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
$26.00
ISBN: 9780525538882
Availability: Backordered
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
$26.00
ISBN: 9780735213890
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Riverhead Books - July 31st, 2018

Staff Pick

An unsettling novel, The Incendiaries taps into the motivations that drive extremism and obsession. The relationship between Will and Phoebe —a former piano prodigy with a tragic past— 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. While Phoebe gets drawn into the web of Leal’s cult, Will becomes increasingly fixated on her, and tragedy strikes. Kwon develops the story’s uneasy atmosphere through spare description, using ambiguity to deny any easy resolution.

The Incendiaries: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780735213890
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Riverhead Books - July 31st, 2018

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