Posts Tagged ‘debut fiction’

February Book Review: Self-Portrait with Boy by Rachel Lyon

Today, we are pleased to feature a review of Self-Portrait With Boy, Rachel Lyon’s debut novel, which came out earlier this month. Our reviewer Tessa Yang writes: “With a vividly rendered setting, an emotionally turbulent narrative, and a spine-chilling dose of the paranormal, Self-Portrait with Boy has me dwelling on the dark side of creative expression and eager to see what Rachel Lyon produces next.”

Self-Portrait with Boy by Rachel Lyon

“I’ll tell you how it started. With a simple, tragic accident. The click of a shutter and a grown man’s beast-like howl.” With these opening lines, Rachel Lyon pulls us into a fast-paced and haunting narrative that dramatizes the friction between professional success and personal loyalty. When does art become exploitative? To what does the emerging artist owe her allegiance? To community? To love? To her own aspirations, and nothing else?

Lyon’s narrator, Lu Rile, is a recent art school grad living in Brooklyn in the early 90’s. She’s got big dreams and no money—a familiar combination, but rest assured, Lyon strips the starving artist cliché of all its tired romanticism. Real estate developers are closing in on Lu’s building, a ramshackle warehouse whose artist residents have been squatting for years. The landlord’s nowhere to be found. As Lu’s expenses swell (the tenants have hired a lawyer to file a suit for legal residency, and her father needs eye surgery), she finds herself working at a ritzy day school, a 24-hour Photo, and a health food store, and stealing from the latter because she still can’t afford groceries. Read more.

17 Books We’re Looking Forward To This Year

We are beyond excited about all of the wonderful books coming out in 2017, and it was a real struggle to keep this list to just seventeen releases we are looking forward to this year. This is a list of firsts, with many notable debuts and also some first short story collections or novels from authors we are already well acquainted with. It focuses on (mostly) the first half of 2017. If you’re anything like us, it’s been tough finding things to look forward to this year. Well, this list of books is an excellent start.

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

Difficult Women, Roxane Gay’s first short story collection, was released at the very beginning of the year, and it was a great way to ring in 2017. Roxane Gay has already established herself as an editor, New York Times contributor, and the bestselling author of Ayiti, An Untamed State, and Bad Feminist. Really, she needs no introduction. We are also stoked that she is the judge for our 2017 anthology.

Publication date: January 3

Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh

The first short story collection from the ever-wonderful Ottessa Moshfegh has arrived! Her novel Eileen won the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction, and her stories have received much critical acclaim. We were honored to publish a craft essay by Moshfegh ourselves. It is high time that this collection was published and we’re so glad that it’s here.

Publication date: January 17

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Refugees is the debut short story collection from Viet Thanh Nguyen, the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The Sympathizer. One story focuses on a woman whose husband’s dementia causes him to confuse her with a former lover. Another centers on the experience of a Vietnamese refugee in San Francisco. This collection, twenty years in the making, is not to be missed.

Publication date: February 7

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Well, it happened. George Saunders, long celebrated for his speculative and funny short stories, has written a novel. Saunders starts with a historical premise and takes it into the realm of the unreal: the novel follows Willie Lincoln, President Lincoln’s son who died at eleven years old, as he navigates purgatory. We’re not gonna lie: we’re really excited about this one.

Publication date: February 14

The Idiot by Elif Batuman

The Idiot, the debut novel from New Yorker staff writer Elif Batuman, is set in the good old days of 1995. It follows protagonist Selin, whose parents are Turkish immigrants, as she navigates Harvard and Europe. This worldly novel about self-discovery is on our spring reading list.

Publication date: March 14


Wait Till You See Me Dance by Deb Olin Unferth

2017 seems to be the year of the debut collection, and we could not be more stoked about that. Wait Till You See Me Dance—the first short story collection from Unferth, the author of Minor Robberies, Vacation, and Revolution: The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War—will be released by Graywolf Press in late March.

Publication date: March 21

Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett

Rabbit Cake is Annie Hartnett’s first novel, out from Tin House in March. It is written from the point of view of a twelve-year-old girl named Elvis whose mother has just died of drowning while sleepwalking, and whose sister suffers from the same dangerous somnambulism. Set in Alabama, this sad and charming debut depicts the strangeness of life through a fresh and unique set of eyes.

Publication date: March 7