Vol.1 Brooklyn’s August 2020 Book Preview

Vol.1 August 2020 books

Apparently it’s August now. Apparently summer has turned the corner and is beginning its slow approach into autumn. Nominally these things are happening, but the passage of time has gotten a bit strange lately. Still, there are plenty of books, and that’s an excellent thing. Do you like powerful, resonant nonfiction? August has that covered. What about surreal, high-concept fiction? Also around. Here are a few of the books we’re most excited about that are due out this month.

Morgan Jerkins, Wandering in Strange Lands
(Aug. 4, Harper)

Morgan Jerkins’s earlier book This Will Be My Undoing proved to be a fantastic look at its author’s life and upbringing; it’s also on our shortlist of notable New Jersey-set books to be published in recent years. For her followup, Jerkins is taking a broader approach — her focus here is on the Great Migration, and the ways in which it transformed her ancestors’ lives and helped to shape a nation.

Yun Ko-Eun, The Disaster Tourist; translated by Lizzie Buehler
(Aug. 4, Counterpoint)

Imagine a world where the opposite of eco-tourism has taken hold, and the affluent now savor their time spent in environmentally devastated locales. That’s the premise of Yun Ko-Eun’s The Disaster Tourist, which follows a troubled employee of one such company as she unearths uncomfortable secrets and a dizzying conspiracy.

Quan Manh Ha and Joseph Babcock (editors/translators), Other Moons: Vietnamese Short Stories of the American War and its Aftermath
(Aug. 4, Columbia University Press)

The right works of literature can offer an insightful perspective on events that might seem overly familiar. Many American readers have (understandably) had their perceptions of war in Vietnam shaped by the US’s experience there. The short stories in Other Moons offer the Vietnamese perspective on that same conflict, providing a glimpse at how war looks from the other side.

Joni Murphy, Talking Animals 
(Aug. 4, FSG Originals)

How do you follow up a politically resonant coming-of-age novel like Joni Murphy’s Double Teenage? If you’re Murphy, you dial the satire level way up and bring in a bunch of, well, talking animals. Murphy’s latest novel follows a world similar to our own, except for the presence of a lot of animals that talk. Looking for incisive societal commentary and a talking alpaca? You’ve come to the right place, friends.

Alisson Wood, Being Lolita
(Aug. 4, Flatiron Books)

What happens when an acclaimed work of literature becomes the inspiration for a horrific act of abuse? Alisson Wood’s Being Lolita tells a harrowing story from Wood’s life — one where the novel Lolita occupied a central position — and of how her own evolution and changing relationship to literature offered her a perspective on her own past, on power dynamics, and on storytelling.


Seb Doubinsky, The Invisible
(Aug. 11, Meerkat Press)

If you’re looking for a novel that combines political satire, hallucinatory experiences, and ancient gods — well, we might just have the book for you. Seb Doubinsky’s The Invisible is set in a surreal and dystopian city where a mysterious murder sparks an unlikely investigation amidst shifting allegiances and ornate conspiracies.

Matthew Salesses, Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear
(Aug. 11, Little A)

There’s something inherently unsettling about tales of doubles and doppelgängers, and with his latest novel, Matthew Salesses has written an impressive addition to the doppelgänger canon. What happens when you find your double out and about? What happens when your double seems to be a better version of you? Salesses ventures into haunting territory in this novel, from its premise to its setting.

John Langan, Children of the Fang and Other Genealogies
(Aug. 18, Worse Horde)

John Langan’s fiction blends the cerebral with the visceral, achieving an unsettling take on horror that’s like nothing else out there. The stories collected in this volume situate Langan’s work in dialogue with the work of other horror writers, and with the genre as a whole.

Guadalupe Nettel, Bezoar and Other Unsettling Stories; translated by Suzanne Jill Levine
(Aug. 18, Seven Stories Press)

You may have read Guadalupe Nettel in translation before; her lyrical, measured novel After the Winter was a favorite around these parts. Feel like encountering a very different side of this talented writer? As this book’s title suggests, Bezoar takes her work into a more uncanny, disquieting vein.

Jason Diamond, The Sprawl
(Aug. 25, Coffee House)

How have the suburbs inspired great art? Read this, the second book from Vol.1 Brooklyn founder Jason Diamond, and find out. Diamond blends history, cultural criticism, and personal experience to create a surprising and insightful look at how art, setting, and inspiration can converge.

David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Winter Counts
(Aug. 25, Ecco)

Looking for a gripping work of crime fiction to read this summer? David Heska Wanbli Weiden’s novel Winter Counts surely fits that description. It’s about a man who acts as a kind of hired vigilante on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, and his attempts to shut down an illicit heroin trade and grapple with political corruption.


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

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