Genres: Literary Fiction
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."
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."
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."
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."
"The voice that fuels this novel is rooted in the body and rises toward myth, forged of history, ocean salt, iron, and hope. With Libertie, Kaitlyn Greenidge adds an indelible new sound to American literature, and confirms her status as one of our most gifted young writers."
Swimming Back to Trout River (2021)
Linda Rui Feng
"What can account for the astonishing emotional force of this debut novel? Maybe it’s that Linda Rui Feng understands her characters with an intimacy one seldom encounters, or the sense one has that she loves them so much. Or maybe it’s Feng’s exceedingly rare gift for putting language to feelings so profound, and so exquisitely observed, that they escape all readymade names. Everything in this gorgeously orchestrated novel surprises, everything outraces expectation. Swimming Back to Trout River is one of the most beautiful debuts I have read in years."
The Great Mistake (2021)
"Jonathan Lee's wily, virtuosic, very beautiful new novel is an intimate portrait of a public man that also serves as an X-ray of America. The Great Mistake is a great novel of New York, in which the shaping of public space becomes inextricable from the loneliness, longing, and ferocious ambition of a single, damaged man."
"A novel about the ruthlessness of power, the check of virtue, and the purportedly neutral bureaucracy meant to mediate between them. Katie Kitamura is among the most brilliant and profound writers at work today; she reminds me how high the moral stakes of fiction can be."
A Passage North (2021)
"A profound and disquieting account of the making of a self, of the pressures of history, desire, will, and chance that determine the shape of a life. It’s difficult to think of comparisons for Arudpragasam’s work among current English-language writers; one senses, reading his two extraordinary novels, a new mastery coming into being."
Savage Tongues (2021)
Azareen Van Der Vliet Oloomi
"Against the gorgeous, punishing landscapes of Andalusia, the narrator of Savage Tongues relentlessly and movingly anatomizes the links between violenceboth personal and systemicand desire. This uncompromising novel lives at the border of memory and dream, restlessly seeking a logic that can transform cruelty into love."
The Magician (2021)
"No living novelist dramatizes artistic creation as profoundly, as luminously, as Colm Tóibín, or conveys so well the entanglement of imagination and desire . . . [His] style, with its faultless elegance and unsparing gaze, gives the sense of mastery threatened everywhere by passion. Reading him is among the deepest pleasures our literature can offer."
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