An absorbing exercise in existential contemplation. The Archive of Feelings is a memory palace furnished with isolation and melancholy, its protagonist feeling fully human thanks to Stamm's hallmark clarity and precision.
Lights over the sky! Mysterious relatives! Ennui, domestic discomfort, ufologists who invade the streets and parks of a coastal Spanish town. A singular, upsettlingly good book that's also partially about the dangers of freelancing. Think THE EMPLOYEES by Olga Ravn but better.
Raised in an underground bunker with no outside contact, our protagonist has no name and no idea where she is. When she and the 38 other women imprisoned with her suddenly find themselves freed, they are released onto a vast, barren plane. Described as "Ursula K. LeGuin meets The Road" Harpman's writing is austere and beautiful. This is a book I will not soon forget.
Even when Jazmina Barrera is in the business of writing novels, she can't escape the essay form. Barrera's Ferrante-esque novel of friendship, woven within a cultural history of sewing, makes for an engrossing story, the kind that has you drawing exclamation points in the margins with abundance. I'm amazed by the breadth of Barrera's thinking, her manifold interests. Christina MacSweeney, returning for a third time to render Barrera's work into English, is the only translator I want to see at the helm.
When think of my own death, I will forever see Fosse's dark woods and his shining, barefoot apparitions in snow-smothered quiet. I don't know how to speak of this brief book without reverence or animal fear. A book to be read aloud, around a campfire, with loved ones, in its entirety.
Holy cow. Home run. Outta the park. A novel clear in its ambitions, absorbed in the moment of its plot(s) in a way that is uniquely entertaining. You’ll want to tell everyone about this book An alternate history of the Korean Provision Government, a covert organization that, in Park's vision, has embedded its membership into popular culture, role-playing games, popular science fiction, slasher films. At the center of it all is a mysterious novel-within-a-novel called, yes, Same Bed, Different Dreams by a Nobel-rumored Korean author who goes by the mononym Echo. Ed Park for the Pulitzer. A novel that is so varied, comical, deliciously clever, and mad fun that it’s hard to believe it was written by a single author.
Vast, aching, unique...
Two young men, Thomas and John Cole Meet in the tumult of a war torn young America.
Despite - or maybe because of - the terrors the two men flee (and some they create). Thomas and John find rare comfort and steadfastness in one another, building a chosen family...through fear and across endless days.
The most flummoxing, selfish search for the self you're likely to read in this lifetime. The Book of Ayn is the pinnacle of gallows humor and every page made me flinch, giggle, or question my moral code.
A sterling satire, whip-smart and deadpan, the observations of modern ideologies and their ensuing maladies also carry a ruminative quality that lets the darker humor breathe.
Lexi Freiman is either a genius or a monster but, either way, I'll be chewing over The Book of Ayn for a long, long while.
The Premonition is an exquisitely sparse meditation on how childhood traumas can chart the course of a life. Unable to escape the "premonition" that there is more to her story than she can remember, Yayoi moves in with her eccentric aunt and begins to uncover her past. The tone is somehow both melancholy and comforting, making this a lovely read over a cup of tea on a stormy afternoon.
Labatut's genre is entirely his own, his philosophy both rigid and curious. With The MANIAC, we're given the lives of Austrian physicist Paul Ehrenreich; the Hungarian-American mathematician Johnny von Neumann, often cited as the grandfather of artificial life, a foundational figure in computational mathematics, a key figure in the development of the hydrogen bomb and a half dozen other surreal acts of destruction, a man endowed with abominable and limitless intelligence, like 'fog on a fog,' and yet unable to tie his own shoes; and finally, a chilling play-by-play of global Go champion Lee Sodel's historic 2016 match against Google's AlphaGo AI in South Korea—often cited as the first moment in history in which artificial intelligence expresses 'creativity.' How does this triptych form, in my opinion, one of the greatest novels of this year, a stunning, hair-raising literary achievement? It is difficult not to let Labatut's obsessions become your own. To see clearly what we will soon lose to our own intelligence. Benjamin Labatut dwells in the foggy, cosmic, uncanny valley amidst math, science, history, and literature.