This February brings with it plenty to savor, literarily speaking. Among the highlights from the month’s books are new works by the writers behind several of our recent favorites, from incisive nonfiction to imaginative fiction. There’s also some bold work appearing in translation for the first time. Here’s a look at some of the books we’re most excited about this month.
Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to a Tribe Called Quest, Hanif Abdurraqib
(Feb. 1, University of Texas Press)
In recent years, Hanif Abdurraqib has emerged as one of the best essayists working today. With his latest book, he takes on a single subject, and it’s the legendary group A Tribe Called Quest. We are wholeheartedly in favor of this author/subject pairing, yes indeed.
Sea Monsters, Chloe Aridjis
(Feb. 5, Catapult)
Unexpected trips, Quixotic quests, haunted searches, and mysterious communities: there’s a whole lot going on in Chloe Aridjis’s new novel. It begins with a young woman venturing westward, which sets into motion a series of surreal events proceeding along an unpredictable path.
Savage Conversations, LeAnne Howe
(Feb. 5, Coffee House Press)
LeAnne Howe’s new novel turns the spotlight on a particularly grim moment in history: the hanging of 38 Dakota men in 1862 under the orders of Abraham Lincoln, following the end of the Dakota War of 1862. Howe explores the repercussions of this event in the years and decades that followed, creating a haunting glimpse of bygone days.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Marlon James
(Feb. 5, Riverhead Books)
We enjoy the writings of Marlon James; we enjoy a good, sprawling, epic fantasy novel. So clearly, we’re mightily excited about Marlon James’s forthcoming epic fantasy novel.
The Collected Schizophrenias, Esmé Weijun Wang
(Feb. 5, Graywolf Press)
We were floored by Esmé Weijun Wang’s debut novel, The Border of Paradise, which blended a multi-generational saga with an immersive take on mental illness. Her followup to this, the essay collection The Collected Schizophrenias, brings her talents as a writer to explore and demystify the experience of living with schizophrenia.
American Pop, Snowden Wright
(Feb. 5, William Morrow)
The latest novel from Sunday Stories contributor Snowden Wright blends two seemingly disparate elements into a compelling whole. It’s a generational saga of a wealthy family, but it’s also an exploration of the American obsession with soda–and the places where that obsession can lead.
The Amphitheater of the Dead, Guy Hocquenghem; translated by Max Fox
(Feb. 12, Guillotine)
This newly-translated autobiographical novella from Guy Hocquenghem takes a host of structural and aesthetic risks that pay off movingly. It was written prior to Hocquenghem’s death in 1988, but imagines a much longer life for the author — and then provides a window into this near-future society and its author’s memories of his bygone youth. Science fictional autofiction, perhaps? Either way, the result is both compelling and emotionally resonant.
Lost Children Archive, Valerica Luiselli
(Feb. 12, Knopf)
Valeria Luiselli’s fiction has shifted memorably from book to book, from formal inventiveness to atmospheric surrealism. Her latest novel is centered around a family taking a cross-country road trip, which coincides with an immigration crisis. Luiselli’s previous work has been both aesthetically impressive and politically resonant; this looks to continue that tradition.
Rag, Maryse Meijer
(Feb. 12, FSG Originals)
Maryse Meijer’s stories reside in that place where psychological realism begins to transform into something that resembles horror. She has a fantastic sense for the visceral and the disquieting, and for unexpected literary juxtapositions. This latest collection offers readers another opportunity to be memorably disoriented.
Lord, Joao Gilberto Noll; translated by Edgar Garbelotto
(Feb. 12, Two Lines Press)
Joao Gilberto Noll’s atmospheric and haunting novels make for a thoroughly immersive read. If you’re unfamiliar with his work but are fond of, say, Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled, well, you’ll probably find a lot to love here. Lord addresses questions of memory and identity, and of the disquiet feelings that can emerge when venturing far from home.
Experiments in Joy, Gabrielle Civil
(Feb. 15, #RECURRENT/Civil Coping Mechanisms)
Following her acclaimed 2017 book Swallow the Fish, Gabrielle Civil returns with another genre-defying work. Here, Civil explores artistic collaborations and interpersonal dynamics, and of the ways that these can shape creative work in unexpected ways.
Trump Sky Alpha, Mark Doten
(Feb. 19, Graywolf Press)
Mark Doten’s previous novel, The Infernal, was an unsettling distillation of Bush-era foreign policy spiked with a vicious satire of techno-utopianism. Trump Sky Alpha has a similar juxtaposition at its heart: here, it’s an apocalyptic setting blended with all things meme-related. Doten is taking the modern world into strange new places in his fiction, and we’re eager to venture with him this time around.
The Nocilla Trilogy, Agustín Fernández Mallo; translated by Thomas Bunstead
(Feb. 19, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Attempting to describe the three books that make up Agustín Fernández Mallo’s The Nocilla Trilogy is nearly impossible. They’re like little else we’ve read: experimental without being oblique, modern without feeling overly glossy. This is experiential writing at its best.
The Lost Night, Andrea Bartz
(Feb. 26, Crown)
Andrea Bartz’s The Lost Night evokes late-2000s Brooklyn and the changes that have befallen the city in the decade since then. Its protagonist grapples with the bygone death of a friend, and of her own potential culpability in that event, as she revisits painful memories in search of the truth.
The Body Myth, Rheea Mukherjee
(Feb. 26, Unnamed Press)
Rheea Mukherjee’s novel The Body Myth centers around a woman living a relatively isolated life, with a penchant for existentialist literature. Her life becomes intertwined with that of a married couple, creating a space for Mukherjee to explore questions of intimacy, illness, and desire.
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