GalleyCrush: The Renunciations

Today’s GalleyCrush is Donika Kelly’s The Renunciations, forthcoming from Graywolf Press on May 4, 2021.

Perfect pitch:The Renunciations is a book of resilience, survival, and the journey to radically shift one’s sense of self in the face of trauma.”

First lines: “I was born into a house of air, / my dad born to bear, to share, his burden.”

Big blurb: “With Donika Kelly’s signature stinging beauty, The Renunciations names acts of wounding and making, refuses to separate elemental memory from the language of human remembrance…. Kelly’s poems gather us from cliff edge to river fold, from terror to more terror, from what cannot be known to what intuition and mirrors can divine.” —Khadijah Queen

Book notes: Paperback, poetry, 104 pages.

Cover credit: Art by Lorna Simpson, design by Jeenee Lee.

Author bio: Donika Kelly is the author of The Renunciations and Bestiary, winner of the 2015 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, the 2017 Hurston/Wright Award for poetry, and the 2018 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. She teaches at the University of Iowa.

GalleyCrush: The Souvenir Museum


Today’s GalleyCrush is Elizabeth McCracken’s The Souvenir Museum, forthcoming from Ecco on April 13, 2021.

Perfect pitch: “Award-winning author Elizabeth McCracken is an undisputed virtuoso of the short story, and this new collection features her most vibrant and heartrending work to date.”

First line: “Because Jack didn’t drive—not stick, not on the left side of the road, not at all ever—Sadie piloted the rental car from the Dublin airport to the wedding, grinding gears and scraping along the greenery and—for a few miles—creeping behind a tractor on a winding road.”

Book notes: Hardcover, fiction, 256 pages.

Cover credit: Allison Saltzman

Author bio: Elizabeth McCracken is the author of seven books, including Bowlaway (Ecco, 2019) and The Giant’s House (Dial Press, 1996), which was a finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction. Her stories have appeared in Best American Short Storieswon three Pushcart Prizes, a National Magazine Award, and an O. Henry Prize. She has served on the faculty at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and currently holds the James Michener Chair for Fiction at the University of Texas at Austin.

GalleyCrush: Tributary


Today’s GalleyCrush is Carey Salerno’s Tributary, forthcoming from Persea Books on April 20, 2021.

Perfect pitch: “From the author of Shelter, ferocious poems that rail against a community’s bigotry and culture of silence.”

First lines: “It’s a drum. It’s a drum. It’s a river. It’s a drum.”

Big blurb: Tributary by Carey Salerno is a beautiful book of river, within river, against river as metaphor, as life force, as faith. Salerno skillfully oscillates within and without the river—refracting it, lifting it up to the light, and using it as a force to deconstruct family, societal, and racial failings. The speaker in these poems both denies and wants the river. In poem after poem, Salerno layers thought after thought onto the river until it overflows. A radiant dissent rises in the end. Dexterous, relentless, and edifying, these are exploding and gorgeous poems of unapologetic rebellion.” —Victoria Chang

Book notes: Poetry, paperback, 96 pages.

Cover credit: Art by Roberto Campos, design by Small Stuff.

Author bio: Carey Salerno is a poet and essayist. She is the executive director and executive editor of Alice James Books. She holds a BA from Wesleyan University and an MFA from New England College. Salerno is the author of Shelter and coeditor of Lit From Inside: 40 Years of Poetry From Alice James Books. She teaches for the University of Maine in Farmington and resides in New Jersey.

GalleyCrush: Double Trio


Today’s GalleyCrush is Nathaniel Mackey’s three-book box set, Double Trio, forthcoming from New Directions on April 6, 2021.

Perfect pitch: “For thirty-five years the poet Nathaniel Mackey has been writing a long poem of fugitive-making like no other: two elegiac, intertwined serial poems—Song of the Andoumboulou and ‘Mu’—that follow a mysterious, migrant ‘we’ through the rhythms and currents of the world with lyrical virtuosity and impassioned expectancy.”

First lines: “All alone he staggered, newly / back from Málaga. Deep strum, / bowed Maghrebi strings chorused / in back of him, the Full Moon / Double / Octet blared as well…”

Big blurb: “Still sourcing and exploring two massive, braided streams of retrospective invention—‘Mu’ and Song of the Andoumboulou—Mackey’s liturgy falls and sprays and pools in Double Trio. Bottomless, modal, modular as McCoy Tyner’s matched, augmented threes, surfaces bloomed with turbulent, recombinant bottom like Bill Dixon’s double-bassed ensembles, Double Trio doesn’t culminate: It promises.” —Fred Moten

Cover credit: Rodrigo Corral

Book notes: Poetry, paperback box set, 1,080 pages.

Author bio: Nathaniel Mackey was born in Miami, Florida, in 1947. He is the author of several books of fiction, poetry, and criticism and has received many awards for his work, including the National Book Award in Poetry for Splay Anthem (New Directions, 2006), the Stephen Henderson Award from the African American Literature and Culture Society, the Bollingen Prize, and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. Mackey is the Reynolds Price Professor of English at Duke University.

GalleyCrush: White Magic


Today’s GalleyCrush is Elissa Washuta’s White Magic, forthcoming from Tin House on April 27, 2021.

Perfect pitch: “In this collection of intertwined essays, [Elissa Washuta] writes about land, heartbreak, and colonization, about life without the escape hatch of intoxication, and about how she became a powerful witch.”

First lines: “Some girl at school once had a mood ring. We girls were quiet about it the way we were quiet about the rolled waistbands of our uniform skirts, which we concealed with the loose overhangs of tucked-in polos. Both were kinds of witchcraft the nuns forbade: spells done with sacred tools, the conjuring power of our hips.” 

Big blurb: “Elissa Washuta is exactly the writer we need right now: as funny as she is formidable a thinker, as thoughtful as she is inventive—her scrutiny is a fearless tool, every subject whittled to its truest form. White Magic is a bracingly original work that enthralled me in a hypnosis on the other side of which I was changed for the better, more likely to trust my own strange intelligence.” —Melissa Febos

Book notes: Hardcover, essays, 432 pages. 

Author bio: Elissa Washuta is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and a nonfiction writer. She is the author of My Body Is a Book of Rules and Starvation Mode. With Theresa Warburton, she is coeditor of the anthology Shapes of Native Nonfiction: Collected Essays by Contemporary Writers. She has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Capital, Artist Trust, 4Culture, and Potlatch Fund. Washuta is an assistant professor of creative writing at the Ohio State University.

GalleyCrush: Water I Won’t Touch


Today’s GalleyCrush is Kayleb Rae Candrilli’s Water I Won’t Touch, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press on April 20, 2021.

Perfect pitch: “Both radically tender and desperate for change, Water I Won’t Touch is a life raft and a self-portrait, concerned with the vitality of trans people living in a dangerous and inhospitable landscape.” 

First lines: “In the beginning, there was a boy / who touched me as he shouldn’t have.” 

Big blurb: “When I read Water I Won’t Touch, I dog-eared many pages, underlined many lines. Candrilli’s poems are intimate, nimble, glinting with tenderness and an astonishing lyricism. The physicality of violence electrifies memory, a refusal to conform and the euphoria of love sweetens the future. Language this good, this deftly composed fills me with gratitude. Candrilli is a fearless and brilliant poet.” —Eduardo C. Corral

Book notes: Poetry, paperback, 96 pages.

Author bio: Kayleb Rae Candrilli is the recipient of a Whiting Award and the author of All the Gay Saints (Saturnalia Books, 2020) and What Runs Over (YesYes Books, 2017), which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in transgender poetry and the American Book Fest Best Book Award for LGBTQ nonfiction. Their work has also appeared in Poetry, the American Poetry Review, American Poets, TriQuarterly, and Boston Review, among other publications. They live in Philadelphia.

