Describing Steve Erickson’s fiction is no easy task. He’s a writer who regularly wrestles with big ideas, but he’s equally at home getting under the skin of his characters, embracing their contradictions, their messiness, and their essential humanity. Among his greatest talents–and one that’s boldly on display in his 2017 novel, Shadowbahn–is his ability to explore uncomfortable moments in time, and to tap into what makes certain chapters in recent (and not-so-recent) history compelling, resonant, or discomfiting for so many of us.
Certain themes keep popping up in the fiction that impressed us most this year: the potential horrors of ambiguity, the nature of immigration, the threat of state violence, mysteries that can’t be solved, and the malleability of memory. That’s not too surprising, given the year we’ve had. Here’s a look at some of our favorite fiction from the year that was.
Well, it’s February. Are there books due out this month? There most definitely are. Over the next few weeks, readers will be able to pick up dynamic nonfiction, unsettling fiction in translation, and long-anticipated collections of poetry. Here are a few of February’s books that we’re most excited about.