Well, it’s November, and the days are growing shorter and shorter. (Assuming you’re in the northern hemisphere, at least.) We’d say that this group of books are an array of doorstoppers, suitable for curling up by the fire, but that’s not entirely true; most of these books are quite trim, in fact. They do represent a wide array of styles, however: from comic novels to incisive cultural studies; from surreal fiction in translation to candid usage of the essay form. Here are a few of the November books we’re most excited about.
Leland Cheuk, No Good Very Bad Asian
(Nov. 1, C&R Press)
Leland Cheuk’s fiction grapples with questions of identity even as it utilizes satire devastatingly. (Alternately, if you like Paul Beatty’s work, you’ll probably enjoy Cheuk’s fiction as well.) His latest novel, the memorably-titled No Good Very Bad Asian, taps into the world of stand-up comedy, along with themes of generational conflict and parenthood.
Johannes Anyuru, They Will Drown In Their Mothers’ Tears; translated by Saskia Vogel
(Nov. 5, Two Lines Press)
Johannes Anyuru’s newly-translated novel opens with a harrowing scene: a terrorist attack on a controversial artist in which one of the participants experiences something uncanny. Out of that event emerges this novel, about two people questioning their place in the world and the consequences of extremism and reactionary politics. Did we mention the plot also involves time travel?
Virginie Despentes, Vernon Subutex 1; translated by Frank Wynne
(Nov. 5, FSG Originals)
The first volume of Virginie Despentes’s acclaimed trilogy arrives on American shores this month, and it’s a fantastic and disconcerting look at the outskirts of the music industry, what happens when society changes for the worst, and the legacies artists leave behind. It’s a fascinating, immersive work of fiction — and there’s more on the way.
Carmen Maria Machado, In the Dream House
(Nov. 5, Graywolf Press)
Carmen Maria Machado’s followup to her acclaimed collection Her Body and Other Parties demonstrates that she’s just as adept working in the nonfiction realm as she is with fiction. Formally inventive and harrowingly candid, Machado’s memoir tells the story of a relationship that turns abusive, taking a host of bold narrative risks along the way.
Rodrigo Marquez Tizano, Jakarta; translated by Thomas Bunstead
(Nov. 5, Coffee House Press)
Attempting to describe Rodrigo Marquez Tizano’s novel Jakarta is nearly impossible, as it skirts the border between the surreal and the speculative. Jeff VanderMeer’s Ambergris novels may be the closest point of comparison that comes to mind, and even that seems inexact. This is one that will get under your skin as it describes a crumbling society that’s both eerily familiar and strangely distant.
Tommy Pico, Feed
(Nov. 5, Tin House Books)
A new collection of poetry from Tommy Pico, you say? We’re up for that. Here, Pico brings his Teebs tetralogy to a close, drawing inspiration from nature and a walk on the High Line for the works contained herein. Pico’s blend of irreverence and risk-taking makes his work essential, and Feed looks to be another impressive work.
Kevin Wilson, Nothing to See Here
(Nov. 5, Ecco)
Kevin Wilson’s latest novel has it all: political intrigue, class struggle, tempestuous friendships, and spontaneous human combustion. Were this novel written in a more realistic vein it would be compelling enough, but when you throw in two children with the power to burst into flame, well, that’s taking things to the next level.
Jack Carneal, Destroy Your Safe and Happy Lives
(Rare Bird Books, Nov. 12)
If you’ve listened to enough music by Will Oldham or his brother Paul, you’ve probably heard a record that Jack Carneal has played on. His new memoir, Destroy Your Safe and Happy Lives, chronicles his time as a touring musician, and offers a picture of rock life that doesn’t always get written about in books.
Andre Perry, Some Of Us Are Very Happy Now
(Nov. 12, Two Dollar Radio)
You might know Andrew Perry via his work with the Mission Creek Festival, which he co-founded. But he’s also a talented essayist, and this new collection — his first — demonstrates this side of his literary presence. Perry takes on a host of grand topics in these essays, covering a wide swath of the globe along the way.
Leila Taylor, Darkly: Black History and America’s Gothic Soul
(Nov. 12, Repeater Books)
Things we like: incisive cultural histories that offer new perspectives on familiar aspects of pop culture. Things we also like: forays into the past that uncover unexpected elements of the past. In her new book, Leila Taylor explores the Gothic in America, and how it connects to the nation’s troubled racial history. The result is a powerful and thought-provoking work of nonfiction.
Dexter Palmer, Mary Toft; or, The Rabbit Queen
(Nov. 19, Pantheon)
Dexter Palmer’s novels rarely cover the same ground twice; after forays into the near future and an alternate present, what’s next? How about heading back in time several centuries to tell the story of a woman with a peculiar ailment: she keeps giving birth to dead rabbits. As attention-getting hooks go, it’s hard to think of one more intriguing.
All artwork and release dates are subject to change.
Image: Bain News Service/Library of Congress
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