Category Archives: What We’re Reading

What to Read in May

D’arc by Robert Repino: “Far removed from this newly emerging civilization, a housecat turned war hero named Mort(e) lives a quiet life with the love he thought he had lost, a dog named Sheba. But before long, the chaos that they escaped comes crashing in around them. In the twilight of all life on Earth, love survives, but at a cost that only the desperate and the reckless are willing to pay.”

No One Can Pronounce My Name by Rakesh Satyal: “In a suburb outside Cleveland, a community of Indian Americans has settled into lives that straddle the divide between Eastern and Western cultures. Rakesh Satyal’s No One Can Pronounce My Name is a distinctive, funny, and insightful look into the lives of people who must reconcile the strictures of their culture and traditions with their own dreams and desires.”

The Leavers by Lisa Ko: “One morning, Deming Guo’s mother, Polly, an undocumented Chinese immigrant, goes to her job at a nail salon—and never comes home. Set in New York and China, The Leavers is a moving story of how a boy comes into his own when everything he loves is taken away, and how a mother learns to live with the mistakes of the past.”

Also this month: Fiction Advocate will interview Sarah Dickensen Snyder and talk to Jess Arndt about the release of Large Animals.

Leave a Comment

Filed under What to Read, What We're Reading

What to Read in April

Sunshine State by Sarah Gerard: “Sarah Gerard follows her breakout novel, Binary Star, with the dynamic essay collection Sunshine State, which explores Florida as a microcosm of the most pressing economic and environmental perils haunting our society.”

Void Star by Zachary Mason: “Not far in the future the seas have risen and the central latitudes are emptying, but it’s still a good time to be rich in San Francisco, where weapons drones patrol the skies to keep out the multitudinous poor.”

Devil on the Cross by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o: “An impassioned cry for a Kenya free of dictatorship and for African writers to work in their own local dialects, Devil on the Cross has had a profound influence on Africa and on post-colonial African literature.”

Also this month: We’ll interview Melissa Febos and Dodai Stewart, and review new books by George Saunders and Durga Chew-Bose.

Leave a Comment

Filed under What to Read, What We're Reading

What to Read in March

The Idiot by Elif Batuman: “With superlative emotional and intellectual sensitivity, mordant wit, and pitch-perfect style, Batuman dramatizes the uncertainty of life on the cusp of adulthood.”

The Pirate Who Does Not Know the Value of Pi by Eugene Ostashevsky: A “poem-novel about the relationship between a pirate and a parrot who, after capturing a certain quantity of prizes, are shipwrecked on a deserted island, where they proceed to discuss whether they would have been able to communicate with people indigenous to the island, had there been any.” It “draws on sources as various as early modern texts about pirates and animal intelligence, old-school hip-hop, and game theory to pursue the themes of emigration, incomprehension, untranslatability, and the otherness of others.”

Follow Me Into the Dark by Felicia Sullivan: It “traces the unraveling of a family marred by perverse intergenerational abuse. A complex, dark expression of the deprived heart and the desperate lengths children will go to in order to create family.”

Also at Fiction Advocate this month: We’ll interview MariNaomi, review Sorry to Disrupt the Peace by Patty Yumi Cottrell, and explore a book from 1908 called Autobiography of a Super-Tramp.

Leave a Comment

Filed under What to Read, What We're Reading

What to Read in February

A Separation by Katie Kitamura: “A young woman has agreed with her faithless husband: it’s time for them to separate. For the moment it’s a private matter, a secret between the two of them. As she begins her new life, she gets word that Christopher has gone missing in a remote region in the rugged south of Greece; she reluctantly agrees to go look for him, still keeping their split to herself.”

Amiable with Big Teeth by Claude McKay: “Building on the already extraordinary legacy of McKay’s life and work, this colorful, dramatic novel centers on the efforts by Harlem intelligentsia to organize support for the liberation of fascist-controlled Ethiopia, a crucial but largely forgotten event in American history.”

Shadowbahn by Steve Erickson: “When the Twin Towers suddenly reappear in the Badlands of South Dakota twenty years after their fall, nobody can explain their return. A chronicle of a weird road trip, a provocative work of alternative history, and a dazzling discography of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Shadowbahn is a richly allusive meditation on the meaning of American identity and of America itself.”

Also this month: We’ll interview Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, author of Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age, and review Ottessa Moshfegh’s new story collection, Homesick for Another World.

Leave a Comment

Filed under What to Read, What We're Reading

What to Read in January

Savage Theories by Pola Oloixarac (translated by Roy Kesey): “Rosa Ostreech carries around a trilingual edition of Aristotle’s Metaphysics, struggles with her thesis on violence and culture, sleeps with a bourgeois former guerrilla, and pursues her elderly professor with a highly charged blend of eroticism and desperation. Savage Theories wryly explores fear and violence, war and sex, eroticism and philosophy.”

Enigma Variations by André Aciman: “Whether the setting is southern Italy, where as a boy he has a crush on his parents’ cabinetmaker, or a snowbound campus in New England, where his enduring passion for a girl he’ll meet again and again over the years is punctuated by anonymous encounters with men; whether he’s on a tennis court in Central Park, or on a New York sidewalk in early spring, [Paul’s] attachments are ungraspable, transient, and forever underwritten by raw desire.”

Transit by Rachel Cusk: “Filtered through the impersonal gaze of its keenly intelligent protagonist, Transit sees Rachel Cusk delve deeper into the themes first raised in her critically acclaimed novel Outline and offers up a penetrating and moving reflection on childhood and fate, the value of suffering, the moral problems of personal responsibility, and the mystery of change.”

Also this month: We’ll interview Eula Biss (!), review The Warren by Brian Evenson, and introduce you to the next novel we’re publishing…

Leave a Comment

Filed under What to Read, What We're Reading

What We’re Reading – November 2016

swing-time-zadie-smith

Swing Time by Zadie Smith: “Two brown girls dream of being dancers–but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either…”

memoirs-of-a-polar-bear

Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada: “Three generations (grandmother, mother, son) of polar bears are famous as both circus performers and writers in East Germany: they are polar bears who move in human society, stars of the ring and of the literary world. Happy or sad, each bear writes a story, enjoying both celebrity and ‘the intimacy of being alone with my pen.’”

moonglow-michael-chabon

Moonglow by Michael Chabon:Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession of a man the narrator refers to only as ‘my grandfather.’ It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and marriage and desire, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at midcentury, and, above all, of the destructive impact—and the creative power—of keeping secrets and telling lies.”

Also this month: We’ll review Loner by Teddy Wayne, interview Elizabeth Greenwood, author of Playing Dead, and launch a new column (!) devoted to literature in translation.

Leave a Comment

Filed under What We're Reading