In case you haven't already noticed, there's a strong meeting of the minds between the my3books gang and the Next Chapter Bookshop crew. I've previously posted a set of my3books picks from bookseller Taylor Rick, and we've mutually cross-linked to each other's blogs in the past. But now, we're taking this cooperation to the next level!
Dave Mallmann, bookseller and buyer extraordinaire at Next Chapter, posted this set of picks to their own blog last week. Instead of posting everything here that Dave wrote there about his favorite up-and-coming literary novelists, I'd rather send you over to the Next Chapter blog to read it.
BUT if you read on, you will see all three authors that Dave picked, and I'll also include links to some other indie booksellers who've been raving about those authors. These are some strong picks - they're all on my to-be-read list already!
from Next Chapter's Reading Copy: Newer Writers Should Join Literary Elite
This fall, we’re seeing a slew of North America’s most popular literary fiction writers releasing major new books. It’s astounding when you look at the list of names: John Irving, Barbara Kingsolver, Alice Munro, Lorrie Moore, Margaret Atwood, Philip Roth, E.L. Doctorow, Richard Russo, Pete Dexter… the list goes on and on. But there are also books coming out by authors who have paid their dues and deserve to be card-carrying members of this esteemed club. In fact, the three books I’m featuring here are better than many of the new books by the heavy-hitters (I won’t name names) listed above. This isn’t about which legends are losing their edge, this is about a new generation who deserves to be added to the list of heavy-weights… Here are my 3 nominees to be added to the who’s who of North American Fiction Writers.
Await Your Reply
by Dan Chaon
Ballantine Books | 9780345476029 | $25 | Aug 2009
Dan Chaon has outdone himself with Await Your Reply. Much like Michael Chabon, Mr. Chaon mixes literary artistry with genre conventions. The result? A taut, creepy, page-turning thriller that deserves to be on every year-end best-of and award-nominee list out there.
by Michelle Huneven
Farrar Straus Giroux | 9780374114305 | $25 | Sept 2009
The point here is this: Michelle Huneven has her finger on the pulse of the Human Condition (remember that phase from Shakespeare 101?). Her characters and their interactions are as real as any in contemporary fiction. This is a heartbreaking and heartwarming novel by a rising star who still believes that the best fiction revolves around real people struggling with real life. Simply an amazing read.
by Ron Currie Jr.
Viking Books | 9780670020928 | $25.95 | June 2009
A good writer of experimental fiction understands how important it is to surprise the reader with literary pratfalls and trapdoors. A good writer of experimental fiction will wow you with their imagination; they will shock you with their inventiveness. They will play the literary shell game with you and you won’t be able to find the ball when all is said and done.
That's good experimental fiction, not great. The problem is, nine times out of ten, they will have no effect on your emotions.
Then there are the great writers of experimental fiction. Not only can they accomplish the wizardry listed above, but they can also move you to tears. They can evoke emotions in their readers that somehow belie the playfulness of their prose. Ron Currie, Jr.’s Everything Matters! is, by my estimation, a truly great piece of experimental fiction.
> More on Await Your Reply from the Northshire Bookstore's blog, by their adult buyer, Stan Hynds: "With careful deliberation he builds each story, chapter by chapter–a hint here and piece of information there–until he reveals the book’s chilling secrets. I highly recommend this haunting, brilliant novel."
> More on Blame from the blog of Boswell Book Company's owner, Daniel Goldin (hint: he really loves it): " it’s clear that Huneven writes about addiction and recovery like few others. Above all, Blame is suffused with humor and grace, making this the kind of book I didn’t want to let go."
> More on Everything Matters! from Pudd'nhead Books' owner Nikki Furrer in her email announcement about the book: "The best book you'll read this year, we promise. ... This book is the reason I'm a voracious reader...I am constantly looking for stories that are this beautiful and haunting and extraordinary. I hope you feel the same way about that I do. But if you don't, if you feel like the book isn't emotionally connecting with you, if it bores you, if you don't like the writing or the characters - bring it back for a full refund."