Our countdown to the books of 2013 continues today with fiction editor Barrett Bowlin’s list of fiction books to look out for in the new year.
Tenth of December by George Saunders (Random House) – As a George Saunders fanboy, I take the man’s releases (particularly his fiction) with grave sincerity. As this will be Saunders’ first book of fiction in almost seven years, I am anticipating my local bookseller will host a midnight release party this early January, and I should warn my fellow fanboys that, damn it, I will be first in line.
The Fun Parts: Stories by Sam Lipsyte (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) – Adding on another humorist to my list might tip my hat in terms of literary orientations, but it’s safe to say that Lipsyte is one of those authors who, like Saunders, can move you to unimaginable sorrow just as easily as he can to laughter. I have been in the man’s pocket since the release of his first collection, Venus Drive.
All the Land to Hold Us: a Novel by Rick Bass(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) – One of my favorite nature writers, Rick Bass’s talents play out just as well in his fiction. Contained under the anthropology of each of his novels, however, is an acute look at the tense relationships among individuals as they struggle in harsh settings, and All the Land to Hold Us should prove to accomplish the same.
Byzantium: Stories by Ben Stroud (Graywolf) – Stroud’s stories are these brief treasures I value when I come across them in literary journals, and it’s excellent to see that his first collection will be coming out in July. His work is incredibly intelligent, and it feels gratefully removed from the workshop environment to which we’ve become accustomed.
One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses by Lucy Corin (McSweeney’s) – Corin is one of the few authors who continuously plays with the form of the short story, and the fact that her subject matter is alternate endings to the world (which is the term she uses for these short, morbid vignettes) is amazing.
Tabloid Dreams: Stories by Robert Olen Butler (Grove) – The premise for each of these Butler stories is that it was built around a tabloid headline, with parenthetical stories set aboard the Titanic. If you trust Robert Olen Butler like I trust him, this collection will be amazing.
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