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The TNB Book Club

Available from William Morrow

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From the critically acclaimed author of The Heap, a thought-provoking and wryly funny novel—equal parts satire and psychological thriller—that holds a funhouse mirror to the isolated workplace and an age of endless distraction.

At the far reaches of the world, the Northern Institute sits in a vast expanse of ice and snow. Once a thriving research facility, its operations were abruptly shut down after an unspecified incident, and its research teams promptly evacuated. Now it’s home to a team of three caretakers—Gibbs, Cline, and their supervisor, Hart—and a single remaining researcher named Gilroy, who is feverishly studying the sensation of coldness.

Their objective is simple: occupy the space, complete their weekly tasks, and keep the building in working order in case research ever resumes. (Also: never touch the thermostat. Also: never, ever go outside.) The work isn’t thrilling—test every door for excessive creaking, sit on every chair to ensure its structural integrity—but for Hart, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime, a chance to hone his leadership skills and become the beacon of efficiency he always knew he could be.

There’s just one obstacle standing in his way: a mysterious object that has appeared out in the snow. Gibbs and Cline are mesmerized. They can’t discern its exact shape and color, nor if it’s moving or fixed in place. But it is there. Isn’t it?

Whatever it might be, Hart thinks the thing in the snow is an unwelcome distraction, and probably a huge waste of time. Though, come to think of it, time itself has been a bit wonky lately. Weekends pass in a blur, and he can hardly tell day from night. Gravity seems less-than-reliable. The lights have been flickering weirdly, and he feels an odd thrumming sensation in his beard. Gibbs might be plotting to unseat him as supervisor, and Gilroy—well, what is he really doing anyway?

Perplexed and isolated—but most certainly not alone—Hart wrestles for control of his own psyche as the thing in the snow beguiles his team, upends their work, and challenges their every notion of what is normal.

Available from Vintage

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A New Yorker Best Book of the Year

“Allegra Hyde’s seductive first novel tackles the big stuff of climate change and the more intimate matter of heartbreak with grace. Indeed, Eleutheria bravely braids these together, the story of a lost soul moving through the world we’re rapidly losing.” —Rumaan Alam, author of Leave the World Behind

Willa Marks has spent her whole life choosing hope. She chooses hope over her parents’ paranoid conspiracy theories, over her dead-end job, over the rising ocean levels. And when she meets Sylvia Gill, renowned Harvard professor, she feels she’s found the justification of that hope. Sylvia is the woman-in-black: the only person smart and sharp enough to compel the world to action. But when Sylvia betrays her, Willa fears she has lost hope forever.

And then she finds a book in Sylvia’s library: a guide to fighting climate change called Living the Solution. Inspired by its message and with nothing to lose, Willa flies to the island of Eleutheria in the Bahamas to join the author and his group of ecowarriors at Camp Hope. Upon arrival, things are not what she expected. The group’s leader, author Roy Adams, is missing, and the compound’s public launch is delayed. With time running out, Willa will stop at nothing to realize Camp Hope’s mission—but at what cost?

Available from Red Hen Press

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Winner of the Red Hen Press Fiction Award

“Each story surprised me, over and over again, with the narratives of children and young people navigating the random dangers of their homes, the adults around them, and the absolute presence always of violence and death. But it was the sly humor, the vivid detail of forest and church and street and body, that made these stories stay with me. The voices are indelible, and the moments when the whole world turns and pivots were admirable in their magic.” —Susan Straight, award-winning author of a memoir, In the Country of Women, and eight novels, including Highwire Moon.

Full of warmth, terror, and underhanded humor, If I Were the Ocean, I’d Carry You Home, Pete Hsu’s debut story collection, captures the essence of surviving in a life set adrift. Children and young people navigate a world where the presence of violence and death rear themselves in everyday places: Vegas casinos, birthday parties, church services, and sunny days at the beach. Each story is a meditation on living in a world not made for us—the pervasive fear, the adaptations, the unexpected longings. A gripping and energetic debut, Hsu’s writing beats with the naked rhythms of an unsettled human heart.

Available from Tin House

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Finalist for the New England Book Award for Fiction

An Esquire Best Book of 2022 So Far

A New York Times, TIME, The Boston Globe, Vulture, Boston.com, Daily Beast, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, BuzzFeed, Good Housekeeping, Bustle, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Lit Hub, Chicago Review of Books, Book Riot, WBUR, WBEZ, and Debutiful Best Book of Summer

“There is so much brutal, raw, and beautiful power in these stories. Reading this book, I literally laughed and cried.” ―Tommy Orange, author of There There

Set in a Native community in Maine, Night of the Living Rez is a riveting debut collection about what it means to be Penobscot in the twenty-first century and what it means to live, to survive, and to persevere after tragedy.

