23 For 2018: A Literary Preview for the Year to Come


With the year drawing to a close, we wanted to spotlight a (somewhat arbitrary) number of books due out next year that we’re excited about. It includes the latest books from writers whose work we’ve long enjoyed to debuts to forthcoming tomes that are utterly unexpected. There’s more to come in this vein–in about ten days, we’ll be publishing our January book preview, which will include a lot more books we’re excited about for the first month of the year. (All release dates and cover artwork are based on the information currently available to us, and are subject to change.)


Natalie Eilbert, Indictus
(January 1, Noemi Press)

2018 begins on a high note, with the release of the latest collection from one of our favorite poets. Eilbert’s work can bridge classical forms with visceral, personal dispatches; the result is never less than gripping.


Hermione Hoby, Neon in Daylight
(January 9, Catapult)

Every once in a while, a novel comes along that has a distinctive spin on New York City. Hermione Hoby’s Neon in Daylight, set in the summer of 2012, may well be the next in an impressive canon–featuring plenty of astute observations about art and human connection along the way.


Morgan Jerkins, This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America
(January 30, Harper Perennial)

File under: books we’ve been eager to read ever since they were first announced. Jerkins is a fantastically talented essayist with an impressive range of expertise; this debut heralds an impressive statement from an essential voice.


Zadie Smith, Feel Free
(February 6, Penguin Press)

Zadie Smith is in that storied category of writers whose fiction and essays are equally dynamic and compelling. That she has a new collection due out in February should continue the tremendous streak of impressive literary works she’s on.


Rachel Lyon, Self-Portrait With Boy
(February 8, Scribner)

We’re always up for novels dealing with artists and the ethical quandaries in which they find themselves, and Rachel Lyon’s debut falls squarely into that category. Throw in a detailed portrait of 1990s New York, and you have our full attention.


Brandon Hobson, Where the Dead Sit Talking
(February 20, Soho Press)

Brandon Hobson’s two novels to date have been radically different from one another. His latest, about a Cherokee teenager dealing with a contentious family history and seeking a place in the world, looks to be another boldly told work in a very different space.


Julián Herbert, Tomb Song
(March 6, Graywolf)

The setting of Julián Herbert’s novel Tomb Song is the stuff of primal conflicts. It centers on a man caring for his dying mother, and of the conflicts that arise between them and his remembrances of earlier moments in their relationship.


Michelle de Kretser, The Life to Come
(March 13, Catapult)

Michelle de Kretser’s terrific short novel Springtime was a ghost story unlike any other, a chamber piece that unnerved in multiple ways until its conclusion. Her followup takes a wider canvas, exploring interconnected lives across the globe.


Harry Mathews, The Solitary Twin
(March 27, New Directions)

The Solitary Twin is the final novel from the late Harry Mathews, American Oulipo member and one of the most singular writers of his generation. No two of Mathews’s works resemble one another too closely; here’s to this book sparking a renewed interest in his bibliography.


Leslie Jamison, The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath
(April 3, Little, Brown and Company)

Leslie Jamison’s follow-up to her acclaimed essay collection The Empathy Exams has been, as the saying goes, eagerly anticipated. Here, she delves into questions of addiction on scales ranging from the personal to the societal.


Nikhil Singh, Taty Went West
(April 3, Rosarium Publishing)

Nikhil Singh’s novel Taty Went West was first published to great acclaim by the Kenyan publishing house Kwani Trust; this year, it’ll be available to readers in the US and Canada. It’s a surreal take on the post-apocalyptic narrative, abounding with phantasmagorical imagery.  We are decidedly intrigued.


Meg Wolitzer, The Female Persuasion
(April 3, Riverhead Books)

Meg Wolitzer’s ability to seamlessly blend compelling personal narratives with grand themes is impressive indeed. In her latest novel, she explores the mind of a young woman who encounters one of her idols and has her world dramatically expanded.


Michelle Dean, Sharp
(April 10, Grove Press)

Michelle Dean’s cultural criticism has long been impressively incisive and all-encompassing. With Sharp, she takes a turn into literary history, exploring the lives of writers like  Susan Sontag, Renata Adler, and Rebecca West.


Alexander Chee, How to Write An Autobiographical Novel
(April 17, Mariner Books)

As readers who greet the news of a new Alexander Chee essay with rapturous enthusiasm, we’ve been hoping for a collection for a while now. 2018 will see these hopes made real, with a wide array of topics and a fantastic title to boot.


Dubravka Ugrešić, Fox
(April 17, Open Letter)

Dubravka Ugrešić’s writings, which span challenging fiction and bold literary criticism, have received accolades worldwide. Her latest book, Fox, takes on a hard-to-quantify subject: the people who exist as footnotes in other people’s stories.


Rumaan Alam, That Kind of Mother
(May 8, Ecco Press)

Rumaan Alam’s followup to his acclaimed novel Rich and Pretty takes on a very different subject than its predecessor. Here, he explores questions of motherhood, race, and privilege, venturing into complex emotional territories along the way.


Tommy Pico, Junk
(May 8, Tin House)

This is the third volume in a loose trilogy of long poems bridging contemporary life with political and literary history. Its predecessors, IRL and Nature Poem, were some of our favorite books of their respective years. Do we have high hopes for Junk? We certainly do.


Hwang Sok-Yong, Familiar Things
(May 15, Scribe)

Location, in fiction, can count for a lot. In Hwang Sok-Yong’s Familiar Things, the setting is a community living on a landfill in a remote corner of Seoul. Juxtaposed with the harrowing effects of poverty are glimpses of the surreal and supernatural, making for a jarring and memorable read.


Helen DeWitt, Some Trick: 13 Stories
(May 30, New Directions)

Helen DeWitt’s two novels, The Last Samurai and Lightning Rods, were as different in tone and style as two books could be. Needless to say, we’re eager to see if the stories in this collection of hers, due out in late Spring, will be similarly diverse, stylistically speaking.


Porochista Khakpour, Sick
(June 5, Harper Perennial)

Here’s another book we’ve been waiting for for a while. It’s the harrowing chronicle of Porochista Khakpour’s experiences living with late-stage Lyme disease and all that goes along with it. In a time when health care and chronic conditions are in the public spotlight, this memoir’s subject matter is more relevant than ever.


A. N. Devers, Train
(September 20, Bloomsbury)

We’re big admirers of the Object Lessons series of books, in which a host of talented writers have explored the boundaries of various things, from dust to malls. We’re also big admirers of the writings of A. N. Devers, and her explorations of literary history. Clearly, we’re eager to read her entry in the series, which explores trains.


Jeff Jackson, Destroy All Monsters
(Fall, FSG Originals)

Jeff Jackson’s books, Mira Corpora and Novi Sad, have ventured into a still, surreal fictional universe in a host of contemporary ways. His new novel explores rock music and violence, and comes in tandem with a novella that reflects the novel in unexpected ways. (Pictured: poster for the film Destroy All Monsters, which is not a novel.)


May-Lan Tan, Things to Make and Break
(Fall, Emily Books/Coffee House Press)

May-Lan Tan’s fiction uses formally inventive devices to delve into uncomfortable places in her characters’ psyches. The stories that result are thrilling to read even as they leave the reader blissfully disoriented. This collection has been out in the UK for a while, and it’s a fine thing to see it getting released in the States. (Pictured: cover of the UK edition.)

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