By Leif Enger
Midwestern movie house owner Virgil Wander is "cruising along at medium altitude" when his car flies off the road into icy Lake Superior. Virgil survives but his language and memory are altered and he emerges into a world no longer familiar to him. Awakening in this new life, Virgil begins to piece together his personal history and the lore of his broken town, with the help of a cast of affable and curious locals?from Rune, a twinkling, pipe-smoking, kite-flying stranger investigating the mystery of his disappeared son; to Nadine, the reserved, enchanting wife of the vanished man, to Tom, a journalist and Virgil's oldest friend; and various members of the Pea family who must confront tragedies of their own. Into this community returns a shimmering prodigal son who may hold the key to reviving their town.With intelligent humor and captivating whimsy, Leif Enger conjures a remarkable portrait of a region and its residents, who, for reasons of choice or circumstance, never made it out of their defunct industrial district. Carried aloft by quotidian pleasures including movies, fishing, necking in parked cars, playing baseball and falling in love, Virgil Wander is a swift, full journey into the heart and heartache of an often overlooked American Upper Midwest by a "formidably gifted" (Chicago Tribune) master storyteller.
The Merry Spinster
By Daniel Mallory Ortberg
'Dark and dreadful and persistently clever. Ortberg bloodily turns familiar tales inside out.' Rainbow Rowell'A collection of stories delectable, formidable, and nimble. As a fantasist and short story writer, Ortberg is without peer.' Kelly Link'Ortberg has a voracious appetite for poison apples, and a genius for finding the places in fairyland where all the bodies are buried. The Merry Spinster will ruin your most-loved fables, in the best possible way.' Charlie Jane Anders'Ortberg has the sloe gin wit of Dorothy Parker and the soul of a Classics nerd. It's like both of them sat next to each other in The Merry Spinster and gossiped away. The result is an absolute delight.' John Scalzi'Ortberg has created a Frankenstein's monster of familiar narratives . . . [that swings] between Terry Pratchett's satirical jocularity and Angela Carter's sinister, shrewd storytelling, and the result is gorgeous, unsettling, splenic, cruel, and wickedly smart. I've never read anything quite like them, and I bet, Dear Reader, that you haven't either.' Carmen Maria MachadoA collection of darkly mischievous stories based on classic fairy tales. Sinister and inviting, familiar and alien all at the same time, The Merry Spinster updates traditional children's stories and fairy tales with elements of psychological horror, emotional clarity, and a keen sense of feminist mischief.Unfalteringly faithful to its beloved source material, The Merry Spinster also illuminates the unsuspected, and frequently alarming, emotional complexities at play in the stories we tell ourselves and each other as we tuck ourselves in for the night.Bed time will never be the same.
Peace Like a River
By Leif Enger
When Israel Finch and Tommy Basca, the town bullies, break into the home of school caretaker Jeremiah Land, wielding a baseball bat and looking for trouble, they find more of it than even they expected. For seventeen-year-old Davey is sitting up in bed waiting for them with a Winchester rifle. His younger brother Reuben has seen their father perform miracles, but Jeremiah now seems as powerless to prevent Davey from being arrested for manslaughter, as he has always been to ease Reuben's daily spungy struggle to breathe. Nor does brave and brilliant nine-year-old Swede, obsessed as she is with the legends of the wild west, have the strength to spring Davey from jail. Yet Davey does manage to break out. He steals a horse, and disappears. His family feels his absence so sorely, the three of them just pile into their old Plymouth, towing a brand new 1963 Airstream trailer, and set out on a quest to find him. And they follow the outlaw west, right into the cold, wild and empty Dakota Badlands.Set in the 1960s on the edge of the Great Plains, PEACE LIKE A RIVER is that rare thing, a contemporary novel with an epic dimension. Told in the touching voice of an asthmatic eleven-year-old boy, it revels in the legends of the West, resonates with a soul-expanding sense of place, and vibrates with the possibility of magic in the everyday world. Above all, it shows how family, love, and faith can stand up to the most terrifying of enemies, the most tragic of fates.
The Shadow in the Garden
By James Atlas
The biographer - so often in the shadows, kibbitzing, casting doubt, proving facts - here comes to the stage.James Atlas takes us back to his childhood in suburban Chicago, where he fell in love with literature and, early on, found in himself the impulse to study writers' lives. We meet Richard Ellmann, the great biographer of James Joyce and Atlas's professor during a transformative year at Oxford. We get to know the author's first subject, the "self-doomed" poet Delmore Schwartz; a bygone cast of intellectuals such as Edmund Wilson and Dwight Macdonald (the "tall trees," as Mary McCarthy described them, cut down now, Atlas writes, by the "merciless pruning of mortality"); and, of course, the elusive Bellow, "a metaphysician of the ordinary." Atlas revisits the lives and work of the classical biographers: the Renaissance writers of what were then called "lives," Samuel Johnson and the "meshugenah" Boswell, among them. In what amounts to a pocket history of his own literary generation, Atlas celebrates the luminaries of contemporary literature and the labor of those who hope to catch a glimpse of one of them - "as fleeting as a familiar face swallowed up in a crowd."
