Beam yourself directly into Sarah Manguso's great mind with this book that compresses big thoughts and questions about life and art into beautifully wrought aphorisms like this one: “We hide in plain sight, in our bodies.” If you read it straight through, you’ll notice it builds power along the way.
The Waitress Was New
This book reminds me a lot of Jim Jarmusch’s recent film, Paterson, only instead of a bus driver in New Jersey, Pierre is a bartender on the outskirts of Paris. In both, daily routine provides an anchor for the characters, for whom even minute variations are dramatic. They prefer to observe. But the owner’s wife sends Pierre to spy one of the café's waitresses, and the disruption opens up possibilities he doesn’t want to face. I love how this book manages to be both low-key and profound.
The End of Eddy
This autobiographical novel about growing up gay and poor in homophobic rural France is harrowing, and yet, given that we’re holding a book by the character who confronts so much hate, also hopeful. It’s no wonder a book with such raw intensity is enjoying commercial and critical success around the world.
Naben Ruthnum is one of Canada's most interesting emerging writers. I tend to drop everything to read his reviews or essays in Hazlitt, the Walrus or wherever they appear. Here, he blends smart cultural analysis, literary criticism, and food via an enlightening take on curry as a metaphor. A totally delightful début.
The Redemption of Galen Pike
WINNER OF THE FRANK O'CONNOR INTERNATIONAL SHORT STORY AWARD
When you begin the first story, you'll immediately recognize Davies’ immense skill, and then a few pages later your jaw will drop when you suddenly discover where this story is leading you. After that, you'll discover that each subsequent story is equally sublime.
I'm Thinking of Ending Things
At first, Reid’s writing has a breezy quality, and his characters seem so straightforward that you do not expect what happens to happen – at all. The story begins with the narrator "thinking of ending things" with her boyfriend while on a road trip to meet his parents. Odd juxtapositions slowly intrude and multiply. “How do we know when something is menacing? What cues us that something is not innocent? Instinct always trumps reason.” Nothing is what it seems in this ingenious, multilayered book. An existential thriller that's part Stephen King part James Lasdun and wholly mind-bending.
Published by Simon & Schuster in Canada, Scout Press in the US, and Text in Australia.
The Last Word
Death is inevitable, and yet we handle it so badly. Take the eulogy, for example. Julia Cooper examines this fraught document that brings final punctuation to the famous and completely unknown alike. She has me convinced that we need to think about the eulogy a lot more than we do. It's also a delight to read, as she shifts easily among Derrida, Princess Diana, Prince, and personal anecdote, making it possible to ponder death with grace. If you live and breathe, you need this book.
MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE FINALIST
This book is riveting. It's narrated on the knife-edge between life and death. It made me think about how we're always on that knife-edge, even when we don't realize it. I can't stop thinking about Schweblin's term "rescue distance," which she uses to describe what I think of as the invisible net we hold our children in when we're out in the world and they wander off. This book will make your world look different. Watch your rescue distance always!
Walks with Walser
Kudos to New Directions for shining a light on writers like Robert Walser, a contemporary of and once better known than Kafka, Musil, and Benjamin. Here, Carl Seelig, Walser’s friend, relates conversations the two men shared during walks around Walser’s sanitorium. A brilliant, humble mind shines through – as does a beautiful friendship.
The Days of Abandonment
“I love this book. I recommend it more than any other Ferrante. Partly because of its length and partly because it’s standalone and also partly because the fucked-up parts are particularly fucked up.” – Max Arambulo, publishing colleague and Ferrante fan