As a tremendous admirer of the uncanny in fiction, I ended up devouring Simon Jacobs‘s new novel String Follow. It’s a story of youthful suburban anomie, punk scenes, and class divides — all told from the perspective of a sinister and inhuman force that’s making its way through a small town. I talked with Jacobs about the process of writing the novel, the role punk plays in his work, and how he’d classify this decidedly unclassifiable book — among other subjects.
In our morning reading: reviews of books by Kayla Chenault and Bethany C. Morrow, an interview with Kill Alters, and more.
According to rodent-based prognostications, we’re in for six more weeks of winter. So if the pandemic wasn’t keeping us inside, the weather just might. It’s never a bad time to get some reading done, but — this might be a better time than usual, is what we’re saying. And so, some book recommendations; heavy on the fiction this month, and heavy on the surreal side of fiction at that. Here are some suggestions for when you head to the bookstore in the coming weeks.
What happens with the quotidian and the uncanny collide? There was a point in my early 20s, when I’d started writing fiction but was still highly impressionable, when I began considering what it might be like if one combined a Raymond Carver-esque realism with Lovecraftian forays into cosmic horror. Behold, suburban repression with eldritch horrors glimpsed in the background, never quite making their way forward to devour souls and drive people to madness.
In our weekend reading: Brooke Bolander on how her novella came to be, reviews of books by Katherine Faw and Simon Jacobs, and much more.
In this week’s column, I look at short books from Sarah Manguso, Matthew Dickman, Forrest Gander, and Simon Jacobs.