Home > Rumaan Alam
RUMAAN ALAMs writing has been published in New York Magazine, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Wall Street Journal, The Rumpus, Washington Square Review, Gettysburg Review, American Short Fiction, and elsewhere. He started his career in fashion publishing at Lucky magazine, has written extensively on interior design for Domino, Lonny, Elle Decor, architecturaldigest.com, and elsewhere, and has worked in advertising as a copywriter and creative director. He studied at Oberlin College, and lives in New York.
Genres: Literary Fiction, Mystery
New and upcoming books
Rumaan Alam recommends
Memory Piece (2024)
"Remarkable . . . vividly captures the urgency of youth, and becomes a heartbreaking elegy for a communal, almost utopian approach to urban life."
One Woman Show (2023)
"A delight! This novel's formal audacity - a book told in fragments culled from a museum's walls - is an impressive feat of imagination. One Woman Show is a moving story of privilege, womanhood, and the sweep of the twentieth century told through a single American life. I loved this book."
Family Meal (2023)
"Family Meal is filled with love - for the sensual pleasure of life, the places that we call home, the beauty of the people around us. This novel will break your heart twice over, with sadness, sure, but more unexpectedly, with joy. It takes a generous writer to show us the world in this way, and Bryan Washington is one of our best."
Time's Mouth (2023)
"Edan Lepucki's engrossing third novel tackles so much about the physical and psychic terrain of California, with its hippies and hipsters, its oil derricks and redwoods. It's a beautiful book about a much-mythologized place, but its heart lives much closer to home: in the real and complex bond between parent and child."
"This is the story of a single American life, a frank (and often funny) look at one woman's becoming. But the accomplishment of Lydia Kiesling's second novel is untangling the forces - politics, sex, and corporate might - that dictate all of contemporary existence. Mobility is at once a tale of family life and an indictment of capitalism itself; a truly extraordinary book."
And Then He Sang a Lullaby (2023)
Ani Kayode Somtochukwu
"This moving debut is a touching queer coming of age story, a poignant romance, and, most affectingly, a damning indictment of the hate and homophobia that are all too prevalent in the modern world."
Take What You Need (2023)
"Idra Novey's Take What You Need is a story about art and passion, about the people and places who forge us. This singular and astonishing novel probes one of the biggest questions of the day: In a moment of cultural and political fracture, how do we live with one another?"
New Selected Stories (2023)
"Although Mann's stories are more than a century old, Damion Searls's new translations capture the writer's sly humor and warmth, making these short masterpieces feel wholly modern. Readers who know Mann will see him anew; for those who haven't read him yet, this collection is a superb introduction to one of the greats."
I Have Some Questions for You (2023)
"Both a deeply satisfying crime story and a thoughtful, even provocative, novel of ideas, I Have Some Questions for You narrates one woman's interrogation of her own past while in turn posing difficult questions directly to its reader: about sex, power, privilege, and the ambient violence of contemporary American life. What a feat of storytelling."
Vintage Contemporaries (2023)
"Vintage Contemporaries is about being young and becoming less young, exploring friendship (sometimes magical, sometimes messy), parenthood (ditto), and how to reconcile youthful ambition and ideals with real life. It's a warm and big-hearted coming of age story that made me wistful for my own twenties, set in a vividly rendered and long-vanished New York City."
Call and Response (2023)
"A good short story is a bit of alchemy, showing us so much in so few pages. Gothataone Moeng's debut collection does this over and over, each story surprising with its music, its warmth, its command of language. Moeng writes of contemporary Africa, and if the settings and customs feel unfamiliar to Western readers, there's something universal and true in these tales that grapple with family, faith, and how we make our way in the world."
A Dangerous Business (2022)
"Jane Smiley has a book coming out later this year that is superb, now you know."
Lynn Steger Strong
"A fateful few days in the life of two families becomes in Lynn Steger Strong's hands a clear-eyed examination of our current moment. Flight probes deeply into grief and its aftershocks, what binds us to one another, the meaning of art itself. It's a book whose fleet movements belie its ambition. Suspenseful, dazzling and moving."
