Staff Pick

As passionate as it is brainy, Hustvedt’s multi-layered novel brilliantly captures the heady experience of a young, ambitious, artist-to-be moving from the Midwest to New York City: here is the grungy apartment—with more books than furniture—the strange neighbor, the intellectual/artsy friends met at John Ashbery readings and Paul de Man lectures. Told through a combination of the journals SH kept in 1978-79—the year she gave herself to “find the hero” and write her first novel before grad school—chapters from that never-completed mystery, and commentary by the older SH in 2017 as she excavates forgotten parts of her past, the book is also a magnificent construction of stories within stories, unique and surprising characters, and a meditation on memory and imagination: “can the past serve as a hiding place from the present?....Tell me where memory ends and invention begins?” Interwoven through all this is a powerful feminist coming-of-age story, as SH experiences a harrowing #MeToo incident and—with the help of a coven of witches and the example of Elsa Hildegard Baroness von Freytag-Loringhoven (1874-1927)—learns the true power of her anger.

Memories of the Future Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982102838
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Simon & Schuster - March 19th, 2019

Staff Pick

A poet, Purpura argues in these brief, charged essays that it matters what we call things—ants are “whom—not which, not things,” and as such shouldn’t be treated like things. But many things also deserve better: Purpura, a connoisseur of the singular, resists the single-use consumer culture that discards so much that’s still useful. We’re able to waste so much because we’re taught to “not mind”—we don’t see what we’re missing, and often can’t name it, either. Showing us the ants’ complex cities, the eagle that turns a symbol back into a bird, the timing that makes snowshoe rabbits white, the human-like eyelashes of cow #419, Purpura takes us to the “spots no words touched, where language unhinged.” Prose in appearance only, her accounts of intimating, then seeing, a moose; following the decomposition of a bird into a “house framed out, barrel staves, then…the keel of a skiff”; and of being overwhelmed by a crepe myrtle in full, stunning bloom, not only “make something of the moment,” as she continually urges, but make “each moment of seeing be again its own shining grunt of creation,” in which we are “found and rearranged.” These essays will do that to you.

All the Fierce Tethers Cover Image
ISBN: 9781946448309
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Sarabande Books - April 9th, 2019

Staff Pick

“When danger approaches—sing to it,” Hempel advises in the opening story of her virtuoso new collection. In the fourteen startling works that follow, her characters face rising oceans, fracking-induced earthquakes, infanticide, animal abuse, infidelity, and the original evils of snakes and deception. In one piece Hempel shows how we can contain the threats of both a violent history and a frightening future by turning them into museum pieces. In another she focuses on the story—“the one where brutality saves a life”—that a man chooses to tell a woman at a defining point in their relationship. A third uses repetition as a kind of leash on the emotions to recount a heart-wrenching litany of tragedies at a dog shelter. Others trace the emotional fallout of meeting the man responsible for an aunt’s suicide or of learning that the daughter given up for adoption may have suffered an unthinkable fate. Hempel’s work documents the everyday courage of people carrying on their spared lives as best they can before “the proverbial pendulum swings the hell back.” But plot summary can’t convey the true power of this fiction. And Hempel herself isn’t interested in plot; rather, hers is an art of indirection and suggestion, and above all of language so concentrated that she often needs less than a page to convey an entire life.

Sing to It: New Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982109110
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Scribner - March 26th, 2019