To attempt to summarize Charlie Kaufman's Antkind is to sell it short. It's so many wildly different things, all completely insane and wholly unexpected; but for all its inherent madness, Kaufman's debut novel is beautiful and funny and provoking, and told with equal parts care and ease. At around 700 pages, it may seem challenging, but trust me when I say that this novel absolutely flows into the reader. I can't stop thinking about it, and even though it's damn near impossible, I find myself trying to explain its twists and turns to anyone who will listen.
A virus wipes out almost all of the male population, leaving Cole and her son Miles on the run to find somewhere to settle down and live in peace, safe from the violence and chaos of the past. Lauren Beukes is always in top form, and she absolutely delivers here. If you're okay reading about a virus—bad timing, I know—you can't go wrong with Afterland.
Grady Hendrix makes horror charming. His style of writing—unrelenting humanity in the face of real terror, of both the supernatural and everyday varieties—is in top form here. He's one of a handful of authors whose new work I devour as soon as I get my hands on it. Grady Hendrix knows how to terrify you, but more importantly, he knows how to make you feel that maybe we can overcome the thing that scares us the most.
A troubled middle-aged cabbie in a north Mississippi college town drives folks with their own issues around town. From the hospital, to rundown apartments, to a seedy motel, The Last Taxi Driver takes you on a tour of a city full of unique characters and plenty of dark alleys. Southern lit at its grimy best!
It's the summer of 1978 in Vernon, New Jersey, and Eugene Mulvihill just opened what will become the most notorious amusement park in the USA: Action Park, colloquially known as "Traction Park" or "Class Action Park" due to the large number of injuries sustained there and the lawsuits that followed. This book, written by Mulvihill's son Andy, takes you down the Alpine Slide, off the Diving Cliffs, and through the infamous Cannonball Loop to show you what it was like to be a teenager managing the chaos of a water park barely skirting rules and regulations. A fascinating read that perfectly captures a time and a once-in-a-lifetime place.
When a new Ottessa Moshfegh book comes out, everything else gets put on hold. Death In Her Hands is so interesting and challenging in a way that made me want to reread it as soon as I finished. I don't want to run through the plot because 1) I wouldn't want to spoil anything and 2) I'm honestly not sure what was real and what was delusion. Part murder mystery, part intense character study, Death In Her Hands takes up residence in the reader's brain and doesn't seem to want to leave. —Colin
I loved Sophie Mackintosh's last book The Water Cure, so I was happy to find that I enjoyed Blue Ticket just as much, although maybe 'enjoyed' is the wrong word? In a dystopian society where young women draw tickets to determine their lot in life—a white ticket means you'll be a mother, a blue ticket means you're unfit for motherhood and are put on birth control—a small group of defectors attempt to create their own futures.
The story of how fast food restaurants—specifically McDonald's—took on such an important and complicated role in Black communities during the 20th century. A fascinating and often heartbreaking history of racial injustice and economic realities as told through the experiences of Black business owners, civil rights organizers, and communities left without healthy inexpensive food options. It may sound niche, but this story is told so well and so fluidly that anyone can hop in and learn a little more about the world around them.
At 1,500 pages, this is a book you're going to want to shut out the world and immerse yourself in, and what better time than now! Arthur Nersesian's reimagined history of New York City, told through five books—one for each borough—is filled with interesting characters and plenty of cameos from real-life figures like Timothy Leary and Allen Ginsberg. A surreal masterwork, a perfect book to hunker down with and wait out the winter.
Samanta Schweblin's new novel Little Eyes is sweet and touching, but also deeply unsettling. Her books are always, um.. un-put-down-able (?) but I had to force myself to stop reading Little Eyes every night. The location changes, the characters change, the POV changes, but this novel feels cohesive, and the narrative flows smoothly from one chapter to the next. Little Eyes raises perhaps unanswerable questions with the reader, mainly concerning how you view the rest of humanity—your neighbor, someone on the other side of the planet? Can you trust a stranger to be in your home? Should you?
Another must-have from William Boyle—my favorite thriller writer—City of Margins has some of the best-written characters you'll see in modern noir: people in the wrong place at the wrong time, folks with big dreams trying not to fall into the same ruts as their forebears. The realities of revenge, of mistakes, and the painfully real humans that make them, take center stage in Boyle's latest. While you're at it, check out William Boyle's other books too—you might just recognize some characters and locations!