Vol.1 Brooklyn’s August 2015 Books Preview


Looking at the books due out this month, one can find an impressive array of styles, genres, and aesthetics on display. Do you like incisive essays about American society and culture? How about well-received debut fiction, or collections spanning decades of work? Regardless of what you’re seeking, August holds an abundance of literary riches. Here are some of the books due out this month that we’re most excited about.


Infinite Home, Kathleen Alcott
(August 4, Riverhead)

Kathleen Alcott’s debut novel, The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets, was a haunting and mesmerizing work. Her followup delves into the lives of the residents of a Brooklyn brownstone; given Alcott’s command of atmosphere and ambiguities, we’re very excited to see what she does with this setting.


Dear Illusion, Kingsley Amis
(August 4, NYRB Classics)

Lucky Jim, science fiction, booze: Kingsley Amis jumped all over the place with his writing, and in this latest NYRB Classics attempt to present his work to a new and wider audience, we see that his short stories prove that while you think you have an idea what Amis was about as a writer, he often surprise you. In the event that you have an old copy of that that’s falling apart on your bookshelf, it’s time to replace it.


Walking With Abel, Anna Badkhen
(August 4, Riverhead)

Anna Badkhen’s work often takes her to areas of conflict throughout the world. Here, she takes a more pastoral approach, detailing her time spent with a Fulani family in Mali, and incorporating a rich array of literary references along the way.


The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin
(August 4, Orbit)

N.K. Jemisin brings together an impressive talent for worldbuilding and a willingness to push her characters to their limits; whether you’re a fan of well-made fantastic fiction or someone who enjoys reading about characters grappling with ethical dilemmas (or both), you’ll find much to appreciate in this, the first book in her new series.


Under Tiberius, Nick Tosches
(August 4, Little Brown and Company)

Whether he’s delving into cultural history or writing a particularly hallucinatory strain of fiction, Nick Tosches’s work is largely memorable, searing stuff. His latest novel delves into the early days of the Roman Empire, and seems to be his most revisionist take on history yet.


The Oyster War, Summer Brennan
(August 11, Counterpoint)

As this book’s subtitle suggests, it delves into the complex politics of oyster farming in California, exploring broader issues of wilderness protection along the way. Brennan’s background as a writer encompasses the local and the global, making this particular story one that resonates on a number of levels.


Bright Lines, Tanwi Nandini Islam
(August 11, Penguin)

Lush and vibrant, Tanwi Nandini Islam comes rushing out of the gate with her debut that has a lot of things (great characters, family story, history), but it’s her descriptions of Brooklyn streets and then the effortless move away to a place far away that shows this is a young writer who can control a story with the ease of a tested veteran.


Multiply/Divide: On the American Real and Surreal, Wendy S. Walters
(August 11, Sarabande)

In this collection of short works (some essays, some fiction), Walters explores pressing questions of contemporary America, from issues of race to city life to ideas of family. This is the kind of book that impresses both for the range of its topics and for the array of styles used by Walters to comment upon them.


On the Edges of Vision, Helen McClory
(August 18, Queen’s Ferry Press)

Helen McClory’s debut collection (including “Pink Glitter,” which first appeared on Vol.1 Brooklyn) explores the intersection of myths, bodies, and the uncanny. These short, sometimes jarring tales unsettle and thrill in equal measure.


Eileen, Ottessa Moshfegh
(August 18, Penguin Press)

Ottessa Moshfegh’s debut McGlue was one of the most searing works we’ve encountered in a while: a fevered account of brutality and sublimated desire on a 19th-century ship. Her new novel leaps forward by about a century, focusing on a woman living with her alcoholic father, and a series of unexpected events that change her life forever.


Desolation of Avenues Untold, Brandon Hobson
(August 25, Civil Coping Mechanisms)

Brandon Hobson’s earlier novel Deep Ellum focused on the fractious lives of a Texas family. His new book delves into a more stylized territory, centering around a group of people obsessed with finding a lost film which may or may not have been made by Charlie Chaplin late in his life.


Last Mass, Jamie Iredell
(August 25, Civil Coping Mechanisms)

Jamie Iredell’s latest book grapples with Catholicism: both the faith in which Iredell was raised and the repercussions of the cultural impact that Spanish missionaries left in their wake as they arrived in California centuries earlier. Stark and haunting, this draws much of its power from the juxtapositions of its prose and Iredell’s unrelenting approach.

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