2016 Pen Awards for Debut Novels

The 2016 Pen Awards will be announced in less than a month, so I thought I'd revisit the long list: 
PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction ($25,000): To an author whose debut work—a first novel or collection of short stories published in 2015—represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise.
In the Country: Stories by Mia Alvar (Alfred A. Knopf, June 16, 2015). Original price: $26.95 USD.
Signed, first edition copies listing for $90 on Abebooks.

 

The Boatmaker by John Benditt (Tin House Books, March 3, 2015) Paperback. Original price: $15.95 USD.
A fierce and complicated man wakes from a fever dream compelled to build a boat and sail away from the isolated island where he was born. Encountering the wider world for the first time, the reluctant hero falls into a destructive love affair, is swept up into a fanatical religious movement, and finds himself a witness to racial hatred unlike anything he’s ever known. The boatmaker is tempted, beaten, and betrayed: his journey marked by chilling episodes of violence and horror while he struggles to summon the strength to make his own way. The Boatmaker is a fable for our times, a passionate love story, and an odyssey of self-discovery.
Signed, first edition copies listing for $40 on Abebooks.

 

Did You Ever Have A Family by Bill Clegg (Gallery/Scout Press/Simon & Schuster, Sept. 1, 2015). Original price: $26 USD
Signed, first edition copies listing for up to $125 on Abebooks.

Hausfrau: A Novel by Jill Alexander Essbaum (Random House, March 17, 2015). Original price: $26 USD.
For readers of The Girl on the Train and The Woman Upstairs comes a striking debut novel of marriage, fidelity, sex, and morality, featuring a fascinating heroine who struggles to live a life with meaning.
Signed, first edition copies listing for up to $65 on Abebooks.

 

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 14, 2015). Original price: $23 USD.
Signed, first edition copies are listing for up to $195 on Abebooks.


Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya (Coffee House Press, May 12, 2015). Paperback. Original price: $16.95 USD.
Ifi and Job, a Nigerian couple in an arranged marriage, begin their lives together in Nebraska with a single, outrageous lie: that Job is a doctor, not a college dropout. Unwittingly, Ifi becomes his co-conspirator—that is until his first wife, Cheryl, whom he married for a green card years ago, reenters the picture and upsets Job's tenuous balancing act.
At the time of this writing, no copies were listed at Abebooks.

The Sympathizer: A Novel by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press, April 7, 2015). Original price: $26 USD.
 Signed, first edition copies are listing for up to $75 on Abebooks.

The Given World: A Novel by Marian Palaia (Simon & Schuster, April 14, 2015). Original price: $25 USD.
From a quiet family farm in Montana in the 60s to the grit and haze of San Francisco in the 70s to a gypsy-populated, post-war Saigon, The Given World spins around its unconventional and unforgettable heroine, Riley. When her big brother is declared MIA in Vietnam, young Riley packs up her shattered heart and leaves her family, her first love, and “a few small things” behind. By trial and error she builds a new life, working on cars, delivering newspapers, tending bar. She befriends, rescues, and is rescued by a similarly vagabond cast of characters whose “‘unraveled souls’ sting hardest and linger the longest.” (The New York Times Book Review) Foolhardy, funny, and wise, Riley’s challenge as she grows into a woman is simple: survive long enough to go home again, or at least figure out where home is, and who might be among the living there.
  Signed, first edition copies are listing for up to $75 on Abebooks.

It Had Been Planned and There Were Guides by Jessica Lee Richardson (Fiction Collective Two/University of Alabama Press, Sept 30, 2015). Paperback. Original price: $16.95 USD.

Jessica Lee Richardson’s debut collection It Had Been Planned and There Were Guidesteems with double magic—families of spiders, monsters in triplicate, and panels of bleacher-sitting grandfathers (who live in a diaphragm!) cohabitate with a starker, more familiar kind of strange in a hyper real and living tapestry of teenage porn stars, lovelorn factory workers, and art world auctioneers. From a woman who awakes from a short kidnapping with an unquenchable need for risk to a concrete boat ride gone off the rails, from Los Angeles to the Bronx, from the Midwest to North Korea, these stories explore the absurd in real spaces and the real in absurd spaces, seeking a way into something else entirely.
At the time of this writing, no signed copies were listed at Abebooks.

Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness by Jennifer Tseng (Europa Editions, May 26,2015). Paperback. Original price: $16 USD.
Books may be Mayumi Saito’s greatest love and her one source of true pleasure. Forty-one years old, disenchanted wife and dutiful mother, Mayumi’s work as a librarian on a small island off the coast of New England feeds her passion for reading and provides her with many occasions for wry observations on human nature, but it does little to remedy the mundanity of her days. That is, until the day she issues a library card to a shy seventeen-year-old boy and swiftly succumbs to a sexual obsession that subverts the way she sees the library, her family, the island she lives on, and ultimately herself.
At the time of this writing, no copies were listed at Abebooks.



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