Best New Fiction: February 2015


Best New Fiction is a monthly segment dedicated to highlighting the most interesting and noteworthy releases that will be published over the next thirty days.

I’m going to be forty years old in a few short days. UGH. I think I’m supposed to have some sort of bucket list of wild activities I’d like to complete all worked out (have sex with the worm at the bottom of a tequila bottle while swimming with dolphins in the Pacific; mud wrestle naked with Pamela Anderson while encircled by dairy cows at the top of Mount Everest). That, or I’m supposed to be preparing for a major midlife crisis (buy a sports car; Just For Men my hair; trade in my wife for a younger model). I’m not sure which. All I know is that I’m super lame. The only thing I keep thinking about as the dreaded date fast approaches is how little time I left to dedicate to reading and how many books I still have left to devour.

That said, here’s five more that need to be added to the never ending to-be-read pile, including new awesomeness from Irvine Welsh’s warped little mind, a new short story collection from the lovable Neil Gaiman, and the return of Nick Hornby. Happy birthday to me.

Sex_Lives_Of_Siamese_TwinsThe Sex Lives of Siamese Twins
by Irvine Welsh
February 3rd

We mentioned this one a few months back when it was published in the UK, and well, here we are, once again talking up the devilishly dirty words of one of our favorite living writers. Irvine Welsh (If You Liked School, You’ll Love Work, The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs) returns with what promises to be yet another deliciously filthy novel, this time about our favorite obsessions: eating, exercising, and hero worshiping. Throw some pedophiles, a gunman, a kidnapping, and a pair of siamese twins into the mix and the chances are high that what you’ll get is exactly what you’ve come to expect from the man responsible for Trainspotting: another outragous stunner.

Trigger_WarningTrigger Warning
by Neil Gaiman
William Morrow
February 3rd

I feel like we’re performing a bit of a disservice this month by talking up big names like Welsh, Gaiman, and Horby while ignoring the little guys and gals out there, but hey, so be it, this piece is all about the books we’re excited about, and this month happens to be overpowered by some well established authors.

Neil Gaiman (Stardust) returns with his third short story collection featuring a new American Gods inspired tale called Black Dog. That alone would be well worth the price of admission, but Doctor Who fans rejoice, you also get a special tale written to celebrate the show’s fiftieth anniversary.

Funny_GirlFunny Girl
by Nick Hornby
February 3rd

Is it just me or should Haruki Murakami’s last novel have been titled Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of High Fidelity? The way Tazaki ran around contacting old friends to find out why they no longer wanted to be associated with him reminded me a lot of Hornby’s record store owner Rob Gordon’s quest to track down and interview ex-girlfriends.

Murakami’s got a new short story collection called Men Without Women out now in Japan (no word on a date for the English translation yet), and  this month Hornby’s back with his new novel Funny Girl. Set in the 1960s the story follows one Ms. Sophie Straw as she attempts to become a television star. Maybe Murakami will release his own take on the premise where a desperate cat longs to be the spokeskitten for 9Lives? We shall have to wait and see.

Lies, First Person by Gail Hareven / Translated from the Hebrew by Dalya BiluLies, First Person
by Gail Hareven

Translated from the Hebrew by Dalya Bilu
Open Letter Books
February 10th

2010 Best Translated Book Award winner Gail Hareven (The Confessions of Noa Weber) returns with a book about Hitler, rape, religion, revenge, truth, writers, and the so-called power of apology.

Elinor’s got a good life. She’s happily married. She’s a successful writer of a popular newspaper column. However all the good goes out the window when her estranged uncle returns to town on a tour seeking forgiveness for a book he wrote about Hitler decades ago. His arrival stirs up unexpected memories of horrific crimes committed against her sister that just might push Elinor over the edge, but is she herself to be trusted to relay the truth of the matter to the reader? Is she even required to?

Bring on the massive blizzard blanketing the east because I can’t wait to spend some uninterrupted, quality time with this promising mind bender.

Lucky_AlanLucky Alan: And Other Stories
by Jonathan Lethem
February 24th

Jonathan Lethem (Motherless Brooklyn) drops another short story collection, his third overall, on our brains towards the tail end of the month. An abandoned infant is rescued during a winter storm. Comic book characters find themselves stranded on an island. A father has a breakdown of epic proportions during a trip to Sea World. And much, much more.

Everything we’ve come to love about his genre bending style is on display here: absurd situations, quirky characters, and a burning need to belong. We’ve recommended two very different story collections this month. Let your personal preference be your guide.

What books are you looking forward to reading this month? Do be sure to write us a charming story about them using the comment form below.

About Aaron Westerman

Aaron Westerman is the Manager of Web Architecture for a national human services organization. When he's not busy tearing sites apart and rebuilding them, he spends his ever shrinking free time trying to keep up with his twins, reading works of translated literature, and watching far too many Oscar nominated movies.