The last time I read something of Cody Goodfellow’s, it was the novel Unamerica, a book which would accurately be described as “sprawling.” From extensive riffing on national borders to psychedelic passages, Unamerica covered a lot of ground; it was both keenly political and mind-bendingly psychedelic. What do you do for an encore, once that’s out in the world? Zig where one might expect a zag, apparently. Goodfellow’s latest book, Gridlocked, brings together two novellas about punk rock, traffic jams, cults, and werewolves. As befits the punk band featured in the book’s second novella, “Breaking The Chain Letter,” these are short, fast, and meant to be played loud.
It’s December, apparently. Are we reading? We’re still reading. What are we reading? Books. Which books? Maybe some of these. The end of the year traditionally brings a very intriguing assortment of titles, and this year is no exception. Looking for strange, genre-defying work? We’ve got that, sure. Seeking sharply-written nonfiction? We’ve got that covered as well. Here are some December books that have caught our eye.
Cody Goodfellow’s sprawling novel Unamerica is a heady, indescribable work of fiction. It’s literally a cult novel: Unamerica focuses on the conflict between two warring factions within a massive underground city located on the border between the United States and Mexico. It’s a surreal place abounding with strange subcultures, corporate overlords, and weird drugs. And, despite this novel’s size, it never lags: visions, violence, and a pervasive sense of danger are constants across the narrative. I talked with Goodfellow about the novel’s genesis and its overlap with the current state of American politics.
What does the month of June have in store for us? When it comes to books, plenty. A few debut novels we’ve been excited about since they were first announced, some new works by longtime Vol.1 Brooklyn favorites, and some works in translation that promise to expand our horizons. Here’s a look at some of the books that have us most intrigued for the month to come.