The TNB Book Club

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This Book Is Not For You introduces the world to Neptune―a self-destructive and overly self-aware hero for our times. Neptune’s misadventures are funny, harrowing, thrilling, and sweet, and the novel’s recurring Chapter Ones give a fresh start to the story on each page. Neptune’s bad decisions might make you cringe, but you’ll cheer for him…. An exciting and inventive novel.”  –Craig Finn of The Hold Steady

Utilizing an innovative mashup of genres, ranging from pulp fiction, dark comedy, and metafiction, This Book Is Not for You charts the actions of nineteen-year-old Neptune, a misfit and punk haunted by the death of his parents. Having fallen in with an anarchist group determined to blow up a university building, he steals the dynamite instead, igniting an entirely different brand of trouble: the murder of his mentor; a three-way manhunt; and the mystery of the Ghost Machine, a walkman that replays snippets from his own twisted past. Told in a nonstop chain of Chapter Ones, Daniel A. Hoyt’s debut novel explores the clash between chaos and calm, the instinct for self-destruction and the longing for redemption.

Available from Dzanc Books

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“Gritty, ghostly, poetic [. . .] I’d bet a fifth of the top-shelf stuff it will be considered one of the best debuts of the year.” –Donald Ray Pollock, author of The Heavenly Table

Jordan is a country musician living in the shadow of his father, legendary bluegrass musician Walker Bayne. A man who has made a lifetime of poor decisions, Jordan bounces between dive bars, accruing women and drinking himself to the brink of disaster.

When he returns home to the Ozarks for his twin brother’s wedding, Jordan uncovers a dark vein in the Bayne family history: going back to the end of the Civil War, every generation of Bayne men have been twins―and one twin has always murdered their father.

As old tensions resurface and Jordan searches for a way to escape his family’s legacy, a mysterious hill dweller and his grotesque partner stalk the brothers’ every move, determined to see the curse through to its end. Praised by Donald Ray Pollock as “one of the best debuts of the year,” Middleton establishes himself as a novelist in good company with Brian Panowich and Smith Henderson, yet in a category all his own.

Available from Eamon Dolan

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What’s really happening behind closed doors on America’s college campuses?

“With rigorous reporting, brilliant observations and a rare absence of bias, Grigoriadis has written a fascinating and moreover an important book about a complex, controversial phenomenon. Blurred Lines is poised to become the definitive work about sex, consent, and campus life in our era.” —Meghan Daum, author of The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects Of Discussion.

A new sexual revolution is sweeping the country, and college students are on the front lines. Women use fresh, smart methods to fight entrenched sexism and sexual assault even as they celebrate their own sexuality as never before. Many “woke” male students are more sensitive to women’s concerns than previous generations ever were, while other men perpetuate the most cruel misogyny. Amid such apparent contradictions, it’s no surprise that intense confusion shrouds the topic of sex on campus.

Vanessa Grigoriadis dispels that confusion as no other writer could by traveling to schools large and small, embedding in their social whirl, and talking candidly with dozens of students – among them, both accusers and accused– as well as administrators, parents, and researchers. Her unprecedented investigation presents a host of new truths. She reveals which times and settings are most dangerous for women (for instance, beware the “red zone”); she demystifies the welter of conflicting statistics about the prevalence of campus rape; she makes a strong case that not all “sexual assault” is equivalent; and she offers convincing if controversial advice on how schools, students, and parents can make college a safer, richer experience. The sum of her fascinating, fly-on-the-wall reportage is a revelatory account of how long-standing rules of sex and power are being rewritten from scratch.

Available from Viking

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An ambitious new novel set in the literary world of 1970s New York, following a washed-up writer in an errant quest to pick up the pieces of his life.

One of The Millions’ Most Anticipated Books of the Second Half of 2017 and BuzzFeed’s Exciting New Books You Need To Read This Summer

“With his second book, Gilvarry establishes himself as a writer who defies expectation, convention and categorization. Eastman Was Here is a dark, riotously funny and audacious exploration of the sacred and the profane—and pretty much everything in between.” —Téa Obreht, New York Times bestselling author of The Tiger’s Wife

The year is 1973, and Alan Eastman, a public intellectual, accidental cultural critic, washed-up war journalist, husband, and philanderer; finds himself alone on the floor of his study in an existential crisis. His wife has taken their kids and left him to live with her mother in New Jersey, and his best work feels as though it is years behind him. In the depths of despair, he receives an unexpected and unwelcome phone call from his old rival dating back to his days on the Harvard literary journal, offering him the chance to go to Vietnam to write the definitive account of the end of America’s longest war. Seeing his opportunity to regain his wife’s love and admiration while reclaiming his former literary glory, he sets out for Vietnam. But instead of the return to form as a pioneering war correspondent that he had hoped for, he finds himself in Saigon, grappling with the same problems he thought he’d left back in New York.

