There are so many awesome books coming out in 2017. Here are the fiction and nonfiction titles I’m looking forward to the most. Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing my most anticipated 2017 poetry titles.
The Year of Needy Girls by Patricia Smith (Akashic, January)
A queer couple–one a librarian, the other a teacher–live in a sleepy New England town and mostly keep to themselves. When a murder shakes the town, the pair feel unexpected reverberations from the crime in their own relationship, and they must confront a past they’d left buried.
Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh (Penguin, January)
The vintage science fiction cover art is enough to make this once stand out, but what’s between the covers promises to live up to the siren call of that 1950s UFO. This collection will showcase Moshfegh’s signature brand of twisted, noirish fiction that finds beauty in surprising places and spares none of its characters.
The Vine that Ate the South by J.D. Wilkes (Two Dollar Radio, March)
As you probably know if you read much of my writing, I think Two Dollar Radio is the bee’s knees when it comes to small fiction presses. This one from musician Wilkes sounds like a perfect fit both for the press and this reader. Set in a mythical corner of Kentucky filled with vampire cults and mythological beasts, this one blends rural noir, southern gothic, and horror, which… just… I want it now.
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Riverhead, March)
I loved Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and his newest, set in an unnamed, war-torn eastern country, sounds unique and compelling. People in this land begin discovering there are doors–paranormal portholes–through which they can escape, but at a price. Two young people meet and fall in love, and decide to take one of these doors into an perilous future.
Itzá by Rios de la Luz (Broken River, April 15)
I know almost nothing about this book except that its author is awesome, its publisher is awesome, and it promises to be really, really weird.
What else do I need to know?
River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey (Tor, May 23)
Apparently, in the early twentieth century, the United States government seriously considered importing hippos, setting them loose in the southern bayou, and then harvesting them for meat. This was actually considered. Gailey’s new adventure novel explores what might have happened if they had gone through with their plan–with gory, entertaining results.
Arboria Park by Kate Tyler Wall (She Writes, May 2)
A punk stuck in suburbia, Stacy Halloran has to figure out how to survive in a cookie cutter housing development that wants everything–and everyone–to stay the same. I’ve been impressed with the She Writes business model since I talked to them last year at Book Expo America, but I haven’t yet read one of their books. This will be the first one I try out.
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado (Graywolf, October 3)
If I had to shorten this list to 2 or 3 books, this would make the cut. Carmen Maria Machado’s essays and short stories are fantastic, and my wife and I send them to each other with breathless notes to see if the other has read it yet. Machado’s first collection of weird, sometimes erotic, always gorgeous fiction comes out in October, and I can’t wait.
Sunshine State by Sarah Gerard (Harper Perennial, April 11)
Gerard’s Binary Star is one of the most emotionally powerful and structurally creative novels I’ve read in the last few years, and I imagine her nonfiction will be approached with the same gravity and lyricism. I’ve read one of these essays about the author’s experience of her home state, and I’m sure the rest will be just as good.
Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood (Riverhead, May 2)
Patricia Lockwood could announce she was writing a book about sump pump repair and I would be interested. That Lockwood’s first book of prose tells the story of growing up with a parent in the ministry sends this one off the charts for me. Lockwood’s characteristic mischief and sarcastic perversity are sure to be on full display, as will her insight and subtle vulnerability. I already have an ARC, and can’t wait to get started.
Intercarnations: Exercises in Theological Possibility by Catherine Keller (Fordham University, June 1)
I don’t read much theology anymore, but occasionally something will still catch my eye. This one by feminist theologican Catherine Keller looks fascinating, as it seeks to rescue incarnation from being the exclusive purview of orthodox Christianity and bring it into connection with other religious and spiritual worldviews, while seeking to apply the divine-made-flesh narrative to a variety of traditionally marginalized identities.
Which 2017 fiction and nonfiction books are you most looking forward to?