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!
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.
Winner of the Hugo, Nebula and Arthur C. Clarke Awards, this novel is considered the prime text of the new weird literary movement. A stunning work of creativity and imagination.
This collection of other wordly short stories distills Haruki Murakami's unique voice and world view into a single volume. Unforgettable!