In twelve striking, luminescent stories, author Morgan Talty―with searing humor, abiding compassion, and deep insight―breathes life into tales of family and a community as they struggle with a painful past and an uncertain future. A boy unearths a jar that holds an old curse, which sets into motion his family’s unraveling; a man, while trying to swindle some pot from a dealer, discovers a friend passed out in the woods, his hair frozen into the snow; a grandmother suffering from Alzheimer’s projects the past onto her grandson; and two friends, inspired by Antiques Roadshow, attempt to rob the tribal museum for valuable root clubs.

A collection that examines the consequences and merits of inheritance, Night of the Living Rez is an unforgettable portrayal of an Indigenous community and marks the arrival of a standout talent in contemporary fiction.

Available from The Feminist Press

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“In Pretend It’s My Body, Luke Dani Blue portrays each of their characters as having their very own (often sexy, always queer) logic—logic that is constantly d/evolving as they act, revealing compelling combinations of desire and determination, longing and intelligence, grief and (no small amount of) humor. In each paragraph of each story, Blue gives me what I want from fiction: intellectual surprise and thrilling, jagged mishmashes of intense emotion. An absolutely thrilling debut.” —Matthew Clark Davison, author of the novel Doubting Thomas

Informed by the author’s experience in and between genders, this debut story collection blurs fantasy and reality, excavating new meanings from our varied dysphorias.

Misfit mothers, prodigal “undaughters,” con artists, and middle-aged runaways populate these ten short stories that blur the lives we wish for with the ones we actually lead. A tornado survivor grapples with a new identity, a trans teen psychic can read only indecisive minds, and a woman informs her family of her plans to upload her consciousness and abandon her body.

Luke Dani Blue invites the reader into a world of outlier lives made central and magical thinking made real. Surreal, darkly humorous, and always deeply felt, Pretend It’s My Body is bound together by the act of searching—for a spark of recognition and a story of one’s own.

Available from Vintage

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An exhilarating and delightfully deviant debut story collection that, with comedic precision and compulsive irreverence, explores the most surreal and inadmissible fantasies of contemporary women.

“Nada Alic’s Bad Thoughts is lit up with the perception, wit, and cunning of Miranda July and Sally Rooney.” —T. Kira Madden, author of Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls

Nada Alic’s women—the perverts, nobodies, reality TV stars, poetic hopefuls, shameless party girls, and self-help addicts of Los Angeles and its environs—are all wrestling with a shared stark reality: the modern world. To cope, they live in their baddest thoughts: the lush, strange landscape of female make-believe.

In “Earth to Lydia,” a support group meets to enjoy earthly pleasures after achieving “too much enlightenment,” engaging in bizarre exercises that escalate to a point of violence and fear. The narrator of “Ghost Baby”—the spirit of a proto-child assigned to a couple whose chemistry is waning—writhes in disembodied frustration as its parents fail to conceive it. In “Daddy’s Girl,” the daughter of Eastern European immigrants tries to connect to her distant and difficult father through the invention of increasingly elaborate home maintenance repairs. And in “The Intruder,” a lonely woman’s break-in fantasy quickly builds to a full-blown obsession, until she finds an unwitting partner with whom to act it out.

Though each of Alic’s characters thrive and ache in different circumstances, they all grapple with the most painful equations of modern life: love, trust, power, loneliness, desire, violation, and vengeance. And she conjures them all with a voice that is instantly arresting, unexpectedly hilarious, and absolutely unforgettable.

Available from Harper

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“Fantastic story, a real page-turner. Impossible to put down.” – Stephen King

From the author of Cold Storage comes a riveting, eerily plausible thriller, told with the menace and flair of Under the Dome or Project Hail Mary, in which a worldwide cataclysm plays out in the lives of one complicated Midwestern family.

In Aurora, Illinois, Aubrey Wheeler is just trying to get by after her semi-criminal ex-husband split, leaving behind his unruly teenage son.

Then the lights go out—not just in Aurora but across the globe. A solar storm has knocked out power almost everywhere. Suddenly, all problems are local, very local, and Aubrey must assume the mantle of fierce protector of her suburban neighborhood.

Across the country lives Aubrey’s estranged brother, Thom. A fantastically wealthy, neurotically over-prepared Silicon Valley CEO, he plans to ride out the crisis in a gilded desert bunker he built for maximum comfort and security.

But the complicated history between the siblings is far from over, and what feels like the end of the world is just the beginning of several long-overdue reckonings—which not everyone will survive . . .

Aurora is suspenseful storytelling—both large scale and small—at its finest.

