Staff Pick

Don't let the sheer bulk of this six-volume autobiographical novel keep you from enjoying one of the best voices in fiction today. The first book is a rewarding, accessible, and largely self-contained work that's easy to devour. Knausgaard creates an internal world that feels truly expansive in its beauty, pain, and humor. He has an extraordinary eye for the quotidian details of life that so often get glazed over in fiction. This skill, combined with a carefully digressive narrative style, allows him to create an epic from the personal.

My Struggle: Book 1 Cover Image
By Karl Ove Knausgaard, Don Bartlett (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780374534141
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - May 28th, 2013

Staff Pick

One of the best debuts of the year, Real Life is a novel of startling emotional intelligence and clarity. It centers on Wallace, a gay black grad student surrounded by white peers in a Midwestern biochemistry program. Over the course of a long weekend, the shy and suspicious Wallace is forced to confront the simmering tensions beneath his personal and professional relationships. Taylor uncovers wounds that are wrought by casual prejudice and deeper trauma with the same level of care. Real Life excels at capturing the volatile intersection of race, class, and sexuality through the eyes of a deeply compelling protagonist.

Real Life: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525538882
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Riverhead Books - February 18th, 2020

Staff Pick

An unsettling debut novel from R.O. Kwon, The Incendiaries (Riverhead, $26) taps into the motivations that drive extremism and obsession. Set in a secluded private school, it follows the relationship between Phoebe, a former piano prodigy with a tragic past, and Will, a lapsed evangelical who has abandoned his faith. Their romance gets complicated by the machinations of John Leal, a cult leader whose religious fervor stems from his supposed stint in a North Korean labor camp. Feeling increasingly isolated, Phoebe gets drawn into the web of Leal’s cult, while Will becomes fixated on her. Through her deft handling of perspective, Kwon chronicles the ebb and tide of their relationship. She develops an uneasy atmosphere through spare and evocative description, using ambiguity to deny any easy resolution. Instead, she probes the emotional limitations that keep people from truly understanding each other.

The Incendiaries: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735213890
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Riverhead Books - July 31st, 2018