It’s starting to feel like fall, and along with the changing leaves comes an impressive new crop of books. Here are ten fresh debuts we can’t wait to curl up with this season.
Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle
John Darnielle, of popular band The Mountain Goats, has written a novel, and editor Andrew just loved it. The hermetic narrator Sean spends most of his life creating a role-playing game that his clients play through the mail. But he is forced to confront reality when tragedy befalls two of the game’s most fanatic fans. In his upcoming review, Andrew writes: “ . . . through deft construction and well-earned empathy, Darnielle has crafted a memorable character who is guided through the darkest patches of his life by an inner intensity that burns like a magnesium flare.”
Wallflowers by Eliza Robertson
Eliza Robertson’s debut story collection, Wallflowers, is out mid-September. This young Canadian author has already garnered wide acclaim, and with good reason. The seventeen stories in this thick collection are exquisitely crafted worlds. In the opening story, a teenage girl finds herself alone, the only one in her neighborhood to survive a flood. In another story, Robertson focuses on the fiery, complicated relationship between two roommates. Editor Arielle thoroughly enjoyed this collection. In her upcoming review, Arielle comments: “As a whole, the collection stands as evidence of a truly great new literary talent with a handle on craft, character and subtlety. Robertson can handle the quick turn as well as she can build the slow burn.”
Doll Palace by Sara Lippmann
We loved Dock Street Press’s second release Naked Me by Christian Winn, and we are eagerly awaiting the next book from this new publisher: Doll Palace by Sara Lippmann. This is Lippmann’s debut story collection, but you can sneak a peak at her writing in Joyland, Wigleaf, and SmokeLong Quarterly, among other lit mags. Rachel Sherman, author of Living Room and The First Hunt, has said of Lippmann: “Her female characters see motherhood, womanhood and self-hood through a raw and funny lens: I am about to cry, when I laugh.”
The Wilds by Julia Elliott
Julia Elliott’s The Wilds is the perfect October book. According to the Publishers Weekly starred review, “Elliott’s gift of vernacular is remarkable, and her dark, modern spin on Southern Gothic creates tales that surprise, shock, and sharply depict vice and virtue.”
By Light We Knew Our Names by Anne Valente
We are beyond excited about By Light We Knew Our Names, Anne Valente’s debut short story collection, out from Dzanc Books. The collection features an all-woman fight club, ghosts, and pink dolphins. We are so there. If you can’t wait until October 14 to be introduced to Valente’s stories, check out her chapbook from Origami Zoo Press.
Thrown by Kerry Howley
Essayist Kerry Howley closely followed the lives of two cage fighters for three years. Thrown is the miraculous result: a serious, literary, and entertaining work of nonfiction. John D’Agata said, of the book: “Out of the dank basements and glitzy arenas of a brutal sport, Kerry Howley has created a story that is virtuous, rapturous, and utterly consequential.” This one is not to be missed.
Women by Chloe Caldwell
Women, Chloe Caldwell’s elegant, palm-sized novella is, in the words of publisher SF/LD Books, “about falling in love with a woman, about loving women, about being a woman.” Caldwell has already published an essay collection and has a strong fan base. Elisa Albert, author of The Book of Dahlia, said: “I’ll read anything Chloe Caldwell writes. She’s a rare bird: fearless, dark, prolific, unpretentious, and truly honest.”
Our Secret Life in the Movies by Michael McGriff & J. M. Tyree
We’re kind of in love with new indie publisher A Strange Object. Their imprint launched with Kelly Luce’s Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail (which we also reviewed), and Our Secret Life in the Movies by Michael McGriff and J. M. Tyree will be their second title. This collection of stories centers on the lives of two boys in the ‘80s, and is inspired by the pop culture of the times and movies from many eras.
Fire Year: Stories by Jason K. Friedman
We just can’t get enough of Sarabande’s books. Jason K. Friedman’s debut story collection Fire Year won the 2012 Mary McCarthy Prize, selected by Salvatore Scibona, who said of the author: “Love, lust, religious tradition, the new South, the transcendent promise of faith, the liberating hope of sexual awakening – he twists all of them together here in stories as true to our goofy joys as to our deepest intuitions.”
The Maggot People by Henning Koch
Dzanc has a lot of amazing books out this fall. The title of Henning Koch’s debut novel The Maggot People is more literal than you might expect: in the world of this book, there are, in fact, people with bodies made of maggots, but who still have functional brains. Need we say more?
by Sadye Teiser