There’s a point early on in M.S. Coe’s new novel The Formation of Calcium when it becomes clear that this is no ordinary tale of small-town anomie. Narrator Mary Ellen, a woman in her fifties who’s increasingly frustrated by her marriage, takes rather extreme measures to resolve things, and then sets out for a new life in Florida. Things do not go according to plan, and Coe’s novel gradually becomes both the story of a woman improvising her way into a new life and an off-kilter take on true crime. I’d enjoyed Coe’s previous novel quite a lot, and this new one left me further impressed by her range; I chatted with her on its genesis, its evolution, and the Florida of it all.
In our weekend reading: thoughts on M.S. Coe’s new novel, an interview with Bronwyn Fischer, and more.
In our weekend reading: revisiting the music of Moss Icon, fiction from David Leo Rice, and more.
Well, it’s March. Seasonal adjustments and clock adjustments, all in the same month. And hey, there are some books due out this month, too! We’ve got our eye on a few new titles in translation, along with some new books on indie presses we like by writers we like. Maybe one of these books will change the way you see the world this month.
In our morning reading: previewing new books by Victor LaValle and Christopher Rowe, an excerpt from M.S. Coe’s forthcoming novel, and more.
In our afternoon reading: poetry by Jericho Brown, a review of Wayne Koestenbaum’s new book, and more.
M.S. Coe’s novel New Veronia begins with a trio of teenage boys living in suburban Delaware and pondering a very specific goal: how to build their own private space in the woods, and how best to use that for parties and having as much sex as possible. In the hands of a very different writer, this could be a means for wacky misadventures or a heartwarming coming-of-age tale. New Veronia is neither of these things. Strange power dynamics within the trio begin to manifest themselves (these are teenagers, after all), and thing take an even darker turn when one of them begins to embrace a racist ideology. I talked with Coe about creating this novel and why Delaware should show up in more works of fiction.