Well, it’s the start of a new year. Ostensibly, it’s a time for resolutions, for carefully mapping out goals and milemarkers for the months to come. It’s also, as we write these words, brutally cold, and thus the perfect time to find somewhere warm and sit down with a good book. Thankfully, January has plenty of excellent-looking ones due out that should get you through this cold spell, and the cold spells still to come.
Indictus, Natalie Eilbert
(January 1, Noemi Press)
We’ve been looking forward to reading Natalie Eilbert’s new collection ever since it was first announced. Eilbert’s skill at blending formal innovation with visceral imagery and a tactile sense of harrowing emotions is second to none, and this looks to be another entry in an already-impressive bibliography.
Neon in Daylight, Hermione Hoby
(January 9, Catapult)
Hermione Hoby’s new novel is set in the not-so-distant past: specifically, New York City in the summer just before Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the Northeast. Hoby blends a portrait of the city at a particular moment in time with the story of a woman from England who finds herself making unlikely connections to the people and places contained within it.
The Same Night Awaits Us All, Hristo Karastoyanov; translated by Izidora Angel
(January 9, Open Letter)
Hristo Karastoyanov’s novel is set during a particularly harrowing time in Bulgarian history, when a fascist leader took control of the government in the 1920s and instituted a period of social repression. This novel examines this period, and the ways in which artists endeavored to continue their work under ominous conditions.
The Job of the Wasp, Colin Winnette
(January 9, Soft Skull)
Colin Winnette’s fiction frequently pushes at the boundaries of genre, upending conventions and dazzling readers along the way. His latest is set at a remote boarding school for orphaned boys, but quickly moves into the surreal by way of ominous conspiracies, ghosts, and a sense of ambiguity that quickly turns sinister.
Waiting in Various Lines (2013-2017), Hether Fortune
(January 15, Etruscan Gold Ltd.)
Things we like: good postpunk bands. Things we also like: when folks from good postpunk bands turn out to be equally skilled at putting words on a page. And thus, we’re looking forward to this book, the first collection of poetry from Hether Fortune, who some of you may know from her work in the band Wax Idols.
The Largesse of the Sea Maiden, Denis Johnson
(January 16, Random House)
This is a bittersweet one, as it’s the final book from the great Denis Johnson. And it’s also true that “Denis Johnson short story collection” is probably enough of a description to indicate why we’re excited about this book, so–we’ll leave it at that.
The Unmapped Country: Stories and Fragments, Ann Quin
(January 16, And Other Stories)
Ann Quin’s fiction, written in the 1960s and early 1970s, remains ahead of its time: it’s moody, ominous, and formally bold. (Contemporary champions of Quin’s work include Blake Butler, Juliet Jacques, and Lee Rourke.) The Unmapped Country assembles her previously-uncollected shorter works, and should give readers a fuller sense of Quin’s tremendous power as a writer.
Red Clocks, Leni Zumas
(January 16, Little, Brown, and Company)
Leni Zumas’s followup to the stunning The Navigators is an ambitious, time-spanning work, largely set in a near future where abortion has been outlawed, but also encompassing the life of an explorer in the 1800s. Zumas’s work abounds with a visceral unpredictability, and we’re eager to see what she does with this bold narrative canvas.
Jack Waters, Scott Adlerberg
(January 17, Broken River Books)
Scott Adlerberg’s work to date has taken crime fiction into unpredictable places: at times grittily realistic, at others surreal and metaphysical. Jack Waters, his latest novel, delves into the past and focuses on a gambler in the Caribbean whose morals are tested when he encounters a group of revolutionaries.
The Juniper Tree, Barbara Comyns; introduction by Sadie Stein
(January 23, NYRB Classics)
Barbara Comyns’s fiction is equally adept at chronicling the bleakest aspects of a life in poverty and showing the ways in which a dose of the uncanny can upend everyday conventions. Here, she tells the story of a single mother whose life takes on certain qualities of a fairy tale–with unpredictable, sometimes tragic, consequences.
Frankenstein in Baghdad, Ahmed Saadawi; translated by Jonathan Wright
(January 23, Penguin)
As its title suggests, Ahmed Saadawi’s Frankenstein in Baghdad is a contemporary riff on Mary Shelley’s novel. Specifically, it’s one that brings the central concept of a man assembled from the bodies of the dead to wartime Baghdad, adding a number of unsettling resonances into the narrative mix.
This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America, Morgan Jerkins
(January 30, Harper Perennial)
We’ve long been admirers of Morgan Jerkins’s nonfiction, and thus the news of her having an essay collection out this month has us eager to read said work. As its subtitle suggests, Jerkins is examining a number of essential sociopolitical questions from a number of angles here, and providing essential commentary on the world in which we live.