Patricia Lockwood and her husband are forced by circumstance back to her parents’ home—a seminary where her father serves as a Catholic priest. Through energetic vignettes, Lockwood depicts her difficult father and her strange new life with wild hilarity—she is a master of metaphor in service of boundless humor. She conveys anecdote with obscenity and affection, while thoughtfully relaying an undercurrent of trauma, hypocrisy, and a struggle to distinguish the self as separate from the parent. This memoir is imaginative, heartbreaking, and truly, truly funny.
- Lucia L., City of Asylum Program Coordinator
A brilliant blend of memoir and science studies that humanizes the experience of living with schizophrenia. An important new contribution to mental health literature.
- Lesley R., City of Asylum Bookstore Manager
Touted as a prequel to The Savage Detectives this novella follows a pair of young writers as they navigate the cramped apartment buildings, seedy bathhouses and cheap cafes of Mexico City. The story is familiar and many of the Bolano hallmarks are present: destitute poets, clunky sexual awakenings, smoky lit-crit sessions, shade thrown at Octavio Paz and lengthy dream sequences. Still, any new Bolano is cause for celebration and gives us another chance to commune with the dead. While this novel lacks the polish of his legendary mid-career run you’ll want to savor each page-- as once it's over it means you must return to the world of the living.
- Seth G., friend of City of Asylum
I was immediately swept right into Nan's story! Loved her compassion, grit and cleverness. The twists and turns in the engaging action egged me on. Charlie, the 'monster' changed my perception of the Golem forever. Auxier's characters and the Victorian scenes depicting cruelty to children will remain with me for a long time. A hopeful read that relates to our troubled times.
- Jen K., Children's Buyer, City of Asylum Bookstore
Those Who Knew is a damn good second novel from Idra Novey, predicated on the main character Lena’s struggle between action and inaction. Set in an unnamed South American country, Those Who Knew maintains tension between the surreal and mundane. Omens shadow Lena as magic or divine intervention or pure obliviousness. In contrast, reoccurring violent acts perpetrated by the face of a new political movement are stark and unadorned. I loved the bluntness of flaws and nuance—Novey is unflinching. This novel stuns in the liminal spaces between magic and violence, right and easy, and the drive to fight and keep fighting.
- Lucia L.,
An elongated conversation between two beings who keep "running into each other," Where Reasons End is beautifully rendered by Yiyun Li. Part memoir part fiction, a son who recently died from suicide talks with his mother, our narrator. Allergic to the overwrought, this book demonstrates the all-encompassing dullness of grief and meditates on the efficacy of language in the face of the unsayable. Circling questions, rarely presenting answers, it reminds us that those who have left are still just right beside us. Where Reasons End is spectacular in its fortitude—one of the most quietly magnificent books I’ve ever read.
- Lucia, L.
A comprehensive, approachable book of recipes and food storytelling by the former Chez Pannise chef. If you're enjoying the Netflix series of the same name, you''ll love this book. Samit's warm personality, love of food, and wide-ranging expertise infuses each chapter.
- Eileen W., bookseller
Rain is extraordinary. As she confronts her grief she sets out to save her family. She'll win your heart with her passionate loyalty and determination to overcome the challenges she finds in her new community. Her love of running and empathy for the homeless in her neighborhood is fresh and hopeful.
- Jen K.
A truly moving collection of letters between poet Max Ritvo and playwright Sarah Ruhl. Although Ritvo's battle with cancer looms large, their correspondence exudes life, energy, and light. A lovely testament to their love, friendship, and the power of art.
- Lesley R.
A slim, but powerful novel about the simple moments that connect one another. Every reader will find a character to connect with. Reading Harriet Paige in advance feels like I've been privy to a special secret. I'm so glad I finally get to share this book with the world.
- Lesley R.
“It was the opposite of suicide. My hibernation was self-preservational,” says the unnamed narrator in Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation. At the start of the millennium, this depressed and vicious narrator downs unreal quantities of pharmaceuticals and spends her days watching Whoopi Goldberg (her hero) on VHS and sleeping and sleeping and sleeping. She is desperately unlikable: very rich, very beautiful, very smart, very privileged, and very cruel. But Moshfegh’s handle on snark and surprising plot rendered me unable to put this book down. A truly bizarre exploration of grief, this novel is unsettling, ugly, and addictive.
- Lucia L.