GalleyCrush: Index of Women


Today’s GalleyCrush is Amy Gerstler’s Index of Women, forthcoming from Penguin Books on April 6, 2021.

Perfect pitch: “From a ‘maestra of invention’ (New York Times) who is at once supremely witty, ferociously smart, and emotionally raw, a new collection of poems about womanhood.” 

First lines: “So, given the document’s age and ravaged state, / it’s far from the epic we thought we’d be left / by our ancestors. Where, for example, / are the gods, floods, beasts, and prophesies? // of these women tell me.”

Book notes: Paperback, poetry, 112 pages. 

Author bio: Amy Gerstler is a writer of fiction, poetry, and journalism whose work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including the Paris Review and Best American Poetry. Her 1990 book, Bitter Angel, won the National Book Critics Circle Award.

GalleyCrush: Girlhood


Today’s GalleyCrush is Melissa Febos’s Girlhood, forthcoming from Bloomsbury Publishing on March 30, 2021.

Perfect pitch: “A gripping set of stories about the forces that shape girls and the adults they become. A wise and brilliant guide to transforming the self and our society.”

First lines: “The story went like this: I was a happy child, if also a strange one. There were griefs, but I was safe and well-loved. The age of ten or eleven—the time when my childhood became more distinctly a girlhood—marked a violent turn from this.”

Big blurb: “In this book, Febos proves herself to be one of the great documenters of the terrible and exquisite depths of girlhood. Here, that terrible and beautiful aeon is dissected, sung over, explored like ancient ruins. These essays are moss and iron—hard and beautiful—and struck through with Febos’s signature brilliance and power and grace. An essential, heartbreaking project.” —Carmen Maria Machado

Book notes: Hardcover, essays, 336 pages.

Author bio: Melissa Febos is the author of the memoirs Whip Smart and Abandon Me. Her essays have appeared in Tin House, the Believer, the New York Times, the Kenyon Review, Lenny Letter, and elsewhere. Portions from Abandon Me have won prizes from Prairie Schooner and StoryQuarterly, and have twice earned notice in the 2015 Best American Essays anthology. The recipient of fellowships from MacDowell, Ragdale, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Febos serves on the directorial board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, and is an assistant professor of creative writing at Monmouth University. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

GalleyCrush: Libertie


Today’s GalleyCrush is Kaitlyn Greenidge’s Libertie, forthcoming from Algonquin Books on March 30, 2021.

Perfect pitch: “The critically acclaimed and Whiting Award–winning author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman returns with an unforgettable story about the meaning of freedom.”

First lines: “I saw my mother raise a man from the dead. ‘It still didn’t help him much, my love,’ she told me. But I saw her do it all the same. That’s how I knew she was magic.” 

Big blurb: “Pure brilliance. So much will be written about Kaitlyn Greenidge’s Libertie—how it blends history and magic into a new kind of telling, how it spins the past to draw deft circles around our present—but none of it will measure up to the singular joy of reading this book.” —Mira Jacob

Book notes: Hardcover, fiction, 336 pages. 

Author bio: Kaitlyn Greenidge’s debut novel, We Love You, Charlie Freeman, was one of the New York Times Critics’ Top 10 Books of 2016 and a finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. She is a contributing writer for the New York Times, and her writing has also appeared in Vogue, Glamour, the Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Whiting Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Greenidge lives in Brooklyn, New York.

GalleyCrush: Festival Days


Today’s GalleyCrush is Jo Ann Beard’s Festival Days, forthcoming from Little, Brown on March 16, 2021.

Perfect pitch: “A searing and exhilarating new collection from the acclaimed author of The Boys of My Youth and In Zanesville.”

First lines: “Something happened to her while she was eating, or right afterward. She began turning in circles and couldn’t stop. In my kitchen, in my car, and then in an examining room at the vet’s office. I sat on the floor with her while the vet stood leaning against the wall, watching us. I was crying, but he ignored that.”

Book notes: Hardcover, nonfiction, 272 pages. 

Author bio: Jo Ann Beard is the author of the essay collection The Boys of My Youth and the novel In Zanesville. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Tin House, Best American Essays, and other magazines and anthologies. She has received a Whiting Award and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She teaches writing at Sarah Lawrence College.

GalleyCrush: Tethered to Stars


Today’s GalleyCrush is Fady Joudah’s Tethered to Stars, forthcoming from Milkweed Editions on March 9, 2021.

Perfect pitch: “A collection born of polyphony and the rhythms of our cosmos—intimate in its stakes, celestial in its dreams.”

First lines: “Be an owl, / not even a sunflower // turns its head / 270 degrees, // but may the need to ask me / about my darkness // never command you.” 

Praise: “In his brilliant forthcoming book, Tethered to Stars, Fady Joudah writes about the mysterious cosmos swirling with intricate linkages—as his phone is pinging. Ah, yes, Jerusalem, the Holy City! Right now, let’s call all our cities holy. Let’s hope our trees continue to communicate, whatever humans can or can’t accomplish.” —Naomi Shihab Nye in the New York Times Magazine

Book notes: Poetry, paperback, 96 pages.

Author bio: Fady Joudah is the author of four previous collections of poems, The Earth in the AtticAlightTextu, and Footnotes in the Order of Disappearance. He has translated several collections of poetry from the Arabic and is the coeditor and cofounder of the Etel Adnan Poetry Prize. He lives in Houston and practices internal medicine.

GalleyCrush: The Committed


Today’s GalleyCrush is Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Committed, forthcoming from Grove Press on March 2, 2021.

Perfect pitch: “The long-awaited new novel from one of America’s most highly regarded contemporary writers, The Committed follows the unnamed Sympathizer as he arrives in Paris in the early 1980s with his blood brother Bon. The pair try to overcome their pasts and ensure their futures by engaging in capitalism in one of its purest forms: drug dealing.”

First line: “We were the unwanted, the unneeded, and the unseen, invisible to all but ourselves.” 

Big blurb: “This follow-up to his seminal The Sympathizer is Nguyen at his most ambitious and bold. Fierce in tone, capacious, witty, sharp, and deeply researched, The Committed marks, not just a sequel to its groundbreaking predecessor, but a sum total accumulation of a life devoted to Vietnamese American history and scholarship. This novel, like all daring novels, is a Trojan Horse, whose hidden power is a treatise of global futurity in the aftermath of colonial conquest. It asks questions central both to Vietnamese everywhere—and to our very species: How do we live in the wake of seismic loss and betrayal? And, perhaps even more critically, How do we laugh?” —Ocean Vuong

Book notes: Fiction, hardcover, 368 pages.

Author bio: Viet Thanh Nguyen was born in Vietnam and raised in America. He is the author of The Sympathizer, which was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction alongside seven other prizes. He is the editor of an anthology of refugee writing, The Displaced, and also the author of the short story collection The Refugees and the nonfiction book Nothing Ever Dies, a finalist for the National Book Award. He is the Aerol Arnold Professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California and a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur foundations. He lives in Los Angeles.

GalleyCrush: The Rain Heron


Today’s GalleyCrush is Robbie Arnott’s The Rain Heron, forthcoming from FSG Originals on February 9, 2021.

Perfect pitch: “A gripping novel of myth, environment, adventure, and an unlikely friendship, from an award-winning Australian author.”

First lines: “A farmer lived, but not well. If she planted grain, it would not sprout. If she grew rice, it would rot. If she tried to raise livestock, they would gasp and choke and die before they’d seen a second dawn (or they were stillborn, often taking their mothers, which the farmer had usually bought with the last of her coins and hope, with them).”

