In this recent reissue of Ingalls' delightfully bizarre novella, we're introduced to the usual trope of bored housewife stuck in a loveless marriage during 50's suburban ennui. But before your eyes glaze over, in walks Larry - an amphibious frogman who has escaped from cruel captors at a research center, bringing in an element of B-horror creature feature love story that would have made Ed Wood go wild.
No one knows why Iris walked off her life from this small New England coastal community decades ago. Following the mysterious death of Iris's husband, no one knows why she and her daughter, Claire, have had nothing to do with each other for decades. And, now, no one knows why Iris has opened her cottage, once inhabited by Claire, to a stranger, June, and her baby. With characters molded by loss and damage, their stories slowly emerge against the backdrop of exquisite New England countryside. Like pieces of an intricate puzzle, their roles mesh and fit perfectly, shunning sorted pasts and rooted in the present, unafraid of the future!
This stunning debut novel has been described by countless other reviewers as a parable, and the label fits. But it's also so much more – an investigation of the differences between yearning and greed, a testament to the lengths we'll travel for love, and a compelling, sparse, salt-soaked epic.
One part pitch-perfect observation, one part razor-sharp wit and one part punk rock attitude: this is the simple but effective cocktail that makes Sean Beaudoin's first adult story collection undeniably great. Abrasive, hilarious and wise, Beaudoin will make you laugh hysterically, right up until the moment you realize that you're laughing at yourself. Heads up, George Saunders fans: your new favorite writer has arrived.
“We believed, America.” Thus, the voice of Evel Kneivel – or, at least, some infalliable, omniscient version of him – begins Daredevils. It's 1974 in Gooding, Idaho, and two teenage kids - both from Mormon families but in starkly different situations - are about to put their faith in earthly saviors, dangerous heroes and, ultimately, each other. Which means, of course, that they are about to learn how heroes can disappoint us, how saviors turn out to be just as bad as the things they save you from, and how incredibly hard and lonely it is to be free. But they're also about to learn that in the end, we've all got to believe in something. Daredevils won the 2017 Washington State Book Award for Fiction.
Petterson's novel is a literary punch in the gut, a book as alluring and ambiguous as life itself. When two estranged childhood friends meet accidentally one early morning, each is struck by a wave of memories. Before the day is done, both men will be forced to grapple with the ghosts of their families, the far-reaching consequences of long-ago actions, and the realities of their divergent paths. This is a stark, earthy portrait of two people facing the specters of the past and the maw of the future.
This slim novel is one powerful piece of magic, and demands a place at the top of the later-twentieth-century western canon. A lush, dark, mystical story of homecoming and reclamation.
Delicate and brutal, this understated and very human little novel illuminates the unexamined lives of simple people swept up in a tragedy. Three German reservists, hoping to escape the executions they are asked to perform, head into the desolate Polish countryside in search of new prisoners - and end up faced with a moral quandary far more tangled than the one they were running from.
For my money, this is among the finest American short story collections of the past twenty years. ZZ Packer's taut, snarky, understated stories of race, culture, family ties, and youth in a country on the brink of the present are each like perfectly measured pipe bombs, timed to go off right when you start thinking there's nothing to worry about.