A new year has begun. What does the new literary year have in store for us? If January is any indication, there’s a host of acclaimed short fiction on the way; in addition to that, there are new works by some of our favorite writers, as well as acclaimed fiction from around the globe. Here’s a look at some of the January books that have caught our eye.
Ghost Wall, Sarah Moss
(Jan. 8, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Sarah Moss’s concise and searing novel Ghost Wall blends a harrowing tale of psychological unrest and familial abuse with a high-concept narrative of an experimental research project in archaic forms of living. The result is a novel rich with haunting imagery and disquieting characters.
Mouthful of Birds, Samanta Schweblin
(Jan. 8, Riverhead Books)
Samanta Schweblin’s novel Fever Dream served as a bold introduction to her bibliography for many readers. Now, she’s followed it up with a new short story collection, featuring more forays into the surreal and phantasmagorical. Just the thing for an unsettling winter night’s reading, we daresay.
The Sopranos Sessions, Matt Zoller Seitz and Alan Sepinwall; foreword by Laura Lippman
(Jan. 8, Abrams Books)
At Vol.1 Brooklyn, we are fans of good writing about quality television. So when two fantastic critics delve into one of the best shows ever to air, our interest is most definitely piqued. Making the whole thing even more impressive is a foreword by Laura Lippman, who knows a thing or two about great crime stories herself.
The Enlightened Army, David Toscana; translated by David William Foster
(Jan. 9, University of Texas Press)
David Toscana’s satirical novel The Enlightened Army chronicles the life and times of an obsessed history teacher in Monterrey whose grudges against the United States lead him to attempt to re-annex the state of Texas, an effort that may well be found in the dictionary under “quixotic.”
Take-Out: And Other Tales of Culinary Crime, Rob Hart
(Jan. 15, Polis Books)
We’re always fond of a good crime story, and we’re always fond of good writing about food. In this collection from Rob Hart, the two converge, as Hart finds the happy medium between thrilling narratives and mouth-watering evocations of the savory arts.
Last Night in Nuuk, Niviaq Korneliussen
(Jan. 15, Grove Press/Black Cat)
The city of Nuuk, Greenland hasn’t been the most well-represented in literary works up until now. Hopefully, this novel from Niviaq Korneliussen will change all that. It’s a coming-of-age narrative, following a quintet of characters whose lives are on wildly disparate paths.
Hark, Sam Lipsyte
(Jan. 15, Simon & Schuster)
We’re always happy to read something new from Sam Lipsyte. With his latest novel, Hark, Lipsyte turns his satirical focus towards the contemporary quest for serenity and spiritual satisfaction; we’re guessing that hilarity will indeed ensue.
Oculus, Sally Wen Mao
(Jan. 15, Graywolf Press)
Sally Wen Mao’s second collection of poetry, Oculus, explores myriad ways in which people see and are seen. That takes a host of forms, from displays of violence on social media to a consideration of the life and legacy of actress Anna May Wong.
You Know You Want This: “Cat Person” and Other Stories, Kristen Roupenian
(Jan. 15, Gallery/Scout Press)
Kristen Roupenian’s debut collection features a short story you may have heard of called “Cat Person.” But Roupenian’s fiction ventures into other disquieting territories as well here, memorably moving between the quotidian and the uncanny.
The Alarming Palsy of James Orr, Tom Lee
(Jan. 22, Soho Press)
In his first novel, Tom Lee explores the life of a man whose life radically changes after he awakens to find his face partially paralyzed. This in turn leads him to discover new things about his home, his identity, and his very self, leading towards a harrowing conclusion.