Staff Pick

When Sam Munson’s new novel opens, our protagonist Professor Pushkin, a specialist in prison architecture, is traveling to an overseas conference in Argentina, all with the ulterior motive of meeting up with the fellow academic he has a crush on. When he arrives, she’s nowhere to be found, and the town is crawling in roving packs of dogs by night and sinister blue-clad workers by day. Borges and Cortazar get name-checked toward the end, but Dog Symphony is much more than a tribute to their mind-bending stories (not to mention those of Bruno Schulz, Thomas Bernhard, and—of course—Franz Kafka). It’s a darkly comic shadow version of our own turbulent world, with its embattled humanities, student uprisings, and hope that a better existence might live on in our dogs.

Dog Symphony Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780811227681
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - August 28th, 2018

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: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - August 14th, 2018

Staff Pick

On one hand, I could praise Ottessa Moshfegh for the risks she takes: the confidence to frame her novel around such a decidedly sedentary character, the flamboyant discussion of bodily sensations (or drugged lack of sensation), and the gall to set the novel at perhaps the most eerily pregnant moment in New York City history. On the other hand, I could praise her for her unbelievable sense of humor -- she should receive some kind of medal for creating Dr. Tuttle, “the only psychiatrist to answer the phone at eleven at night on a Tuesday”, whose every sentence is a bizarre punchline. Instead, I’ll praise her for deploying those tools, as caustically she does, for a most unique, hard-won sense of empathy. I was not prepared for how emotionally overwhelming this book would become, and I’m left even more amazed than before by Moshfegh’s quickly growing collection of masterworks.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780525522119
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Press - July 10th, 2018

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