For those of you who are like me and are just now getting around to checking it out, here are a few titles from June's Indie Next list — Hot picks from the nation's independent booksellers. You can get the full list here (PDF):
(Gallery/Scout Press, 9781501126925, $22.95)
Synopsis: In this smart, suspenseful, and intense literary thriller, debut novelist Iain Reid explores the depths of the human psyche, questioning consciousness, free will, the value of relationships, fear, and the limitations of solitude. Reminiscent of Jose Saramago’s early work, Michel Faber’s cult classic Under the Skin, and Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is an edgy, haunting debut. Tense, gripping, and atmospheric, this novel pulls you in from the very first page…and never lets you go.
(Grand Central Publishing, 9781455561780, $26)
Synopsis: On a foggy summer night, eleven people--ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter--depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs--the painter--and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.
(Melville House, 9781612195469, trade paperback, $16.95)
Synopsis: Ollie Krueger’s days as a punk kid practicing street magic are are mostly behind her. Now she’s a butcher at Carnage, a high-end restaurant offering deconstructed takes on meat. On busy nights Ollie and her partner, Guychardson, race to see who can produce the most finished cuts. Ollie’s the better butcher, but somehow Guychardson always wins ... and Ollie thinks maybe it’s because the mysterious knife he uses is magic.
This is Bushnell's second novel. His first, The Weirdness, was published in 2014. For fans of Christopher Moore, Will Self, & Max Barry.
(Doubleday, 9780385540162, $27.95)
Synopsis: Welcome to a Victorian England unlike any other you have experienced before. Here, wicked thoughts (both harmless and hate-filled) appear in the air as telltale wisps of Smoke.
Young Thomas Argyle, a son of aristocracy, has been sent to an elite boarding school. Here he will be purged of Wickedness, for the wealthy do not Smoke. When he resists a sadistic headboy's temptations to Smoke, a much larger struggle beyond the school walls is revealed. Shortly thereafter, on a trip to London, Thomas and his best friend witness events that make them begin to question everything they have been taught about Smoke. And thus the adventure begins... You will travel by coach to a grand estate where secrets lurk in attic rooms and hidden laboratories; where young love blossoms; and where a tumultuous relationship between a mother and her children is the crucible in which powerful passions are kindled, and dangerous deeds must be snuffed out in a desperate race against time.
This is Vyleta's 4th novel.
For fans of Harry Potter and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.
(Graywolf Press, 9781555977412, trade paperback, $14)
Synopsis: Here he is, husband and father, scruffy romantic, a shambolic scholar--a man adrift in the wake of his wife's sudden, accidental death. And there are his two sons who like him struggle in their London apartment to face the unbearable sadness that has engulfed them. The father imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness, while the boys wander, savage and unsupervised.
In this moment of violent despair they are visited by Crow--antagonist, trickster, goad, protector, therapist, and babysitter. This self-described "sentimental bird," at once wild and tender, who "finds humans dull except in grief," threatens to stay with the wounded family until they no longer need him. As weeks turn to months and the pain of loss lessens with the balm of memories, Crow's efforts are rewarded and the little unit of three begins to recover: Dad resumes his book about the poet Ted Hughes; the boys get on with it, grow up.
Part novella, part polyphonic fable, part essay on grief, Max Porter's extraordinary debut combines compassion and bravura style to dazzling effect. Full of angular wit and profound truths, Grief Is the Thing with Feathers is a startlingly original and haunting debut by a significant new talent.
Winner of of the International Dylan Thomas Prize
Finalist for the Guardian First Book Award
Finalist for the Goldsmiths Prize
Booklist starred review