Following his widely acclaimed debut, From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant, Alex Gilvarry employs the same thoughtful, yet dark sense of humor in Eastman Was Here to capture one irredeemable man’s search for meaning in the face of advancing age, fading love, and a rapidly-changing world.

Available from Picador

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“Looking for a voice-of-their-generation type writer? No pressure or anything, but BuzzFeed writer Scaachi Koul might fit the bill. Drawing comparisons to Mindy Kaling and Roxane Gay, Koul is a voice for outsiders, children of immigrants and just about any other millennial trying to make their way in today’s perplexing world with this entertaining and thought-provoking collection of essays.” –Rolling Stone

A DEBUT COLLECTION OF FIERCE, FUNNY ESSAYS ABOUT GROWING UP THE DAUGHTER OF INDIAN IMMIGRANTS IN WESTERN CULTURE, ADDRESSING SEXISM, STEREOTYPES, AND THE UNIVERSAL MISERIES OF LIFE

In One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter, Scaachi Koul deploys her razor-sharp humor to share all the fears, outrages, and mortifying moments of her life. She learned from an early age what made her miserable, and for Scaachi anything can be cause for despair. Whether it’s a shopping trip gone awry; enduring awkward conversations with her bikini waxer; overcoming her fear of flying while vacationing halfway around the world; dealing with Internet trolls, or navigating the fears and anxieties of her parents. Alongside these personal stories are pointed observations about life as a woman of color: where every aspect of her appearance is open for critique, derision, or outright scorn; where strict gender rules bind in both Western and Indian cultures, leaving little room for a woman not solely focused on marriage and children to have a career (and a life) for herself.

With a sharp eye and biting wit, incomparable rising star and cultural observer Scaachi Koul offers a hilarious, scathing, and honest look at modern life.

Available from Tyrant Books

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“Scott McClanahan’s The Sarah Book is a furious exhalation of love and hurt and hate and tenderness and anger. This is a chronicle of a couple coming together and breaking apart. There is courage in these pages because so much of what McClanahan details is ugly and desperate and raw–everything, food, drink, love, heartbreak, to excess. The writing is so intimate you want to reach into the book to save this man from himself but you can’t. That impossibility is what makes this book so memorable, so powerful.” –Roxane Gay

“McClanahan’s prose is miasmic, dizzying, repetitive. A rushing river of words that reflects the chaos and humanity of the place from which he hails. He writes in an elliptical fever dream so contagious that slowing down is not an option. It would be like putting a doorstop in front of a speeding train. This is not a book you savor. It is one you inhale.” –The New York Times

“Part memoir, part hillbilly history, part dream, McClanahan embraces humanity with all its grit, writing tenderly of criminals and outcasts, family and the blood ties that bind us.”
Interview Magazine

“McClanahan’s prose is miasmic, dizzying, repetitive. A rushing river of words that reflects the chaos and humanity of the place from which he hails. [McClanahan] aims to lasso the moon… He is not a writer of halfmeasures. The man has purpose. This is his symphony, every note designed to resonate, to linger.”—New York Times Book Review

The Sarah Book is Scott McClanahan’s continuation of the semi-autobiographical portrait he’s been writing over the years about his life in West Virginia. This one is his portrait of love.

Available from Picador

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“[Here I Am is] an ambitious platter of intellection and emotion. Its observations are crisp; its intimations of doom resonate; its jokes are funny. Here I Am consistently lit up my pleasure centers . . . This is also Mr. Foer’s best and most caustic novel, filled with so much pain and regret that your heart sometimes struggles to hold it all . . . This book offers intensities on every page. Once put down it begs . . . to be picked back up . . . Here I Am has more teeming life in it than several hundred well-meaning and well-reviewed books of midlist fiction put together.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times

Instant New York Times Bestseller
A New York Times Notable Book of 2016
A Time Magazine Top 10 Novel of 2016
A Times Literary Supplement Best Book of 2016

“Dazzling . . . A profound novel about the claims of identity, history, family, and the burdens of a broken world.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s “Fresh Air”

In the book of Genesis, when God calls out, “Abraham!” before ordering him to sacrifice his son, Isaac, Abraham responds, “Here I am.” Later, when Isaac calls out, “My father!” before asking him why there is no animal to slaughter, Abraham responds, “Here I am.”

