It’s a pretty fine time for galleys.
I get a lot of galleys in the mail because of my role as the Fiction Editor over at The Nervous Breakdown. Sometimes, a strange number of these seem to have phrases like “Mr. Darcy” or “Sisterhood” in the titles, and it is clear that said galleys have been sent to the wrong target reader. Other times, there seems to be so much good shit flying around out there that it’s overwhelming and I can’t keep up.
Here are some (non-exhaustive) highlights, all linked through one of the greatest bookstores in the country, Women & Children First, here in Chicago, which kicks Amazon’s ass and makes buying a hardcover book a truly excellent act:
Carry the One by Carol Anshaw. I’m reading it right now and it’s gripping and, for a novel about an accidental murder, pretty damn sexy. Art and addiction and hot lesbians and lots of messy, real life drama, this would be a hard novel not to like.
All Woman and Springtime by Brandon W. Jones. Alice Walker is calling this new title from Algonquin Books, set in North Korea, one of the most “important novels I’ve read in many years.”
What Happened to Sophie Wilder by Christopher R. Beha. This Tin House June release, a story of obsession, friendship and the power of storytelling, packs a great deal of intensity into a slim volume.
The Angry Buddhist by Seth Greenland. I’m not usually a big fan of satire, but this one caught me by being set amidst the same weird, desert meth trailers that Stacy Bierlein and I routinely get lost en route amidst en route to do a guest faculty gig through U-C-Riverside. But it’s a wild read, and now I’m getting hooked.
The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel. If you haven’t read Mandel’s first two books, you’re missing out on one of the most compelling and eloquent young voices in recent fiction. Her third novel, exploring mysteries of identity, reinvention and disappearance (Mandel’s core themes, in much the same way they are Dan Chaon’s), more than lives up to that early promise.
Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman. A gritty, moving depiction of poor white trailer trash (and Girl Scouts), this debut novel has powerful, messy humanity and dark humor to spare.
Vicky Swanky Is a Beauty by Diane Williams. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s Diane Williams and it’s new work. Need I say more?