ROSS BENES with Christopher Heine
Rural Rebellion is much more than a history lesson. Its the story of trying to make sense of modern America through the lens of a young dude, Ross Benes, who was raised on steak, potatoes, and God but nowas a South Park Slope residentlives in a place where the menu of cuisine, religion, and politics is much different.
Fluid Selves: Legacy Russell’s Glitch FeminismBy Olivier Berggruen
Glitch Feminism was published during a bleak year of pandemics and political upheaval. As reactionary political and social forces encourage inertia, or even try to undo the dreams of change, this manifesto is a voice for hope.
Paul Mendez’s Rainbow MilkBy Tony Leuzzi
Distinguished by its gritty realism, Rainbow Milk is among the more convincing debuts I have read in years.
DARRYL PINCKNEY with William Corwin
I first met Darryl Pinckney in 2014 when he was working on his novel Black Deutschland (Picador, 2016). He picked my brain on the subject of egomaniacal architects (I studied architecture and had a few notable examples as both mentors and employers). At the time I suspected it was for a character, but he only admitted that when we sat down for the interview for the Rail this past October.
Hoda Barakat’s Voices of the LostBy John Domini
Ultimately, Voices of the Lost belongs with the most exemplary fiction of our contemporary diasporas, striving to match the new tragedy with a new form.
Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the SunBy Andrew Ervin
What makes Klara and the Sun in particular so remarkable, I think, is that instead of only looking backward at our origin stories, Ishiguro here is looking forward in time as if to warn us that the myths we insist upon believing today will shape how we will live in the future. He reminds us that even our most enduring stories can be rewritten.
Jamie Figueroa’s Brother, Sister, Mother, ExplorerBy Carissa Chesanek
Jamie Figueroa's debut novel, Brother, Sister, Mother, Explorer depicts the impact of trauma and loss within a family.
Jackie Wang’s The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us From the VoidBy Amanda Auerbach
The spell of this book preserves the multiple-layered, multiple-petaled nature of life. Wangs collection professes the potency of dream and sunflower; it professes the persistence of powers that save.
Lucy Ives’s CosmogonyBy Cigdem Asatekin
Cosmogony consists of 12 stories, every single one a profound narrative that takes a different form. When they get surreal, they are reminiscent of dream sequences. Even when they dont, there is the slight hint of something unearthly, or at least uncanny throughout the book.
William Boyd’s TRIOBy Joseph Peschel
Trio is a fine, well-tuned novel with plenty of perfectly-paced drama, wit, and intriguing plot twists that accompany its more serious themes about privacy, secrecy, and Camuss one fundamental philosophical question from which all questions follow.