The Revivalists (2022)
Christopher M Hood
"In rendering a fictional pandemic Christopher Hood's gutsy debut is a reminder of art's power to tell us about reality. The Revivalists isn't a story about the apocalypse but an odyssey through the America we currently inhabit, as thrilling (I read it in two dazed sittings) as it is thoughtful about race and class, need and want, and the power of parental love."
The Hero of This Book (2022)
"The question of what this work is - a novel or a memoir, a fiction or a fact - can't be answered. Doesn't matter. The Hero of This Book is tender, funny, heartbreaking, philosophical. Elizabeth McCracken is a writer who always delights, and this is an exhilarating book."
We Spread (2022)
"Iain Reid's We Spread is taut and frightening read, perhaps best called a thriller. But the true thrill is in how so slender a book tackles such big questions--What does it mean to make art? What happens as we near death?--with such grace."
The Old Place (2022)
"The Old Place is a wry but affectionate portrait of small-town life, its complicated rites and alliances, its various absurdities, and, most importantly, its people. Bobby Finger's debut is funny and genuinely moving--an utter charmer."
If I Survive You (2022)
"It's truly a feat that a book of short stories tackling such big stuff--family, love, violence, race--could be so damn funny. Jonathan Escoffery is a writer only just getting started, and his first book is a welcome reminder of what fiction can do."
Dele Weds Destiny (2022)
"This enchanting debut is an affectionate portrait of three women at middle age, cannily exploring the ways the self is forged in youth. With an admirably light touch, Tomi Obaro documents how class, race, faith, and power define the lives of women in Nigeria and America, past and present."
"Sleepwalk is a deeply satisfying thriller. Though Dan Chaon's novels are never quite what they seem, this book still surprises--it's a frightening indictment of corporate power and the surveillance state, as well as a tender story about the depth of parental love. What an absolute marvel."
Marrying the Ketchups (2022)
"Marrying the Ketchups mercilessly (and hilariously) skewers the indignities of modern romance, the absurdities of family life, the tribalism of the American Midwest. Jennifer Close's fourth book is a rare feat--a genuinely funny comic novel that is cutting but never cruel, with the ambition to explore the impact of contemporary political tumult on everyday life."
End of the World House (2022)
"Adrienne Celt's new novel depicts a fraying world (climate crisis, political violence, social upheaval) that's frighteningly recognizable. It's a timely novel, as well as one that has great fun exploring what time itself is. Yet End of the World House asks a question that's timeless: how do we make a meaningful life?"
Rose Royal (2022)
"This taut work has the power of a fable, with a cautionary moral about the violence lurking beneath every aspect of modern life."
Olga Dies Dreaming (2022)
"The extraordinary accomplishment of Olga Dies Dreaming is in how a familiar-enough tale - a woman seeking love, happiness, and fulfillment in the big city - slowly reveals itself to be something else altogether. It's a book about a New York that isn't always celebrated, the one that belongs to immigrant communities; about money, class, and political power; about one vividly-imagined family and the very idea of the American Dream."
A Hero of Our Time (2022)
"Savage as A Hero of Our Time is, I'm not sure it can fairly be called satire. Naben Ruthnum's assessment of corporate culture--and the academy, contemporary religion, the politics of identity, and so much more--is withering but honest. The novel nails so much about 21st century life; what can you do but laugh?"
O Beautiful (2021)
"O Beautiful is both an intimate look at one life and a fearless exploration of the biggest issues of our time, from capitalism to environmental degradation, white supremacy to sex and power. With a shrewd eye and sharp sense of humor, Yun finds in the familiar tale of one woman's return to her small town roots a story as big as the nation itself."
"Claire Oshetsky’s novel is a marvel: its language a joy, its imagination dizzying. Every time I thought I had cracked Chouette's central metaphoraha, it’s about motherhood! No, marriage! No, music!the book flew out my grasp like a wary bird. It's a truly exhilarating read."
James Han Mattson
"Reprieve takes horror as its subject, while also using the genre as its means, delivering twists and fright and the kind of storytelling that keeps you turning pages. But the brilliance of James Han Mattson’s novel is in deploying the haunted house as a metaphor for our nation, where the true scare is a cultural reckoning with whiteness itself."