Big blurb: The Rain Heron is a patient and rooted fable told as naturally as a tree grows. With timeless and captivating prose, Robbie Arnott has a talent for making it look easy. I was transfixed.” —Catherine Lacey

Book notes: Paperback, fiction, 288 pages. 

Author bio: Robbie Arnott is the author of the novel Flames, which won the Margaret Scott Prize, was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Prize for Fiction, the Guardian Not the Booker Prize, and the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction, and was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award. In 2019 he was named a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist. He lives in Tasmania.

GalleyCrush: Fake Accounts


Today’s GalleyCrush is Lauren Oyler’s Fake Accounts, forthcoming from Catapult on February 2, 2021.

Perfect pitch: “A woman in a post-election tailspin discovers that her boyfriend is an anonymous online conspiracy theorist in this provocative and subversive debut novel that examines social media, sex, feminism, and fiction, the connection they’ve all promised, and the lies they help us tell.”

First line: “Consensus was the world was ending, or would begin to end soon, if not by exponential environmental catastrophe then by some combination of nuclear war, the American two-party system, patriarchy, white supremacy, gentrification, globalization, data breaches, and social media.”

Big blurb: “This novel made me want to retire from contemporary reality. I loved it.” —Zadie Smith

Book notes: Hardcover, fiction, 272 pages.

Author bio: Lauren Oyler’s essays on books and culture have appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, London Review of Books, the Guardian, the Cut, the New Republic, Bookforum, and elsewhere. Born and raised in West Virginia, she now divides her time between New York City and Berlin.

GalleyCrush: Popular Longing


Today’s GalleyCrush is Natalie Shapero’s Popular Longing, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press on February 16, 2021.

Perfect pitch: “With deadpan humor, quick turns, and blunt logic, Natalie Shapero’s third collection moves nimbly between the lines of power structures—linguistic, personal, political—to expose the loneliness of our contemporary realities.” 

First lines: “Six years ago, the big museum sold eight famous paintings / to purchase, for unspecified millions, / Gustave Caillebotte’s MAN AT HIS BATH.”

Book notes: Paperback, poetry, 80 pages. 

Author bio: Natalie Shapero is a professor of the practice of poetry at Tufts University. Her most recent poetry collection is Hard Child (Copper Canyon Press, 2017), which was shortlisted for the Griffin International Poetry Prize. Her previous collection, No Object (Saturnalia Books, 2013), received the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award. Her writing has also appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times MagazinePoetry, and elsewhere, and she is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Ruth Lilly Fellowship, and a Kenyon Review Fellowship.

GalleyCrush: The Removed


Today’s GalleyCrush is Brandon Hobson’s The Removed, forthcoming from Ecco on February 16, 2021.

Perfect pitch: “Steeped in Cherokee myths and history, a novel about a fractured family reckoning with the tragic death of their son long ago—from National Book Award finalist Brandon Hobson.” 

First lines: “The day before he died, in the remote town of Quah, Oklahoma, Ray-Ray Echota rode his motorcycle down the empty stretch of highway, blowing past rain puddles and trees, a strong wind pressing against his body. He was fifteen years old.” 

Book notes: Hardcover, fiction, 288 pages. 

Author bio: Brandon Hobson is the author of the novel Where the Dead Sit Talking, which was a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award for Fiction and winner of the Reading the West Book Award. His other books include Desolation of Avenues Untold and the novella Deep Ellum. His work has appeared in the Believer, Conjunctions, McSweeney’s, NOON, and the Paris Review Daily, among other publications. He is an assistant professor of creative writing at New Mexico State University and teaches in the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Hobson is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation Tribe of Oklahoma.

GalleyCrush: Land of Big Numbers


Today’s GalleyCrush is Te-Ping Chen’s Land of Big Numbers, forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on February 2, 2021.

Perfect pitch: “A debut collection from an extraordinary new talent that vividly gives voice to the men and women of modern China and its diaspora.” 

First lines: “The hour of our birth had been carefully forecast, a winter’s day cesarean timed to coincide with Dr. Feng’s lunch break. The doctor pulled me out first, indignant, squalling, like a hotel guest inexpertly roused and tossed before checkout. She came next, and was so perfectly quiet that at first they worried she wasn’t breathing at all.”

Big blurb: “A spectacular work, comic, timely, profound. Te-Ping Chen has a superb eye for detail in a China where transformation occurs simultaneously too fast and too slow for lives in pursuit of meaning in a brave new world. Her characters are achingly alive. It’s rare to read a collection so satisfying, where every story adds to a gripping and intricate world.” —Madeleine Thien

Book notes: Paperback, fiction, 256 pages. 

Author bio: Te-Ping Chen’s fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in the New Yorker, Granta, Guernica, Tin House, and BOMB. A reporter with the Wall Street Journal, she was previously a correspondent for the paper in Beijing and Hong Kong. Prior to joining the Journal in 2012, she spent a year in China as a Fulbright fellow. She lives in Philadelphia.  

GalleyCrush: 100 Boyfriends


Today’s GalleyCrush is Brontez Purnell’s 100 Boyfriends, forthcoming from MCD x FSG Originals on February 2, 2021.

Perfect pitch: “An irreverent, sensitive, and inimitable look at gay dysfunction through the eyes of a cult hero.”

First lines: “I woke up alarmed. I didn’t know where I was at first. It was that feeling of waking up someplace foreign and being like, ‘What the fuck?!’ But then you look to the left and you’re like, ‘Oh, wait, that handsome guy.’”

Big blurb: “Each story in 100 Boyfriends is a minor eclipse: stunning in scope, technically blinding, and entirely miraculous. I laughed and I cried and I laughed until I cried—Brontez Purnell is a marvel.” —Bryan Washington

Book notes: Paperback, fiction, 192 pages. 

Author bio: Brontez Purnell is a writer, musician, dancer, filmmaker, and performance artist. He is the author of a graphic novel, a novella, a children’s book, and the novel Since I Laid My Burden Down (Amethyst Editions, 2017). The recipient of a 2018 Whiting Award for Fiction, he was one of thirty-two authors featured in “Black Male Writers for Our Time” in T: The New York Time Style Magazine. Purnell is also the front man for the band the Younger Lovers, a cofounder of the experimental dance group the Brontez Purnell Dance Company, the creator of the renowned cult zine Fag School, and the director of several short films, music videos, and the documentary Unstoppable Feat: The Dances of Ed Mock. He lives in Oakland.

GalleyCrush: The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us From the Void


Today’s GalleyCrush is Jackie Wang’s The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us From the Void, illustrated by Kalan Sherrard and forthcoming from Nightboat Books on January 26, 2021.

Perfect pitch: “A magnetic and spellbinding debut poetry collection that speaks in the language of dreams.”

First lines: “All I remember is the coppiced terrain I crossed to find a house to rest in. Who is the woman lurking in the woods? A fellow traveler. I’m not used to seeing others. She is lost and I am lost but the difference is she is a novice at being lost, whereas I have always been without country.”

Big blurb: “Jackie Wang’s new book asks questions that rotate/fluoresce against a backdrop or foreground of ceremonial apprenticeship, like sunflowers or the memories of sunflowers. In this other world, ‘survivor trauma’ is experienced by creatures and non-creatures alike. I was so moved by the mixtures of writing I encountered here: the ‘map’ of a dream, but also the notebooks that ‘fill up,’ not always in the English of waking time. ‘I want to write you without writing over you. I have something to tell you,’ the speaker says, with the delicacy and directness of a sentence written directly on the skin. Kalan Sherrard’s illustrations echo this way of marking the page: a mode of companionship and witness in a book that did not end because it did not begin. Is this what it feels like to be a person?” —Bhanu Kapil

Book notes: Paperback, poetry, 120 pages. 

