Vol.1 Brooklyn’s April 2020 Book Preview

Vol.1 April 2020 Books

So. No witty introduction this time, as that seems a little tone-deaf right now. We will be very honest here: we’ve gotten a lot of news of book release dates being rearranged as of late, for understandable reasons. These are, to the best of our knowledge, all books due out this month that we’re excited to read. It’s possible that some of these will be out at a later date instead. Our recommendation still holds, regardless of the month. Support your local bookstores now; support your local bookstores later.

Chelsea Bieker, Godshot
(April 1, Catapult)

Things we like: books that use the state of California to examine grand themes about humanity. Things we also like: books with cults. Given that Chelsea Bieker’s debut novel falls in the sweet spot of these two categories — it’s about a teenage girl living in a community under the sway of a charismatic religious leader — we’re very excited to see where she takes these themes and images.

David Grubbs, Voice in the Headphones
(April 3, Duke University Press)

David Grubbs is a talented musician and a fantastic writer; he’s the rare figure who can digest plenty of theory and history and reflect it in the art he makes — and do so in multiple creative disciplines. Grubbs draws upon his own work as a musician for this new book, an long poem focusing on the experience of recording new work, and the elements that come to bear upon that process.

Sasha Geffen, Glitter Up the Dark
(April 7, University of Texas Press)

While we’re talking about thoughtful books about music and culture, here’s Sasha Geffen with a new book that offers an insightful take on pop culture and gender. Glitter Up the Dark: How Pop Music Broke the Binary incorporates a look at decades’ worth of musicians whose work expanded audiences’ understanding of gender and creativity — and transformed pop as we know it.

Gabino Iglesias, editor, Both Sides: Stories From the Border
(April 7, Agora Press)

Writer and frequent Vol.1 Brooklyn contributor Gabino Iglesias is at the editor’s desk for this new anthology, which uses fiction to explore borders and the tensions they create. Along for the ride are a host of notable authors, including Alex Segura, Rios de la Luz, Rob Hart, and Nick Mamatas. It’s an impressive lineup and a thought-provoking subject; what’s not to like?

Kathryn Scanlan, The Dominant Animal
(April 7, MCD x FSG Originals)

Do you like your short fiction disconcerting and emotionally vivid? Well then. Kathryn Scanlan’s new collection, The Dominant Animal, has those qualities in abundance. “I often feel like a voyeur, like I’m looking too closely at something that should be private,” Scanlan said in an interview with The Believer last year. It’s a disquieting admission, but it’s also the kind of thing that can lead to great fiction.

Carmen Boullosa, The Book of Anna; translated by Samantha Schnee
(April 14, Coffee House Press)

The last book of Carmen Boullosa’s we read in translation was Heavens on Earth, a centuries-spanning narrative that recalled the works of Lidia Yuknavitch and David Mitchell. As for The Book of Anna, Boullosa’s working with more of a Leo Tolstoy motif — the “Anna” in the title is exactly who you think it is, and Boullosa’s novel blends fact and fiction, riffing on Russia’s literature and revolutions.

Tom Gauld, Department of Mind-Blowing Theories
(April 14, Drawn & Quarterly)

Do you enjoy your humor wry, with more than a few allusions to books and science? Odds are good, then, that you’ve already encountered Tom Gauld’s comics. Department of Mind-Blowing Theories brings together a host of his work with science as the main theme; by the time you’ve gotten to the cat armed with a laser and riding a giant bird, you’ll likely be enthralled. (Not literally.)

Emily Gould, Perfect Tunes
(April 14, Avid Reader Press)

Emily Gould’s new novel — her followup to 2014’s Friendship — addresses questions of creativity, familial bonds, and the changes that have taken place in New York in the 21st century. Through her protagonist’s relationships to her daughter and her best friend, Gould navigates complex emotional and creative territory.

Cho Nam-Joo, Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982; translated by Jamie Chang
(April 14, Liveright)

In Cho Nam-Joo’s recently-translated Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982, a woman’s response to decades of life in a misogynistic society involves a kind of sublimation into something larger — which also involves a breakdown. As this novel’s protagonist speaks with a psychiatrist about her life and what’s led her to this point, the novel itself explores grander psychological and sociological questions.

Jeff Noon, Creeping Jenny
(April 14, Angry Robot)

Jeff Noon’s fiction often blends together seemingly disparate genres and literary references to create something thrilling and new. For Creeping Jenny, his third novel involving detective John Nyquist, Noon utilizes his recurring character to explore questions of horror both folk and cosmic — offering a distinctive spin on the style.

Marion Poschmann, The Pine Islands; translated by Jen Calleja
(April 14, Coach House Books)

In Marion Poschmann’s The Pine Islands, a film scholar makes an abrupt move to Japan, where he ends up finding a new artistic muse — the poetry of Bashō. This sets him on a journey to revisit the landscape that inspires Bashō’s most famous works — and prompts a fateful meeting with another traveler with a very different goal in mind.

JD Scott, Moonflower, Nightshade, All the Hours of the Day
(April 15, &NOW Books)

Some collections span a host of genres. JD Scott’s Moonflower, Nightshade, All the Hours of the Day doesn’t span them so much as eliminate the boundaries between them, offering a group of stories that blend emotional realism with forays into the fantastic and surreal. Following Scott’s earlier poetry collection Mask for Mask, this is a fantastic debut on the prose side of things.

Brock Wilbur and Nathan Rabin, Postal
(April 15, Boss Fight Books)

What happens when a cult video game inspired a much-derided movie adaptation? This new book, a collaboration between Brock Wilbur and Nathan Rabin, provides an answer to that question, delving into the history of the video game Postal as well as its ill-starred foray onto the big screen courtesy of director Uwe Boll.


Note: all release dates and artwork are subject to change.

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