Available from TTUP/DVAN

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“A harrowingly beautiful exploration of unrequited love and the fallout of single-minded devotion.” —Kirkus Reviews

Eve is a reluctant mother; Eve is a famous phenomenon; Eve is a quiet country teacher. Liam is a successful artist; Liam is a scheming husband; Liam is a gentle partner. Pari is a leading scientific researcher; Pari is a recognized model; Pari is a picture of declining mental states.
Constellations of Eve weaves together three deviations of one love story. In each variation, the narrative changes slightly, with life-altering impacts. Against a backdrop of difficult people finding their place in a constantly shifting universe, the novel manipulates the variables leading to their fraught romantic entanglements, tearing through a host of lifetimes in search of the one in which all the brightest stars align.

In this philosophical fable of art and fate, Abbigail Nguyen Rosewood paints a world that floats above our own and contours the infinitesimal moments that shape who we love, over whom we obsess, and how we decide what to live for.

Each reality allows Eve another chance at finding her true destiny and personal and professional fulfilment―but can she get it right? Is there even such a thing as right? Constellations of Eve wrestles with the most intimate betrayals and the staggering personal costs of stifling artistic ambition, pursuing it to the exclusion of family, or letting it disperse in favor of an all-consuming love.

Available from Ig Publishing

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“A book that lives up to the challenge of its title, Be Brief and Tell Them Everything is an elegant distillation of a varied life full of early love and early death, family heartbreak, financial precarity, spiritual uncertainty, the terror of contemporary life, and the quest for meaning. In Brad Listi’s movingly rendered particulars, readers will discover points of poignant intersection, and delight as well in the wisdom, humor, warmth and intelligence of a writer who doesn’t turn away from the difficult, and who will, at least on the page, put the fucking noodles in the blender.” —Sam Lipsyte

A darkly funny meditation on creativity and family, Be Brief and Tell Them Everything tracks the life of a middle-aged author who is struggling to write his next novel while trying to come to grips with his son’s disabilities, set against a backdrop of ecological catastrophe and escalating human insanity in contemporary Los Angeles. A beautiful, powerful, concise work of autofiction that is reminiscent of My Struggle and Grief is the Thing with Feathers, Be Brief documents the stops and starts of adulthood and marriage, and the joys and challenges of parenting, while defining what it means to be a good man, and a good writer.

Available from Atria

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From the bestselling author of I Miss You When I Blink and “writer of singular spark and delight” (Elizabeth Gilbert, #1 New York Times bestselling author) comes a poignant and powerful new memoir that tackles the big questions of life, death, and existential fear with humor and hope.

A lifelong worrier, Philpott always kept an eye out for danger, a habit that only intensified when she became a parent. But she looked on the bright side, too, believing that as long as she cared enough, she could keep her loved ones safe.

Then, in the dark of one quiet, pre-dawn morning, she woke abruptly to a terrible sound—and found her teenage son unconscious on the floor. In the aftermath of a crisis that darkened her signature sunny spirit, she wondered: If this happened, what else could happen? And how do any of us keep going when we can’t know for sure what’s coming next?

Leave it to the writer whose critically acclaimed debut had us “laughing and crying on the same page” (NPR) to illuminate what it means to move through life with a soul made of equal parts anxiety and optimism (and while she’s at it, to ponder the mysteries of backyard turtles and the challenges of spatchcocking a turkey).

Hailed by The Washington Post as “Nora Ephron, Erma Bombeck, Jean Kerr, and Laurie Colwin all rolled into one,” Philpott returns in her distinctive voice to explore our protective instincts, the ways we continue to grow up long after we’re grown, and the limits—both tragic and hilarious—of the human body and mind.

Available from Ecco

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Profoundly moving, filled with tenderness, and brought to life by a curious, sprawling imagination, Drowning Practice is the story of a mother and daughter trying to save each other’s lives at what could be the end of the world

One night, everyone on Earth has the same dream—a dream of being guided to a watery death by a loved one on November 1. When they wake up, most people agree: after Halloween, the world will end.

In the wake of this haunting dream and saddled with its uncertainty, Lyd and her daughter, Mott, navigate a changed world, wrestling with how to make choices when you really don’t know what comes next. Embarking on a quixotic road trip filled with a collection of unexpected and memorable characters, Lyd and Mott are determined to live out what could be their final months as fully as possible. But how can Lyd protect Mott and help her achieve her ambitions in a world where inhibitions, desires, and motivations have become unpredictable, and where Mott’s dangerous and conniving father has his own ideas about how his estranged family should spend their last days?

Formally inventive and hauntingly strange, Drowning Practice signals the arrival of a singular new voice in Mike Meginnis, who writes with generosity and precision, humor and sorrowfulness. Stirring and surprising at every turn, Drowning Practice is literary speculative fiction at its best and with a pulsing heart: a mother and daughter trying to decide how they should live out what might be the final months of their—or anyone’s—life on Earth.

