As you’d imagine from the title, bats are a key element in Zachary Thomas Dodson’s intricately constructed and elaborately illustrated debut. But the book’s real spirit animal is the ouroboros: a snake eating its own tail. Built as a novel within a novel, with supporting material in the form of letters and journal pages and drawings (all reproduced here as if photocopied from an archive), Bats of the Republic follows a pair of adventurous young men, several generations apart, on similar missions.
Sloane Crosley is a familiar name to many readers of nonfiction, both for her self-deprecating essay collections and her contributions to the New York Times. Now she lends her insight and sense of humor to the world of fiction in a debut novel, The Clasp.
A large-animal veterinarian, the first female Major League pitcher, Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. Like many kids, I had a lot of far-flung ideas about what I wanted to be when I grew up. But what I really wanted to be was my older sister.
Joseph Fink claims he’s calling from a New Jersey beach. I prefer to imagine that his spotty cell reception is actually because he’s calling from a dark bunker in an undisclosed location. That somehow seems more appropriate for a co-author of Welcome to Night Vale, the new novel based on the wildly popular podcast of the same name.
Given the title of C.A. Higgins’ debut novel, Lightless, it’s fitting that so much of the tale’s enjoyment stems from how well and how long it keeps the reader in the dark.
In 2012, Claire Vaye Watkins burst onto the literary landscape with her prize-winning short story collection, Battleborn. In Gold Fame Citrus, Watkins follows through on her literary promise with an excellent novel, set in a drought-ridden California in a future that feels alarmingly near.
The challenge for an author who writes about a lonely character is to make that character interesting—and keep him that way. Happily, this is what Lori Ostlund has done in After the Parade, her sensitive and realistic tale of the excruciatingly lonely Aaron Englund. What’s intriguing about him is that he seems not to mind his loneliness. This may seem odd, for the difference between loneliness and solitude is that a person minds the former and doesn’t mind the latter. But Aaron holds his pain like a shield against a world that never had much use for him.
Life looks bleak for Mattie Wallace. Penniless and three months pregnant, she has just walked out on her deadbeat boyfriend with six trash bags in the trunk of her ’78 Malibu.
For me, the story of Sai Jinhua begins on a summery day in Shanghai. It is the final day of a trip I very much fear will be the last one that I and my husband will take with our two sons, both of whom are poised to leave on journeys that are suddenly, although hardly unexpectedly, becoming their own next chapters.
Memoirist and literary agent Bill Clegg (Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man) has now conquered the world of literary fiction with his searing debut, Did You Ever Have a Family. As a boy “wakes to the sound of sirens,” we learn that an explosion has taken the life of a bride and groom just before their wedding day. Clegg then slowly, intricately reveals the wider ramifications of this unthinkable tragedy through the eyes of more than a dozen characters.