What does the month of September have in store, as far as books are concerned? A whole lot of intriguing short fiction, for one thing–everything from meticulously-arranged tales of the uncanny to stylistically bold explorations of society. There’s also intriguing new works from some of our favorite writers, from an experimentally-structured work by John Haskell to a collection of lectures by Toni Morrison. As summer segues into fall, here are some book that might help ease you in to sweater weather.
Tales of Falling and Flying, Ben Loory
(September 5, Penguin)
We’re always up for stories of the strange, the uncanny, and the unpredictable–and Ben Loory’s new collection, his second, seems primed to delivery exactly that. The fact that Ray Bradbury dug Loory’s writing doesn’t hurt, either.
Sing, Unburied, Sing, Jesmyn Ward
(September 5, Scribner)
Ever since reading her towering novel Salvage the Bones, we’ve been curious about what Jesmyn Ward’s next work of fiction would be. And now we have the answer: a road narrative about a family dealing with ghosts both metaphorical and literal. Ward is one of the most essential writers working in American literature today, and this looks to be an impressive addition to her bibliography.
Shopping Mall, Matthew Newton
(September 7, Bloomsbury)
We’re big admirers of the shopping mall and its influence on pop culture, and so we’re eager to read Matthew Newton’s entry in the great “Object Lessons” series of short books. This examines the mall near where Newton grew up–a space that was, among other things, the setting for the original Dawn of the Dead.
Absolutely Golden, D. Foy
(September 12, Stalking Horse Press)
After reading D. Foy’s harrowing Patricide last year, the question of what he might follow it up with is a natural one. In this case, it’s a short comic novel set in a nudist colony in 1970s California–both a departure from his previous work and a different angle on his preferred themes of transcendence and unlikely human connections.
Swallowing Mercury, Wioletta Greg; translated by Eliza Marciniak
(September 12, Transit Books)
Wioletta Greg may be best-known for her poetry–in addition to this autobiographical novel, she’s published six volumes of it. Here, she focuses on the process of coming of age in Poland in the 1980s, as the nation underwent a host of changes and a small town held both revelations and dangers.
Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng
(September 12, Penguin Press)
Novels delineating suburban fault lines are an evergreen topic for writers. In Celeste Ng’s new novel, she showcases why: they allow for a microcosm of society to be examined, and trenchant themes to be explored–in this case, questions of race, family, politics, and creativity.
Worlds From the Word’s End, Joanna Walsh
(September 12, And Other Stories)
Joanna Walsh’s writings elude easy description: she’s capable of rigorous examinations of sociological questions, and she’s also more than willing to explode different structures and forms to challenge a reader’s expectations. We were impressed with Walsh’s previous collection Vertigo, and have high hopes for this one.
Itzá, Rios de la Luz
(September 15, Broken River Books)
After being decidedly impressed with the surreal stories Rios de la Luz’s debut collection, The Pulse Between Dimensions and the Desert (which included one that first appeared at Vol.1 Brooklyn), we were eager to read her followup. This month brings with it her novella Itzá, which focuses on familial legacies and questions of violence and power; the first review we’ve seen has us deeply excited to read the full work.
The Doubles, Scott Esposito
(September 18, Civil Coping Mechanisms)
Whether he’s chronicling questions of gender and sexuality, rigorously exploring artistic history, or seeking larger narratives in how we experience culture, Scott Esposito’s nonfiction is never predictable and is often revelatory. The Doubles covers two decades of Esposito’s life through the medium of film, and promises to blend the experience of art with the deeply personal.
The Origin of Others, Toni Morrison
(September 18, Harvard University Press)
Nobel laureate Toni Morrison delivered the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard during the 2015-16 academic year. From those lectures comes the book The Origin of Others, in which Morrison explores everything from themes in her own work to some of today’s most urgent political questions. Add an introduction by Ta-Nehisi Coates to the mix, and you have a book that offers the reader plenty to ponder and discuss.
WORK, Bud Smith
(September 18, Civil Coping Mechanisms)
Bud Smith’s candid tales of work and life in New York and New Jersey have established him as an acclaimed chronicler of quotidian routines and questions of labor. His new memoir WORK focuses on his own upbringing in New Jersey and his balancing of work and creativity–tusing the very personal to tap into questions many have had about that same sort of balance.
The Complete Ballet: A Fictional Essay in Five Acts, John Haskell
(September 19, Graywolf Press)
John Haskell’s fiction frequently delves into questions of pop culture, societal fears, and anxieties. His latest novel takes bold risks with structure and weaves in other forms of art; alternately, it’s a novel told through a series of essays that explore dance. So then, it’s in similar territory to Ali Smith’s indescribable Artful–which is fine company to be in.
Sephira and Other Betrayals, John Langan
(September 25, Hippocampus Press)
In the last year and change, John Langan’s sprawling novel The Fisherman offered readers an unorthodox take on cosmic horror, and his first novel House of Windows was reissued in a new edition. This fall brings with it his third collection, Sephira and Other Betrayals. Langan’s fiction is masterfully composed and never less than unsettling; a new collection of it is a welcome event for those who enjoy horror that balances the intellectual and the visceral.