Victor LaValle's picture

Victor LaValle


Victor LaValle, born February 3, 1972, was raised in Flushing and Rosedale, Queens. He graduated from Cornell University with a degree in English and received his M.F.A. in Fiction from Columbia University. He has been a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He lives in Brooklyn and teaches writing at Columbia University.

Victor LaValle is the author of the short story collection 'Slapboxing with Jesus' and two novels, 'The Ecstatic' and 'Big Machine'.

He has been the recipient of numerous awards including a Whiting Writers' Award, a United States Artists Ford Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the key to Southeast Queens.

He can be kind of hard to reach.

Genres: Science Fiction, Horror, Literary Fiction
New Books
March 2023

Lone Women
Series contributed to
Anthologies edited
PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction Best Book nominee (2003) : The Ecstatic
Nebula Awards Best Novella nominee (2017) : The Ballad of Black Tom
Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature Best Book nominee (2018) : The Changeling
World Fantasy Best Novel winner (2018) : The Changeling

Victor LaValle recommends
The Gospel According to Cane (2013)
Courttia Newland
"The abduction of a child would devastate any family. But what if that child returned, many years later, a young man and a stranger? Could that be even worse? The Gospel According to Cane is a gripping novel that's rich with both grief and great love. Courttia Newland is a fierce talent."
Long Division (2013)
Kiese Laymon
"Smart, exciting and energetic."
Midnight Taxi Tango (2016)
(Bone Street Rumba, book 2)
Daniel José Older
"Daniel Jose Older is here to save your soul. But he might just terrorize it first...a fabulous talent."
The Night Ocean (2017)
Paul La Farge
"A sly, witty, but still loving send-up of H.P. Lovecraft and some of the grand anxieties of the American 20th century."
A Fugitive in Walden Woods (2017)
(American Novels, book 4)
Norman Lock
"A Fugitive in Walden Woods manages that special magic of making Thoreau’s time in Walden Woods seem fresh and surprising and necessary right now. . . . This is a patient and perceptive novel, a pleasure to read even as it grapples with issues that affect the United States to this day."
Perennials (2017)
Mandy Berman
"Perennials manages to be warm and loving and still wallop you with moments of shock and pain. What an exciting debut."
The Twelve-Mile Straight (2017)
Eleanor Henderson
"This engaging, expansive novel manages to feel historical and, sadly, up to the minute as it probes the sins at the heart of the American experience. This is the kind of novel you sink into, live inside. When you’re finished it will live inside you. A bravura performance."
The Sky Is Yours (2018)
Chandler Klang Smith
"Chandler Klang Smith comes roaring out the gate with a raucous, inventive gem of a debut. Science fiction, coming of age, and adventure novel, The Sky Is Yours blends its genres brilliantly. To top it all off the book is funny as hell."
They Come in All Colors (2018)
Malcolm Hansen
"In They Come in All Colors, Malcolm Hanson is not writing about saints or monsters, just vivid human beings. And does so with humor and insight."
The Mere Wife (2018)
Maria Dahvana Headley
"The Mere Wife is a work of magic. A wild adventure; a celebration of monsters, myths, and the power of mother-love. Imagine a writer so bold, so ambitious, so about it that she challenges Beowulf to arm wrestle. That writer is Maria Dahvana Headley and let me tell you something, she is here to win."
If You Leave Me (2018)
Crystal Hana Kim
"If You Leave Me is a historical novel that manages to feel current and captivating, a family saga, and a portrait of a woman--a mother--who will mesmerize, shock, and surprise. Lovingly told, lyrical, and smart."
The Atlas of Reds and Blues (2019)
Devi S Laskar
"A brown woman lies bleeding on the concrete. An agent of the state has shot her down in her own driveway. Her life - and the lives of her children, her whole family - spools out as she waits to find out if she will die. The Atlas of Reds and Blues is a triumph of book, mining the most searing art out of a horror pulled straight from current events. Devi S. Laskar announces herself as a brilliant, bold talent with her debut novel. This is a book that should be read, and discussed, and cherished."
The Pandora Room (2019)
(Ben Walker, book 2)
Christopher Golden
"Christopher Golden knows how to thrill. The Pandora Room is such a spooky adventure. Political intrigue and mythic threats mingle to make a story that plays with your sense of reality. On top of that, it’s also just a lot of fun!"
Africaville (2019)
Jeffrey Colvin
"Africaville turns history into an engaging family story, one that begins in Nova Scotia and then travels across North America. It's a gripping and moving book. Jeffrey Colvin writes with such affection and authority. I thought of the fine work of Esi Edugyan and Edward P. Jones and E.L. Doctorow, too. He deserves to be counted in their number and this is an excellent debut."
These Ghosts Are Family (2020)
