The Fire This Time edited by Jesmyn Ward: “National Book Award–winner Jesmyn Ward takes James Baldwin’s 1963 examination of race in America, The Fire Next Time, as a jumping off point for this groundbreaking collection of essays and poems about race from the most important voices of her generation and our time.”
The Field of the Cloth of Gold by Magnus Mills: “Magnus Mills’s new novel takes its name from the site of a 1520 meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I of France, to improve relations between the countries as the Treaty of London deteriorated. It allegorically suggests a number of historical encounters on British soil: the coming of the Vikings, the coming of the Romans. But The Field of the Cloth of Gold sits firmly outside of time, a skillful and surreal fable dealing with ideas of ownership, empire, immigration, charisma, diplomacy, and bureaucracy.”
How I Became a North Korean by Krys Lee: “Yongju is an accomplished student from one of North Korea’s most prominent families. Jangmi, on the other hand, has had to fend for herself since childhood, most recently by smuggling goods across the border. Then there is Danny, a Chinese-American teenager whose quirks and precocious intelligence have long made him an outcast in his California high school. These three disparate lives converge when they flee their homes, finding themselves in a small Chinese town just across the river from North Korea.”
Also this month: We’ll talk about Kingdom of Speech by Tom Wolfe, Bad Faith by Theodore Wheeler, The Humorless Ladies of Border Control by Franz Nicolay, and Girl & Flame by Melissa Reddish.
Lions by Bonnie Nadzam comes out today!
It’s the story of a “living ghost town” in the high plans of Colorado, where the members of the Walker family face a choice between sticking it out while their town crumbles or striking out for something better. Nadzam wrote the acclaimed novel Lamb and co-authored the inventive short story collection Love in the Anthropocene. With Lions, she has written a clear-eyed and beautiful exploration of family loyalty and shattered dreams.
We asked the author one question.
How are you celebrating the publication of Lions? Continue reading
Ninety-Nine Stories of God by Joy Williams: “This series of short, fictional vignettes explores our day-to-day interactions with an ever-elusive and arbitrary God. The Lord shows up at a hot-dog-eating contest, a demolition derby, a formal gala, and a drugstore, where he’s in line to get a shingles vaccination. At turns comic and yearning, lyric and aphoristic, Ninety-Nine Stories of God serves as a pure distillation of one of our great artists.”
You Are Having a Good Time by Amie Barrodale: “Barrodale’s protagonists drink too much, say the wrong things, want the wrong people. They’re hounded by longings (and sometimes ghosts) to the point where they are forced to confront the illusions they cling to. They’re brought to life in stories that don’t behave as you expect stories to behave. Barrodale’s startlingly funny and original fictions get under your skin and make you reconsider the fragile compromises that underpin our daily lives.”
Multiple Choice by Alejandro Zambra: “Written in the form of a standardized test, Multiple Choice invites the reader to respond to virtuoso language exercises and short narrative passages through multiple-choice questions that are thought-provoking, usually unanswerable, and often absurd. At once funny, poignant, and political, Multiple Choice is about love and family, authoritarianism and its legacies, and the conviction that, rather than learning to think for ourselves, we are trained to obey and repeat.”
Also this month: We’ll interview Rebecca Traister (author of All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation), we’ll review Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett, and we’ll hear from Bonnie Nadzam about her new novel, Lions.
Will & I comes out today!
It’s a memoir by Clay Byars, who endured a near-fatal car crash and a massive stroke at age eighteen. Doctors said he would be paralyzed for life from the eyes down. As Clay struggles to recover—to literally regain his voice—his twin brother, Will, gets married and raises a family, while his former love interest moves on. Will & I is a fearsomely honest memoir about frustration, resilience, and the construction of personal dignity.
We asked the author one question. Continue reading
What dark secrets does your future hold?
Ashley Wells, the movie critic behind The Boomstick Film Club, looks deep into her evil book in search of your new favorite movie.
Write the names of the last 3 movies you loved in the comments section, and Ash will consult her necronomicon and give you a personalized recommendation for what to watch next.
Klaatu barada nikto!
Over at The Millions, our very own Brian Hurley writes about Helen DeWitt’s The Last Samurai and novels that “perpetuate a seductive fantasy about the nature of intelligence.”
Read that thing.