Looking for something new to read this October? There’s a lot that looks impressive this month, including a few books by writers we’ve published here in past years. There’s also formally inventive fiction, thought-provoking explorations of the state of literature, and bold debuts. What’s not to like?
Jackson Bliss, Counterfactual Love Stories & Other Experiments
(Oct. 1, Noemi Press)
The publisher’s description of this collection includes the phrase “transgressive listicles,” which is an especially intriguing combination of words. Matt Bell dubbed this book “one of the most inviting and innovative collections I’ve read,” and hey, we’re prone to listening what he has to say.
Jen Fawkes, Tales the Devil Told Me
(Oct. 5, Press 53)
The stories in Jen Fawkes’s new collection revisit old narratives in unexpected ways. Looking for a book in which Medusa and Hamlet’s uncle both make appearances? This one should fill that niche perfectly. Do you like literary villains? Do you enjoy meditations on love? Well then.
Eugene Lim, Search History
(Oct. 5, Coffee House Press)
Each of Eugene Lim’s previous novels has occupied a distinct space, from nested narratives to Oulipo-esque surrealism. His latest novel Search History shares some qualities with its excellent predecessor Dear Cyborgs, but pushes ahead into a very different realm, arranging motifs and dispatches heightened realities in unexpected and compelling ways.
Douglas Wolk, All of the Marvels
(Oct. 12, Penguin Press)
One of the amazing and imposing things about a shared narrative universe is the way that years’ — and sometimes decades’ — worth of stories can accumulate. All of the Marvels finds Douglas Wolk taking on the entirety of the Marvel Universe, both from the stories being told and the behind-the-scenes work that led to the stories in question.
Mary Gaitskill, The Devil’s Treasure
(Oct. 19, ZE Books)
Subtitled “A Book of Stories and Dreams,” Mary Gaitskill’s latest book brings together elements from four novels and a short story, and then adds a personal element into the mix. Also, we won’t lie — if a publisher describes a book as “a kind of director’s cut,” we’re going to be thoroughly intrigued.
Violaine Huisman, The Book of Mother; translated by Leslie Camhi
(Oct. 19, Scribner)
When it was originally published in France, Violaine Huisman’s The Book of Mother found a receptive and enthusiastic audience. Now, it’s available Stateside in Leslie Camhi’s translation, bringing its narrative of a fraught relationship between a woman and her mother to Anglophone readers.
Mark McGurl, Everything and Less
(Oct. 19, Verso)
A lot has been written over the years about the effect Amazon has had on the publishing industry as a whole. In Mark McGurl’s new book, he explores a related question: what effect has it had on literature? If you’re looking for a thought-provoking argument about the state of contemporary fiction, you’re likely to find it here.
Donald Edem Quist, To Those Bounded
(Oct. 19, Awst Press)
Intellectually rigorous and empathically compelling, Donald Edem Quist’s work juxtaposes literary allusions with the author’s own lived experience. Here, too, Quist explores questions of racial stereotypes and the expectations of others, and the psychological toll that both can take.
Craig Davidson, Cascade
(Oct. 26, W.W. Norton)
Sometimes, Craig Davidson’s fiction springs to life with taut realism; at others, it ventures into more surreal places. Davidson’s new collection Cascade offers readers a fine overview of the range of his style; if you’re looking for a good entry point into his acclaimed bibliography, this is it.
John Skipp, Don’t Push the Button
(Oct. 26, CLASH Books)
Looking for a foray into the uncanny for your October reading? John Skipp’s new book Don’t Push the Button — which has earned early praise from the likes of Jeremy Robert Johnson and Josh Malerman — offers an array of disquieting narratives in the mix. That its cover art is wonderfully eerie doesn’t hurt, either.
Note: all release dates and cover art are subject to change.