Author bio: Jackie Wang is a PhD candidate in the department of African and African American studies at Harvard University, specializing in race and the political economy of prisons and police in the United States. She is the author of a number of punk zines including On Being Hard Femme, as well as a collection of dream poems titled Tiny Spelunker of the Oneiro-Womb. In 2018 she published Carceral Capitalism—a book on the racial, economic, political, legal, and technological dimensions of the U.S. carceral state—with Semiotext(e). She is currently an Arleen Carlson and Edna Nelson Graduate Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

GalleyCrush: Reel Bay


Today’s GalleyCrush is Jana Larson’s Reel Bay: A Cinematic Essay, forthcoming from Coffee House Press on January 19, 2021.

Perfect pitch: “Equal parts memoir, mystery, reclaimed screenplay, and travelogue, Reel Bay charts Jana Larson’s unusual journey toward understanding another woman’s life.”

First lines: “If this book were a film, it would open on the black-and-white image of a woman walking alone on a snow-covered road. She is seen from a distance, a dark impression against a frozen backdrop of wheat fields covered in white.”

Big blurb: “I have no idea what the hell this book is—in the best way—except that it’s obsessive and dazzling as it spawns and splits fictions and nonfictions. Expect to be dizzied. Reel Bay vibrates with strangeness.” —Ander Monson

Book notes: Paperback, nonfiction, 296 pages.

Author bio: Jana Larson holds an MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Hamline University, an MFA in filmmaking from the University of California in San Diego, and a BA in anthropology from the University of California in Santa Cruz. As a filmmaker, she has received awards from the Princess Grace Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board and shown her work at festivals and the Walker Art Center. She lives in Minneapolis. 

GalleyCrush: Craft in the Real World


Today’s GalleyCrush is Matthew Salesses’s Craft in the Real World, forthcoming from Catapult on January 19, 2021.

Perfect pitch: “A groundbreaking resource for fiction writers, teachers, and students, this manifesto and practical guide challenges current models of craft and the writing workshop by showing how they fail marginalized writers, and how cultural expectations inform storytelling.”

First lines: “This book is a challenge to accepted models of craft and workshop, to everything from a character-driven plot to the ‘cone of silence,’ or ‘gag rule,’ that in a creative writing workshop silences the manuscript’s author. The challenge is this: to take craft out of some imaginary vacuum (as if meaning in fiction is separate from meaning in life) and return it to its cultural and historical context.” 

Big blurb: “This book is a gift to those writers who’ve felt the tilt of imbalanced power in a workshop, who’ve wondered whose rules they’re following when they write and why, who’ve struggled to tell their stories within a narrow and restrictive tradition. With empathy and keen insight, Matthew Salesses delivers an unflinching critique of the pedagogy of creative writing’s old guard—and models a way of studying and communicating craft that is self-aware, socially engaged, and thrillingly alive.” —Alexandra Kleeman

Book notes: Paperback, nonfiction, 256 pages. 

Author bio: Matthew Salesses is the author of three novels, Disappear Doppelgänger DisappearThe Hundred-Year Flood, and I’m Not Saying, I’m Just Saying, and a forthcoming essay collection. He was adopted from Korea and currently lives in Iowa.

GalleyCrush: Detransition, Baby


Today’s GalleyCrush is Torrey Peters’s Detransition, Baby, forthcoming from One World on January 12, 2021.

Perfect pitch: “A whipsmart debut about three women—transgender and cisgender—whose lives collide after an unexpected pregnancy forces them to confront their deepest desires around gender, motherhood, and sex.”

First lines: “The question, for Reese: Were married men just desperately attractive to her? Or was the pool of men who were available to her as a trans woman only those who had already locked down a cis wife and could now ‘explore’ with her?”

Big blurb: Detransition, Baby is emotionally generous, richly textured, and deeply intelligent—a vibrant and kaleidoscopic portrait of complicated women and their colliding lives.” —Claire Lombardo

Book notes: Hardcover, fiction, 352 pages. 

Author bio: Torrey Peters is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. She is the author of two novellas, Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones and The Masker. She also holds an MFA from the University of Iowa and a master’s in comparative literature from Dartmouth.

GalleyCrush: Stay Safe


Today’s GalleyCrush is Emma Hine’s Stay Safe, forthcoming from Sarabande Books on January 5, 2021.

Perfect pitch: “At the center of this stellar collection are three imaginative sisters who have grown up in a world colored by loss and anticipatory grief, painting their lives with great swathes of anxiety and sadness.”

First lines: “Sometimes when I tell it they fall / and their parents find them twitching / like wrens on the flagstones, grieving / over wings that didn’t work. Oh well.”

Big blurb: “Simply said: this is the renewable energy we’ve been waiting for. So attuned are these poems to their introspective nature and terrors of the self, their wild narratives, and linguistic spells, this book begins to feel like its own solar farm: each page, a panel of skyshine and wonderments.” —Major Jackson

Book notes: Paperback, poetry, 72 pages. 

Author bio: Emma Hine is a poet, writer, and freelance editor. Her debut poetry collection, Stay Safe, received the Kathryn A. Morton Prize and is forthcoming from Sarabande Books in January 2021. Poems from this collection have recently appeared or are forthcoming in 32 Poems, Colorado ReviewCopper Nickel, the Missouri Review, the Offing, the Paris Review, and the Southern Review, among others. Her essays have also been published in Guernica and Poets & Writers Magazine.

GalleyCrush: Crosshairs


Today’s GalleyCrush is Catherine Hernandez’s Crosshairs, forthcoming from Atria Books on December 8, 2020.

Perfect pitch: “The author of the acclaimed novel Scarborough weaves an unforgettable and timely dystopian tale about a near-future, where a queer Black performer and his allies join forces to rise up when an oppressive regime gathers those deemed ‘Other’ into concentration camps.” 

First lines: “Evan. My beautiful Evan. Here in the darkness of this hiding place, I write you these words. Without paper, without pen, I trace these words in my head, along the perimeter of your outline.”

Big blurb: “Catherine Hernandez is groundbreaking. Her talent is remarkable. I dare you not to cry or scream or marvel or, like me, do all at once while reading this book. This story is a masterpiece of voice and metaphor, image and embodiment. But it is also a perfectly crafted portrait of us now, of us then, of the us we hope to be. I love this book, this big, bright missive that not only breaks the ground, but that gifts us with the steps to take in order to get to the other side, together.” —Cherie Dimaline

Book notes: Hardcover, fiction, 272 pages.

Author bio: Catherine Hernandez is a proud queer woman of color, radical mother, theater practitioner, award-winning author, and the artistic director of b current Performing Arts and the Sulong Theatre. She is of Filipino, Spanish, Chinese, and Indian heritage, and she is married into the Navajo Nation. She is the author of the plays Singkil and Kilt Pins, the children’s book M Is for Mustache: A Pride ABC Book, and the novel Scarborough.

GalleyCrush: The Freezer Door


Today’s GalleyCrush is Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s The Freezer Door, forthcoming from Semiotext(e) on December 8, 2020. Editor’s Note: This book’s publication date has been changed to November 24, 2020.

Perfect pitch: A meditation on the trauma and possibility of searching for connection in a world that enforces bland norms of gender, sexual, and social conformity.

First line: “One problem with gentrification is that it always gets worse.”

