Rebecca Makkai, whose stories have appeared in four consecutive editions of The Best American Short Stories, discusses her much-anticipated story collection Music for Wartime. A reality show producer manipulates two contestants into falling in love, even as her own relationship falls apart. A young boy has a revelation about his father’s past when a renowned Romanian violinist plays a concert in their home. A composer records the folk songs of two women from a village on the brink of destruction. These stories—some inspired by her own family history—demonstrate Makkai’s extraordinary range as a storyteller, and confirm her as a master of the short story form.
An intrepid voyage out to the frontiers of the latest thinking about love, language, and family. Maggie Nelson binds her personal experience, the story of her relationship with the fluidly-gendered artist Harry Dodge, to a rigorous exploration of what iconic theorists have said about sexuality, gender, and the vexed institutions of marriage and child-rearing. The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language, offering a firsthand account of the complexities and joys of (queer) family-making.
In a war-torn village in Eastern Europe, an American photographer captures a heart-stopping image: a young girl flying toward the lens, fleeing a fiery explosion that has engulfed her home and family. The image wins acclaim and prizes, becoming an icon for millions—and a subject of obsession for one writer, the photographer’s best friend, who has suffered a devastating tragedy of her own. In The Small Backs of Children, Lidia Yuknavitch explores the treacherous, often violent borders between war and sex, love and art. “Yuknavitch moves through narratives and structures like a literary banshee seeking a body. Fast, visceral, The Small Backs of Children is a gunshot meditation on art and violence and I couldn’t put it down.” (Vanessa Veselka, author of Zazen)
Beloved and critically-acclaimed poet, essayist and erasure artist, Mary Ruefle, talks about her life as an artist, her approach to poetry, the questions she comes back to, and the artists that influence her. Ruefle is the author of ten books of poetry, the collected lectures Madness, Rack & Honey, a book of prose, a comic book, and the erasure, A Little White Shadow.
A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space. Only a handful of survivors remain . . .Five thousand years later, their progeny—seven distinct races now three billion strong—embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown . . .to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth. Neal Stephenson combines science, philosophy, psychology, & literature in a magnificent work of speculative fiction that offers a portrait of a future that is both extraordinary & eerily recognizable.
It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong. A gripping spy novel, an astute exploration of extreme politics, and a moving love story, The Sympathizer explores a life between two worlds and examines the legacy of the Vietnam War in literature, film, and the wars we fight today.
In Ongoingness, Sarah Manguso confronts a meticulous diary that she has kept for 25 years. “I wanted to end each day with a record of everything that had ever happened,” she explains. But this simple statement belies a terror that she might miss something important. Then Manguso became pregnant & had a child, & these Copernican events generated an amnesia that put her into a different relationship with the need to document herself amid ongoing time. Ongoingness is a spare, meditative work that stands in stark contrast to the volubility of the diary-a haunting account of mortality & impermanence, of how we struggle to find clarity in the chaos of time that rushes around & over & through us.