"I'll need a ton of things if you want me to do this right."
Mary Robison, Oh!
Katherine Dunn's is a voice that only comes along once in a lifetime.
Toad is bone dry with moments of unexpected tenderness that will knock you sideways.
I have been clamoring for more Lina Wolff ever since she cast an irreversible spell on me with The Polyglot Lovers and Carnality does not disappoint.
Nestled firmly in a shady hillside of the uncanny valley, Carnality unmoored me and my sense of reality for its duration. An expertly plotted novel with a razor-sharp intention, Carnality is a must read.
Always kooky but never clownish, One's Company is the most impossible of things: a zany novel about trauma.
Dermansky is one of the few writers for whom I’ll drop whatever I’m holding wherever I am because her books are always worth risking a broken toe.
This is classic Dermansky: acerbic, immersive, and the kind of fun that makes you question your moral compass a smidgen. Which, let’s face it, is the best kind of fun.
Hurricane Girl left me as concussed as the protagonist and there’s really no higher praise.
I've long been an admirer of Hustvedt's refinement and sophistication. Both cerebral and intimate, her work is always the perfect amalgamation of solace and stimulation.
Mothers, Fathers, and Others brings together a fantastic selection of Hustvedt's more recent essays: from familial legacies to misogyny, the violence borne of groupthink to Jane Austen, each is an absorbing triumph in its own right.
A striking debut novel equal parts art history and narrative, Activities of Daily Living juxtaposes the protagonist's study of performance artist Tehching Hsieh and her father's cognitive decline. This is a riveting work of fiction scrutinizing the possibility of art/meaning versus the inevitable slow squeeze of time and how one simply cannot exist without the other.
Since her first book in 1982, Susanna Moore has been building an altar to sly elegance built out of black opal. In both fiction and memoir (as well as a spectacular history of Hawaii), sumptuous prose seduces the reader into tales of stark truths.
Miss Aluminum is a book that shimmers, humming with life. Anecdotes of Moore's Hawaiian adolescence and eventual place in the absolute center of Hollywood's intellectual heyday are intoxicating - the classiest account of LA cool one could imagine.
An absolute enchantment brimming with verve and effervescence.
I hope your floor is clean because if you're brave enough for Ordesa, you'll hit the tile with a hard thud more than once.
Grief, memory, family, patriotism. Vilas evaluates every last thing that gives a life weight - or maybe frees a life of its weight - with a melancholy ballasted with a warmth that will recalibrate the reader's very sense of self.
The find of the year.
Sophisticated and sharp, Bette Howland's memoir is a revelation.
Her observations of fellow patients are clever and unflinching but pulse with understanding and compassion. Scores of worthwhile autobiographies chronicling life on a psychiatric ward have been published since this originally appeared in 1974 but few have done so with Howland's magnanimity and intellectual verve.
Box Hill's sleek and measured tone has a confession's magnetic intensity.
A novel full of real, practical widsom around suffering and grief, Life Events transcends notions of literature and is nothing short of catharsis.
"It was strange to watch someone go deep into their memory to try and piece together the story of their lives. Watching them hunt around for some best answer, decide what was too painful to hide, and even more painful to allow to the surface."
A top drawer satire of marriage, race relations and misogyny, Kelley's plainspoken sense of humor is refreshingly candid and exactly what the world needs right now, though it was originally published in 1967. A novel in which high comedy and menace jockey for the limelight, dem is likely to be one of the most original sendups of American life you'll read this year. Or next. Maybe ever.
I could barely breathe.
The most fascinating, exciting piece of fiction I've found in years.
This book almost ruined a vacation. I could not, nor did I want to, think about or do anything else until I finished.
Gender politics and the role art plays in our lives are the matters at the heart of the thing and the three singular voices with which the story is told perfectly illuminate the impossibility of absolute definition. Brilliant.
I picked this up based solely on an intuitive response to the cover and the publisher’s stellar track record, cracking it without the faintest idea of plot, tone or character. It was a hunch that paid off terrifically – Hollow is engaging from the first page and its sardonic humor and emotional resonance create a vice grip that enthralls to its conclusion.
All you need to know about Egerton’s novel is that it purrs and hums like a kitten and will not disappoint.
Pithy. Prickly. Perfect.
Hands down my favorite book.
Each story here feels like it is dressed in a color that doesn't exist in nature. They feel familiar, somehow, but with an effect of feeling slightly left of center, rattling your expectations.
As the stories progress, they feel increasingly tighter with a strengthening emotional punch that will leave the reader breathless.
A hypnotic, witchy tale of a woman's desultory search for her estranged husband who has gone missing in Greece, A Separation is an enigmatically seductive narrative whose gauzy embrace draws easy comparisons to DeLillo (or his innumerable acolytes).
It is a powerfully engrossing quagmire and its misty atmosphere of isolation and emotional riddles are truly haunting.
Disillusionment is a risky theme to tackle; a character adrift can easily come across as too thorny or unsympathetic, making even a masterfully written story insufferable. Luckily, we have Marcy Dermansky.
In the sea of earnest, self-conscious, cloyingly "witty" (and ultimately forgettable) modern fiction, she and The Red Car are acerbic salvation.
It is all too rare that a book lives up to the promise of its blurbs but Ostlund's novel is a welcome exception, far exceeding the cover's lavish praise. A bravura performance, it is a deeply moving novel full of rich emotion and humanity.