The Hate Race
By Maxine Beneba Clarke
Shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Non-FictionShortlisted for the Stella Prize 2017'Against anything I had ever been told was possible, I was turning white. On the surface of my skin, a miracle was quietly brewing . . .'Suburban Australia. Sweltering heat. Three bedroom blonde-brick. Family of five. Beat-up Ford Falcon. Vegemite on toast. Maxine Beneba Clarke's life is just like all the other Aussie kids on her street.Except for this one, glaring, inescapably obvious thing.From one of Australia's most exciting writers, and the author of the multi-award-winning FOREIGN SOIL, comes THE HATE RACE: a powerful, funny, and at times devastating memoir about growing up black in white middle-class Australia.
The Dark Dark
By Samantha Hunt
A Best Book of the Year: NPR, Vogue, The Huffington Post, The Chicago Review of Books, The National Post, Electric Literature, Kirkus'Wields such a subtle and alien power . . . Wonderfully spooky' Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker'A feminist manifesto threaded through imaginative fiction; it's the most evocative, impressive collection I've read this year' Daniel Johnson, The Paris ReviewStep into The Dark Dark, where an award-winning, acclaimed novelist debuts her first collection of short stories and conjures entire universes in just a few pages - conjures, splits in half, mines for humor, destroys with absurdity, and regenerates. In prose that sparkles and haunts, Samantha Hunt playfully pushes the bounds of the expected and fills every corner with vibrant life, imagining numerous ways in which the weird might poke its way through the mundane. Each of these ten haunting, inventive tales brings us to the brink of creation, mortality and immortality, infidelity and transformation, technological innovation and historical revision, loneliness and communion, and every kind of love.Laced with lyricism, hope, Hunt's characteristic sly wit, and her unflinching gaze into the ordinary horrors of human existence, The Dark Dark celebrates the mysteries and connections that swirl around us. It's never all the same, Hunt tells us. It changes a tiny bit every time. See for yourself.
Future Home of the Living God
By Louise Erdrich
'Erdrich is one of the greatest living American writers' GuardianLouise Erdrich, the New York Times bestselling, National Book Award-winning author of LaRose and The Round House, paints a startling portrait of a young woman fighting for her life and her unborn child against oppressive forces that manifest in the wake of a cataclysmic event.The world as we know it is ending. Evolution has reversed itself, affecting every living creature on earth. Science cannot stop the world from running backwards, as woman after woman gives birth to infants that appear to be primitive species of humans. Thirty-two-year-old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, adopted daughter of open-minded Minneapolis liberals, is as disturbed as the rest of America around her. But for Cedar, this change is profound and deeply personal. She is four months pregnant.Cedar feels compelled to find her birth mother, Mary Potts, an Ojibwe living on the reservation, to understand both her and her baby's origins. As Cedar goes back to her own biological beginnings, society around her begins to disintegrate, fueled by a swelling panic about the end of humanity. There are rumors of martial law, of Congress confining pregnant women, of a registry, and rewards for those who turn these wanted women in. It will take all Cedar has to avoid the prying eyes of potential informants and keep her baby safe.A chilling dystopian novel both provocative and prescient, Future Home of the Living God is a startlingly original work from one of our most acclaimed writers: a moving meditation on female agency, self-determination, biology, and natural rights that speaks to the troubling changes of our time.
By Samantha Hunt
"The Seas took me back to how I felt as a kid, when you're newly falling in love with literature, newly shocked by its capacity to cast a spell..." Maggie Nelson (from the Introduction)Moored in a coastal fishing town so far north that the highways only run south, the unnamed narrator of The Seas is a misfit. She's often the subject of cruel local gossip. Her father, a sailor, walked into the ocean eleven years earlier and never returned, leaving his wife and daughter to keep a forlorn vigil. Surrounded by water and beckoned by the sea, she clings to what her father once told her: that she is a mermaid.True to myth, she finds herself in hard love with a land-bound man, an Iraq War veteran thirteen years her senior. The mesmerizing, fevered coming-of-age tale that follows will land her in jail. Her otherworldly escape will become the stuff of legend. With the inventive brilliance and psychological insight that have earned her international acclaim, Samantha Hunt pulls readers into an undertow of impossible love and intoxication, blurring the lines between reality and fairy tale, hope and delusion, sanity and madness.
By Matthew Crow
Let me tell you a story, about a man I knew, and a man I know...Mr Baxter is ninety-four years old when he falls down his staircase and grudgingly finds himself resident at Melrose Gardens Retirement Home. Baxter is many things - raconteur, retired music teacher, rabble-rouser, bon viveur - but 'good patient' he is not. He had every intention of living his twilight years with wine, music and revelry; not tea, telly and Tramadol. Indeed, Melrose Gardens is his worst nightmare - until he meets Gregory. At only nineteen years of age, Greg has suffered a loss so heavy that he is in danger of giving up on life before he even gets going. Determined to save the boy, Baxter decides to enlist his help on a mission to pay tribute to his long-lost love, Thomas: the man with whom he found true happiness; the man he waved off to fight in a senseless war; the man who never returned. The best man he ever knew.With Gregory in tow Baxter sets out on a spirited escape from Melrose, bound for the war graves of Northern France. As Baxter shares his memories, the boy starts to see that life need not be a matter of mere endurance; that the world is huge and beautiful; that kindness is strength; and that the only way to honour the dead, is to live.Baxter's Requiem is a glorious celebration of life, love and seizing every last second we have while we're here.