Big blurb: “Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore puts sex and gender, suffering and gentrification, encounter and solitude, at the center of a book that defies borders and uses language to dive directly into mystery. I admire Sycamore’s gossamer refusal ever to land anywhere definitive; the sentences travel further and further into trauma’s backyard, where complex ideas find a habitat among the simplest formulations. Sycamore, by breathing into the prose, treats the act of book-building as a practice strange and organic as sleeping, walking, bathing, eating. The Freezer Door delves into the philosophy of the sexual meeting place with a virtually unprecedented aplomb.” —Wayne Koestenbaum

Book notes: Paperback, nonfiction, 264 pages.

Author bio: Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is the author of three novels and a memoir, and the editor of five nonfiction anthologies. Her memoir, The End of San Francisco, won a Lambda Literary Award, and her anthology, Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform, was an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book. Her novel Sketchtasy was one of NPR’s Best Books of 2018. She lives in Seattle.

GalleyCrush: Harmada


Today’s GalleyCrush is João Gilberto Noll’s Harmada, translated from the Portuguese by Edgar Garbelotto, forthcoming from Two Lines Press on November 10, 2020. 

Perfect pitch: A mythic tale of art and displacement nimbly translated from Portuguese by Edgar Garbelotto, Harmada serves as yet another reminder of João Gilberto Noll’s sublime literary power: generous in its mystery; earthbound in its essential urges; and entirely unpredictable.

First lines: “Nobody sees me here. I can lie down on the ground at last, and delight in the earth that has turned to mud after the storm.”

Book notes: Paperback, fiction, 168 pages. 

Author bio: João Gilberto Noll (1946–2017) was the author of nearly twenty books. His work appeared in Brazil’s leading periodicals, and he was a guest of the Rockefeller Foundation, King’s College London, and the University of California in Berkeley, as well as a Guggenheim fellow. A five-time recipient of the Prêmio Jabuti, and the recipient of more than ten awards in all, he died in Porto Alegre, Brazil, at the age of seventy.  

Translator bio: Edgar Garbelotto is a writer and translator born in Brazil and based in the United States for the past twenty years. His translation of João Gilberto Noll’s novel Lord was published by Two Lines Press in 2019. His work has appeared in the Kenyon Review Online, Asymptote, Ninth Letter, Little Patuxent Review, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois. Terra Incognita, written in both Portuguese and English, is his debut novel.

GalleyCrush: Fugitive Atlas


Today’s GalleyCrush is Khaled Mattawa’s Fugitive Atlas, forthcoming from Graywolf Press on October 20, 2020.

Perfect pitch: Fugitive Atlas is a sweeping, impassioned account of refugee crises, military occupations, and ecological degradation, an acute and probing journey through a world in upheaval.

First lines: “Evening coffee, and my mother salts / her evening broth—not equanimity / but the nick of her wrist— // and my mother bakes bread, / and my mother hobbles, knees locked, / and my mother carries the soft stones of her years.”

Big blurb: “Khaled Mattawa’s arresting, dynamic new collection, Fugitive Atlas, maps and confronts the aftermath of the Arab Spring and the global refugee crisis through a wide range of speakers and rich braiding of forms, and the urgency of scope expands to include all of us.” —Arthur Sze

Book notes: Paperback, poetry, 152 pages. 

Author bio: Khaled Mattawa is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Tocqueville (New Issues, 2010), and is the translator of nine books of contemporary Arabic poetry, including Saadi Youssef’s Without an Alphabet, Without a Face (Graywolf Press, 2002).

GalleyCrush: Cardinal


Today’s GalleyCrush is Tyree Daye’s Cardinal, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press on October 6, 2020. 

Perfect pitch: Tyree Daye’s Cardinal is a generous atlas that serves as a poetic “Green Book”—the travel-cum-survival guide for black motorists negotiating racist America in the mid-twentieth century.

First lines: “the North Star is irrelevant / miles and miles above my head / I don’t want constellations any nearer / I know there are whole cities all over this country / so bright you can’t see the stars / the sky no wider than the heart is wide.” 

Book notes: Paperback, poetry, 72 pages. 

Author bio: Tyree Daye is a poet from Youngsville, North Carolina. He is the author of the poetry collection River Hymns, which won the 2017 APR/Honickman First Book Prize and was a finalist for the 2019 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. A 2017 Ruth Lilly finalist and Cave Canem fellow, Daye has published work in Prairie Schooner, Nashville Review, and the New York Times. He won the 2019 Palm Beach Poetry Festival Langston Hughes Fellowship and the 2019 Diana and Simon Raab Writer-In-Residence at the University of California in Santa Barbara, and was recently awarded a 2019 Whiting Award and a 2019 Ragin Rubin Award.

GalleyCrush: The Hole


Today’s GalleyCrush is Hiroko Oyamada’s The Hole, translated from the Japanese by David Boyd, forthcoming from New Directions on October 6, 2020.

Perfect pitch: Winner of the Akutagawa Prize, The Hole is by turns reminiscent of Lewis Carroll, David Lynch, and My Neighbor Totoro, but is singularly unsettling.

First lines: “I moved out here with my husband. We’d found out about his transfer at the end of May. His new office was going to be in the same prefecture, but far from where he’d been working. A local branch office out in the country.”

Book notes: Paperback, fiction, 112 pages. 

Author bio: Born in Hiroshima in 1983, Hiroko Oyamada won the Shincho Prize for New Writers for The Factory (New Directions, 2019), which was drawn from her experiences working as a temp for an automaker’s subsidiary. 

Translator bio: David Boyd is an assistant professor of Japanese at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte.

GalleyCrush: Memorial


Today’s GalleyCrush is Bryan Washington’s Memorial, forthcoming from Riverhead Books on October 6, 2020. 

Perfect pitch: “What happens when a love story collides with the limits of love—and everyone has an opinion?”

First line: “Mike’s taking off for Osaka, but his mother’s flying into Houston.” 

Big blurb: “This book, in what feels like a new vision for the twenty-first century novel, made me happy.” —Ocean Vuong

Book notes: Hardcover, fiction, 320 pages. 

Author bio: Bryan Washington is a National Book Award 5 Under 35 honoree and the author of the story collection, Lot. He has written for the New Yorker, the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, Vulture, the Paris Review, Tin House, One Story, Bon Appétit, GQ, the Awl, Catapult, and Buzzfeed. He lives in Houston.

GalleyCrush: Love After the End


Today’s GalleyCrush is Love After the End: An Anthology of Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer Speculative Fiction, edited by Joshua Whitehead, forthcoming from Arsenal Pulp Press on September 22, 2020.  

Perfect pitch: A bold and breathtaking anthology of queer Indigenous speculative fiction, edited by the author of Jonny Appleseed.

First lines: “I am Abacus. Rat. A tool. Designed. Crafted. Created. An engineered bio-computing AI.” 

Big blurb: “The so-called end times feel so perilously close right now. With such a cacophony of anxiety, despair, and cynicism bearing down on us, it is sometimes easy to forget that Indigenous peoples have been here before, and we still remain to uphold our responsibilities to the world and to one another. Our stories guide us forward into an ever-uncertain future, just as they guide us back home. And as editor Joshua Whitehead affirms in the introduction, Love After the End is a book we need right now—and well beyond the now. The stories here are difficult, they’re beautiful, they’re hilarious and sad and frightening and hopeful. But more than all of that, they guide us back to ourselves and to our relations on a shimmering trail of song and stardust.” —Daniel Heath Justice

Book notes: Paperback, fiction, 224 pages. 

Author bio: Joshua Whitehead is an Oji-nêhiyaw, Two-Spirit (2SQ) member of Peguis First Nation (Treaty 1) in manitowapow. He is the author of the novel Jonny Appleseed (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2018), which won a Lambda Literary Award, and the poetry collection full-metal indigiqueer (Talonbooks, 2017). He was also the winner of the Governor General’s History Award for the Indigenous Arts and Stories Challenge in 2016.

