Author Archives: Fiction Advocate

What to Read in January

The Sky Is Yours by Chandler Klang Smith: “In the burned-out, futuristic city of Empire Island, three young people navigate a crumbling metropolis constantly under threat from a pair of dragons that circle the skies.”

Peach by Emma Glass: “Something has happened to Peach. It hurts to walk but she staggers home to parents that don’t seem to notice. In this dazzling debut, Emma Glass articulates the unspeakable with breath-taking clarity and verve.”

Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi: “From the rubble-strewn streets of U.S.-occupied Baghdad, Hadi—a scavenger and an oddball fixture at a local café—collects human body parts and stitches them together to create a corpse. […] When the corpse goes missing, a wave of eerie murders sweeps the city, and reports stream in of a horrendous-looking criminal who, though shot, cannot be killed.”

Also this month: We’ll interview Mandy Len Catron and Molly Caro May, and film critic Ashley Wells will introduce you to Rule #2 in her Movie Drinking Game.

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The 10 Best Things We Did in 2017

Ashley Wells invented a movie drinking game.

Nina Schuyler showed us how to write about political protests.

E.B. Bartels and Scaachi Koul talked about writing for Buzzfeed vs. writing a book.

Brook Reeder drew our attention to Chance the Rapper’s jaw-dropping performance on The Late Show.

Robert Repino created a surprisingly erudite bibliography for his sci-fi novel about animals taking over the world.

Andrea Gregovich and Jeffrey Zuckerman talked about the challenges of translating a highly idiosyncratic writer.

Rick Moody wrote 6 different forewords to a book by Cris Mazza.

Jamilah Lemieux brought new urgency to Ann Petry’s stories about African American life in the 1940s to 1970s.

Jess Arndt told us how she’s celebrating her first book.

James Scott eulogized the irreplaceable Denis Johnson.

OH AND ALSO we published a brilliant 464-page novel about young artists in Ancient Greece, dead bodies turning up in Manhattan, and why gay sex is the best religion there is.

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What to Read in December

The Vanishing Princess by Jenny Diski: “The stories in The Vanishing Princess showcase a rarely seen side of this beloved writer, channeling both the piercing social examination of her nonfiction and the vivid, dreamlike landscapes of her novels.”

Ultraluminous by Katherine Faw: “A high-end, girlfriend-experience prostitute has just returned to her native New York City after more than a decade abroad―in Dubai, with a man she recalls only as the Sheikh―but it’s unclear why exactly she’s come back. The daring new novel from Katherine Faw, the brilliant author of Young God, is a scintillating story of money, sex, and power told in Faw’s viciously sharp prose.”

The Years, Months, Days by Yan Lianke: “Yan Lianke―“China’s most feted and most banned author” (Financial Times)―is a master of imaginative satire, and his prize-winning works have been published around the world to the highest honors. Now, his two most acclaimed novellas are collected here in a single volume―masterfully crafted stories that explore the sacrifices made for family, the driving will to survive, and the longing to leave behind a personal legacy.”

Also this month: We’ll interview Michelle Kuo, review The Graybar Hotel, and reveal the 10 Best Books of 2017…

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What to Read in November

They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib: “In an age of confusion, fear, and loss, Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib’s is a voice that matters. Whether he’s attending a Bruce Springsteen concert the day after visiting Michael Brown’s grave, or discussing public displays of affection at a Carly Rae Jepsen show, he writes with a poignancy and magnetism that resonates profoundly.”

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter: “As London is submerged below floodwaters, a woman gives birth to her first child, Z. Days later, she and her baby are forced to leave their home in search of safety. They head north through a newly dangerous country seeking refuge from place to place. The story traces fear and wonder as the baby grows, thriving and content against all the odds. ”

We Can’t Help It If We’re From Florida, edited by Shane Hinton: “Florida is more than just fodder for hard-boiled crime novels and zany farces. This anthology of new stories and essays challenges a star-studded line up of current and former Floridians to write about the state through a literary lens, though not without the requisite weirdness.”

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What to Read in October

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado: “Blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.”

A Field Guide to the North American Family by Garth Risk Hallberg: “For years, the Hungates and the Harrisons have coexisted peacefully in the same Long Island neighborhood, enjoying the pleasures and weathering the pitfalls of their suburban habitat. But when the patriarch of one family dies unexpectedly, the survivors face a stark imperative: adapt or face extinction.”

The Future Is History by Masha Gessen: “Putin’s bestselling biographer reveals how, in the space of a generation, Russia surrendered to a more virulent and invincible new strain of autocracy.”

Also this month: We’ll review new books from Jeffrey Eugenides and Lindsay Hunter, publish Rick Moody’s foreword to Charlatan by Cris Mazza, and get nerdy about disaster movies with Ashley Wells.

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What to Read in September

Afterglow by Eileen Myles: “Starting from the emptiness following Rosie’s death, Afterglow (a dog memoir) launches a heartfelt and fabulist investigation into the true nature of the bond between pet and pet-owner. Through this lens, we witness Myles’s experiences with intimacy and spirituality, celebrity and politics, alcoholism and recovery, fathers and family history, as well as the fantastical myths we spin to get to the heart of grief.”

An Odyssey by Daniel Mendelsohn: “When eighty-one-year-old Jay Mendelsohn decides to enroll in the undergraduate Odyssey seminar his son teaches at Bard College, the two find themselves on an adventure as profoundly emotional as it is intellectual.”

The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison: “America’s foremost novelist reflects on the themes that preoccupy her work and increasingly dominate national and world politics: race, fear, borders, the mass movement of peoples, the desire for belonging.”

Also this month: We’ll interview Samantha Irby and Megan Stielstra, review Some Bright Morning I’ll Fly Away by Alice Anderson, and hear from author Tara Jepsen about Like a Dog. Oh, and we’ll be rocking out to a new #gods playlist by author Matthew Gallaway.

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