Charco Press release Older Brother, a celebrated blend of fiction and autobiography from the Uruguan author Daniel Mella that centres around the narrator’s brother being hit by lightning. Every one of Charco Press’s books has been gripping and boundary-pushing, not to mention beautiful, and Older Brother looks to be no exception. Not to be missed.
Fitzcarraldo Editions have Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, another novel from Olga Tokarczuk, whose Flights won the 2018 Man Booker International Prize. It tells the story of a reclusive woman whose search for her two missing dogs leads her into the investigation of a murder, and judging from its reaction in her native Poland is likely to be every bit as vibrant and surprising as her prize-winning work.
Comma Press, champion of the short story, have two releases in September, releasing a book of stories from the BBC National Short Story Award (always excellent) along with The Book of Birmingham, a typically diverse collection in their best-selling “Reading the City” series, with stories from Balvinda Banga, Alan Beard, Sharon Duggal, Kit de Waal and more.
Epoque Press, whose El Hacho announced their presence with flair, have Lynn Buckle’s debut novel The Groundsmen, a story about the lives of five family members tarnished by a disturbing past: it sounds darkly fantastical and highly ominous.
Handheld Press move into fiction with Eddie Thomas Petersen’s After the Death of Ellen Keldberg, the story of a young men who’s sent to the village of Skagen to make arrangements for the funeral of an aunt who froze to death on a bench. When he arrives he encounters the enigmatic, artistic Anne-Sofie, whose presence reveals the dark secrets of the town. It’s a thoughtful, atmospheric novel that’ll win plenty of fans.
And Dahlia Publishing have Susmita Bhattacharya’s debut short story collection Table Manners, exploring balance between people’s diverse mindsets and their universal humanity. She’s a celebrated, prize-winning talent, and it promises to be an exciting collection from a publisher committed to diverse voices.
Comma Press release Syrian author Nayrouz Qarmout’s short story collection The Sea Cloak, already in the news given the Home Office’s denial of a visa for her talk the Edinburgh Book Festival (and, following an uproar, their subsequent issuing of one, albeit too late for the event). It promises to be an extraordinary piece of work, drawing on Qarmout’s experiences growing up in a refugee camp and her life in Gaza – Comma Press call it “a local perspective on a global story”.
Charco Press have Resistance, by the Brazilian author Julian Fuks – already named by The Guardian as being among the best fiction of 2018. It’s about a young couple forced to flee the military dictatorship in 1970s Argentina, and Fuks has been showered with awards for his work, so it’s certainly one to watch: exploring themes of identity, exile and dislocation.
And Istros Books are putting out Daša Drndić’s Doppelganger, two stories from the celebrated Croatian writer exploring the difficulties of being an individual in society: dealing with one’s private thoughts but forced to interact publicly. It’s a grand theme that preoccupied Dostoevsky, Kafka, Poe and more, and Drndić’s voice is a welcome contribution to that canon.
Portland’s Forest Avenue Press release Stevan Allred’s The Alehouse at the End of the World, an extraordinary epic comedy about a fisherman searching for his lost beloved, who’s swallowed by a whale and deposited on the Isle of the Dead. Whilst there he battles a narcissistic, bullying crow to restore his lost love to life. It’s described as a Shakespearean fable, and it sounds like nothing else that you’ll read this this year, although if anyone can pull it off then it’s Forest Avenue Press.
Charco Press have Carla Maliandi’s The German Room, another unusual novel that supposedly invents a new genre – it’s about a woman travelling from Argentina to Germany trapped by her emotional conflicts, never fully understanding her situation or learning from her circumstances. It looks to be defiantly experimental, a bold, risky piece of fiction, and it’s already got me excited.
Istros put out Biljiana Jovanovic’s Dogs and Others, featuring the first openly lesbian character in Serbian fiction – it’s a coming-of-age story set in the 1970s, about a neurotic, bohemian protagonist beset by the trials of her family. Her writing has been praised for its frankness, eroticism and force, and it sounds like an important, timely novel.
Epoque Press release Jamie Guiney’s short story collection The Wooden Hill – the work of an Irish writer with a growing reputation, with international recognition and a string of stories shortlisted for major prizes. Few details about it at present, but one to watch.
And Fitzcarraldo Editions have Mathias Enard’s epic Tell Them of Battles, Kings and Elephants, a story about Michelangelo’s commission from the Sultan of Constantinople, and his subsequent flight from Rome and Pope Julius II. Constructed from real historical fragments and telling a lesser-known story about the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth century, it looks like it could be a wholly immersive joy.
NB: All cover designs are provisional and subject to change
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