Available from W.W. Norton & Co.

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An acclaimed storyteller returns with “a gorgeous and gripping literary mystery” that explores “family, betrayal, passion, race, culture and the American Dream” (Jean Kwok).

The residents of Haven, Wisconsin, have dined on the Fine Chao restaurant’s delicious Americanized Chinese food for thirty-five years, content to ignore any unsavory whispers about the family owners. Whether or not Big Leo Chao is honest, or his wife, Winnie, is happy, their food tastes good and their three sons earned scholarships to respectable colleges. But when the brothers reunite in Haven, the Chao family’s secrets and simmering resentments erupt at last.

Before long, brash, charismatic, and tyrannical patriarch Leo is found dead―presumed murdered―and his sons find they’ve drawn the exacting gaze of the entire town. The ensuing trial brings to light potential motives for all three brothers: Dagou, the restaurant’s reckless head chef; Ming, financially successful but personally tortured; and the youngest, gentle but lost college student James. As the spotlight on the brothers tightens―and the family dog meets an unexpected fate―Dagou, Ming, and James must reckon with the legacy of their father’s outsized appetites and their own future survival.

Brimming with heartbreak, comedy, and suspense, The Family Chao offers a kaleidoscopic, highly entertaining portrait of a Chinese American family grappling with the dark undercurrents of a seemingly pleasant small town.

Available from Amazon Crossing

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An award-winning Haitian novel about silence, beauty, and the solidarity of tears.

Airports are distillations of the world. I like thinking of them that way. The hope of leaving and the desire to come home, existing side by side. Any voyage is possible. My mind flies off toward the blue province once again. I don’t know, anymore, why I always associate it with blue. It isn’t even my favorite color.

Traveling alone from Miami to Port-au-Prince, our narrator finds comfort at the airport. She feels free to ponder the silence that surrounds her homeland, her mother, her aunts, and her own inner thoughts. Between two places, she sees how living in poverty keeps women silent, forging their identities around practicality and resilience. From a distance, she is drawn inevitably homeward toward her family and the glittering blue Caribbean Sea.

Blue comes alive through vivid images crowding the page, just as memories do in real life, as if the author is trying to sort through them, to come to grips with her own emotional conflict. Balancing the pain and anger are spiritual bonds that connect the author to the women who have come before her, who have created her, and with Haiti itself, her motherland. No amount of glittering opportunity up north can prevent her from finding her way home.

Available from The Feminist Press

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“Queer dynamite.” —Kristin Arnett, author of Mostly Dead Things

Meet Margaret. At age twelve, she was head detective of the mystery club Girls Can Solve Anything. Margaret and her three best friends led exciting lives solving crimes, having adventures, and laughing a lot. But now that she’s entered high school, the club has disbanded, and Margaret is unmoored—she doesn’t want to grow up, and she wishes her friends wouldn’t either. Instead, she opts out, developing an eating disorder that quickly takes over her life. When she lands in a treatment center, Margaret finds her path to recovery twisting sideways as she pursues a string of new mysteries involving a ghost, a hidden passage, disturbing desires, and her own vexed relationship with herself.

Margaret and the Mystery of the Missing Body reimagines nineties adolescence—mashing up girl group series, choose-your-own-adventures, and chronicles of anorexia—in a queer and trans coming-of-age tale like no other. An interrogation of girlhood and nostalgia, dysmorphia and dysphoria, this debut novel puzzles through the weird, ever-evasive questions of growing up.

Available from Custom House Books

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“Hall’s writing is alchemical, magnificent, divine, bodily. Here are new ways to understand what it feels like to be human. Here are books to cherish. Burntcoat is a masterpiece. I lay myself at the altar of everything Hall writes.” —Daisy Johnson, author of Sisters

You were the last one here, before I closed the door of Burntcoat. Before we all closed our doors . . .

In an unnamed British city, the virus is spreading, and like everyone else, the celebrated sculptor Edith Harkness retreats inside. She isolates herself in her immense studio, Burntcoat, with Halit, the lover she barely knows. As life outside changes irreparably, inside Burntcoat, Edith and Halit find themselves changed as well: by the histories and responsibilities each carries and bears, by the fears and dangers of the world outside, and by the progressions of their new relationship. And Burntcoat will be transformed, too, into a new and feverish world, a place in which Edith comes to an understanding of how we survive the impossible—and what is left after we have.

A sharp and stunning novel of art and ambition, mortality and connection, Burntcoat is a major work from “one of our most influential short story writers” (The Guardian). It is an intimate and vital examination of how and why we create—make art, form relationships, build a life—and an urgent exploration of an unprecedented crisis, the repercussions of which are still years in the learning.