How do we fulfill our conflicting duties as father, husband, and son; wife and mother; child and adult? Jew and American? How can we claim our own identities when our lives are linked so closely to others’? These are the questions at the heart of Jonathan Safran Foer’s first novel in eleven years—a work of extraordinary scope and heartbreaking intimacy.

Unfolding over four tumultuous weeks in present-day Washington, D.C., Here I Am is the story of a fracturing family in a moment of crisis. As Jacob and Julia Bloch and their three sons are forced to confront the distances between the lives they think they want and the lives they are living, a catastrophic earthquake sets in motion a quickly escalating conflict in the Middle East. At stake is the meaning of home—and the fundamental question of how much aliveness one can bear.

Showcasing the same high-energy inventiveness, hilarious irreverence, and emotional urgency that readers loved in his earlier work, Here I Am is Foer’s most searching, hard-hitting, and grandly entertaining novel yet. It not only confirms Foer’s stature as a dazzling literary talent but reveals a novelist who has fully come into his own as one of our most important writers.

x298Available from Custom House Books / HarperCollins

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“For originality, richness of prose and depth of characterization is unlikely to be bettered this year … one of the most memorable historical novels of the past decade.” –Sunday Times (London)

Costa Book Award Finalist and the Waterstones (UK) Book of the Year 2016

“I loved this book. At once numinous, intimate and wise, The Essex Serpent is a marvelous novel about the workings of life, love and belief, about science and religion, secrets, mysteries, and the complicated and unexpected shifts of the human heart—and it contains some of the most beautiful evocations of place and landscape I’ve ever read. It is so good its pages seem lit from within. As soon as I’d finished it I started reading it again.”—Helen MacDonald, author of H is for Hawk

An exquisitely talented young British author makes her American debut with this rapturously acclaimed historical novel, set in late nineteenth-century England, about an intellectually minded young widow, a pious vicar, and a rumored mythical serpent that explores questions about science and religion, skepticism, and faith, independence and love.

When Cora Seaborne’s brilliant, domineering husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness: her marriage was not a happy one. Wed at nineteen, this woman of exceptional intelligence and curiosity was ill-suited for the role of society wife. Seeking refuge in fresh air and open space in the wake of the funeral, Cora leaves London for a visit to coastal Essex, accompanied by her inquisitive and obsessive eleven-year old son, Francis, and the boy’s nanny, Martha, her fiercely protective friend.

While admiring the sites, Cora learns of an intriguing rumor that has arisen further up the estuary, of a fearsome creature said to roam the marshes claiming human lives. After nearly 300 years, the mythical Essex Serpent is said to have returned, taking the life of a young man on New Year’s Eve. A keen amateur naturalist with no patience for religion or superstition, Cora is immediately enthralled, and certain that what the local people think is a magical sea beast may be a previously undiscovered species. Eager to investigate, she is introduced to local vicar William Ransome. Will, too, is suspicious of the rumors. But unlike Cora, this man of faith is convinced the rumors are caused by moral panic, a flight from true belief.

These seeming opposites who agree on nothing soon find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart—an intense relationship that will change both of their lives in ways entirely unexpected.

Hailed by Sarah Waters as “a work of great intelligence and charm, by a hugely talented author,” The Essex Serpent is “irresistible . . . you can feel the influences of Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, and Hilary Mantel channeled by Perry in some sort of Victorian séance. This is the best new novel I’ve read in years.”

y450-293Available from Harper

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“Lidia Yuknavitch is a writer who, with each ever more triumphant book, creates a new language with which she writes the audacious stories only she can tell. The Book of Joan is a raucous celebration, a searing condemnation, and fiercely imaginative retelling of Joan of Arc’s transcendent life.” –Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist

The 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017, Elle magazine

The 32 Most Exciting Books Coming Out in 2017, BuzzFeed

50 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2017, Nylon magazine

33 New Books to Read in 2017, The Huffington Post

Most Anticipated, The Great 2017 Book Preview, The Millions

The bestselling author of The Small Backs of Children offers a vision of our near-extinction and a heroine—a reimagined Joan of Arc—poised to save a world ravaged by war, violence, and greed, and forever change history, in this provocative new novel.

