November Preview: The Millions Most Anticipated (This Month)

November 1, 2017 | 4 min read

We wouldn’t dream of abandoning our vast semiannual Most Anticipated Book Previews, but we thought a monthly reminder would be helpful (and give us a chance to note titles we missed the first time around).  Here’s what we’re looking out for this month. Let us know what you’re looking forward to in the comments!

coverFuture Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich: A new offering from Erdrich on the heels of her National Book Critics Circle Award win for LaRose last year. The new book takes place during an environmental cataclysm—evolution has begun reversing itself, and pregnant women are being rounded up and confined. A pregnant woman who was adopted in infancy from her Ojibwe birth mother returns to her mother’s reservation to pursue her own origin story even while society crumbles around her. (Lydia)

 

coverDon’t Save Anything by James Salter: November 2017. I remember hearing Salter read his heartbreaking story “Last Night” to a captivated audience in Newark, N.J., at Rutgers University—it was a moment of shared intimacy that I’ve rarely experienced at a reading. Salter had a presence both on and off the page. Don’t Save Anything collects Salter’s previously uncollected non-fiction; essays that appeared in The New YorkerEsquire, People, and elsewhere. The book’s title comes from a line from one of Salter’s final interviews: “You try to put everything you have in a book. That is, don’t save anything for the next one.” (Nick R.)

coverMean by Myriam Gurba: In her coming-of-age nonfiction novel about growing up queer and Chicana, Gurba takes on misogyny, racism, homophobia, and classism with cutting humor. Mean will make you LOL and break your heart. Mean has already received advance praise from brilliant, badass feminist writers Jill SolowayMichelle Tea, and Wendy C. Ortiz. Gurba’s previous book Dahlia Season won the Edmund White Award and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. (Zoë)

 

coverBunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News by Kevin Young: An extremely timely book by the polymath poet recently named Poetry Editor of The New Yorker.  Longlisted for the National Book Award, Bunk is a look at the hoax as an American phenomenon, often connected to racism. This has many implications for the present; in a starred review, Library Journal says “the final chapter touches on the current ‘post-fact’ world and its rejection of expertise, raising important questions about how we can know the truth.” (Lydia)

 

coverHouses of Ravicka by Renee Gladman: This fall Dorothy Project publishes Houses of Ravicka, the fourth book in Gladman’s series of novels set in the city-state of Ravicka and told in the author’s nimble prose. The books catalog the intricacies of language and architecture and their intersection—something Gladman’s recent Prose Architectures from Wave Press does quite literally. As The Renaissance Society notes, “Gladman approaches language as a space to enter and travel within, and her writing is attuned to the body as it moves through architectures of thought and experience.” In this latest volume, Ravicka’s comptroller tracks the ways the houses in the city-state shift with time. (Anne)

coverThe World Goes On by László Krasznahorkai: The Hungarian author has described his style as “fun in hell.” With this, the seventh! New Directions translation of his work, English language hell just got even more fun. A giant with an H2O fixation and a Portuguese child quarry slave on a quest for the surreal are just two of the characters met in this short story collection that examines the practicalities of cultural entropy, and stylistically sacrifices little of the author’s depth, range, and extraordinary stacking of subordinate clauses. These stories should provide the uninitiated with a workable introduction to Krasznahorkai and his formidable oeuvre. (Il’ja)

coverHeather, the Totality by Matthew Weiner: The creator of Mad Men and former writer and producer for The Sopranos applies his screenwriting chops to literary fiction with this debut novel. Set in a privileged milieu in modern-day New York, it’s been described as “a dark fable,” “a collision course,” and, most intriguingly, by Philip Pullman, as a story characterized by an “ice-cold mercilessness reminiscent of Evelyn Waugh.” At 144 pages, this novel apparently cuts to the chase and doesn’t spare any of its characters. (Hannah)

 

coverThey Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib: A collection of essays on music, culture, and personal history from the poet and Year in Reading alum (and MTV News writer, before MTV News made their woeful decision to “pivot to video”). Terrance Hayes writes, “Abdurraqib bridges the bravado and bling of praise with the blood and tears of elegy.” (Lydia)
 
 

coverThe Odyssey by Homer, translated by Emily Wilson: This is the first English translation of The Odyssey by a woman, ever, and it kills. Wilson, who is a Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, matched the number of lines in her translation to that of the original text and fit a beautiful but also very readable kind of English to iambic pentameter, creating an Odyssey that is actually fun to read. (Lydia)
 
 
 

coverImprovement by Joan Silber: A novel featuring cigarette smuggling, single parenting, prison, and rug collectors, the beginning of which was published in Tin House and appears in Best American Short Stories. In a starred review, Kirkus says “There is something so refreshing and genuine about this book.” (Lydia)
 
 
 

coverWonder Valley by Ivy Pochoda: An L.A. novel about a teenager escaping from his father’s commune that a starred Kirkus review calls “an absorbing, finely detailed, nasty California noir.” Our own Edan Lepucki says “this novel paints an unforgettable portrait of people who long, above all else, for community and connection.”
 
 
 

coverRadio Free Vermont by Bill McKibben: Is it a surprise that the debut novel from one of our best-known environmental activists focuses on grassroots resistance? In backwoods Vermont, two radicals use an underground radio show to recruit people interested in seceding from the United States. What follows is a zany, witty, and altogether timely imagination of modern resistors. (Nick M.)
 
 
 

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