GalleyCrush: Hotel Almighty


Today’s GalleyCrush is Sarah J. Sloat’s Hotel Almighty, forthcoming from Sarabande Books on September 15, 2020. 

Perfect pitch: Visually arresting and utterly one-of-a-kind, Sarah J. Sloat’s Hotel Almighty is a book-length erasure of pages from Misery by Stephen King, a reimagining of the novel’s themes of constraint and possibility in elliptical, enigmatic poems.

First lines: “A little voice / was caught / in / a / Well.” 

Big blurb: “Sarah J. Sloat’s erasure-collages create intimate and intricate pairings that ricochet back and forth between text and image. In one, a picture of a giant hand tenderly touching a tiny telephone speaks to the page’s mournful question, ‘If I could be / A dim shape slumped over / and round / Would that be so bad?’ In another, the erased text (‘The sound of the wind filled the phone / squeezing into the line / like a nerve awake at night’) is translated into red stitches approaching, then encircling a tree. Hotel Almighty is a marvel.” —Matthea Harvey

Book notes: Paperback, poetry, 112 pages. 

Author bio: Sarah J. Sloat splits her time between Frankfurt and Barcelona, where she works as a news editor. Her poetry, collage, and prose have appeared in the Offing, West Branch, Sixth Finch, DIAGRAM, and the Journal. Sarah is the author of five poetry chapbooks, including Heiress to a Small Ruin (Dancing Girl Press, 2016) and Excuse me while I wring this long swim out of my hair (Dancing Girl Press, 2011).

GalleyCrush: Be Holding


Today’s GalleyCrush is Ross Gay’s Be Holding, forthcoming from the University of Pittsburgh Press on September 8, 2020.

Perfect pitch: “Through a kind of lyric research, or lyric meditation, Ross Gay connects Dr. J’s famously impossible move from the 1980 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers to pickup basketball and the flying Igbo and the Middle Passage, to photography and surveillance and state violence, to music and personal histories of flight and familial love.”

First lines: “You might have noticed there’s nowhere to go, / the wind cutting little eddies // at your collarbones / and behind your ear.”

Big blurb: “This book-length poem is a voice’s drive down center court. At once record, collage, group photograph, dance, and archive, Be Holding reveals a multifaceted intimacy and lyricism within the history of a game, tracing how this history is interconnected with the saga of our country. Ross Gay has once again proven himself one of our greatest poets.” —Claudia Rankine

Book notes: Paperback, poetry, 80 pages. 

Author bio: Ross Gay teaches poetry at Indiana University and is the author of the poetry collections Against Which, Bringing the Shovel Down, Lace and Pyrite: Letters From Two Gardens (with Aimee Nezhukumatathil), River (with Rose Wehrenberg), Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, and the essay collection The Book of Delights.

GalleyCrush: Pink Mountain on Locust Island


Today’s GalleyCrush is Jamie Marina Lau’s Pink Mountain on Locust Island, forthcoming from Coffee House Press on September 8, 2020.

Perfect pitch: “Blending digital fever dream and hard-boiled noir in bursts of claustrophobic prose, Pink Mountain on Locust Island follows a teenager and her maybe-boyfriend into the seedy corners of the art world.”

First line: “On television a panther slicking its black limbs through paradise trees. Holy moly, look at this fur.”

Big blurb: “Visceral, restless, and edgy, while soulful and contemplative of exactly what Asian American diasporas are going through right now (“Stop looking at me with those contaminated eyes”), Pink Mountain on Locust Island will grab you with its originality and vivid imagery, while reminding you to go back and read such classics as Dogeaters (Jessica Hagedorn) and Bone (Fae Myenne Ng) for the same sense of frenetic energy juxtaposed against the claustrophobia of class and tradition. I loved this book, read it in a day, could not put it down. Episodic, startling, young, this is a must-read. The language is indeed elastic, and lovely.” —Chaya Bhuvaneswar

Book notes: Paperback, fiction, 248 pages. 

Author bio: Jamie Marina Lau is a twenty-three-year-old multidisciplinary writer and artist. Her debut novel, Pink Mountain on Locust Island, won the 2018 Melbourne Prize Readings Residency Award and was shortlisted for the 2019 Stella Prize, the 2019 New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards, the 2018 Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction, and the Australia Literature Society Gold Medal. Her writing can also be found in various publications. She is currently in the process of writing her second novel, Gunk Baby; working on various projects; and producing music.

GalleyCrush: Transcendent Kingdom


Today’s GalleyCrush is Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom, forthcoming from Knopf on September 8, 2020.

Perfect pitch: “Yaa Gyasi’s stunning follow-up to her acclaimed national best-seller Homegoing is a powerful, raw, intimate, deeply layered novel about a Ghanaian family in Alabama.”

First lines: “Whenever I think of my mother, I picture a queen-sized bed with her lying in it, a practiced stillness filling the room.” 

Book notes: Hardcover, fiction, 288 pages. 

Author bio: Yaa Gyasi was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. Her debut novel, Homegoing, was awarded the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award for best first book, the PEN/Hemingway Award for a first book of fiction, a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honor for 2016, and the American Book Award. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

GalleyCrush: Hysteria


Today’s GalleyCrush is Jessica Gross’s Hysteria, forthcoming from Unnamed Press on August 18, 2020. 

Perfect pitch: “In Hysteria, we meet a young woman an hour into yet another alcohol-fueled, masochistic, sexual bender at her local bar.”

First lines: “I had come so many times staring at the latticework of my radiator that I wondered if I could orgasm from that pattern alone.”

Big blurb: “If Ottessa Moshfegh and Phoebe Waller-Bridge painted the town red together, this could be the fictive product of their evening out. Nervy, candid, wet with ink-black humor, Hysteria champions female sexual appetites while also exploring the emotional hunger that leads to self sabotage.” —Courtney Maum

Book notes: Paperback, novel, 160 pages. 

Author bio: Jessica Gross’s writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, the New York Times Magazine, and the Paris Review Daily, among other outlets. She holds an MFA in fiction from the New School, a master’s degree in cultural reporting and criticism from New York University, and a bachelor’s in anthropology from Princeton University. She has received fellowships in fiction from the Yiddish Book Center (2017) and the 14th Street Y (2015–6), where she also served as editor of the LABA journal. She currently teaches writing at Eugene Lang College at the New School. Hysteria is her first novel.

GalleyCrush: Finna


Today’s GalleyCrush is Nate Marshall’s Finna, forthcoming from One World on August 11, 2020.

Perfect pitch: “Sharp, lyrical poems celebrating the Black vernacular—its influence on pop culture, its necessity for familial survival, its rite in storytelling and in creating the safety found only within its intimacy.” 

First lines: “when i first made / my name Nate / i was a boy / at summer camp / looking for cool / in the muggy shadow.”

Book notes: Paperback, poetry, 128 pages.

Author bio: Nate Marshall is an award-winning writer, rapper, educator, and editor. He is the author and editor of numerous works including Wild Hundreds and The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop. Marshall is a member of The Dark Noise Collective and codirects Crescendo Literary. He is an assistant professor of English at Colorado College. He is from the South Side of Chicago.

GalleyCrush: World of Wonders


Today’s GalleyCrush is Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments, forthcoming from Milkweed Editions on August 11, 2020.

Perfect pitch: “From beloved, award-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil comes a debut work of nonfiction—a collection of essays about the natural world, and the way its inhabitants can teach, support, and inspire us.”

