Well, it’s February. Are there books due out this month? There most definitely are. Over the next few weeks, readers will be able to pick up dynamic nonfiction, unsettling fiction in translation, and long-anticipated collections of poetry. Here are a few of February’s books that we’re most excited about.
Universal Harvester, John Darnielle
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux; February 7)
John Darnielle is rapidly entering the same category of folks like Patti Smith and Leonard Cohen, where their work on the page is as acclaimed as their songwriting. His latest novel centers around a video store in Iowa in the late 1990s, where mysterious footage shows up on a host of tapes.
The Twenty Days of Turin, Giorgio De Maria; translated by Ramon Glazov
(February 7, Liveright)
We’re always up for a surreal and dystopian vision of the world, and this newly-translated Italian novel seems to offer exactly that. It’s set in a town where privacy has vanished and mysterious and violent occurrences abound, leading to a haunting conclusion.
A Separation, Katie Kitamura
(February 7, Riverhead Books)
Katie Kitamura’s latest novel, following the acclaimed works Gone to the Forest and The Longshot, follows a woman searching for her estranged husband in Greece. Here, secrets and revelations intertwine with the landscape through which she moves, creating a powerful sense of atmosphere.
All the Lives I Want Essays About My Best Friends Who Happen to Be Famous Strangers, Alana Massey
(Grand Central Publishing, February 7)
In recent years, Alana Massey has earned abundant acclaim for her nonfiction work. With this, her first book, she expertly focuses on the lives of a number of notable women, including Anjelica Huston, Scarlett Johansson, and Anna Nicole Smith.
Shadowbahn, Steve Erickson
(Blue Rider Press, February 14)
Steve Erickson’s fiction often jarringly addresses questions of recent history in surreal ways. In his latest novel, the World Trade Center mysteriously re-appears in South Dakota, prompting a meditation on American history and alternate timelines.
There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé, Morgan Parker
(Tin House, February 14)
We’ve been looking forward to the second collection from poet, essayist, and editor Morgan Parker ever since it was first announced. Along the way, it’s been acclaimed by the likes of D.A. Powell and Roxane Gay; BAM is hosting the launch party for it later this month.
Radiant Terminus, Antoine Volodine; translated by Jeffrey Zuckerman
(Open Letter, February 14)
Antoine Volodine’s surreal fiction juxtaposes future histories with metaphysical (and metafictional) concerns. The result is a singular literary voice that evades easy classification. Radiant Terminus plays out in a bizarre future Russia, where shifting power dynamics and violence abound.
Jackknife: New and Selected Poems, Jan Beatty
(University of Pittsburgh Press, February 15)
This collection of work from Jan Beatty encompasses highlights from the last twenty years, and touches on a host of political and personal topics. You may also know Beatty from her work as co-host of the radio program Prosody, which has interviewed a host of writers over the years.
The Yellow House, Chiwan Choi
(February 22, Civil Coping Mechanisms)
The latest book from Chiwan Choi (after the collections The Flood and Abductions) features work that explores memories, intimacy, history, and violence. Perhaps you read the excerpt from it that recently appeared in The New York Times Magazine?
As I Stand Living, Christopher Higgs
(February 22, Civil Coping Mechanisms/#RECURRENT)
Christopher Higgs’s account of a year in his life takes its structure from Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, and explores questions of artistic inspiration, family life, and economic anxiety. By the end of it, he’s assembled an idiosyncratic evocation of the rhythms of one life, abounding with offbeat charm.
Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London, Lauren Elkin
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, February 28)
Lauren Elkin’s latest book is about a lot of things: gender, the way we move through cities, and the process by which art is created. One of Elkin’s skills as a writer is recounting artistic history succinctly and deftly, and we’re eager to see her account of the lives of the array of artists covered here.
Abandon Me, Melissa Febos
(Bloomsbury, February 28)
Melissa Febos’s boldly-structured Abandon Me seems at first to be a collection of disparate scenes from life, then comes together at the end with a revelatory power. It’s a frequently stunning book, dealing with questions of family, identity, and intimacy.
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