Maisy Card
"Every family's got secrets but Abel Paisley's secret is monstrous and mesmerizing. These Ghosts are Family begins with energy and intrigue and, really, never lets up. This book is painful and shocking but it can be funny as hell, too. What a talented writer. Maisy Card has written one of the best debut novels I've read in many years."
The Ancestor (2020)
Danielle Trussoni
"A surprise inheritance, remote castle in the Alps, and a cursed family bloodline? Yes, please! The Ancestor is a gloriously modern Gothic novel, blending mythic monsters with modern science in ways that gave me a thrill. Danielle Trussoni has written one hell of a tale."
The Only Good Indians (2020)
Stephen Graham Jones
"How long must we pay for our mistakes, for our sins? Does a thoughtless act doom us for eternity? This is a novel of profound insight and horror, rich with humor and intelligence. The Only Good Indians is a triumph; somehow it’s a great story and also a meditation on stories. I've wondered who would write a worthy heir to Peter Straub's Ghost Story. Now I know the answer: Stephen Graham Jones."
Want (2020)
Lynn Steger Strong
"Teacher, mother, best friend, wife and more. Is there any time or space left for Elizabeth outside of these roles? Lynn Steger Strong illustrates the heroic act of one woman trying her best to keep it all together; succeeding and failing and trying again. Want is honest and funny and profoundly moving. I tore through this book in two days and when it was over I wanted to start it again."
Scavenger (2020)
(Dickie Cornish, book 1)
Christopher Chambers
"Christopher Chambers never disappoints. The adrenaline hits the reader on page 1 and doesn't let up for, oh, 350 pages. Scavenger is witty, profane, propulsive, and gripping. It turns DC into a hardboiled wonderland."
Good Neighbours (2021)
Sarah Langan
"Sarah Langan is a phenomenal talent with a wicked sense of wry humor. Good Neighbors knocked me out. Like Shirley Jackson's novels, Langan's work blends a bleak streak with an underlying sense of the humane that wrung my heart."
The Scapegoat (2021)
Sara Davis
"The Scapegoat is a novel of disquiet and disturbance, with an atmosphere of perfect dread. Think Patricia Highsmith or Jim Thompson, that blend of menace and brilliance. Sara Davis had me shivering. This is the debut novel of a marvelous new talent."
Dear Miss Metropolitan (2021)
Carolyn Ferrell
"You think you’re ready for this novel, but you’re not ready. Carolyn Ferrell has shaped a story made of diamonds and broken glass; it’s going to cut you deep. Dear Miss Metropolitan is a triumph of storytelling in all its forms, a collage of styles and sympathies. A stunner."
Give My Love to the Savages (2021)
Chris Stuck
"You're going to laugh, you're going to gasp, you're going to wonder if you're allowed to enjoy this book and then you're going to be laughing all over again. This is Black satire with bite, like Zora Neale Hurston used to do, with a smile and a sharp elbow. A touch of Paul Beatty, a dose of Dolemite, and a serving of Dorothy Parker, too. Give My Love to the Savages announces Chris Stuck as a fearless talent, a debut that'll make your sides and your heart hurt."
The Body Scout (2021)
Lincoln Michel
"The Body Scout is the kind of wild, inventive adventure that i’d been searching for. It scratched a special itch: sly and smart, weird and wonderful, all in one package. A little bit Philip K. Dick, and I detect hints of Julio Cortazar too. Lincoln Michel is a wildly talented author and this novel is something special indeed."
Velorio (2022)
Xavier Navarro Aquino
"'We all thought we were ready for Maria.' With this line, Xavier Navarro Aquino sets the stakes for his beautiful and heartbreaking novel. Was Puerto Rico ready for Hurricane Maria? No. And yet the people endured it anyway. In the vein of Jesmyn Ward's Salvage the Bones, Velorio is a testimony to the resilience, the trials and triumphs, of a family, an island, a people. This is one hell of a debut."
Cherish Farrah (2022)
Bethany C Morrow
"Cherish Farrah got me shivering in all kinds of good ways. Intelligent, insightful, and absolutely creepy, too. The novel builds mystery and intensity with such powerful intent. Bethany C. Morrow knows how to make a reader squirm, and thank goodness for that."
The Ballad of Perilous Graves (2022)
Alex Jennings
"Wild, witty, and profound. . . a cosmic storm of talent."
The Confessions of Matthew Strong (2022)
Ousmane K Power-Greene
"Ousmane K. Power-Greene is a writer who always thrills and challenges. His work is thoughtful and provocative, moving and meaningful. He's the real deal."
The Strange (2023)
Nathan Ballingrud
"Ballingrud is one of my favorite contemporary authors. His work is elegant and troublingly, wonderfully disturbing."
White Cat, Black Dog (2023)
Kelly Link
"Kelly Link is the Alice Munro of the fantastic. These are big stories, tales you dive into, live inside, and come out the other end changed. Together, they make a glorious book, full of grand journeys across different times, experiences, and realities."

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