King's debut essay collection touches on cultural cornerstones that would be familiar to anyone who came of age in the late '90s and early 2000s--it's positively redolent with Auntie Anne’s pretzels and Bath and Body Works spritzes--and teems with the awkwardness of adolescence. But what makes this collection so refreshing is her attention to the kitschy, the trashy, and the tacky; interweaving a well-honed snark with odes to things that more highbrow critics would turn their noses up at, King takes readers on a ride that is unrepentant in its joy, teaching us to love in ways that are shameless, silly, and just plain fun.
Departing from his signature autofictional mode, Knausgaard follows nine loosely connected characters whose daily lives are interrupted by the appearance of a bright new star in the sky. As the quotidian collides with the wonder and horror of the fantastic--especially the series of eerie events the astral phenomenon ushers in--each begins to question the nature of their existence, their precarius faith, and even whether life has any inherent meaning. Read in the context of the ongoing pandemic, the novel is a remarkable exploration of human experience in the face of something overwhelming.
Putting his signature grotesque craftsmanship in the service of themes of faith, UFOs, and the seductive lure of cults, Ito takes readers into a hidden cult of Edo-period Christianity devotees who believe that mysterious angel hair falling from the sky will grant them views far into the cosmos.While marking a departure from the master artist's usual short-story--though each chapter feels as if it could stand on its own--and ending on an uncharacteristic hopeful note, this unpredictable work, first published in Japan as Travelogue of the Succubus, is still very Ito in tone and style, and shows that he still has more than a few tricks up his sleeve.