A darkly funny and intimate rendering of girlhood, Sour Heart examines what it means to belong to a family, to find your home, leave it, reject it, and return again.”. I look forward to having my reading horizons broadened in the comments. Told in Barrett’s vibrant, distinctive prose, Young Skins is an accomplished and irreverent debut from a singular new voice in contemporary fiction.”, “These stories, filled with a grand sense of life’s absurdity, form a remarkably sure-footed collection that reads like a modern-day Dubliners. Down the midnight streets of New York, a whole invisible universe churns to life in Daniel Jose Older’s debut collection of ghost noir.”, “In Lori Ostlund’s award-winning debut collection, people seeking escape from situations at home venture out into a world that they find is just as complicated and troubled as the one they left behind. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this down and dirty debut she draws vivid portraits of bad people in worse places…A rising star of the new fast fiction, Hunter bares all before you can blink in her bold, beautiful stories. A couple are invited over to a neighbor’s daughter’s exorcism. Ben Fountain’s prize-winning debut speaks to the intimate connection between the foreign, the familiar, and the inescapably human.”, “From New York Times–bestselling powerhouse Roxane Gay, Ayiti is a powerful collection exploring the Haitian diaspora experience. Thank You by Alejandro Zambra, translated by Megan McDowellAs is usually the case, I’ve only just started reading Zambra after years of being urged to do so. This summer, I read the entries for this year’s BBC National short story prize, and discussed with my fellow judges the vexed question of how the “best” might be identified. This story begins at the dawn of time and ends round about now, which is expansive enough for anyone, I feel. Humorous, poignant, perceptive, and full of grace, Kathleen Collins’s stories masterfully blend the quotidian and the profound in a personal, intimate way, exploring deep, far-reaching issues—race, gender, family, and sexuality—that shape the ordinary moments in our lives.”, “Justin Cronin’s poignant debut traces the lives of Mary Olson and O’Neil Burke, two vulnerable young teachers who rediscover in each other a world alive with promise and hope. All five finalists will then be broadcast on successive afternoons on BBC Radio 4 (and made available on iPlayer) starting on 18 September. The rabbit lays an egg. Fjord of Killary by Kevin BarryBarry is great at drawing you quickly into the confidence of his voice; the first few sentences of any of his stories have that quality of strapping you in for the ride. In beautifully restrained and exacting prose, she sets the marginalized free to roam her pages and burn our assumptions to the ground.”, “Eleven unforgettable new stories demonstrate the emotional power and the clean, assured style that have earned Meloy praise from critics and devotion from readers. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.”, “Rebecca Makkai’s first two novels, The Borrower and The Hundred-Year House, have established her as one of the freshest and most imaginative voices in fiction. Love troubles recur; they’re in every story—love in alcoholism, in adultery, in a flood, even in the great flu epidemic of 1918. These fifteen linked tales confront readers with fractured marriages, mercurial temptations, and dark theological complexities, and establish a sultry and enticingly cool new voice in American fiction.”, “Open this book to any page and find yourself enspelled by these lush, alchemical stories. Drinking Coffee Elsewhere is a striking performance—fresh, versatile, and captivating. What if exposure to an alien language forever changed our perception of time? 10. The winner of the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and a 2007 book of the year in The Irish Times, the Sunday Tribune, and Metro, There Are Little Kingdoms marks the stunning entrance of a writer who burst onto the literary scene fully formed.”, “The literary, historic, and fantastic collide in these wise and exquisitely unsettling stories. Finishing Touch by Claire-Louise BennettI could have chosen any of the stories from Bennett’s debut collection, Pond – and in fact I would urge you to read the collection as a whole, its sum being, unusually, greater than the parts. It also has beautiful sentences, and there are not enough of those in the world. With a fresh voice and bold honesty, Back Talk examines how narrowly our culture allows women to express their desires.”, “The recipient of numerous literary prizes, including the National Book Award, the Kafka Award, five Hugo Awards and five Nebula Awards, the renowned writer Ursula K. Le Guin has, in each story and novel, created a provocative, ever-evolving universe filled with diverse worlds and rich characters reminiscent of our earthly selves. Beaudoin’s novels have been praised for their playfulness and complexity, for the originality and beauty of their language.”, “The characters in The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead, Benz’s wildly imaginative debut, are as varied as any in recent literature, but they share a thirst for adventure which sends them rushing full-tilt toward the moral crossroads, becoming victims and perpetrators along the way. Written in a misleadingly offhand deadpan, Track covers seemingly familiar ground – an abusive relationship, a young woman adrift in the big city, the pitfalls of fame and money – at such an oblique angle that it demands repeated reading. 4. “Jubilee” by Kirstin Valdez Quade. In short: A college student attends a party … '[And yet] the short story apologises for nothing.It exults in its shortness. A carnivorous reptile divides and cauterizes a town. 8. 7. Enter here. Guardian, please! A medical procedure reveals an object of worship. In prose highlighted by both satire and poignant observation, The Bigness of the World contains characters that represent a different sort of everyman—men and women who poke fun at ideological rigidity while holding fast to good grammar and manners, people seeking connections in a world that seems increasingly foreign.”, “Julie Otsuka’s commanding debut novel paints a portrait of the Japanese internment camps unlike any we have ever seen. I have plumped for this simply because it is so painfully funny. What if there were a science of naming things that calls life into being from inanimate matter? Then Later, His Ghost by Sarah HallThis does one of my favourite things in a story: something you weren’t expecting.
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