I really love fiction that leans toward magical realism and grim humor. My overall tastes range from the classic Argentine magical realists, to the beats of the fifties and sixties, to contemporary dark humorists like George Saunders. Generally speaking, the more it strays from traditional form, the more I like it!
Have you ever finished a book and known it would be one you'd treasure for the rest of your life? This is one of those for me! Sophie, our main character, lives under a brutally oppressive regime on the dying planet January. Falsely accused of a minor crime, she is exiled to the frozen waste, and must undergo a personal transformation from student to survivor. Burdened with her trauma, her society's violent history, and her friend's expectations, Sophie must find a way to save herself and the rest of humankind. An instant classic.
As someone who also grew up as a weird kid who stood out for being "fey" or "unmasculine," every paragraph of Eddy's experience hits like a gut-punch. This semi-autobiographical novel at the intersection of poverty, bullying, and queerness delivers heavy doses of catharsis with a taut translation from the original French. Beautiful, savage, and chilling.
"These weren't my lungs, really, these weren't my ugly gasps. It was as though they were being expelled from me. Vomited up. Like I was simply a vessel for someone else's life.
I don't know how else to explain it."
In this slim collection of personal essays, an introspective analysis of a woman's life lived in a world shaped under the male gaze meets a breakdown of consciousness, conscience, illness, and power. Guided between topics by crushingly frank language bordering on sublime, Boutsikaris' lived experience overcomes the reader in a tidal wave.
A devastating, excoriating takedown of the modern culture of austerity enacted by the French government, through the extremely personal and raw experiences of France's greatest up-and-coming young author. In less than 90 pages, Louis dismantles the reasoning of the neoliberal apparatus that has assigned his 50-year-old father "...to the category of humans whom politics consigns to an early death." Unforgettable.
The wildest ride since Jurassic Park. A true page-turner of a techno-thriller. Absolutely off-the-wall and very compelling!
Gorgeously rendered in green watercolor tones! Newlevant's memoir chronicles a summer of self-discovery in which the author comes to terms with their privileged & sheltered youth. Impactful commentary that leaves room for the reader's interpretation and personal growth. Poignant and timely.
A pitch-perfect sequel to Molly's The Witch Boy. The new characters we meet are instantly likable and relatable. The themes of the previous graphic novel are explored in greater depth as the consequences of Aster's magical talents seep out into the larger world they inhabit. People can change for the better and old wounds can be healed— no-one is irredeemable.
A beautifully illustrated story that challenges societal norms and gender constructs in a gentle & unique way. Aster is a boy in a magical family whose women are witches and men are shape-shifters. He wants to practice magic, but is forbidden. Even in our un-magical world, Aster is very relatable, and themes of fitting in, bullying, diversity and acceptance are woven throughout. So charming!
Me, Myself, They is perfect for anyone looking for a personal, authentic narrative about the challenges of growing up as a non-binary person. Joshua is the first person in Canada to be legally recognized as non-binary, and their struggle for trans rights is an uplifting story. Trans rights are human rights, and we're all better for their victory.
Machine, Susan Steinberg's first novel, is told from the point of view of an adolescent woman that witnesses the "accidental" death of a stranger while on vacation. The haunting survivor's guilt of this incident is suffused throughout the book. With most chapters taking the form of long sentence fragments and unconventional punctuation, Steinberg's singular voice leaves it to the reader to decipher the truth of the stranger's death. A novel unlike any other.
Spectacle is an amazingly strong short story collection. It's sometimes offputtingly strange, as it reads like poetry and is formally unique. Susan Steinberg infuses every line with a brutal honesty and a tone that is purely her own. The book is hugely cohesive thanks to this univocal quality. The book is very tight and highly authored as a result: it feels designed to exist as a collected whole rather than individual stories. A favorite of mine!
Naked Lunch is a grimly comical carnival of grotesque imagery and pain. Written in Tangiers during a years-long heroin bender, the experience reflected in the book is, like the addiction cycle, a circular pattern of self-punishment, and an act of nihilism - a cry for help from rock bottom.Having read it three times, I can say with confidence that it is a true work of art that I absolutely love, but I also understand that it is a harrowing undertaking to actually read it. That being said, the reward for reaching the conclusion is a deeper understanding of the human cost of policies that criminalize addiction.
This conclusion to the trilogy that begins with Annihilation is thrilling – haunting – maddening – an ideal science-mystery with beautiful prose. As close to perfect as a trilogy of books can get.
This compact memoir is excellent. It's so uplifting and empowering to see the author, a queer person of color, face the toxic masculinity and bigotry ever-present in our era and thrive despite it. This book brought me a lot of hope in a grim year, and for that, Vivek Shraya has a reader for life in me.
This book is a miraculous blend of character and hauntingly strange adventure. Despite all his flaws and the almost surreal journey he embarks upon, you can't stop rooting for Jakub Procha. Tragic, funny, and unforgettable!
A surprising, hilarious, and deeply strange collection of one-page graphic stories. Plays with the reader’s sense of sequence and perception like a cat plays with a feather… Uniquely funny.
A harrowing look into humanity's deep future, grounded in realism. Images from this post-genetic wasteland will stick with you forever.
This collection of other wordly short stories distills Haruki Murakami's unique voice and world view into a single volume. Unforgettable!