By Catherynne M. Valente
IN SPACE EVERYONE CAN HEAR YOU SINGA century ago, the Sentience Wars tore the galaxy apart and nearly ended the entire concept of intelligent space-faring life. In the aftermath, a curious tradition was invented-something to cheer up everyone who was left and bring the shattered worlds together in the spirit of peace, unity, and understanding.Once every cycle, the civilizations gather for Galactivision - part gladiatorial contest, part beauty pageant, part concert extravaganza, and part continuation of the wars of the past. Instead of competing in orbital combat, the powerful species that survived face off in a competition of song, dance, or whatever can be physically performed in an intergalactic talent show. The stakes are high for this new game, and everyone is forced to compete.This year, though, humankind has discovered the enormous universe. And while they expected to discover a grand drama of diplomacy, gunships, wormholes, and stoic councils of aliens, they have instead found glitter, lipstick and electric guitars. Mankind will not get to fight for its destiny - they must sing.A one-hit-wonder band of human musicians, dancers and roadies from London - Decibel Jones and the Absolute Zeroes - have been chosen to represent Earth on the greatest stage in the galaxy. And the fate of their species lies in their ability to rock.
Savages 2: The Spectre
By Sabri Louatah
In an already tense crowd on election night, France's first Arab presidential candidate Chaouch is shot at close range by the young and naïve Krim Nerrouche. As shock pulses through the nation, Paris is put on high alert, because although Krim's finger pulled the trigger, it becomes clear he was not the mastermind behind the attack. Now, he must survive endless interrogations with the anti-terrorist police without revealing the location of the cousin he is fiercely protecting.As investigations get underway, Chaouch is transferred to intensive care, hovering between life and death with his heartbroken family at his side. Later that evening, it is announced that he received the most votes in the election, but he might not ever wake up to this news. Meanwhile his daughter is facing the fact that not only is her father in a critical condition, she may not be allowed to see her boyfriend again - for he is a member of the sprawling Nerrouche family, who are currently all being treated as suspects by the authorities. Savages 2: The Spectre takes us on an electrifying journey behind the scenes of power and into the heart of a state undermined by the most unprecedented attack in recent history. A family is torn apart and riots are breaking out in the housing projects of the Nerrouche family's home in Saint Etienne, as relations become fraught with tension. Louatah builds the pace in this gripping sequel that will keep you turning its pages to the end to discover the future of a family and the destiny of a nation on the verge of a dangerously explosive moment in time.*** 'This is not the first time that the scenario of a French Arab president has been in a French-language novel - this was also the conceit of Michel Houellebecq's Submission . . . Savages is, however, a far superior book, having more in common with the complex and crafted plotting of The Sopranos or The Wire than the arch, sarcasm of Houellebecq's dystopia. [Louatah] promises no happy ending to the tensions that still plague France , but the book manages to thrill and entertain, while never losing the sharp political edge that also makes it important' The Observer
31 Days of Wonder
By Tom Winter
'And in that instant, he knows in his heart that today is a momentous day; come what may, he and Alice will meet again, and life will never be the same.'Alice is stuck in an internship she loathes and a body she is forever trying to change.Ben, also in his early twenties, is still trying to find his place in the world.By chance they meet one day in a London park.Day 1Ben spots Alice sitting on a bench and feels compelled to speak to her. To his surprise, their connection is instant. But before numbers are exchanged, Alice is whisked off by her demanding boss. 20 minutes laterAlone in her office toilets, Alice looks at herself in the mirror and desperately searches for the beauty Ben could see in her. Meanwhile, having misunderstood a parting remark, Ben is already planning a trip to Glasgow where he believes Alice lives, not realising that they actually live barely ten miles apart.Over the next 31 days, Alice and Ben will discover that even if they never manage to find each other again, they have sparked a change in each other that will last a lifetime. In 31 Days of Wonder, Tom Winter shows us the magic of chance encounters and how one brief moment on a Thursday afternoon can change the rest of your life.
By Roxane Gay
From New York Times-bestselling powerhouse Roxane Gay, Ayiti is a powerful collection exploring the Haitian diaspora experience.In Ayiti, a married couple seeking boat passage to America prepares to leave their homeland. A young woman procures a voodoo love potion to ensnare a childhood classmate. A mother takes a foreign soldier into her home as a boarder, and into her bed. And a woman conceives a daughter on the bank of a river while fleeing a horrific massacre, a daughter who later moves to America for a new life but is perpetually haunted by the mysterious scent of blood. Originally published by a small press, this edition will make Gay's debut widely available for the first time, including several new stories.'These early stories showcase Gay's prowess as one of the voices of our age' (National Post, Canada).