Happy Hour (2021)
"A dreamy account of one heady summer, Marlowe Granados's début is a dispatch from another land; not only New York City, but youth itself. Happy Hour is aptly titled, it's an intoxicating book, at once heartbreaking and joyful."
The Startup Wife (2021)
"Tahmima Anam deftly uses humor to explore both start-up culture and the institution of marriage in an utterly charming and genuinely thoughtful way."
Seven Days in June (2021)
"A seductive fantasy: rich friendships, star-crossed lovers, artistic fulfillment."
God Spare the Girls (2021)
"Kelsey McKinney’s debut is a timely exploration of the moral contradictions of contemporary Evangelical Christianity. But the accomplishment of this canny novel is in positing coming of age itself as a loss of faithnot only in the church, but in our parents, our family, and the world as we thought we understood it."
Good Company (2021)
Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
"With candor and humor, Good Company tackles big issuesthe reckoning between artistic ambition and family life, the strange tension between honesty and loyalty, the way time’s inevitable passage affects friendships and romance and our sense of self. Once again, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney has written a book you’ll stay up all night reading."
The Fourth Child (2021)
"This book is remarkable enough as an engaging family sagamapping lives across decades, teasing out the complexities of being a mother, a daughter, a spouse, a sibling, a person. What I can’t quite get over is how deftly Jessica Winter is able to tackle some of our most contentious issues: faith, reproductive rights, power, and sex. The Fourth Child is a balma reminder that it is possible for art to provide a nuanced exploration of life itself."
The Arsonists' City (2021)
"I don’t exactly understand how Hala Alyan does itconjures love, sorrow, betrayal, and joy; goes from being funny and warm to incisive and thoughtfulbut as a reader, I’m glad that she does. The Arsonists’ City delivers all the pleasures of a good old-fashioned saga but in Alyan’s hands, one family’s tale becomes the story of a nationLebanon and Syria, yes, but also the United States. It’s the kind of book we are lucky to have."
Kept Animals (2020)
"It’s fitting that a book so deeply connected to the landscape (both physical and psychic) of Southern California would take a cinematic approach to storytelling. Kept Animals is at once a novel with a wide lenstaking in so many lives and stories, so much beauty and heartbreakand an intimate portrait of three very different girls making their way in the world."
American Dirt (2020)
"At once intimate and epic, AMERICAN DIRT is an exhilarating and beautiful book about parental love and human hope."
The Paper Wasp (2019)
"It seems at first a novel of friendship between women--a rich vein for any writer--but in The Paper Wasp, Lauren Acampora upends convention, creating an unsettling (and impossible to put down) story about art and ambition, fame and power. A beautiful and surprising book."
The Shortest Way Home (2018)
"The Shortest Way Home is about love, life, and the sometimes unpredictable ways we find our place in the world. But it's also about wine, and maybe best described as one might a great wine: the perfect balance of spice and sweetness, satisfyingly complex yet utterly refreshing."
The Little Clan (2018)
Iris Martin Cohen
"Witty, warm, and (sometimes uncomfortably) honest, The Little Clan is a tender look at life in your twenties, when you've got big ambitions and not much else. Iris Martin Cohen conjures a magical, mythical New York populated by bibliophiles and billionaires, where anything seems possible."
"In her utterly transfixing debut, Christine Mangan deftly transports readers to Northern Africa at midcenturythe most glamorous possible milieu, and the ideal setting for a story of heated passion, in which friendship becomes obsession and, finally, a kind of madness."
The Storm (2018)
"This book is a marvel, combining the sweep of a saga with the precision of a page-turner. Arif Anwar moves us deftly through time and across borders, beautifully illustrating the strange intersections we call fate, and reminding us how the past shapes the present."
The People We Hate at the Wedding (2017)
"Don't be fooled by the superbly sardonic title--Grant Ginder's subject is not hate at all: it's love. Ginder expertly and hilariously shows us that real love (whether romantic or fraternal, parental or filial) is always a most complicated matter."
Our Little Racket (2017)
"Our Little Racket is a gratifying peek over the hedgerows of Greenwich, laden with delicious anthropological detail. But like a modern day Henry James, Angelica Baker uses the lives of the one percent to explore themes-of love and loyalty, family and friendship-that matter to all of us."
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