In the near future, world wars have transformed the earth into a battleground. Fleeing the unending violence and the planet’s now-radioactive surface, humans have regrouped to a mysterious platform known as CIEL, hovering over their erstwhile home. The changed world has turned evolution on its head: the surviving humans have become sexless, hairless, pale-white creatures floating in isolation, inscribing stories upon their skin.

Out of the ranks of the endless wars rises Jean de Men, a charismatic and bloodthirsty cult leader who turns CIEL into a quasi-corporate police state. A group of rebels unite to dismantle his iron rule—galvanized by the heroic song of Joan, a child-warrior who possesses a mysterious force that lives within her and communes with the earth. When de Men and his armies turn Joan into a martyr, the consequences are astonishing. And no one—not the rebels, Jean de Men, or even Joan herself—can foresee the way her story and unique gift will forge the destiny of an entire world for generations.

A riveting tale of destruction and love found in the direst of places—even at the extreme end of post-human experience—Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Book of Joan raises questions about what it means to be human, the fluidity of sex and gender, and the role of art as a means for survival.

9780670025350Available from Viking

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The One-Eyed Man delivers blistering, hilarious social satire and apocalyptic hijinks with the best of them, but what you have after the smoke clears is a deep, moving novel about love and grief. Ron Currie is a many-eyed and many-hearted wonder.” – Sam Lipsyte, author of The Ask

From the “startlingly talented” (New York Times) author of Everything Matters!—the compelling story of a man who takes everything far too literally, and his adventures as the star of a reality TV show

“Nobody writing today walks the knife edge of cynicism and sentiment more bravely, intelligently and confidently than Ron Currie. By turns hilarious and heartfelt, The One-Eyed Man is a revelation, a wonder.” –Richard Russo

Ron Currie’s three previous works of fiction have dazzled readers and critics alike with their originality, audacity, and psychological insight. A writer of unique vision and huge imagination, Currie excels at creating complex, troubled, yet endearing characters, and his work has won comparison to everyone from Kurt Vonnegut to George Saunders.

K., the intriguing narrator of Currie’s new novel, joins the ranks of other great American literary creations who show us something new about ourselves. Like Jack Gladney from White Noise, K. is possessed of a hyper-articulate exasperation with the world, and like Ignatius J. Reilly in A Confederacy of Dunces, he is a doomed truth teller whom everyone misunderstands. After his wife Sarah dies, K. loses his metaphorical capacity, becoming so wedded to the notion of clarity that he infuriates everyone, friends and strangers alike. When he intervenes in an armed robbery, K. finds himself both an inadvertent hero and the star of a new reality television program. Together with Claire, a grocery store clerk with a sharp tongue and a yen for celebrity, he travels the country, ruffling feathers and gaining fame at the intersection of American politics and entertainment. But soon, through a conflagration of biblical proportions, he discovers that the world will fight viciously to preserve its delusions about itself.

K.’s quixotic effort to fully understand the world he lives in makes for a singular and engaging novel, one which further establishes Ron Currie’s position as one of today’s rising stars in fiction.

29983711Available from Grand Central Publishing

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“In 1930s Korea, an earnest young woman, abandoned by the lover who has gotten her pregnant, enters into a marriage of convenience that will take her to a new life in Japan. Thus begins Lee’s luminous new novel Pachinko–a powerful meditation on what immigrants sacrifice to achieve a home in the world. Pachinko confirms Lee’s place among our finest novelists.” —Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and This Is How You Lose Her

A new tour de force from the bestselling author of Free Food for Millionaires, for readers of A Fine Balance and Cutting for Stone.

Profoundly moving and gracefully told, Pachinko follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them. Betrayed by her wealthy lover, Sunja finds unexpected salvation when a young tubercular minister offers to marry her and bring her to Japan to start a new life.

So begins a sweeping saga of exceptional people in exile from a homeland they never knew and caught in the indifferent arc of history. In Japan, Sunja’s family members endure harsh discrimination, catastrophes, and poverty, yet they also encounter great joy as they pursue their passions and rise to meet the challenges this new home presents. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, they are bound together by deep roots as their family faces enduring questions of faith, family, and identity.

