Barrett Bowlin’s Anticipated Fiction of 2014

Our outgoing fiction editor, Barrett Bowlin, who will remain with us as a contributing editor at Memorious, leaves us with a list of some of the books he is looking forward to in this new year.
Leaving the Sea: Stories (Knopf) by Ben Marcus. A personal favorite, Ben Marcus is a strange, jilting writer, and his stories and novels are fantastically unsettling. The fact that his new story collection is being published early in the year is a wonderful signal for a year’s worth of outstanding fiction.
Bark: Stories (Knopf) by Lorrie Moore. Only writers like Moore evoke that same feeling of having your favorite band release their upcoming album. Her first collection of stories in fifteen years, Bark is a return to the short story form of a master, and having the chance to read a collection from Lorrie Moore is an incredible experience.
Train Shots: Stories (Burrow Press) by Vanessa Blakeslee. Blakeslee is one of those rare authors who knows how to interject hope into a story without using it as a crutch to make her characters’ downfalls all the more tragic. Don’t get me wrong, though; her stories are heartbreakingly wonderful, and they’ve finally been packaged together in her debut collection, which is due in early March.
An Untamed State(Grove/Black Cat) by Roxane Gay . The hardest working woman in fiction, feature writing, and social media, Roxane Gay is the highlight of the 2012 edition of the Best American Short Stories, care of her short story, “North Country.” The backdrop of her debut novel looks pretty damn amazing (Haiti’s privileged society), as well, as Gay is known for her meticulous research.
The Dog: Stories (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) by Jack Livings. Another amazing short story author (and one who deserves every bit of praise he gets for them), Livings’ debut collection is set in contemporary China, and I’m looking quite forward to peeking into the geographies and societies that only an author like Livings can produce.
The Anatomy of Dreams: a Novel (Atria) by Chloe Krug Benjamin. Benjamin’s poetry is lush, rich, and precise, and I’m hoping her first novel will be just as engaging. (Also, it helps that she’s a former student of Lorrie Moore’s, who blurbed wholeheartedly for Benjamin.)
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