Big blurb: “[World of Wonders] walks. It sprints. It leaps. Most importantly, the book lingers in a world where power, people, and the literal outside wrestle painfully, beautifully.” —Kiese Laymon

First lines: “A catalpa can give two brown girls in western Kansas a green umbrella from the sun. Don’t get too dark, too dark, our mother would remind us as we ambled out into the relentless midwestern light.” 

Book notes: Hardcover, essays, 184 pages. 

Author bio: Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Oceanic, winner of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award. She is the poetry editor of Orion magazine, and teaches in the University of Mississippi’s MFA program.

GalleyCrush: Luster


Today’s GalleyCrush is Raven Leilani’s Luster, forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux on August 4, 2020. 

Perfect pitch: “Irresistibly unruly and strikingly beautiful, razor-sharp and slyly comic, sexually charged and utterly absorbing, Raven Leilani’s Luster is a portrait of a young woman trying to make sense of her life—her hunger, her anger—in a tumultuous era.”

First lines: “The first time we have sex, we are both fully clothed, at our desks during working hours, bathed in blue computer light.”

Big blurb: “The narrative voice of this startling novel is layered, complex, pitch-black comic, and deadly earnest, even ardent in its will to sift through the chaos and idiocy of our madhouse culture and find some glimpse of human reality. Raven Leilani is intellectually supple and steely at the same time; she thinks and perceives blessedly outside any kind of norm. She has made a truly lustrous piece of art.” —Mary Gaitskill

Book notes: Hardcover, fiction, 240 pages. 

Author bio: Raven Leilani’s work has been published in Granta, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Narrative, Yale Review, Conjunctions, New England Review, and the Cut, among other publications. She won Narrative’s ninth annual poetry contest and the New Delta Review’s Matt Clark Editor’s Choice Prize, as well as short fiction prizes from Bat City Review and Blue Earth ReviewLuster is her first novel.

GalleyCrush: Why Visit America




Today’s GalleyCrush is Matthew Baker’s Why Visit America, forthcoming from Henry Holt and Company on August 4, 2020.

Perfect pitch: “In the fiercely original Why Visit America, Matthew Baker captures all that is exasperating, absurd, tragic, and nonetheless compelling about life in our contemporary United States.”

First lines: “A sudden reversal. In seventh grade this ‘Nate Vanderveen’ chose to lavish our niece with flowering weeds, with vending-machine jewelry, with convenience-store chocolates, with love notes written on the back of homework he hadn’t done, but now in ninth grade this ‘Nate’ chooses to lavish her with curses (‘Go fuck a dog you freak’), ridicule (‘My tits are bigger than that bitch’s’), and slander (‘Emma sucked me off once too’).”

Big blurb: “These are high-concept narratives that somehow gain depth and clarity as Baker finds the heart of the story. It’s both a love letter and a critique of the world we live in and the world that awaits us.” —Kevin Wilson

Book notes: Hardcover, fiction, 368 pages.

Author bio: Named one of Variety’s “10 Storytellers to Watch,” Matthew Baker is the author of the story collection Hybrid Creatures and the Edgar Award–nominated children’s novel If You Find This. His fiction has appeared in publications including the Paris Review, American Short Fiction, One Story, Electric Literature, Conjunctions, and Best of the Net. Born in the Great Lakes region of the United States, he currently lives in New York City.

GalleyCrush: Memorial Drive




Today’s GalleyCrush is Natasha Trethewey’s Memorial Drive, forthcoming from Ecco on July 28, 2020.

Perfect pitch: “A chillingly personal and exquisitely wrought memoir of a daughter reckoning with the brutal murder of her mother at the hands of her former stepfather, and the moving, intimate story of a poet coming into her own in the wake of a tragedy.”

First lines: “Three weeks after my mother is dead I dream of her: We walk a rutted path, an oval track around which we are making our slow revolution: side by side, so close our shoulders nearly touch, neither of us speaking, both of us in our traces.

Book notes: Hardcover, biography & autobiography, 224 pages.

Author bio: Natasha Trethewey, nineteeth Poet Laureate of the United States, is the author of five collections of poetry, as well as a book of creative nonfiction. She is currently Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University. In 2007 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for her collection Native Guard.

GalleyCrush: Crooked Hallelujah




Today’s GalleyCrush is Kelli Jo Ford’s Crooked Hallelujah, forthcoming from Grove Press on July 14, 2020.

Perfect pitch: “This is a big-hearted and ambitious novel of the powerful bonds between mothers and daughters by an exquisite and rare new talent.”

First lines: “When Lula stepped into the yard, the stray cat Justine held took off so fast it scratched her and sent the porch swing sideways.”

Big blurb: Crooked Hallelujah is an intricate, soulful look at three generations of Cherokee women pushed (in Philip Larkin’s phrase) to the side of their own lives. At turns gripping and moving, Kelli Jo Ford’s characters and the Oklahoma and Texas landscape take center stage in a truly modern drama. Ford sidesteps the easy tropes of spirituality and connection to nature and has created a modern masterpiece peopled with complex, fully-realized characters. A huge achievement.” —David Treuer

Book notes: Hardcover, fiction, 304 pages.

Author bio: Kelli Jo Ford is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including the Paris Review’s Plimpton Prize, the Everett Southwest Literary Award, the Katherine Bakeless Nason Award at Bread Loaf, a National Artist Fellowship by the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation, and a Dobie Paisano Fellowship. Her fiction has appeared in the Paris Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Missouri Review, and the anthology Forty Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial, among other places.

GalleyCrush: Want




Today’s GalleyCrush is Lynn Steger Strong’s Want, forthcoming from Henry Holt and Company on July 7, 2020.

Perfect pitch: “Grappling with motherhood, economic anxiety, rage, and the limits of language, Want is a fiercely personal novel that vibrates with anger, insight, and love.”

First lines: “I’m sixteen and Sasha’s seventeen and we go out to the beach at night and no one’s there. We’ve thrown a party at her house and I have fallen, scraped my knee, getting a piggyback ride from a boy I know only offered it to me to impress her.”

Big blurb: “A deeply intelligent and sneakily moving novel about having the ground fall away beneath your feet. Strong ingeniously undercuts conventional wisdom about what it means to be a success in this world.” —Jenny Offill

Book notes: Hardcover, fiction, 224 pages.

Author bio: Lynn Steger Strong’s first novel, Hold Still, was published in 2016. Her nonfiction has appeared in the Paris Review, Guernica, Los Angeles Review of Books, Literary Hub, and elsewhere. She teaches writing at Catapult and Columbia University.

GalleyCrush: Self Care




Today’s GalleyCrush is Leigh Stein’s Self Care, forthcoming from Penguin Books on June 30, 2020.

Perfect pitch: “The female cofounders of a wellness startup struggle to find balance between being good people and doing good business, while also trying to stay BFFs.”

First lines: “By the time Devin found me, I’d been at the office for fourteen hours and was lying on a lavender velvet chaise, fortifying myself with room-temperature-staff-kitchen chardonnay that I’d poured into a MALE TEARS mug, scrolling through my various feeds, using multiple search terms, absorbing every abusive thing people were saying about me, @MarenGelb, M**en G**b, libtard, feminazi, stupid fucking cunt.”

Big blurb: Self Care is a skewering mockumentary about influencer culture, internet feminism, and the infinite ways that big tech capitalizes on our worst fears and insecurities. Utterly teeming with humor, this is exactly the sort of book that Dorothy Parker would have written if she’d been reincarnated as an Instagram celebrity.” —Catherine Lacey

Book notes: Paperback, fiction, 256 pages.