51ipt8e0vzlAvailable from Algonquin Books

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“Funny, sad, and smart, The Young Widower’s Handbook is a brilliant meditation on love, loss and loneliness. Part wacky road novel, part romantic comedy, Tom McAllister’s debut novel flies along yet reaches deep.” —Stewart O’Nan, author of West of Sunset

For Hunter Cady, meeting Kait was the greatest thing that ever happened to him. Otherwise unmotivated, he spent roughly half his twenty-nine years accomplishing very little, which makes him about fifteen in terms of real-life experience. But he’s the luckiest man on earth when it comes to his wife. Beautiful and confident, Kait is somehow charmed by Hunter’s awkwardness and droll humor. So when she dies quite suddenly, Hunter is crushed. Numb with grief, he stumbles forward the only way he knows how: by running away. To the dismay of her family, Hunter takes Kait’s ashes with him and heads west.

They had always meant to travel. Soon enough, he finds himself–and Kait–in encounters with characters even quirkier than he is: an overzealous Renaissance Faire worker; a raucous yet sympathetic troop of bachelorettes; a Chicago couple and their pet parrot, Elvis. He meets a much older man still searching for the wife who walked out on him years ago. Along the way are glimpses of Hunter and Kait’s beautiful, flawed, very real marriage and the strength it gives Hunter, even when contemplating a future without it. Insightful, wry, and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, The Young Widower’s Handbook is a testament to the power of love.

tdr_bookcover_reactive_grandeAvailable from Two Dollar Radio

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“Woozy, touching… a novel that delivers an unexpected love letter to Cape Town, painting it as a place of frustrated glory. The Reactive often teems with a beauty that seems to carry on in front of its glue-huffing wasters despite themselves.” —Marian Ryan, Slate

From the winner of the PEN International New Voices Award comes the story of Lindanathi, a young HIV+ man grappling with the death of his brother, for which he feels unduly responsible. He and his friends—Cecelia and Ruan—work low-paying jobs and sell anti-retroviral drugs (during the period in South Africa before ARVs became broadly distributed). In between, they huff glue, drift through parties, and traverse the streets of Cape Town where they observe the grave material disparities of their country.

A mysterious masked man appears seeking to buy their surplus of ARVs, an offer that would present the friends with the opportunity to escape their environs, while at the same time forcing Lindanathi to confront his path, and finally, his past.

With brilliant, shimmering prose, Ntshanga has delivered a redemptive, ambitious, and unforgettable first novel.

laluz_new-jersey-meAvailable from Rare Bird Books

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“Gritty and loud, raucous and real, but still somehow hushed and holy—like a love story told in the blacklight room at the back of a Spencer’s Gifts.” —Ben Loory, author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day

New Jersey Me explores an ensemble cast of unique characters, including Blackwater’s hometown nuclear power plant; a beauty named Baby, Baby’s hell-bent-for-prison boyfriend, Terry; a Mary Kay mom high on Vicodin and Bloody Marys; and an old old tree with a taste for blood. The son of the local police chief, Mark dreams of escaping the small town’s conflicting and oppressive codes of manhood. In the meantime, though, Mark lives a boy’s life, Blackwater-style: netting fish that have been killed by sudden coldwater emissions from the nuclear plant; kidnapping a chimp from the local circus; selling dirty socks to a local eccentric who may hold the key to Mark’s escape; dating a one-legged girl; and observing the increasingly mysterious behavior of his best friend, Jimmy.

51qbloltnclAvailable from Relegation Books

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“A gorgeous multigenerational saga of love and race, loss and belonging…Every last one of Chung’s characters is wholly alive and breathtakingly human…Elegant and empathetic, a book impossible to put down.” —Kirkus (starred review)

In this masterful novel of inheritance and loss, Sonya Chung (Long for This World) proves herself a worthy heir to Marguerite Duras, Hwang Sun-won, and James Salter. Spanning generations and divergent cultures, The Loved Ones maps the intimate politics of unlikely attractions, illicit love, and costly reconciliations.

Charles Lee, the young African American patriarch of a biracial family, seeks to remedy his fatherless childhood in Washington, DC, by making an honorable choice when his chance arrives. Years later in the mid-1980s, uneasy and stymied in his marriage to Alice, he finds a connection with Hannah Lee, the teenage Korean American caregiver whose parents’ transgressive flight from tradition and war has left them shrouded in a cloud of secrets and muted passion.

A shocking and senseless death will test every familial bond and force all who are touched by the tragedy to reexamine who their loved ones truly are–the very meaning of the words. Haunting, elliptical, and powerful, The Loved Ones deconstructs the world we think we know and shows us the one we inhabit.