The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson – Johnson’s death earlier this year from liver cancer is one of the low points of what, admittedly, has been another dark year in a series of dark years. The Largesse of the Sea Maiden, then, is the bittersweet bookend to a career that began with the majestic Jesus’ Son, a second collection of short stories we hope provides a triumphant end note to a thrilling career.
Last Stories by William Trevor – Another tremendous writer we lost, albeit last year, was William Trevor and just as with the Johnson, we have a final posthumous collection of short stories to console ourselves with, called, sadly, Last Stories. In the 10 final Trevor stories, we encounter “a tutor and his pupil, whose lives are thrown into turmoil when they meet again years later; a young girl who discovers the mother she believed dead is alive and well; and a piano-teacher who accepts her pupil’s theft in exchange for his beautiful music,” amongst others. We can’t wait.
Alone by Chaboute – We loved Chaboute’s almost wordless English language debut (!), The Park Bench, and we have high hopes for his tale of a hermit lighthouse keeper whose solitary existence is eventually disrupted by an inquisitive boatman who “starts asking the questions all others have avoided, [unleashing] a chain of events… that will irrevocably upend the hermit’s solitary life…”
Pops by Michael Chabon – This latest, slim “collection of essays—heartfelt, humorous, insightful, wise—on the meaning of fatherhood, anchored by the viral sensation, “My Son, The Prince of Fashion”…illuminates the meaning, magic, and mysteries of fatherhood”, and follows in the footsteps of Chabon’s earlier book on fatherhood, Manhood for Amateurs, which we remember liking a great deal when it first appeared back in 2012.
Imagine Wanting Only This by Kristen Radtke – A haunting graphic memoir. “After the sudden death of a beloved uncle, Kristen becomes obsessed with abandoned places – derelict Midwestern mining towns, an Icelandic village preserved in volcanic ash, Cambodian temples reclaimed by jungle. At the same time, she examines what it means to be an artist, to be hungry for the next experience, to be always in transit.” The Atlantic said the book, “fuses existential prose and breathtaking illustration…”
You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld – The author of Sisterland and American Wife is back, and this time she’s gifting us a book of short stories. Here’s what the publicity has to say: “Throughout the ten stories in You Think It, I’ll Say It, Sittenfeld upends assumptions about class, relationships, and gender roles in a nation that feels both adrift and viscerally divided. In “The World Has Many Butterflies,” married acquaintances play a strangely intimate game with devastating consequences. In “Vox Clamantis in Deserto,” a shy Ivy League student learns the truth about a classmate’s seemingly enviable life. In “A Regular Couple,” a high-powered lawyer honeymooning with her husband is caught off guard by the appearance of the girl who tormented her in high school. And in “The Prairie Wife,” a suburban mother of two fantasizes about the downfall of an old friend whose wholesome-lifestyle empire may or may not be built on a lie…”
The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer – We loved Wolitzer’s last book, The Interestings, published back in 2013 and we’ve been looking forward to her latest for what feels like ages. The Female Persuasion is “a big, electric, multilayered novel about women and power and the three intense relationships that determine the course of one young woman’s life.” Which equates to 464 pages of a good time.
In the Pines by Erik Kriek – If you read and enjoyed Reinhardt Kleist’s graphic biography of Nick Cave, you’ll be sure to get something of a kick out of In the Pines, a graphic rendition of the kinds of murder ballads we know that Cave himself greatly enjoys.
Transcription by Kate Atkinson – All we know about this so far is: “Transcription is a bravura novel of extraordinary power and substance. Juliet Armstrong is recruited as a young woman by an obscure wartime department of the Secret Service. In the aftermath of war she joins the BBC, where her life begins to unravel, and she finally has to come to terms with the consequences of idealism.”
Outside Looking In by TC Boyle – Even semi regular readers of Bookmunch will know that we worship at the shrine of TC Boyle and have done for over 20 years. All we know about the latest novel so far is what Boyle has told us over at his blog: “The book is set in the early days of LSD, 1962-64, with a Prelude set in Basel in 1943 on the day that would become celebrated as Bicycle Day, with a Postlude set in that same Swiss city in 1968. I hope to finish and deliver by the end of the year, so we could see it in print late next year or early the following year…” We. Cannot. Wait.
Tomorrow: Newbies from Zadie Smith, Lorrie Moore, Barbara Demick, Rachel Kushner, Otessa Moshfegh and more.