Author bio: Leigh Stein is the author of the acclaimed 2012 novel The Fallback Plan, a poetry collection the same year, and the 2016 memoir Land of Enchantment. From 2014 to 2017, she ran a secret Facebook group of forty thousand women writers in her role as cofounder and executive director of Out of the Binders/BinderCon, a feminist nonprofit organization. She’s been called a “leading feminist” by the Washington Post and “poet laureate of The Bachelor” by the Cut.

GalleyCrush: Friends and Strangers




Today’s GalleyCrush is J. Courtney Sullivan’s Friends and Strangers, forthcoming from Knopf on June 23, 2020.

Perfect pitch: “From the best-selling author of Maine and Saints for All Occasions (named one of the Washington Post’s Ten Best Books of the Year and a New York Times Critics’ Pick) comes an insightful, hilarious, and compulsively readable novel about a complicated friendship between two women who are at two very different stages in life.”

First lines: “She awakened to silence. Nobody up at this hour besides mothers and insomniacs.”

Big blurb:Friends and Strangers is a smart and deeply compelling exploration of female friendship and the complicated politics of motherhood and childcare. J. Courtney Sullivan is a shrewd and sympathetic observer of our current cultural moment, with an unerring eye for the way that the unspoken realities of money and class can affect even our most intimate relationships.” —Tom Perrotta

Book notes: Hardcover, fiction, 416 pages.

Author bio: J. Courtney Sullivan is the New York Times best-selling author of the novels Commencement, Maine, The Engagements, and Saints for All Occasions. Her work has been translated into seventeen languages. Sullivan’s writing has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, New York magazine, Elle, Glamour, Allure, Real Simple, and O: The Oprah Magazine, among many others. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and two children.

GalleyCrush: How Beautiful We Were




Today’s GalleyCrush is Imbolo Mbue’s How Beautiful We Were, forthcoming from Random House on June 16, 2020. Editor’s Note: This book’s publication date has been postponed. 

Perfect pitch: “From the celebrated author of the New York Times best-seller Behold the Dreamers comes a sweeping, wrenching story about the collision of a small African village and an American oil company.”

First lines: “We should have known the end was near.”

Big blurb: “The unforgettable story of a community on the wrong end of Western greed, How Beautiful We Were will enthrall you, appall you, and show you what is possible when a few people stand up and say, ‘This is not right.’ It is a masterful novel by a spellbinding writer engaged with the most urgent questions of our day.” —David Ebershoff

Book notes: Hardcover, fiction, 384 pages.

Author bio: Imbolo Mbue is the author of the New York Times best-seller Behold the Dreamers, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the Blue Metropolis Words to Change Prize and was an Oprah’s Book Club selection. Named a notable book of the year by the New York Times and the Washington Post and a best book of the year by close to a dozen publications, the novel has been translated into eleven languages, adapted into an opera and a stage play, and optioned for a movie. A native of Limbe, Cameroon, and a graduate of Rutgers and Columbia Universities, Mbue lives in New York City.

GalleyCrush: I Hold a Wolf by the Ears




Today’s GalleyCrush is Laura van den Berg’s I Hold a Wolf by the Ears, forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux on June 9, 2020. Editor’s Note: This book’s publication date has been postponed to July 28, 2020. 

Perfect pitch: “An urgent and unsettling collection of women on the verge from Laura van den Berg, author of The Third Hotel.”

First lines: “I want to tell you about the night I got hit by a train and died. The thing is—it never happened.”

Big blurb: “Another bravura display from one of our most imaginative storytellers. Each enthralling new plot seeks to uncover the essence of human experience by way of the uncanny. As enchanting as fairy tales, as mysterious as dreams, these exquisitely composed fictions are as urgent and original as any being written today.” —Sigrid Nunez

Book notes: Hardcover, fiction, 224 pages.

Author bio: Laura van den Berg is the author of the story collections What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us and The Isle of Youth, and the novels Find Me and The Third Hotel, the latter of which was a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award and an Indie Next pick, and was named a best book of 2017 by more than a dozen publications. She is the recipient of a Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Bard Fiction Prize, a PEN/O. Henry Prize, and a MacDowell Colony fellowship, and is a two-time finalist for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Born and raised in Florida, she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and dog.

GalleyCrush: A Children’s Bible




Today’s GalleyCrush is Lydia Millet’s A Children’s Bible, forthcoming from W. W. Norton on May 12, 2020. 

Perfect pitch: “A brilliant, indelible novel of teenage alienation and adult complacency in a world whose climate and culture are unraveling.”

First lines: “Once we lived in a summer country. In the woods there were treehouses, and on the lake there were boats.”

Big blurb: “[Her] writing is always flawlessly beautiful, reaching for an experience that precedes language itself.” —Laura Miller

Book notes: Hardcover, fiction, 224 pages.

Author bio: Lydia Millet has written twelve works of fiction. She has won the PEN Center USA and Academy of Arts and Letters fiction prizes and been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize, among other honors. She lives in Arizona.

GalleyCrush: All Adults Here




Today’s GalleyCrush is Emma Straub’s All Adults Here, forthcoming from Riverhead Books on May 5, 2020.

Perfect pitch: “A warm, funny, and keenly perceptive novel about the lifecycle of one family—as the kids become parents, grandparents become teenagers, and a matriarch confronts the legacy of her mistakes.”

First lines: “Astrid Strick had never liked Barbara Baker, not for a single day of their forty-year acquaintance, but when Barbara was hit and killed by the empty, speeding school bus at the intersection of Main and Morrison streets on the eastern side of the town roundabout, Astrid knew that her life had changed, the shock of which was indistinguishable from relief.”

Big blurb:All Adults Here is a novel about how we try and fail at every age and yet somehow survive. It is brimming with kindness, forgiveness, humor and love and yet (magically) is also a page-turner that held me captive until it was finished. This is Emma Straub’s absolute best and the world will love it. I love it.” Ann Patchett

Book notes: Hardcover, fiction, 368 pages. 

Author bio: Emma Straub is a New York Times best-selling author of three other novels, The Vacationers, Modern Lovers, and Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, and the short story collection Other People We Married. Her books have been published in twenty countries. She and her husband own Books Are Magic, an independent bookstore in Brooklyn, New York. 

GalleyCrush: Death in Her Hands




Today’s GalleyCrush is Ottessa Moshfegh’s Death in Her Hands, forthcoming from Penguin Press on April 21, 2020. Editor’s Note: This book’s publication date has been postponed to June 23, 2020. 

Perfect pitch: “From one of our most ceaselessly provocative literary talents, a novel of haunting metaphysical suspense about an elderly widow whose life is upturned when she finds a cryptic note on a walk in the woods that ultimately makes her question everything about her new home.” 

First lines:Her name was Magda. Nobody will ever know who killed her. It wasn’t me. Here is her dead body.

Big blurb: “Perhaps the most jarring genre of fiction is the kind that takes you deep into the gradual unraveling of a person’s mind. Moshfegh does a masterful job with Death In Her Hands, which follows a protagonist who believes she’s solving a murder. The book moves seamlessly from suspenseful to horrifying, retaining the reader’s attention all the while.” —Marie Claire

Book notes: Hardcover, fiction, 272 pages.  

Author bio: Ottessa Moshfegh is the author of My Year of Rest and Relaxation, a New York Times best-seller; Homesick for Another World, a New York Times Book Review notable book of the year; Eileen, which was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Man Booker Prize, and won the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction; and McGlue, which won the Fence Modern Prize in Prose and the Believer Book Award. Her stories have earned her a Pushcart Prize, an O. Henry Award, the Plimpton Prize, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

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Author: squong

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  • February 4, 2021