Can you describe a book set during the Thirty Years' War as a delight? Well hell, I'm gonna, because this book's tone and tenor somehow make enjoyable a series of dark vignettes that twist politics, religion, fear, and epistemology around the origin story of one of the world's legendary tricksters. Bloody fun, this one.
I'm a huge sucker for a band of anti-heroic criminals, and boy do the Cragg Vale Coiners ever fit the bill. There's a bit of Robin Hood, and The Godfather, and some Paul Kingsnorth in here too, all wrapped up in haunting depictions of the north of England that put you right there next to King David Hartley the whole way through.
Like any satire worth its salt, this book confronts, offends, and horrifies its reader with twisted visions of what are actually cold hard facts. America's racist past, present, and future collide in this cinematic trip through a Boschian hellscape crafted from our own sickening iconography.
The man who is the "Michael' in "Carmichael's" told me this one was good and man is he right! Nothing about this story is easy on the soul, but Keefe's masterful account of "The Troubles" is worth every minute spent between the first and last pages of this essential book, which is the best one I've read so far in 2019.
If you're a Tribe fan this one is easy: stop reading this right now and buy the damn book. For the rest of you, know that Abdurraqib's writing here is personal and poignant, as he weaves a sublime exegesis of one of the most important rap groups of all time.
Goldsberry is one of the smartest guys talking NBA hoops, and this book ties together all of what makes his writing great: the data, the stats, the trademark graphics—and just the right amount of acid wit. He explains how the NBA arrived at the three-chucking, five-out, wide-open state that it's in right now, and will make you a smarter fan, page after vivid page.
I loved every page of this short but powerful novel of the American frontier. It explores the thrill and danger in the pursuit of spiritual escape, and the dark consequences that ripple outward from one man's immovable curiosity.
If you find yourself looking around the world these days wondering how the hell we got to this strange and unsettling place, then this book just might be for you. Even if some of our current reality's characters can be grotesque and cruel, it can help smooth things out (just a little) to read about what the hell makes these goons tick.
A fantastic collection of short stories written the way they oughta be: brief, powerful, and engaging. That, and what I assume is a very Norwegian sense of humor. Fans of Lydia Davis and Joy Williams, this book is for you!
If the idea of a novel about the Twin Towers suddenly reappearing intact in the middle of the Badlands doesn't scare you off, then let me coax you along a little further. The concept is high, yes, but this blend of mixtape liner notes, speculative fiction, and family history is terrifically written. Somehow familiar and far-out at the same time, SHADOWBAHN is strangely addictive.
This is a deep, dark story about the consumptive power of loss and grief, and the fissures they crack open in our lives. Haunting images and grave suggestions are scattered throughout by a steely, mysterious narrator that refuses to let you set the book down.
Sometimes a novel isn't really a novel, but rare is the book that walks that fine line successfully. Mike Roberts has done so here, with a smooth, conversational style that belies the depth of his intentions. A great and refreshing read, like they all should be.
Without a veteran in your life, the cost of war may sometimes slip from mind. Books like this, and men like Tomas Young, ensure that as a nation and a society, we never disregard the value of human life or forget the simple truth of peace.
After seven long years, one of my all-time favorite authors returns with another novel you just can't put down. Taking dead aim at those who would dare use a term like "post-racial", THE SELLOUT is as funny, smart, and tuned-in as Beatty has ever been.
A loose retelling of the tale of Theseus, OREO is an overlooked classic now back in print after 40 years. It is a wickedly funny look at race, culture, and betweenness—even if it's sometimes hard to tell what truly lay on either side.
Imbued with the wild spirit of his short but powerful classic JESUS' SON, but polished with the literary gold of his epic masterpiece TREE OF SMOKE, Denis Johnson's poetry is every bit as good as his prose. I love to loan this collection out, never get it back, and buy it all over again.