Back in 2009, Paul Yoon's short story collection, Once the Shore, garnered much critical acclaim, kickstarting the anticipation for the publication of his first novel. That novel, Snow Hunters, arrives tomorrow, and our reviewer proclaims it to be "an introspective and moving novel to savor." Sounds like it was worth the wait! (Enter this week's contest to win a copy—along with three other novels coming out this month.) 

We were curious about which books Yoon has enjoyed reading lately, so we asked him. Here are his recommendations:

submergenceSubmergence
By J.M. Ledgard


What prompted you to read it?
The novel’s premise was too tempting to resist: A British spy is held captive by jihadist fighters in Africa while, at the same time, on the opposite side of the world, a scientist prepares to enter a submersible to study the farthest depths of the ocean. Even before getting my hands on the book, I desperately wanted to know more.


Why do you recommend it?
Because it’s not only a fierce and tender love story between two people caught in two very different worlds, but also a book that, chapter by chapter, taught me something about the world. It’s also a technical achievement, with some of the finest prose I have read in a long time.


tenthousandthingsThe Ten Thousand Things
By Maria Dermoût


What prompted you to read it?
Linda Spalding wrote a wonderful essay about this novel in the anthology, Lost Classics. I was immediately enamored by the novel’s setting: an island in Indonesia, one filled with magic and ghosts, joy and sadness. Also, the book’s publisher, NYRB, is one of my favorites.


Why do you recommend it?
For its beautiful strangeness, its unexpected twists and turns, and for the way the story is both utterly still and thunderous. Everyone has their own definition of a “timeless” book. This one, written in the late 1950s, is the one for me, the one that always stays close and is revisited often.


peripateticcoffinThe Peripatetic Coffin and Other Stories
by Ethan Rutherford


What prompted you to read it?
I met Ethan about a decade ago and have been a fan of his work for longer. Word that his first book, a story collection, was coming out this year sent a wave of excitement through the literary community.


Why do you recommend it?
I love how, on first glance, each story in this book is so different: there’s one set during the Civil War, another set in the desert sometime in the future, and another set in the confines of a suburban neighborhood. And yet they are bound by the idea of the ocean, of the vastness and the mysteries lying below the surface in all of us. I know no other story collection like this one: in its creative audacity, its sense of urgency and its heart, it feels rare and majestic.


firstfictionbannerWhat do you think, readers? Will you be checking out Snow Hunters or any of Yoon's recommendations? 

And be sure to check out our continued First Fiction Month coverage throughout August. 

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