Richard McGuire’s HERE is an astounding graphic novel, a singular work in the medium. Charting the events occurring in a single spot--here--over the course of millennia, McGuire ingeniously overlays images from various epochs, creating a dreamlike tableau that alters the way time is perceived. Just open it up and take a look. Perfect for fans of Chris Ware, or any reader seeking out the unusual.
Quiet. Haunting. Surreal. The stories that make up Guadalupe Nettel’s collection NATURAL HISTORIES are subtle, yet they stay with you long after reading. The simplest way to describe these stories is to say they are about the relationships we have with one another and the animals in our lives, but that’s selling them short. Very short. Nettel’s characters are often found at moments of emotional distress. The way we act, behave, and treat ourselves in these instances says a lot about human nature. Is Nettel writing about human nature or animal nature? Or is she writing about the animal inside each of us? In any case, characters have epiphanies with the help of their animal counterparts. In “The Marriage of a Red Fish,” a woman witnesses the collapse of her marriage through the lens of a pair of Siamese fighting fish, whose fatal cohabitation reflects the actions of the husband and wife. Other stories are more subtle and perverse, exploring how the natural world dictates our lives. The English speaking world will be able to read her memoir THE BODY WHERE I WAS BORN in 2015. Additionally, this November, Nettel was awarded Anagrama’s prestigious Herralde Prize, whose past winners include Roberto Bolaño and Álvaro Enrigue. I am excited to read everything by this author.
What would David Foster Wallace’s legacy have become if depression hadn’t taken him from the literary world in 2008? It’s one of those impossible questions, of course, but leafing through THE DAVID FOSTER WALLACE READER, you get a full sense of not only the magnitude of his absence, but also the breadth of work he left behind.
People often paint Wallace as a forbidding brainiac—crafter of footnotes and dense sentences—but this new compendium reminds you how limber he was, skilled with different forms and tones. Here, you’ll find the exuberant comedy of THE BROOM OF THE SYSTEM, the anger of BRIEF INTERVIEWS WITH HIDEOUS MEN, the sad humanity of OBLIVION. Then, of course, you’ll find the nonfiction: classic essays about state fairs and cruise ships, but also never-before-published syllabi from Wallace’s decades of teaching.
Finally, there’s the mind-boggling centerpiece of his career, INFINITE JEST, a novel of astonishing range and tonal complexity, of which THE DAVID FOSTER WALLACE READER presents excerpts. Have you read it already? Relive the experience with these selections. Haven’t tackled it yet? Let these snapshots of Wallace’s masterpiece act as a primer, and let this collection as a whole acquaint you—or reacquaint you—with the work of America’s most important contemporary author.
If you hate poetry because it’s boring and weird, buy this book. Before giving up chasing skirts for writing poems, David Tomas Martinez grew up in San Diego, running with a gang and enlisting in the Navy. Honest, present, and open, HUSTLE is a collection of poems full of stories you go to bars to hear. From “The Only Mexican” to “Midterm Answers for English B,” Martinez reminds me that those weird, dirty teen years are always worth revisiting.
Young Mark Dostert was an idealist. On a church mission trip, he visited with inmates at a Chicago juvenile detention facility and felt
as if he made a positive impact. After college, he returned to the prison as a guard hoping to help again. This experience was far more
complicated. Smart and passionate, Dostert approaches this complicated story with humility and discovers the limitations and possibilities of