Ghost Music by An Yu is a wistful and thought-provoking book. Song Yan is living an unremarkable, simple life in Beijing as a piano teacher with her husband and mother-in-law, when boxes of mushrooms are suddenly being sent to their apartment every week from an unknown sender. The truths she discovers as a result sets her routine and everything she knows to be reality ablaze. This book urges us to reflect on who we are outside of our family, relationships, and career…outside of ourselves and our routines. I also love the jacket cover art–it’s quite whimsical!
Part queer love story, part subtle horror story, both parts eerie and beautiful. Wives Leah and Miri try to manage when Leah comes back from a failed deep-sea mission that left her stuck on a submarine for five months. Armfield seamlessly creates the sensation of being underwater, that kind of silence that is quiet and loud at the same time. A slow burn until the last 50 pages or so then the quiet gets unbearably loud. If you like swimming, Florence + the Machine, Kristen Arnett, or loving someone or something, read this.
Looking for something truly unsettling? This is the book. I've never read anything quite like it -- but also, reading it felt somehow inevitable, as if I've been haunted by it before.
There's something about islands. In the islands of Popisho everything is brighter, more delicious, and the people are more magical, growing lungs on their hips or crying hummingbirds or instantly knowing what to cook for any person. If you're aching to travel but can't, read this book! I felt immediately at home in this unreal community, learning words I couldn't define but by the end somehow understood.
This is one of the best books I've read in a while. Cordova's writing is straight epic and took me on a journey that I wont forget. If you need some magic in your life right now, pick this up now!
Drawing influences from Silvia Federici and historical accounts from 17th century England, A.K. Blakemore's debut is as stunning in its language as it is terrifying in its subject matter. And while the persecution of strange women is by no means new territory, the internal battle between Rebecca and her youthful desires, as well as her relationship to the accused women around her, make this less a story about the Witchhunter General and more about the women who were sent to the gallows because they dared to live and survive beyond the edges of a patriarchal and puritanical society.
Is the dead-end life of suburbia making an exhausted and frustrated mother believe her canines are sharper and her body is starting to sprout a tail capable of wagging? Or is she actually transforming into a furry beast, desperate to sate her wanderlust by loping into the night of her neighborhood, snapping the necks of small creatures between her jaws filled with the rage of someone once so full of ambition? Either way, it is capable of making you say *WHAT THE HELL* at 1AM because the character is so ravenously unhinged.
This short story collection was unlike anything I've ever read. I've never seen women and queerness so front and center in this way and Machado does it all with a breezy air of magical realism. From a retold fable with parenthetical asides to reimagined Law & Order plotlines to an inventory of lovers set against a global virus (which may hit close to home, eesh). I hope it sticks with you like it has stuck with me.
I could not put this book down. Marisol's spirit visits her nephew Ramon in modern-day New Jersey and prompts him to unearth painful family history and discover what happened to her after she disappeared during the Cuban Revolution. This story is many things - funny, heart-warming, captivating - and it is one of the few books that can make me laugh and cry while reading the same page.