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The Heaven of Animals by David James Poissant

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These stories are wild without being ridiculous, so they never feel like a hollow experiment. They’re intimate and real, but you never get the sense that Poissant is merely transcribing autobiography. They’re heartbreakingly sad and they’re laugh-out-loud funny.

The Universe edited by John Brockman

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If your understanding of the universe is mostly based on Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, then you should read The Universe, because a lot has changed in the past twenty years.

10:04 by Ben Lerner

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A narrative as much a novel as it is a poem; an autobiography as factual as it is imagined; a fiction as real as it is unreal. Experiences that are the same, yet totally different.

J by Howard Jacobson

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When one of the world’s greatest living satirists writes a love story, it’s only a matter of time before you realize it’s all bound to be a big trick.

Interview: Andrés Neuman

Andres Neuman

That’s why I hate it when people say, “I don’t have time for reading or writing.” Some people say, “I love writing, but I don’t have the time.” They don’t know that by reading and writing, you earn time. Because you’re living twice. So the more you read, the more time you have. You have layers of existences. When I don’t write or read, I can clearly sense that I am wasting a part of my day.

A Distant Father by Antonio Skarmeta

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He creates impressive images with a few phrases, meaning he knows how to use language without overusing language and that’s not surprising, since Skarmeta is the author of Il Postino, which was made into that delightful movie you saw, or should have seen.

Green Girl by Kate Zambreno

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We’re never far from a screen in which we might pluck a scrap of identity, represent a tidy image of the self, be watched.

A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall by Will Chancellor

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A Brave Man certainly shares ideas with William Gaddis’ masterpiece The Recognitions, as well as Thomas Pynchon’s V.: the relentless and manic appearance of coincidence, the skewering of the latest art scene and inevitable hanger-ons, and ultimately the questioning of what truly constitutes art.

Interview: Neel Mukherjee

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The ability to think about and imagine other people’s lives and minds, to enter into their heads, is the beginning of empathy, of the moral imagination and sense. That is exactly what fiction does, too. I wanted to have that not only as the invisible and silent dynamo powering my book, but also to make The Lives of Others wear the morality of the novel form on its sleeve.

Interview: Jack Livings

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But that’s all it took—the place had its hooks in me, and for many years after that second trip I had an intense longing to return, but I wanted to go only if I could stay for a year or more—I wanted to settle down, see old friends and make new friends, get into a rhythm, hang out at night with the old guys playing chess in the alley, watch the seasons change.

Inside Madeleine by Paula Bomer

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It might be best to imagine Bomer’s characters as moths endlessly flying toward the flickering blue neon light of a bug-zapper. Desire inevitably leads to futility.

Interview: Ma Thanegi

Ma Thanegi

The guards were ordinary women and there were some nice ones, who of course were tougher on the criminals, so life in prison was not made easy through the cowed condition of keeping our heads down and following the rules. I and others broke a lot of non political rules such as smuggling in books, smuggling out letters, stealing pen and paper from the office and we were very good at it.

Animals in Motion by David Ryan

Animals in Motion

Why this is worth mentioning right off is because of how defiant, challenging, wandering, and against grain the stories in David Ryan’s collection are; they possess equal parts quirk and depth—and these are the same attributes necessary for a printing press in our current market to maintain.

Interview: Paula Bomer

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I began reading Paula Bomer’s Inside Madeleine on a plane ride.  I sat next to a friend and fellow writer who was working on his own story collection.  He’d published a novel and poetry, but never short stories, and he felt disoriented attempting the new form.  He wanted inspiration.  He wanted a sense of control and…

Interview: Stacey D’Erasmo

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In writing previous books I was a little more anxious about the craft police and in this book I just really didn’t care. I wanted it to be in fragments and I wanted it to be lyrical and have a lot of emotion in it and I wanted to roam around between the scenes and have these digressive, meditative moments.

Short Century by David Burr Gerrard

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At times, this tension between the personal and the political becomes uncomfortable, giving Short Century the feeling of a truly fantastic family saga trapped inside a slightly turgid political memoir.

The Literature Express By Lasha Bugadze

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The Literature Express is at its best when embracing the literary cacophony of its setting. The characters and their furious battle to out-do one another professionally gives the book its bleak humor, and a degree of uneasy edge.

Journey to Karabakh By Aka Morchiladze

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Away from his father, away from Yana, away from the social codes that have governed his life in Tbilisi, Giorgi finds in Karabakh something not unlike inner peace.

Young God by Katherine Faw Morris

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Now, the buzz is drawing comparisons to Denis Johnson and, largely, Flannery O’Connor: stark, effusive, violent, seminal writers. Though after finishing Morris’s debut, I find I’m only struck to agree with this likening in its broadest possible sense, almost to a degree that their connections are contextual, and not what is drawn out of the writing.

Harlequin’s Millions by Bohumil Hrabal

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Entering the most recent English translation of Hrabal’s work, it’s important to realize what it means to have a beautiful sentence exist, even when it doesn’t whet.

Interview: Anthony Doerr

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I’m drawn most to writing that reminds me of the dazzling wonders of the world. That said, of course, I feel cynicism about many things. It’s hard to reach 40 in a tehcno-capitalist society and not become cynical about humanity’s attitude toward resources, or about the way capitalism rewards the profit motive above all else.

War! What Is It Good For? by Ian Morris

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If I said that war is what brought humanity peace and prosperity, you’d probably say I’m either crazy or a military-industry-funded Republican. Yet that’s the exact premise of Ian Morris’s new book, War! What Is It Good For?

Mount Terminus by David Grand

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Following the death of his wife, Jacob Rosenbloom, veritable inventor of the film projector, moves his son from New York to California in an outward move of grief. Yet, along the way, Bloom, a sharply inquisitive, twelve-year-old, accounts the manner in which the two have been followed, their entire journey, by three looming figures, and he begins to understand it’s not only grief that has motivated his father.

Long Man by Amy Greene

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As we move further into its rather speedy 270 pages, and narrow into the actions of short fiction, Greene not only redeems, but outdoes all expectations. The aspects that seem long oncoming offer sensational reward, the very kind that readers who give up early often miss out on.