Vol.1 Brooklyn’s May 2020 Book Preview

May 2020 books

What does May have in store for us, as far as books are concerned? A number of essay collections from some of our favorite writers, for one thing. Throw in some suspenseful novels, a welcome debut, and a book with an introduction from one of our favorite musicians and you have a combination for some terrific reading. Here are some of the books that caught our eye this month.

S.P. Miskowski, The Best of Both Worlds
(May 1, JournalStone)

S.P. Miskowski’s fiction blends a lived-in familiarity with a profound sense of the uncanny. In other words, she’s writing horror fiction that hits very close to home. Miskowski’s latest novella offers a glimpse of strange rituals and complex social dynamics in a small Washington town — and horrors to be found just out of sight.

Emma Straub, All Adults Here
(May 4, Riverhead Books)

Emma Straub’s latest novel explores the bonds within a family and the nature of memory. At its center is a woman who witnesses a shocking accident, and takes the opportunity to revisit her own life and her relationship with her now-grown children. The result is an emotionally resonant narrative, abounding with sharp characterization.

Christopher Beha, The Index of Self-Destructive Acts
(May 5, Tin House)

Christopher Beha’s novels blend philosophical acumen with a profound sense of life in the early 21st century. Here, he grapples with a number of grand topics, from war to finance to baseball. For an author who’s never been shy at wrestling with big ideas, this looks like another foray into rich territory.

Percival Everett, Telephone
(May 5, Graywolf Press)

Percival Everett’s fiction rarely goes where you’d expect it to — and sometimes, the effects of that can be absolutely devastating. Here, he’s grappling with intergenerational connections, academic life, and the difficulty that comes when someone you love is stricken with illness. It’s another impressive impressive work from one of the country’s most consistent writers.

Wayne Koestenbaum, Figure It Out
(May 5, Soft Skull Press)

Wayne Koestenbaum’s nonfiction blends deftly-written prose with precise observations about life and art. Figure It Out is his latest collection of nonfiction — totaling 26 pieces covering the breadth of his interests. It’s a welcome summation of a wide-ranging writer’s work.

Samanta Schweblin, Little Eyes; translated by Megan McDowell
(May 5, Riverhead Books)

Following her earlier novel Fever Dream, we’re pretty much on board for anything Samanta Schweblin writes. Her latest to be translated, Little Eyes, offers a world in which people travel across the globe in the blink of an eye — an uncanny method of transportation both liberating and ominous.

Kim Adrian, Dear Knausgaard
(May 12, Fiction Advocate)

The latest installment in publisher Fiction Advocate’s series of books about, well, books finds Kim Adrian taking on a daunting task: responding to the entirety of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle. If you’re seeking a heady, thoughtful response to a heady, thoughtful multi-volume work — well, we have a recommendation for you.

Tim Etchells, Endland
(May 12, And Other Stories)

Pro tip: if you’d like to have your book grab our attention, an introduction by Jarvis Cocker is a pretty great way of doing it. Tim Etchells’s Endland has exactly that, and we are very excited to read it as a result.

Corinne Manning, We Had No Rules
(May 12, Arsenal Pulp Press)

Over the years, Corinne Manning has written and published a number of psychologically acute, hauntingly stylized stories. Now, the time has come for Manning’s first collection, We Had No Rules, to enter the world — offering readers a fantastic summary of Manning’s voice. Having excellent cover art doesn’t hurt, either.

Michael J. Seidlinger, Dreams of Being
(May 12, Maudlin House)

Michael J. Seidlinger’s novel Dreams of Being is about a lot of things — creativity, food, art, and failure among them. It’s about the friendship between an aspiring filmmaker and a man with exacting standards about food; over the course of the novel, the ways in which their relationship shifts makes for a haunting read.

Porochista Khakpour, Brown Album
(May 19, Vintage)

Subtitled Essays on Exile and IdentityBrown Album finds Porochista Khakpour drawing upon her own life experience for a series of essays venturing into the complex terrain of politics, society, and the presentation of self. The result is a candid account of life and identity, written with panache and a powerful urgency.

Laird Barron, Worse Angels
(May 26, G.P. Putman’s Sons)

In his Isaiah Coleridge novels, Laird Barron has pulled off a quietly impressive feat: making Downstate New York into as vivid a location for crime fiction as Los Angeles or New York City ever was. Barron’s crime fiction shares many qualities with his work in the horror genre, but also showcases another side of his fiction; the result is often gripping.

Ilana Masad, All My Mother’s Lovers
(May 26, Dutton)

In the wake of her mother’s death, the protagonist of Ilana Masad’s debut novel must uncover the secrets of her life — and must grapple with the question of whether or not she knew her mother as well as she thought she did. Masad’s book is a powerful look at family secrets and how they shape us.

All artwork and release dates are subject to change.

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