The books that we’re most excited for this month are a wildly varied bunch, ranging from work that pushes the boundaries of memoir to a collection of novellas from one of our favorite contemporary authors. Incisive satire, blistering experimental fiction, and journeys into literary history: this March has something for virtually all literary tastes. Read on for some of the highlights of the month to come.
Today I Am A Book, xTx
(March 2, Civil Coping Mechanisms)
xTx’s searing fiction is unpredictable, encompassing everything from taut realism to hallucinatory explorations of quotidian ideas. Her short novel Billie the Bull is still lodged in my head nearly two years after I read it, and I’m eager to read her latest.
The Sellout, Paul Beatty
(March 3, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Paul Beatty’s work to date, including his debut The White Boy Shuffle, has earned him acclaim for his often-satirical take on race and America. His latest has been noted by many as a reminder of just how incisive his writing can be.
Ongoingness: The End of A Diary, Sarah Manguso
(March 3, Graywolf)
Sarah Manguso’s writings tackle the basic elements of her life with a pinpoint focus. Ongoingness opens a window on Manguso’s long-running need to document her life in a diary, and how her experience as a mother shifted that. As with all of Manguso’s work, it’s both though-provoking and transformative.
I Am Sorry To Think I Have Raised a Timid Son, Kent Russell
(March 10, Knopf)
Kent Russell’s writing has appeared in publications like n + 1, Grantland, and The Believer. This book, his first, collects essays on topics ranging from hockey enforcers to Juggalos to his own family, and may well be the dynamic essay collection you’ve been waiting for.
The Pulse Between Dimensions and the Desert, Rios de la Luz
(March 11, Ladybox Books)
Rios de la Luz’s debut collection is one of the first books to be released by new Portland-based publisher Ladybox. Her fiction (including “Ear to the Ground,” which appeared as a Sunday Story earlier this year) exists in a space between genres, shifting gears at a moment’s notice.
Leverage, Eric Nelson
(March 11, King Shot Press)
Eric Nelson’s fiction explores characters pushed to their limits in landscapes that have seen better days. Don Carpenter’s Hard Rain Falling might be a good example: impossible moral choices and action rooted in the characters’ haunted pasts. (See also: his short story “A Drink Among Friends.”)
The Only Ones, Carola Dibbell
(March 16, Two Dollar Radio)
Carola Dibbell’s novel is the wrenching story of a woman living in a near-future New York that’s been devastated by plagues and is periodically wracked by horrific acts of violence. What’s particularly stunning about this novel, however, is Dibbell’s use of language, and how she creates one of the most memorable narrators I’ve encountered in a long while.
Chasing Lost Time: The Life of C.K. Scott Moncrieff: Soldier, Spy and Translator, Jean Findlay
(March 16, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Chances are good that you know C.K. Scott Moncrieff’s name from his translations of Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past. This biography, written by his great-great-niece, explores his fascinating life even further, shedding a greater light on a ubiquitous literary presence.
The Strange Case of Rachel K, Rachel Kushner
(March 23, New Directions)
If you’ve enjoyed Rachel Kushner’s recent fiction (or, for that matter, her writing on literature and art), this new collection of three novellas will be very much of interest. These stories predate her debut novel, Telex From Cuba, and find her exploring a wide stylistic range.
Night at the Fiestas: Stories, Kirstin Valdez Quade
(March 23, W.W. Norton)
These stories, largely set in New Mexico, abound with minutely observed observations on families, belief, and class. Quade’s fiction often centers around characters learning uncomfortable truths about themselves and what they’re capable of, and many of these endings sting, sometimes literally.