Anthony Veasna So died far too young at age 28, leaving behind him the much loved story collection Afterparties, lauded by many as one of the best books of 2021. Songs on Endless Repeat collects Veasna So’s essays—on family, immigration, pop culture, and more—along with some of his unpublished fiction, further highlighting the brilliance of a writer we lost too soon. –JD
Few writers have a wit as razor sharp as Kate Christensen’s (brb, off to reread The Epicure’s Lament). Her new novel follows an environmental journalist as she returns to her small Maine hometown after the death of her mother, and grapples with grief, family, and aging. I would trust no less deft a hand than Christensen’s to manage the balance of humor, devastation, and squabbling. –JG
I’m suddenly into space these days, a development I’m quite pleased about if for no other reason than it led me to this musing, moody little book that captures one day—or 16 rotations of Earth—for six astronauts and cosmonauts circling our beautiful blue planet. It’s the writing that sells this book, not me, so here’s a sample, regarding the depressing possibility that we might actually be alone in the universe:
Until then what can we do in our abandoned solitude but gaze at ourselves? Examine ourselves in endless bouts of fascinated distraction, fall in love and in hate with ourselves, make a theater, a myth and cult of ourselves. Because what else is there? To become superb in our technology, knowledge and intellect, to itch with a desire for fulfillment that we can’t quite scratch; to look to the void (which still isn’t answering) and build spaceships anyway, and make countless circlings of our lonely planet, and little excursions to our lonely moon and think thoughts like these in weightless bafflement and routine awe.
It honestly pained me to not keep going, but if you’re not sold yet, I can’t help you. –ES
The latest novel from the author of The Affairs of the Falcóns centers on a complex mother-daughter relationship—it’s been three years since Martín, Flores’s father and Paula’s husband, died, and the two women are living uneasily together in their Brooklyn apartment, awash in doubts and desires and memories. When they learn they will be forced to move, they will also be forced to confront themselves, and each other. –ET
I have always loved the poetry of Christian Wiman: the richness of the language as it oscillates from the vulgar to the decorous; the sly formalism, often a barely visible framework for the images therein; the bravery with which the poet reveals himself at his most vulnerable… It is this last quality that made Wiman’s 2007 collection of short essays and prose, Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet, such an unforgettable work. And it is why I’m excited by Zero at the Bone, a collection of 50 short prose works in which Wiman reflects on family, his West Texas childhood, and the poets who made him who he is. –JD
Back in 2015, when everything was different, a little literary website named Lit Hub launched early one April morning. We were lucky enough to publish a work-in-progress, a translation from Solares’ Cómo Dibujar Una Novela. Now, finally finished and available in translation, this craft collection examines the novel in all its forms, exploring structure, how writers discover characters, and the importance of place (or not). An important and beautifully rendered craft book. Find an excerpt here. –EF