inhabits the underbelly of LA glitz.
“Broken and brilliant, protean and written in blood . . . Mosquito introduces a thrilling new voice in American poetry.” —Nick Flynn, author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City
Lyrical and explosive, Mosquito blends autobiography and poetry, bearing witness to a young man’s journey through serious illness and his emergence into a world where eroticism, hope, and wisdom allow him to see life in a wholly new way.
“A convincing and haunting book."
Set in Wisconsin, Girls in Peril is a novella about the special bonds between young women on the verge of adulthood. Karen Lee Boren weaves issues of sexuality, identity, and class into a magical and unforgettable web.
“Here you will find complicated, deep portraits of the human that sing of worth and hope and endurance.”
—Dorothy Allison, from the foreword
From the award-winning literary magazine comes another dazzling collection of stories by contemporary masters of the form.
"Krusoe's sure and subtle imaginings of characters--yearning, isolated and finally enigmatic--place him among the foremost creators of surreal Americana."
-The New York Times Book Review