With the arrival of February, it feels like 2020 is getting into high gear, for better or for worse. A cursory glance at the month’s most anticipated new books could best be described as eclectic: there are experimental and transgressive works here, along with career-spanning tomes and thematically ambitious works of fiction. If this is a harbinger of what the rest of the (literary) year looks like, it’s a good omen.
David Leo Rice, The PornME Trinity
(Feb. 1, The Opiate Books)
David Leo Rice’s fiction deconstructs entire genres whole, reassembling them into bizarre and compelling spaces on which furious pulp plotlines can play out. His latest book is a bizarre, harrowing take on where porn fixations might take society; as with everything Rice has written, it’s a fascinating, experiential work.
Lee Rourke, Vantablack
(Feb. 1, Dostoyevsky Wannabe)
When Lee Rourke isn’t writing haunting, ambitious fiction (seriously, check out his novel Glitch if you haven’t already), he’s expanding his bibliography into other forms. In the case of his new collection Vantablack, that would be poetry. It’s another impressive credit for one of today’s most impressive writers.
Sarah Gailey, Upright Women Wanted
(Feb. 4, Tor.com)
What do you do to follow up a novel that’s one part mystery, one part narrative of a storied magical institution? If you’re Sarah Gailey, you blend Western and dystopian narratives into a story about librarians working to bring peace and order to a war-town landscape. What’s not to like?
Lidia Yuknavitch, Verge
(Feb. 4, Riverhead Books)
In bygone years, we’ve seen what Lidia Yuknavitch can do with both fiction and nonfiction; the answer is, essentially, transforming the form into something strange and compelling and new. Verge finds her making a foray into short fiction; it promises to be a rewarding expedition.
Michael Zapata, The Lost Book of Adana Moreau
(Feb. 4, Hanover Square Press)
Michael Zapata’s novel The Lost Book of Adana Moreau covers a lot of ground: it’s a story of two distinctive families with an unexpected connection, it’s a pocket history of 20th century science fiction, and it’s an exploration of the aftermath of historical trauma. The result is a structurally bold, big-hearted novel about miracles both real and fictional.
Amina Cain, Indelicacy
(Feb. 11, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Amina Cain’s followup to her acclaimed Creature blends fairy tales and art-world satire into something entirely new. Throw in some astute and ambitious commentary on class, and the resulting work taps into something familiar while nonetheless pushing ahead into the fresh and unexpected.
Katharine Coldiron, Ceremonials
(Feb. 11, Kerpunkt Press)
Ceremonials is a ghost story; it’s also a story of love and secrets. It’s also based on a Florence and the Machine album. Via risk-taking prose and a lyrical and ambiguous structure, Katharine Coldiron describes a haunting place where archetypes and mysteries come to dwell.
Andrew Krivak, The Bear
(Feb. 11, Bellevue Literary Press)
Andrew Krivak’s The Sojourn was a war novel like no other, avoiding cliche and taking a nominally familiar narrative to unexpected and beatific places. With his new novel, The Bear, Krivak takes the reader into the future, documenting a father and daughter who may be the last humans on earth. Given Krivak’s command of tone and landscape, this looks to be a welcome addition to his bibliography.
Kim Sagwa, b, Book, and Me; translated by Sunhee Jeong
(Feb. 11, Two Lines Press)
Kim Sagwa’s earlier novel Mina was a haunting story of teenage frustration and anomie, then took a sharp turn into the extremely unsettling. In this newly translated novel, Sagwa explores a very different bond between friends, and creates a haunting reminder of why Gerard Way once sang, “teenagers scare the living shit out of me.”
Amber Sparks, And I Do Not Forgive You: Stories and Other Revenges
(Feb. 11, Liveright)
Do you like your fiction all-knowing, unpredictable, and able to span genres within the span of a paragraph? If so, hopefully you’re already a reader of Amber Sparks’s work. If not, her new collection And I Do Not Forgive You is a damn good place to start. Plus, it’s got an axe on the cover. Who doesn’t like literary axes?
Harry Mathews, Collected Poems 1946-2016
(Feb. 14, Sand Paper Press)
The late Harry Mathews wrote fiction that frequently defied conventions; it’s not for nothing that he was the lone American member of the Oulipo. Mathews didn’t just write fiction, though; this posthumous collection compiles his forays into poetry, written over the course of 70 years.
Brandon Taylor, Real Life
(Feb. 18, Riverhead Books)
If you’ve been paying attention to Brandon Taylor’s short fiction in recent years, you’ve gotten to watch the emergence of a fantastic writer. This year brings with it Taylor’s first novel, Real Life, which focuses on a young man struggling to make connections with others as he studies biochemistry far from home. Taylor writes interaction and alienation incredibly well, and we’re eager to see what he does here.
Marian Womack, The Golden Key
(Feb. 18, Titan Books)
Marian Womack’s fiction embraces the immersive experience of wild environments, whether real or fantastical. Her new novel The Golden Key takes readers back to the early 20th century, where a mystery draws her protagonists to a strange region where the supernatural might still hold sway.
Teddy Wayne, Apartment
(Feb. 25, Bloomsbury Publishing)
Teddy Wayne’s fiction takes the reader into the minds of conflicted, sometimes toxic characters, to powerful effect. His latest novel, Apartment, chronicles the unlikely bond between two men who meet in 1996 New York and wrestle with their radically different worldviews. It’s a fascinating exploration of class, art, and human interaction.
All cover art and release dates are subject to change.