Catherine Lacey : Certain American States

Lacey captures with eerie precision the strangeness of being a person in the world, living alongside other human beings with unknowable thoughts and feelings . . . Reading Lacey’s fiction feels like walking through a dark apartment in someone’s mind, full of winding hallways and unmarked doors. You never know quite where you are or where you’ll end up. Like the work of Clarice Lispector or Rachel Cusk, Lacey seems to be on the verge of inventing a new genre somewhere between prose poem and fugue state.”–Los Angeles Times

Sheila Heti : Motherhood

“This book is going to change how we think about life and women forever; like ancient Greek philosopher level of describing reality in a way that creates it. So, go or don’t go, read the book or don’t — either way your life will be changed by this thinker. I’m being serious here.”–Miranda July; “This inquiry into the modern woman’s moral, social and psychological relationship to procreation is an illumination, a provocation, and a response—finally—to the new norms of femininity, formulated from the deepest reaches of female intellectual authority. It is unlike anything else I’ve read. Sheila Heti has broken new ground, both in her maturity as an artist and in the possibilities of the female discourse itself.”–Rachel Cusk

 

 

Azareen Van Der Vliet Oloomi : Call Me Zebra

“Not many authors are compared to Borges, Cervantes, and Kathy Acker all in one breath, but that is exactly what we’re dealing with here: Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi is a twisted, twisty genius.”–Nylon Magazine; “Van der Vliet Oloomi captures the shattered identity of the refugee and the immigrant, the way that literature becomes a lifeline in exile: a movable home, a network of dissent, a genealogy beyond national borders.”–Los Angeles Review of Books; “Hearken ye fellow misfits, migrants, outcasts, squint-eyed bibliophiles, library-haunters and book stall-stalkers: Here is a novel for you.”–The Wall Street Journal

John Keene : Counternarratives, Playland, and Grind

“In Counternarratives, John Keene undertakes a kind of literary counterarchaeology, a series of fictions that challenge our notion of what constitutes “real” or “accurate” history. His writing is at turns playful and erudite, lyric and coldly diagnostic, but always completely absorbing. Counternarratives could easily be compared to Borges or Bolaño, Calvino or Kiš.”–Jess Row; “Keene’s story collection is truly radical—in its politics, in its stylistic restlessness, in its rethinking of the myths we tell ourselves about race and sexuality in the history of the Americas”–Anthony Domestico

Vi Khi Nao : Umbilical Hospital & A Brief Alphabet of Torture

“These pieces are elaborate piecework—perforated, whip stitched, and distressed field-dressed dissections of language. Tortured? Maybe. But lusciously junked &  juxtaposed, turned inside out & every which way but…No, in every way they make way.”—Michael Martone;  “Imagine an entity composed of sheep, wheat, assholes, clitorises, stars. Why not? That would be this poem, this world — a perfectly recognizable post-human world which is also post surreal. Vi Khi Nao is making it new, no, she is doing the old job of making us see what’s already here in a new way.”.– Rae Armantrout

Micheline Aharonian Marcom : The Brick House

Micheline Aharonian Marcom’s The Brick House is a place where people dream of love and loneliness, of the world’s beauty, and of ongoing environmental degradation. Travelers confront their lives in the strange, elemental language which dreams allow for, a strangeness mirrored in the accompanying illustrations by Fowzia Karimi. Inspired by Calvino’s Invisible Cities and Kawabata’s House of Sleeping Beauties, and following in the tradition of Armenian illuminated manuscripts, The Brick House is in Rikki Ducornet’s words “Fierce, fearlessly erotic and always unforeseeable.”

Carmen Maria Machado : Her Body and Other Parties

“Cross-pollinating fairy tales, horror movies, TV shows, & a terrific sense of humor, Machado’s work reminds me at different times of such wildly divergent figures as David Lynch, Jane Campion, Maggie Nelson, & Grace Paley; which is a way of saying, Machado sounds like nobody but herself.”—John Powers, NPR “Fresh Air”; “The book abounds with fantastical premises that ring true because the intensity of sexual desire, the mutability of the body, & the realities of gender inequality make them so. These stories stand as exquisitely rendered, poignant hauntings.”—San Francisco Chronicle