Jim Shepard's picture

Jim Shepard

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Jim Shepard is the author of six novels and two collections of stories. He teaches at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Genres: Literary Fiction
Anthologies edited
Non fiction
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National Book Award for Fiction Best Book nominee (2007) : Like You'd Understand, Anyway

Jim Shepard recommends
Larchfield (2017)
Polly Clark
"Larchfield is beautifully eloquent about that quotidian kind of courage that so often goes overlooked: that fortitude that allows us to engage compassion through our loneliness, and to construct a future in which our truest selves might fit."
Rough Animals (2018)
Rae DelBianco
"Rough Animals is the kind of novel that can teach you the mechanics of dissecting a bull with only an axe and a knife, or how to survive on a coyote’s blood if you’re waterless in the desert. It renders its portrait of brother-sister love and their pitiless world of the badlands of northern Utah with some of Denis Johnson’s flamboyant lyricism, when it comes to longings for transcendence, and with more than a little of Cormac McCarthy’s implacable vision of a world in which we survive by doing the thing most others could not bring themselves to do."
The Weight of a Piano (2019)
Chris Cander
"Cander's portrait of two powerful women and the heartbreaking intersection of their families is arresting and affecting, but as all its characters would agree, the real heart of this novel is the Blüthner upright piano we track from its soundboard's origin in a Romanian forest: an instrument so charismatic that for both women it's a way of floating above their world and connecting to a lost home, as well as eventually to a version of themselves they've never before considered. The Weight of a Piano soars when it obsesses and lets us see what it is it hears."
Disappearing Earth (2019)
Julia Phillips
"Disappearing Earth is not only a viscerally wide-ranging introduction to the land and culture of the Kamchatka Peninsula, as well as a missing persons thriller—as beautifully written as it was, I still couldn’t turn the pages fast enough—it’s also a wrenching meditation on the agonies of those losses to which we never fully adjust. This is a dazzlingly impressive first novel."
Barker House (2020)
David Moloney
"Welcome to America, where the neglect of human beings has become a celebrated business model. Barker House is a novel as important as Ted Conover's groundbreaking nonfictional Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing when it comes to this country's increasing inequities of class and mass incarceration. David Moloney is compassionate and authoritative and hugely moving in his portraits of those left behind by the heartless for-profit systems we set into motion and then ignore."
Crazy Sorrow (2021)
Vince Passaro
"Crazy Sorrow is a celebration of vitality and intimacy: a comprehensively compelling sexual and emotional history of a pair of star-crossed lovers and of a New York that’s now gone. In its clear-eyed examination of the contours of desire, it tracks our complicity in the destruction of what we most cherish and the loss of our hope in those American principles that were still alive for us during the Bicentennial. The result is both a commemoration of the joy and possibility of what was and a lament for a lost world."
Pity the Beast (2021)
Robin McLean
"Robin McLean’s fiction is harrowing and wry and compassionate, and always both fiercely rooted in the world and fearlessly willing to take chances. I love her keen sense of our inherent strangeness, and her heartening sense of just how important it is that we never stop trying to close the gap between who are and who we aspire to be."
Joan is Okay (2022)
Weike Wang
"Scathingly witty . . . Wang is wonderful at understated sadness presented without a twinge of self-pity."
Teenager (2022)
Bud Smith
"Abused when not neglected, and with no patience for self-pity, Teenager's Kody and Teal are the latest memorable additions to that venerable American tradition of They're young, they're in love, and they'll shoot if they have to, lighting out for the west and freedom. Wildly romantic, blithely clueless and always headlong, they're above all else passionately appreciative of the miracle of someone else having chosen, of all things, them, and everywhere they go they reveal, in all its doofy and intermittent heartlessness and lethality, the America that spawned them."
Night of the Living Rez (2022)
Morgan Talty
"Night of the Living Rez is a fiercely intelligent and beautifully written set of stories--a spectacularly visceral and moving account of the experience of a member of the Penobscot Nation in today's America--as well as a wrenching meditation on family and familial dysfunction. Morgan Talty is a master of the way dependency and pain transition from one body to another; the way both separating and refusing to separate become modes of saving ourselves; and the way, for all of our failures, we never stop doing what we can to provide each other hope."

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