Like all Marlon James’s fiction, this novel explores the past—but it goes further back, to medieval Africa, while wholeheartedly embracing fantasy. There are bat-winged monsters and trans-dimensional portals; the book is the first in a trilogy, what the author calls, “an African Games of Thrones.”
The quest to deliver on behalf of someone elsealive or deadshapes Natalia Ginzburgs Voices in the Evening. Ginzburgs novel begins in the wake of World War II, in a fictional Italian village, where the 27-year-old narrator, Elsa, and her mother are returning home from her mothers doctor appointment.
Claudia Durastanti may be a new novelist as far as most Americans are concerned, but Strangers I Know is actually the Italian authors fourth novel, her first to be published in translation in America. Originally published in 2019 as La straniera in Italy, the book was a finalist for the Premio Strega.
These two very different tales share few themes beyond the nascent power of young girls and a characterization of the natural world as essential in understanding our own humanity. Where Booker Prize winner Ben Okris (The Famished Road) magically graceful environmental fairy tale is full of light and hope, Mónica Ojedas Jawbone is rife with gothic body horror and the darkness of the jungle and within ourselves.
In politics, the culture war between the woke and the unrelentingly unwoke rages on, and we might count casualties in the results of the upcoming 2022 midterm elections.
February 22, 2022 marks the release of Ultramarine, the third volume in Wayne Koestenbaums trance poem trilogy. This project, which began with The Pink Trance Notebooks (2015) and continued with Camp Marmalade (2018), is remarkable for many reasons, not least of all for the distinct tonal differences (or: colors) between the respective volumes.
The coincidence of the publication of the 2019 Seamus Heaney Poetry Prize winner Ned Dennys translation B (After Dante) of Dantes Divina Commedia, and the 700th year since the poets death in the autumn of 1321, proves suitably momentous. Coincidental, because Denny embarked on his long labour when he was 40, nel mezzo del cammin (di nostra vita), six years ago, with no thought of the anniversary; and long before the appropriately medieval and infernal plague conditions in which it has been published, Dante having died of malaria.
A Window to Zeewijk casts a shadow over conventional notions of a novel. The slim text is Maglianis first in the US, and Emanuele Petteners brief introduction terms him an original, wild author. What follows certainly bears out the claim: a sly charmer of a fiction, its pleasures delicious but out of the ordinary.
Jami Attenbergs (The Middlesteins) new memoir, I Came All This Way to Meet You: Writing Myself Home, is sort of a manifesto to the struggling writer. Well, at least it was for me. Each chapter explored the complications of pursuing creativity while getting knocked down in the process, both by the industry and by self-doubt, only to finally achieve some success and wonder what it all really means.
Stephanie Kupchynskys 1991 disappearance from her home in Greece, New York haunted the people of her home town of East Brunswick, New Jersey, a bedroom community about an hour south of Brooklyn. Kupchynskys father, Jerry, taught music at the local school. He was beloved by his students, like Rachel Rear, who played the clarinet. Rachels mother eventually married Jerry, and she became his stepdaughter and Stephanies stepsister. During that time, Stephanies disappearance remained unsolved.