My absolute favorite by Murakami. One of his more fantastical works—which, for a fantasy reader like myself, made it a perfect fit! The parallel narratives of the Hard-Boiled Wonderland on the one hand and The End of the World on the other keep the story fresh and moving, and just slightly uncomfortable in that very Murakami way.
Malina explores the mind of a woman experiencing fascism's faceless undercurrents in the "freedom" of postwar society. The narrator does not mince words: to even think of transcending this world, beyond the binary of man and woman and all our society's power structures, would mean "murder," in every sense. Quotidian, lurid, surreal, radical -- and all veiled in a love triangle of sorts. This novel belongs to our moment as much as any.
Ranging from dystopian to downright apocalyptic, the stories in Saunders' first collection are vibrant and frightening, wild and lonely, hilarious and raw. Written while Saunders himself was working a corporate job to support his family, each story shows its characters fumbling through one bizarre capitalist hellscape after another. But each story is memorable for its own unique world, its own characters, and the moments of intense, beautiful clarity that Saunders manages to reach. This is a wonderful collection often overlooked in a wildly successful career.
Is there anything Roxane Gay can’t write? In a very general sense, this book is about the way experiences shape the body and the body shapes experiences. I really want to be friends with Roxane and I felt like she was telling me her story, which was an experience I thoroughly enjoyed.
A group of bored travelers in fin-de-siècle Amsterdam encounter an aging French dandy in a dank and dimly-lit bar. Having long ago imposed exile upon himself, M. de Bougrelon feverishly guides his compatriots on a tour of Holland's forgotten splendor. Between hasty reapplications of his makeup, which drips freely from his jowls, M. de Bougrelon reminisces on his debauched youth spent in the "heroic" company of his friend, Monsieur de Mortimer. Lorrain so coyly plumbs the depths of urban ennui and the limits of male companionship that it's hard to believe this slim novel came out in 1897.
Like D.B. Cooper, poet-logger Wobblies, potlatches, and the geoduck, The Golden Spruce is the kind of story Cascadia produces best: mystical, misty, mystifying, and just a little bit larger than life. A great read, engaging without pandering or condesencion, this story is part whodunit, part song-of-place, and part sorrowful cautionary parable. A must for all readers who love the rainy old Northwest; land, sea, forest and (sometimes) cranky, contrarian inhabitants.