Debut Books

Orogeny – Irène Mathieu

OROGENY generates mountains; dynamite destroys them. The cycle is complete; the circle closes. Or perhaps not.

The Knack of Doing – Jeremy M. Davies

In fiction, it’s more fun when the watch, after pages and pages of diligent ticking, explodes, starts screaming, or shoots poop out of its dial — does something, anything, to upend the pattern or upset the conceit.

Bodies of Summer – Martin Felipe Castagnet

At its best Castagnet’s debut work artfully skirts overt philosophizing about mind-body relations and necropolitics, keeping this slim speculative novel at an athletic pace and leaving ample room for us to explore its marvelous world for ourselves.

The Vine That Ate the South – J.D. Wilkes

THE VINE THAT ATE THE SOUTH is more conversion narrative than odyssey, and more tall tale than either, filled with a twisty, tongue-in-cheek lyricism that calls to mind a Weird Twain.

The Great American Songbook – Sam Allingham

What Allingham shows is that songs are most effective when their writers embrace the limitations their medium presents, and cannily exploit these to draw attention to their project’s artifice.

Imagine Wanting Only This – Kristen Radtke

Part of what had excited me was something that doesn’t usually make for compelling criticism, that is, I had found IMAGINE WANTING ONLY THIS to be relatable.

Lucky You – Erika Carter

Carter succeeds in creating a lush but airless environment in which the anxieties of “adulting” — finding direction, meaning, maintaining a home — are amplified to crippling effect.

The Babysitter at Rest – Jen George

George takes us close to the absurdism of Donald Barthelme, but also the blurred distinctions between realism and science fiction that can be found in the work of Doris Lessing.

WoO – Renee Angle

It’s not the truth behind the founding of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that’s important here. What’s important are the bodies, the violence, the people that are at stake in this truth.

I’ve Got a Time Bomb – Sybil Lamb

In the absence of any kind of fair political structure and the resources to establish successful radical communities, we rely on who and what we can, hoping that small groups, friends, and lovers can sop some of the ache gushing out of our collective political void.