It’s October. Halloween lurks at the end of the month; various awards shortlists are appearing on the scene; and the colder weather makes it ideal to curl up indoors–whether at home, a coffee shop, or a bar–with a good book. Thankfully, this month brings with it plenty of notable literary works, from experimental fiction to eagerly-anticipated essay collections. Here’s a look at some of the books due out this month that have our attention.
It’s been a busy time for writer, publisher, and podcaster J. David Osborne. In the last year or so, he relocated to El Paso from Portland, Oregon; he oversaw new editions of two of his novels, By the Time We Leave Here, We’ll Be Friends and Blood and Water; he collaborated with Cody Goodfellow on the taut crime novel The Snake Handler; and he released the long-in-the-works followup to his book Black Gum, A Minor Storm. Like the best of his work, A Minor Storm blends a resonant sense of the familiar with a powerful dose of the surreal and dangerous. We talked about his new book, podcasting, and his experiences with Patreon via email over the course of a few days.
To call Veriditas, the new album by Helios, immersive would be an understatement. Helios represents one aspect of Keith Kenniff ‘s musical output: you might also know him from his more classically-oriented work as Goldmund, or his work in the pop group Mint Julep. Here, he channels a decidedly nocturnal mood, blending sonic spaces with field recordings to create something wholly unpredictable. I asked Kenniff about the album’s genesis, his literary inspirations, and the experience of recording outdoors.
I first encountered Mike Kleine’s work when I was working at a bookstore in New York City. We carried his book Kanley Stubrick (We Heard You Like Books 2016). We kept it up by the front registers. After flipping through it, I decided that it was probably very good but I never read it or bought it.
A few months ago, I read about his latest novel Lonely Men Club (Inside the Castle 2018). John Trefry, who runs Inside the Castle, was kind enough to send me a copy. It’s a big expensive book and I was bored and lonely in San Francisco and it was nice of him to send me a free copy.
Thirty years after her death, Sara Gallardo’s literary work has been translated into English. For Anglophone readers who delight in the surreal, the counterintuitive, and the singular, this is a welcome occurrence. Gallardo’s 1977 book Land of Smoke is the first of her works to appear in translation; over the course of a host of short stories, Gallardo explores the fantastical, aspects of loss, and unexpected geography.
The guiding principle of Six Ridiculous Questions is that life is filled with ridiculousness. And questions. That only by giving in to these truths may we hope to slip the surly bonds of reality and attain the higher consciousness we all crave. (Eh, not really, but it sounded good there for a minute.) It’s just. Who knows? The ridiculousness and question bits, I guess. Why six? Assonance, baby, assonance.
On its surface, Jennifer Hillier’s Jar of Hearts is a thriller about a killer and those affected by his actions. However, the novel, which takes place on two different timelines, is a multilayered marvel that also explores the nature of interrupted love, looks at the result of trauma and dangerous traits that are carried in DNA, and shows the lasting impact a brutal murder can have on everyone involved in it. Furthermore, Hillier manages to pull off this plethora of elements while also entertaining with a carefully crafted, suspenseful narrative and by delivering a level of viciousness that will appeal to fans of hardcore horror fiction.
Eden, Andrea Kleine‘s new novel, is set in the aftermath of a harrowing event: protagonist Hope and her sister Eden were, as teenagers, kidnapped by a man with awful intentions. The novel begins decades later: Hope is a playwright grappling with financial and creative instability, and Eden has gone missing. Hope sets out in search of her lost sister–a plot which gives Kleine a space to explore a number of resonant and disquieting themes. I spoke with Kleine about the […]