Staff Pick

If Ling Ma’s debut novel seems at all familiar, she’s carefully calibrated that feeling: it’s an apocalypse novel that could be happening right now. (It’s not for nothing that it’s actually set in the recent past.) The “fevered” zombies’ routines are commonplace: setting dinner tables, folding shirts, wandering name-brand stores, but with the added benefit of quicker-than-average bodily decay. It’s funny except when it’s horrifying; it’s horrifying except when it’s oddly comforting. That ambivalent tonal mixture is just one piece of what makes Ma’s writing so unique and captivating. Severance rushes forward on information overflow—on the ins and outs of collector’s edition Bible production, on the lives of Chinese immigrants in late-80s Utah, and on the name brands we all know and love-hate—because if that rush stopped, would we all fall into zombified oblivion too?

Severance: A Novel Cover Image
By Ling Ma
$26.00
ISBN: 9780374261597
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - August 14th, 2018

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Staff Pick

True to the book's title, RO Kwon has crafted a fiery debut that announces her arrival as a new singular voice in American literature. Her first novel, told through three different perspectives, is an interrogation on the nature of love, faith, and identity. The book reminded me of Graham Greene's The End of the Affair as both books tackle a character's investigation into the driving force behind the faith of a beloved in order to shed light into the mystery of why the beloved did the things that she did in the course of the novel. Compelling narrative matched with an eloquent writing style, you can't go wrong with that.

The Incendiaries: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780735213890
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Riverhead Books - July 31st, 2018

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Staff Pick

If Borges had been a woman, would he have written like Norah Lange? A friend of Borges and often called his “muse,” Lange (1905-72) started as a poet and became a key figure in Argentina’s literary avant-garde. People in the Room (1950), considered her masterpiece and finally available in English, is reported by an unnamed seventeen-year-old as she “spies” on all her neighbors are doing and not doing. The three women never go out and never close their drapes; they’re not exhibitionists, they assume they’re “of no interest to anyone.” But framed in their windows they’re a portrait the narrator obsessively studies, describes, and reads—or a screen she projects her own unresolved ideas and self-images onto. When she insinuates her way into their house, the close observation continues, the emotional intensity heightens, and every detail of these conventional, constrained, and emphatically uneventful female lives grows mercurial and even surreal. “The doorbell looks…as if it were spying on me” the narrator notes. Hands feel gloved or crawling with ants. Palms reveal not life lines but “a suicide line.” The narrator sees her subjects as “three wayward women, three memory keepers”; as three cards of the same suit, as “blushing porcelain dolls.” Are they three witches or three wishes? She loves and hates them. Renounces them but is “addicted” to them. On the cusp of adulthood, she sees these older women—thirty! she decides—as a fearsome but ineluctable fate. They exist “on the edge of the storm” that’s her own turbulent coming of age. Lange deftly updates a classic fairy tale motif into this cryptic, telling, spellbinding piece of modernist writing.

People in the Room Cover Image
By Norah Lange, Charlotte Whittle (Translator)
$15.95
ISBN: 9781911508229
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: And Other Stories - August 2nd, 2018

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