5 New Literary Fictions to Watch Out For

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The Saints of Rattlesnake Mountain by Don Waters (22 May 2017)
Master storyteller Don Waters returns to the desert in his third book set in the American Southwest. With the gothic sensibility of Flannery O Connor and emotional delicacy of Raymond Carver, these nine contemporary stories deftly explore the lives of characters losing or clinging to a fleeting faith and struggling to find something meaningful to believe in beneath overpowering desert skies.
Soldiers, seekers, priests, prisoners, and surfers pursue their fate amid bizarre, sometimes overwhelming circumstances. In La Luz de Jesus, a gutless Los Angeles screenwriter, a believer in nothing but the god of Hollywood, must reorient after he encounters a group of penitents in New Mexico s Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The decorated soldier in Espanola faces more chaos back home than he did during his tour in Iraq. And The Saints of Rattlesnake Mountain pairs a trustee prison inmate and a wild mustang horse, both wards of the state of Nevada, as they fumble toward a spiritual truth.
These stories capture the spirit of a region and its people. Once again Waters assembles an unconventional cast of characters, capturing their foibles and imperfections, and always rendering them with compassion as these modern-day martyrs and spiritually haunted survivors strive for some kind of redemption.
Ingenious, sometimes forbidding, often absurd, and altogether original, The Saints of Rattlesnake Mountain is a stirring tribute to the lives, loves, and hopes of the faithful and the dispossessed.

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A Book of American Martyrs by Joyce Carol Oates (1 Jun 2017)
Two families. Two faces of America. An act of violence with far-reaching consequences.

Gus Voorhees is a pioneer in the advancement of women’s reproductive rights and a controversial abortion provider in the American Midwest. One morning as he arrives at his clinic, he is ambushed by a hardline Christian, Luther Dunphy, and shot dead.

The killing leaves in its wake two fatherless families: the Voorheeses, who are affluent, highly educated, secular and pro-choice, and the Dunphys, their opposite on all counts.
When the daughters of the two families, Naomi Voorhees and Dawn Dunphy, glimpse each other at the trial of Luther Dunphy, their initial response is mutual hatred. But their lives are tangled together forever by what has happened, and throughout the years to come and the events that follow, neither can quite forget the other.

A heart-rending reckoning with some of the most incendiary issues that divide us in our troubled times – religious extremism; abortion; gun violence; capital punishment – this is a novel Joyce Carol Oates was born to write. To read it is to encounter the full spectrum of humanity – its ugliness, misery, beauty and hope.

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Perennials by Mandy Berman (6 Jun 2017)
The quintessential summer read: a sharp, poignant coming-of-age novel about the magic of camp and the enduring power of female friendship, for readers of Stephanie Danler, Anton DiSclafani, Jennifer Close, and Curtis Sittenfeld
At what point does childhood end and adulthood begin? Mandy Berman’s evocative debut novel captures, through the lens of summer camp, a place that only appears to be untouched by the passing of time, both the thrills and pain of growing up.
Rachel Rivkin and Fiona Larkin used to treasure their summers together as campers at Camp Marigold. Now, reunited as counselors after their first year of college, their relationship is more complicated. Rebellious Rachel, a street-smart city kid raised by a single mother, has been losing patience with her best friend’s insecurities; Fiona, the middle child of a not-so-perfect suburban family, envies Rachel’s popularity with their campers and fellow counselors. For the first time, the two friends start keeping secrets from each other. Through them, as well as from the perspectives of their fellow counselors, campers, and families, we witness the tensions of the turbulent summer build to a tragic event, which forces Rachel and Fiona to confront their pasts–and the adults they’re becoming.
A seductive blast of nostalgia, a striking portrait of adolescent longing, and a tribute to both the complicated nature and the enduring power of female friendship, Perennials will speak to everyone who still remembers that bittersweet moment when innocence is lost forever.

Advance praise for Perennials
“Mandy Berman has remade the American summer camp narrative, ditching the usual cliches and getting in close with her characters and their various states of emotional and economic precariousness. Perennials is a sharp, crushingly observant, and empathetic debut, full of wit and tragedy, and good for all seasons.”–Sam Lipsyte, author of The Fun Parts and The Ask

“Mandy Berman explores an old trope: the magic of summer camp, a place separate from the rest of your life where you can become a slightly different version of yourself, a place where friendships run impossibly deep and romance and sex are innocent. But what happens when that divide begins to crumble, and real life, in all its moral ambiguity, finds its way to the heart of a halcyon summer? Lucid, psychologically nuanced, and great fun to read, Perennials has taken an old subject and made it new.”–Rufi Thorpe, author of Dear Fang, With Love and The Girls from Corona del Mar

“Snappy and irresistible, Berman’s debut novel, Perennials, takes readers back to summer camp, where her characters’ first friendships and treasons play out in sharp dialogue and playful, generous prose. Berman fearlessly renders youth and adulthood alike, in sentences you’ll want to savor.”–Kristopher Jansma, author of Why We Came to the City

“Do you remember that youthful summer when ‘everything changed’? Mandy Berman sure does and her wonderful novel is a snapshot of that time and the group of young women who are irrevocably changed by it. Perennials manages to be warm and loving and still wallop you with moments of shock and pain. What an exciting debut.”–Victor LaValle, author of Big Machine and The Changeling

“Berman’s debut, a winning, keenly observed, and clear-eyed novel set in a summer camp, captures the age when fierce attachments forged over years begin to unravel, passionate female friendships give way to sex, and identity seems to shift with the tides.”–Elissa Schappell, author of Blueprints for Building Better Girls

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How to Survive a Summer by Nick White (6 Jun 2017)
Camp Levi is designed to ‘cure’ young teenage boys of their budding homosexuality. Will Dillard spent a summer at Levi as a teenager, and has since tried to erase that experience from his mind. But when a fellow student alerts him that a slasher movie based on the camp is being released, he is forced to confront his troubled history and possible culpability in the death of a fellow camper. As past and present are woven together, Will returns to the abandoned campgrounds to solve the mysteries of that pivotal summer, and to reclaim his story from those who have stolen it.

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The Answers by Catherine Lacey (6 Jun 2017)
Huffington Post‘s 33 Titles To Add To Your Shelf in 2017
Elle‘s 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017
Buzzfeed‘s 32 Most Exciting Books Coming Out in 2017
Chicago Reader‘s Books We Can’t Wait To Read In 2017

An urgent, propulsive novel about a woman learning to negotiate her ailment and its various aftereffects via the simulacrum of a perfect romantic relationship

In Catherine Lacey’s ambitious second novel we are introduced to Mary, a young woman living in New York City and struggling to cope with a body that has betrayed her. All but paralyzed with pain, Mary seeks relief from a New Agey treatment called Pneuma Adaptive Kinesthesia, PAKing for short. And, remarkably, it works. But PAKing is prohibitively expensive and Mary is dead broke. So she scours Craigslist for fast-cash jobs and finds herself applying for the “Girlfriend Experiment,” the brainchild of an eccentric actor, Kurt Sky, who is determined to find the perfect relationship–even if that means paying different women to fulfill distinctive roles. Mary is hired as the “Emotional Girlfriend”–certainly better than the “Anger Girlfriend” or the “Maternal Girlfriend”–and is pulled into Kurt’s ego-driven and messy attempt at human connection.

Told in her signature spiraling prose, The Answers is full of the singular yet universal insights readers have come to expect from Lacey. It is a gorgeous hybrid of the plot- and the idea-driven novel that will leave you reeling.

 

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