Staff Pick

I don’t like ghost stories or horror movies. As a kid, I was no fun around a campfire. I spook very easily and I don’t like gore—and yet I read Things We Lost in the Fire in one nail-biting sitting. These stories, Enriquez’s first to be published in English, are even more beautiful than they are frightening. They’re full of horror tropes (the spooky little children alone, my God) but the language is more Lucia Berlin than R.L. Stine. So yeah, maybe I lost a bit of sleep to Things We Lost in the Fire. For sentences as good as these, it’s a trade I’m more than willing to make.

Things We Lost in the Fire: Stories Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9780451495112
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Hogarth - February 21st, 2017

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Staff Pick

Let me begin with a warning: if you hear Colombian writer and think magic realism, Reputations (Riverhead, $25) is not what you’re thinking. This is more like what might happen if a magic-realist hand lifted Philip Roth from Newark, New Jersey, and dropped him in the mountainous suburbs of Bogotá. Juan Gabriel Vásquez, author of The Sound of Things Falling, is considered one of Colombia’s great contemporary writers, and for good reason—his writing is as emotionally and politically acute as it gets, with some Rothian swagger thrown in. The protagonist of Reputations is a man who’s losing his swagger. Javier Mallarino is a revered political cartoonist, an artist who’s made and, perhaps more importantly, destroyed careers. At the start of the novel, he receives an award from the Colombian government: his face on a stamp. He’s official. He’s enshrined—and he doesn’t like it. He never meant to be an insider or a hero, and so when a long-forgotten friend of his daughter’s begins asking questions about the consequences of his work, Mallarino is right there with her, legacy be damned.

Reputations Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781594633478
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Riverhead Books - September 20th, 2016

Reputations Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780735216860
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Riverhead Books - September 19th, 2017

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Staff Pick

On first picking up Dodgers (Crown, $26), local writer Bill Beverly’s excellent debut, you might think it’s a crime novel. I did. The general structure of the plot is hit-man road trip: teenagers in a minivan set out from Los Angeles to kill a judge for their drug-lord boss. There’s plenty of blood in the book, and lots of running and hiding. But really Dodgers is a Western in reverse. The protagonist, East, has never left LA before he’s dispatched on this hit. He’s never thought about what it might be like to go, well, east. As he roams around the frozen Midwest, he’s more interested in watching other people’s lives than in living his own—understandable, given his line of work. The best section of the novel is a lonely stretch East spends working at a paintball range, growing comfortable in an America very different from the one that used to be his. That comfort can’t last, of course. Dodgers isn’t that kind of book. East’s got to keep moving, discovering new terrain, and though the novel ends at an airport, it feels like he’s riding off into the sunset.

Dodgers: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781101903735
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Crown - April 5th, 2016

Dodgers: A Novel Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9781101903759
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Broadway Books - January 3rd, 2017

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