Best New Fiction: November 2013


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.  

Sea_Of_HooksSea of Hooks
By Lindsay Hill

Oh boy.  First time author Lindsay Hill’s debut novel has me hooked.

Telling the tale of Christopher Westall, a boy raised in the 50s and 60s as the son of alcoholic father, Sea of Hooks isn’t afraid to delve deep into the darker side of the human experience.

As a child Westall is damaged soul with vivid imagination who escapes to a fantasy world of his own creation after suffering a series of traumatic events including, but not limited to: sexual abuse at the hands of a trusted tutor and the suicide of one of his parents.  It’s not all doom and gloom however.  Hope and healing factor heavily into his adult life thanks to the wise Doctor Thorn and a life changing pilgrimage to Bhutan.

Strange.  Fractured.  Poetic.  Read an excerpt here.

Release Date: November 1st (United States)

The_CreatorThe Creator
By Gurun Eva Minervudottir
Translated by Sarah Bowen

I’m in the middle of reading this one right now and all I can really say at this point is, wow, are all people in Iceland this $#^%#ing crazy?

Poor Lóa.  When her car gets a flat out in the middle of strangeville you know things aren’t going to go well for her.  She seeks out the aid of man who lives close by, and feeling guilty for neglecting her daughter, proceeds to steal one of his sex dolls for her.

See what I’m saying!?!  Surprisingly though, this one is turning into a very excellent look at separation, grief, and loneliness.  It’s much, much more than the initial shock value would suggest.

Release Date: November 7th (United States)

A_Permanent_Member_Of_The_FamilyA Permanent Member Of The Family
By Russell Banks

Celebrated American author Banks (The Sweet Hereafter, Lost Memory of Skin) returns with a new collection of twelve heartbreaking stories.

Banks is one of my all-time favorite authors and he’s got quite the knack for tackling moral issues and breaking down complex situations into their most affecting, simplest form.  In his tales humanity always wins out above all else, and the stories in this collection should prove to be no exception.

Release Date: November 12th (United States)

The_Fata-Morgana_BooksThe Fata Morgana Books
By Jonathan Littell
Translated by Charlotte Mandell

Littell (The Kindly Ones) returns with a collection of four new beautifully bizarre novellas that were written between 2007 and 2012.

Who exactly is narrating?  What the hell is going on?  Those are the two questions that will be at the forefront of your brain while enjoying this one.

Are these dreams?  Are those hermaphrodites?  Reality is about to feel sorta sexy, but also completely disorienting as Littell takes you on journey after journey through your darkest desires and your greatest obsessions.

Release Date: November 12th (United States)

A_True_NovelA True Novel
By Minae Mizumura
Translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter and Ann Sherif

This 2-volume, imaginative, Yomiuri Literature Prize winning  retelling of Bronte’s Wuthering Heights would not have been on my radar if not thanks to a well executed review by Hannah Vose over at the Three Percent website.

I could make a feeble attempt at adding my own $0.02 to the mix, but she’s pretty much nailed it, calling A True Novel, “a work of literature not to miss.”

Release Date: November 15th (United States)

The_BillThe Bill: For Palma Vecchio, at Venice
By László Krasznahorkai
Translated by George Szirtes

Need I say more than László Krasznahorkai and George Szirtes?  The author/translator team that won this year’s Best Translated Book Award (Satantango) are reunited for the first time since winning the prize (Ottilie Mulzet handled the translation duties for the more recent Seiobo There Below).

The Bill features one glorious, eleven-page spanning sentence about the Venetian painter Palma Vecchio.  Of the course the book itself spans 32 pages, and since it’s part of an art series it also promises to include twelve stunning color plates that I’m sure will enhance Krasznahorkai’s always complex, clever use of language.

Release Date: November 15th (United States)

Report_From_The_InteriorReport from the Interior
By Paul Auster

Yup.  I’m cheating a little bit.  It’s November so cut me a little slack.  This one might not be fiction, but it’s Paul Auster (Sunset Park, The Book of Illusions) so it’s more than worth a mention.

Report from the Interior promises to be even more autobiographical than Winter Journal, the volume that preceded it.  Here we find Auster’s recollections on the profound moments from his youth that would forever shape him as a human being.  Growing up in the post-war 1950s he recalls loving cartoons and film as a boy and delves deep into his first attempts at writing.

Release Date: November 19th (United States)

By César Aira
Translated by Chris Andrews

None of Argentinian master Aira’s works are to be missed and Shantytown, his ninth novel overall, promises to be another worthwhile addition to already impressive body of work.

Maxi loves spending time at the gym and helping out the Flores slum’s local pickers of trashed goods load up their treasures.  Unfortunately for him however, he finds himself, and his sister, on the radar of a bad cop who will stop at nothing to destroy a local drug ring.

César Aira’s gritty exploration into the shocking urban violence of a Buenos Aires slum is sure to be an engaging, worthwhile endeavor.

Release Date: November 20th (United States)

Do any of my picks look interesting to you? Which titles are you most looking forward to reading in November?

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.