Garth Greenwell recommends
The Destroyers (2016)
"Equal parts Graham Greene, Patricia Highsmith, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Destroyers is at once lyrical and suspenseful, thoughtful and riveting."
The Jungle Around Us (2016)
"This masterful collection records the long psychic toll of the twentieth century's traumas, offering portraits of people in various kinds of exile: displaced from their countries or uneasy in their hometowns or somehow alien in their own bodies and minds. Anne Raeff's exquisite stories are remarkable for their combination of intimacy and reverence for the mysteries and private griefs her characters fold their lives around. Seldom have I read work so confident in the power of what's left unspoken and in the deep eloquence of gesture. The Jungle around Us is a haunting and breathtakingly beautiful book."
Stephen Florida (2017)
"Stephen Florida is an unforgettable addition to the canon of great literary eccentrics. At once a chronicle of obsession, a philosophical treatise, and a deeply affecting love story, this singular novel is perhaps most profoundly an anatomy of American loneliness. Gabe Habash is a writer of powerful gifts, and this is a wonderful book."
Made for Love (2017)
"So blisteringly smart and feverishly inventive that it's difficult to decide which element pins most precisely the absurdity of our present or the terror of our future. This is a novel as frightening as it is hilarious, melding pathos, comedy, and delight as only great satire can."
Eat Only When You're Hungry (2017)
"This novel takes us on a road trip with an American Everyman into the heart of American hunger--for freedom, for connection, for junk food, for love. Hunter has a brilliant sense for the perfectly telling image, and her humor is so biting and smart it was almost a surprise, at the end of this engrossing book, to realize how thoroughly she had broken my heart."
"This haunting debut hopscotches between decades and cultures, eschewing the usual moves of the coming-of-age story for something truer to the desperate, surreal stakes of adolescence. Sharlene Teo is a daring and genuinely original novelist."
The Third Reel (2018)
S J Naude
"I read this haunting and brilliant book in a white heat of wonder...The Third Reel gives that rare excitement peculiar to great novels: the thrill of discovering a new and necessary world."
My Ex-Life (2018)
"This wonderful novel has its finger on the pulse of the present, but the questions it asks?about family and the ineluctable past and the strange, sustaining grace of friendship?are as timeless as the elegance and craft of its prose. Stephen McCauley is a master, one of our wisest and funniest observers of American life."
"A novel of fierce love and necessary disaster, of the bravery required to escape the prison of our days, to make a better and more worthy life."
The Great Believers (2018)
"This expansive, huge-hearted novel conveys the scale of the trauma that was the early AIDS crisis, and conveys, too, the scale of the anger and love that rose up to meet it. Rebecca Makkai shows us characters who are devastated but not defeated, who remain devoted, in the face of death, to friendship and desire and joyful, irrepressible life. I loved this book."
Never Anyone But You (2018)
"In this novel about Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, Rupert Thomson tells the thrilling story of how, fusing love and art, one of the great collaborative partnerships of the 20th century mounted an unthinkably brave, largely unsung campaign of political witness and resistance. The voice Thomson gives Marcel is a brilliant invention: flashes of poetry trouble the patina of its self-control, intimations of the wildness and terror of genius."
A Place for Us (2018)
Fatima Farheen Mirza
"Fatima Mirza is brilliant and this novel will break your heart and make it new again."
Other People's Love Affairs (2018)
D Wystan Owen
"Exquisite stories that lodge somewhere in my chest and keep detonatingâ’loudly, devastatinglyâ’again and again."
The Third Hotel (2018)
Laura van den Berg
"In this gorgeous, frighteningly smart novel, a woman deranged by grief becomes an imposter in her own life. As inventive and inexorable as a dream, The Third Hotel is a devastating excavation of the unconscionable demands we place on those we love, and a profound portrait of the uncanny composite creature that is a marriage. Laura van den Berg is one of our best writers, an absolute marvel."
Those Who Knew (2018)
"There’s an urgent timeliness to this story of the crimes committed by a powerful man, but Idra Novey’s riveting, formally brilliant novel transcends any particular moment. Those Who Knew is a devastating inquiry into the way lofty ideals can serve as cover for brutal impulses, the way struggles for control of the body politic wreak havoc on actual bodies. Most of all, it’s an indictment, at once fierce and compassionate, of the collective silence that implicates us all in irrevocable wrongs."
Leading Men (2019)
"With extraordinary artistry and grace, Christopher Castellani interweaves history and invention to show us both the depths great artists are driven to and the love that draws them back. I know of few books that give such a moving account of the indispensable value of genius and its intolerable human cost. This is a novel of rare insight and beauty, and Castellani is a writer of brilliant gifts."
Sea Monsters (2019)
"Sea Monsters is a mesmerizing, revelatory novel, smart and funny and laced with a strangeness that is never facile but serves as a profound and poetic tool for navigating our shared world. Chloe Aridjis is the rare writer who reinvents herself in each book; she is, for my money, one of the most brilliant novelists working in English today."
Strange Hotel (2020)
"No writer currently working excites me more than Eimear McBride - in her writing of the body, in her radical reimagining of the sentence, in her invention of new intimacies. Nothing else feels so fresh, so radically new. Strange Hotel challenges and expands my sense of what art can do. Each of McBride’s novels feels like an event?not just in English-language literature but in the English language itself."
How Much of These Hills Is Gold (2020)
C Pam Zhang
"This exhilarating novel unweaves the myths of the American West and offers in their place a gorgeous, broken, soulful, feral song of family and yearning, origin and earth. C Pam Zhang is a brilliant, fearless writer. This book is a wonder."
All My Mother's Lovers (2020)
"This ambitious, deft, compassionate debut novel finds eternal truths in a very contemporary story: that even those we care for most remain mysteries to us, that our judgments of others' lives are always inadequate, that love demands heroism. Ilana Masad is an exciting talent."
The Lightness (2020)
"This remarkable novel is made up of equal parts desire and dread; it constantly surprised me, eerily outpacing my expectations."
What Happens at Night (2020)
"The prose in What Happens at Night is faultlessly elegant and quietly menacing, like a tuxedo lined with knives. I can’t think of another book at once so beautiful and so unnerving, so poised between miracle and disaster. Peter Cameron is one of America’s greatest writers, the living stylist I most revere."
"Phil Klay’s Missionaries has a sweep and incisiveness to it I had almost forgotten novels were capable of. I haven’t been so gripped by a book in years. It is immensely smart and farseeing, and utterly unsparing. Extraordinary."
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