It’s a new year, and with that new year comes a host of new books. From fiction that might shed a light on ongoing political debates to incisive essays between the relationship between creativity and commerce, there’s something for nearly everyone on our list of books that have gotten our attention for this month. And it’s very likely that you’ll see some of these names pop up again on our anticipated books lists in the year to come–no less that four of them have a second book due out later in 2017 as well, making the rest of us feel like slackers by comparison.
Difficult Women, Roxane Gay
(January 3, Grove Press)
The first of two books due out from Roxane Gay in 2017 is a new collection of short fiction, already gathering acclaimed reviews from the likes of the New York Times and Vox. Gay is a writer equally adept at psychological realism and incisive takes on the contemporary scene, and we’re eager to read this, her first collection since 2011’s Ayiti.
The Art of the Affair, Catherine Lacey and Forsyth Harmon
(January 3, Bloomsbury)
As big admirers of Catherine Lacey’s novel Nobody Is Ever Missing, we’ve been curious about what’ll come next; before this summer’s novel The Answers, as it turns out, we’ve got her collaboration with illustrator Forsyth Harmon. Here, Lacey and Harmon delve into artistic history, looking at the numerous and varied connections between relationships and creativity.
Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living, edited by Manjula Martin
(January 3, Simon & Schuster)
The subject of money is one near to the hearts of many a writer, for a slew of obvious reasons. The anthology Scratch contains essays from the likes of Alexander Chee, Leslie Jamison, Roxane Gay, and Daniel Jose Older on the different ways in which literature and commerce collide.
Of Flesh and Fur, duncan b. barlow
(January 5, The Cupboard)
This new chapbook from frequent Vol.1 Brooklyn contributor duncan b. barlow taps into threads both primal and futuristic. It tells the story of a solitary man who uses flawed technology to create a child; strange and bleak happenings ensue. It’s a disquieting read, and has us eager to read Barlow’s forthcoming novel.
West Virginia, Joe Halstead
(January 10, Unnamed Press)
Joe Halstead’s debut novel encompasses questions of rural and urban life, following a protagonist based in New York as he uncovers his roots in West Virginia, delving into questions of his own family history along the way. Given the setting and thematic aspects of this book, it may also be a timely read, given some recent (and ongoing) political debates.
Home and Away: Writing the Beautiful Game, Karl Ove Knausgaard and Fredrik Ekelund; translated by Don Bartlett and Sean Kinsella
(January 10, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
We’re always up for a good literary take on soccer, and this book, collecting correspondence between Karl Ove Knausgaard and Fredrik Ekelund during the 2014 World Cup, seems to fall neatly into that category. This isn’t the first time Knausgaard has touched on the subject, and we’re eager to see a new side of his work show up here.
Always Happy Hour, Mary Miller
(January 10, Liveright)
Mary Miller’s fiction has regularly impressed us–most recently, her 2014 novel The Last Days of California, which followed a family on a road trip as they anticipated the end of the world. Here, she returns to the shorter form, examining a number of lives in turmoil and disquiet in a variety of settings.
Sirens, Joshua Mohr
(January 10, Two Dollar Radio)
With this memoir, Joshua Mohr moves from focusing on fictional lives on the brink (as he has in his earlier novels) to a candid look back at his life–from his struggles with addiction to the health issues that left him with three strokes over the course of his thirties. It’s a powerful, dizzying work, neatly arranged and hauntingly written.
Human Acts, Han Kang; translated by Deborah Smith
(January 17, Hogarth)
Han Kang’s first novel to appear in English, The Vegetarian, was one of the most jarring works of fiction we’ve read in a while. Human Acts takes a broader view of humanity, focusing on a host of reactions to the death of a young man in a political action in South Korea. We’re looking forward to experiencing her prose in a new context with this novel.
Homesick For Another World, Ottessa Moshfegh
(January 17, Penguin Press)
Ottessa Moshfegh has won plenty of acclaim for her fiction, from the noir-influenced (Eileen) to the historical and hallucinatory (McGlue). Homesick For Another World is her first collection of shorter work, and contains stories that have appeared in the likes of the Paris Review and the New Yorker.
O Fallen Angel, Kate Zambreno
(January 17, Harper Perennial)
We’re huge admirers of Kate Zambreno’s work, and we’re mightily happy to see a new edition of her first book, O Fallen Angel, due out later this month. It comes with a new introduction by Lidia Yuknavitch, whose press released the first edition of O Fallen Angel; it’s also the first of two books Zambreno has due out this year.
4 3 2 1, Paul Auster
(January 31, Henry Holt & Company)
Paul Auster’s got a new book due out this month, and it’s a proper doorstopper–not what one would expect from a writer whose work generally falls on the taut side of things. In this novel, he explores four different possible lives for his protagonist, a man born in Newark in 1947.
Assisted Living, Gary Lutz
(January 31, Future Tense)
We’re always up for the innovative, disorienting fiction of Gary Lutz, who frequently explores tormented psyches with narratives that deftly make use of unexpected structures. This new chapbook features four new stories, sure to provoke an abundance of debate and study.