Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century, by Kim Fu

Staff Pick

Beginning with a vague feeling of unease, then turning up the volume until you feel your ears pop, Fu's deeply unsettling short stories expose the horrific that lurks at the junctures of technology and social interaction. Whether it's a toy that allows you to fast forward and rewind an animal's life in brutal detail for entertainment or a stranger sitting in on a wake for someone she knows only because she followed his social media account, these narratives capture the sincerity with which we reach out to one another and reveal how commodifying these moments turns them cold. For anyone who has felt alarmed by the way social media has transformed personal interactions, this is a powerful, resonant collection.

 

 

Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century Cover Image
By Kim Fu
$16.95
ISBN: 9781951142995
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Tin House Books - February 1st, 2022

Saint Sebastian's Abyss, by Mark Haber

Staff Pick

In his sophomore novel Haber explores the nature of obsession and friendship through the lens of two art critics who have hedged their careers on an obscure painter from the Dutch Renaissance and his magnum opus, Saint Sebastian’s Abyss. The narrative follows the self-serious and hilarious antics of these two friends-turned-rivals as they attempt to unlock the meaning of what is, by all accounts, an insignificant work by a raving and perverse madman from the 16th century. With the absurdity of academia and the meaninglessness of capital D discourse as his fodder, Haber has written one of my favorite books of 2022 so far.

Saint Sebastian's Abyss Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781566896368
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Published: Coffee House Press - May 10th, 2022

City of Incurable Women, by Maude Casey

Staff Pick

Casey’s unsettling book juxtaposes—and questions the nature of—fiction and fact for a moving consideration of the women inmates of the Paris Salpêtrière psychiatric hospital. The official documentation of photos, case histories, and diagnoses reduces the women to the fulfilled expectations of hysteria—contractions of the limbs, paralysis, rhythmic chorea, and “violent emotions,”  while, by contrast, Casey’s invented narratives detail the experiences of individuals variously born in poverty, abandoned by fathers, given up by mothers, abused by employers, and—literally—inscribed with the name of the hospital by the doctors who exhibited as much as studied them. And who never cured or released them. Unlike Casey who, in giving them voices and endowing them with a skilled novelist’s lyrical, rhythmic language—“when I broke every plate in the furrier’s house, the sound glittered like the sea”—has arguably done both, even as she also shows that this 19th-century malady exists on a continuum with martyred saints, burned witches, and today’s chronic fatigue patients.

City of Incurable Women Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781942658863
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Bellevue Literary Press - February 22nd, 2022

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