It’s a new year, apparently. January can be a strange month for books; this one is no exception, but that’s meant in the best way possible. Where else can you see cult classics, cinephile thrillers, and J.G. Ballard-inspired horror fiction in one place? Here are some suggestions if you’re looking to get some reading done this month — and we’d wager that if you’re here, you probably are.
Emily Schultz, Sleeping With Friends
(Jan. 1, Thomas & Mercer)
Whether she’s writing about rage zombies or afterlife office politics, Emily Schultz balances empathic characterization with incisive concepts. In her latest book, the twisty thriller Sleeping With Friends, Schultz introduces us to an amnesiac protagonist with a detailed knowledge of film and very little else — except a sense that someone might be trying to kill her.
Sam Richard, editor, Feral Architecture: Ballardian Horrors
(Jan. 1, Weirdpunk Books)
It doesn’t take too much to move from the surreal settings of J.G. Ballard’s fiction to the stuff of outright horror. In this new anthology, writers like Brendan Vidito and Joe Koch use Ballard’s work as a starting point and take things even further into the uncanny — making for a singular and disquieting experience.
Amy Jo Burns, Mercury
(Jan. 2, Celadon)
We’ve had the good fortune to publish Amy Jo Burns’s fiction in these (virtual) pages before, and we’re thrilled to see that this month brings with it a new book from her. Mercury focuses on a small Pennsylvania town with unsettling secrets of its own — and a fraught family dynamic at its core.
Michele Mari (translated by Brian Robert Moore), Verdigris
(Jan. 2, & Other Stories)
The last year has seen a rush of Michele Mari’s haunting, genre-defying fiction being translated into English. The latest is his acclaimed novel Verdigris, a coming-of-age story set in 1960s Italy that finds its protagonist grappling with horrors both human and uncanny.
Jami Attenberg, 1000 Words
(Jan. 9, Simon & Schuster)
For the last few years now, Jami Attenberg has been leading weeks-long collections of writing sessions that have made a huge difference in the lives of many writers. This new book finds Attenberg, along with a host of her colleagues, offering thoughts and advice on creativity and productivity — making for an essential exploration of the creative process.
Álvaro Enrigue (translated by Natasha Wimmer), You Dreamed of Empires
(Jan. 9, Riverhead Books)
In his book Sudden Death, Álvaro Enrigue turned the game of tennis into a kind of secret history spanning centuries and continents. With You Dreamed of Empires, he turns his gaze on a decisive moment in history — the arrival of Hernán Cortés at Tenochtitlan — and in doing so transforms our understanding of the past.
Devin Murphy, Unbend the River
(Jan. 19, Black Lawrence Press)
“Stories get under my skin in pieces,” Devin Murphy said in a 2020 interview. “Something I read or hear gnaws at me until I feel compelled to give it context on the page.” In this new collection, Murphy uses short fiction to explore the lives of people in communities near the Erie River — and their unlikely connections, conflicts, and revelations.
Kaveh Akbar, Martyr!
(Jan. 23, Knopf)
We’ve long admired Kaveh Akbar’s poetry around these parts, and we’re thrilled to see a different side of his work with the forthcoming novel Martyr! With a plot encompassing mysterious art and familial tragedies, this one looks to be an expansive journey in both the literal and figurative senses of the term.
Elizabeth Gonzalez James, The Bullet Swallower
(Jan. 23, Simon & Schuster)
Another writer whose work we’ve long admired is Elizabeth Gonzalez James, who’s following up her acclaimed Mona at Sea with a foray into a subgenre we love dearly: the acid western. Blending family histories with existential quandaries, there’s a lot to reckon with here; plus, that’s a chillingly evocative title.
Nicole Rivas, Tender Hoof
(Jan. 26, Thirty West)
Nicole Rivas’s work came up a few years ago when Brian Alan Ellis interviewed Claire Hopple in these pages. Now, Rivas has a collection of fiction due out into the world, including riffs on fairy tales and stories of resurrection. Our interest is, as they say, piqued.
Raymond Queneau (translated by Chris Clarke), The Skin of Dreams
(Jan. 30, NYRB Classics)
Described by the publisher as “a novel of waking dreams,” this book follows its protagonist as he ponders other lives and alternate destinies. It may not surprise you that a book with this this premise from the author of Exercises in Style holds plenty of promise; we’re eager to revisit this novel in its new edition.
(Note: all release dates and cover artwork are subject to change.)