As the city segues further into spring, we’ve got books by a couple of old favorites due out this month. Our notable literary offerings for May tilt heavily on the side of fiction, though there’s also an important and incisive new history of New York to be found here, as well as a resonant memoir and an essential guide to an essential musician. Looking for something to read as the days grow longer and the trees turn green? Here are a few selections for your consideration.
Ursula Villarreal-Moura, Math for the Self-Crippling
(May 1, Gold Line Press)
Can flash fiction transport you across decades of life in a city? That’s what you’ll find in Ursula Villarreal-Moura’s new collection, which follows several characters over the course of many years in San Antonio. We’re excited to see new work out in the world from Villarreal-Moura, especially something as ambitious as this.
Courtney Maum, The Year of the Horses
(May 3, Tin House)
Some life changes happen from within; others take place on the back of a horse. Courtney Maum’s new memoir explores her own immersion in all things equine, and the way this particular pastime helped her address depression.
Alyssa Songsiridej, Little Rabbit
(May 3, Bloomsbury)
In Alyssa Songsiridej’s new novel, an interaction between two artists at a residency sets in motion an unexpected and intimate connection; it’s also one that ventures into questions of power and sexuality. Little Rabbit seems primed to inspire debate, all while telling a haunting and compelling story.
Gabriel Blackwell, Doom Town
(May 10, Zerogram Press)
Gabriel Blackwell’s engrossing writings often wrestle with iconic stories, including works by Alfred Hitchcock and H.P. Lovecraft. Here, he’s going back a bit further, exploring one man’s personal and professional breakdown and tying it in to the Tower of Babel. We’re thoroughly intrigued.
Mark Haber, Saint Sebastian’s Abyss
(May 10, Coffee House Press)
Art, friendship, and mortality all combine in the new novel by Mark Haber. At the heart of it is the Renaissance painting that gives this book its title, and the intense feud it inspired among two prominent critics. This one promises to be another bold addition to a wide-ranging bibliography.
Emily Hall, The Longcut
(May 10, Dalkey Archive Press)
Continuing with the theme of novels about art, here’s Emily Hall’s The Longcut! The narrator of this novel spends a lot of time ruminating on objects, some of which are works of art and some of which are the quotidian things left around an apartment. Where this leads them, however, is unexpectedly profound.
Bud Smith, Teenager
(May 10, Vintage)
Bud Smith is another writer whose work has long impressed us, and we’re eager to see the impact this novel has upon its release. It finds Smith exploring the terrain of the road novel; for someone who excels at creating lived-in characters and situations, it’s an inviting prospect.
Frederic Tuten, The Bar at Twilight
(May 10, Bellevue Literary Press)
Do you enjoy your short fiction with a heady dose of art and absurdism? Frederic Tuten’s globe-trotting new collection offers plenty of both, providing a dizzying array of locales and imagery that ventures to unexpected places.
Alison Espach, Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance
(May 17, Henry Holt)
What happens when the close bond between two sisters ruptures — and how does that rupture play out over the years and decades that follow? That fraught situation is at the heart of Alison Espach’s forthcoming novel, which puts the family novel onto shifting terrain.
Jarrod Shanahan, Captives
(May 17, Verso)
If you live in or around New York City, you’ve likely been witness to the heated debates over the effects Rikers Island has had on the city’s population and its policies. In Jarrod Shanahan’s new book, he explores the history of how the prison there came to loom so large over the city, and what it means for the future.
Emma Straub, This Time Tomorrow
(May 17, Riverhead Books)
To date, Emma Straub’s novels have abounded with meticulously-drawn portraits of lives in flux and families in crisis. With her latest book, she adds a new wrinkle into the mix: time travel. How would you react upon revisiting your life in the mid-90s? The result is a resonant meditation on aging, parental dynamics, and familial bonds.
Nell Zink, Avalon
(May 24, Knopf)
Nell Zink’s new novel asks plenty of big questions — in this case, about utopias, intimacy, and the unlikely connections that arise between unexpected people. Zink’s work to date has abounded with unpredictable dynamics and grand ideas, and Avalon looks like it settles neatly into that dynamic.
Caryn Rose, Why Patti Smith Matters
(May 31, University of Texas Press)
Patti Smith’s music — and her work in general — have drawn the attention of countless listeners and acolytes over the years. If you’re looking for a distillation of Smith’s importance and influence, there are few writers who seem better-suited than Caryn Rose, making this new book a perfect blend of author and subject.
Note: all release dates and cover artwork are subject to change.