As of today, September 29, we have reviewed forty-eight titles in 2012—not bad, right? This week we will publish titles 49 and 50. And yet, there’s more! So much more, really, to come as autumn turns to winter. October will be something of a catching-up period, for us, as we review some September titles sitting in our review queue. But there will be some October titles covered as well. Here’s a not-at-all exhaustive list of what we’ve got to come.
A.M. Homes’s May We Be Forgiven
We spend much of our time around these parts reviewing debuts—because they excite us, because we’re not always knowledgeable enough of an author’s canon (like, say, Michael Chabon, whose latest we declined to cover for those reasons) to offer anything especially worthwhile. So when we can review something from someone well established, it’s an interesting change of pace. A.M. Homes’s seventh novel, May We Be Forgiven, offers that and more. As our review, which will be published Monday, offers, “May We Be Forgiven is a book about the American Dream, how it has changed, how it must change to encompass who we are, who we’ve become as a nation.”
Chad Simpson’s Tell Everyone I Said Hi
Chad Simpson’s long-awaited short story collection feels less like the arrival of a new voice than the culmination of years and years of hard work. Tell Everyone I Said Hi features eighteen stories—some of traditional length, some flash, some stuff in between—all of which are observant, important, and fresh. Simpson, whose work you may have seen in McSweeney’s Quarterly, SmokeLong Quarterly, Hobart, and Necessary Fiction (among many other places), writes with a remarkably tender understanding of his own characters’ imperfections.
Marco Roth’s The Scientists: A Family Romance
Debut memoirs ain’t easy. Like, why you so important? And at first glance, Roth’s story is grating: only child of an academic and a musician grows up on New York’s Upper West Side. But as it often does, tragedy upsets Roth’s idyllic adolescence, as his father dies of AIDS. Despite the pall of sadness this may cast, The Scientists is not a saccharine exploration of grief and the impact of lives lost, but an honest—I want to say discussion?—reckoning of Roth’s life.
Jeffrey Pilcher’s Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food
For all the totally annoying pining I do for my semester abroad in London—did you know no one has guns there? did you know that they DON’T EVEN LIKE THE ROYALS AS MUCH AS WE DO? did you know our concept of British food is totally antiquated now that the country’s been so welcoming to South Asian immigrants? did you did you did you???—there was one unforgivable aspect of life in the UK: the total and complete absence of decent Mexican food. Yeah, I went to Wahaca a few times, it was all right; and yes, I was a dumb college kid, so I probably didn’t venture too far off the city’s main paths. Still. So Jeffrey Pilcher’s exploration of arguably the world’s greatest and most misunderstood cuisine obviously caught my eye, and of all the books I’m looking forward to opening, this might be the only one I literally devour. Like: put inside my mouth.
Shani Boianjiu’s The People of Forever Are Not Afraid
There have been some very good books about the army this year, albeit by American men. Enter Shani Boianjiu, a twenty-five-year-old Israeli woman, and one of the fall’s most hotly anticipated debuts. The People of Forever Are Not Afraid tells the story of three Israeli women whose conscription, of course, greatly alters their lives and perceptions of the world around them. Boianjiu’s debut, out last month, has been received warmly. Earlier this year, she won the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35.”