Malin Persson Giolito photographed by Viktor Fremling.
Malin Persson Giolito says she “always knew” she’d one day write a novel about a school shooting—she just didn’t realize what a challenge that would be. Quicksand, her widely acclaimed English-language debut (a bestseller in her native Sweden) skillfully depicts the causes and consequences of a mass shooting, blending elements of courtroom drama, taut psychological thriller, and coming-of-age story.
The novel opens in a classroom, the stark scene of the shooting, the air “hazy and gray with gunpowder smoke.” ...
Joseph Scapellato photographed by Ryan J. LeBreton.
Joseph Scapellato isn’t from the west—he grew up in suburban Chicago—but like so many Americans, the mythic west was always nearby. “My mom was and is an enormous fan of golden age Westerns: Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, all those dudes in white hats,” Scapellato says. “I grew up watching those, and she accumulated all these cowboy tchotchkes. I grew up with all that.”
Later, Scapellato discovered the darker Western films from directors such as Sam Peckinpah and Sergio ...
Our preview of books first published overseas
The Golden Legend
U.K.: Jan 12, 2017 | Faber & Faber
U.S.: April 18, 2017 | Knopf
Aslam portrays his native country, Pakistan, as a violent, cruel place where beatings, killings, and rapes are commonplace, injustice and sectarian rivalry reign, and suicide bombers seek vengeance for insults to Islam. His two central characters, Massud and Nargis, are both architects renowned for their beautiful buildings. Massud is killed in what appears to be a terrorist attack by an American ...
Mariana Enríquez photographed by Nora Lezano.
When I told Mariana Enríquez that I enjoyed Things We Lost in the Fire, her debut short story collection, she couldn’t help but laugh.
“ ‘Enjoy’ is not something most people tell me,” Enríquez says. “They usually say they suffer through them.”
She has a point. The title story details an “epidemic” of women burning themselves in bonfires. Several of the stories are about teenagers, especially women, entering self-destructive spirals that hint at ruin. “The lack of food ...
Jim Shepard photographed by Barry Goldstein.
“I’m trying to put less food on my kids’ tables,” Jim Shepard jokes. This, in reference to the years he spent researching the Minoan eruption of Thera—a catastrophic volcanic event in mid-second millennium B.C.E.—with the intent to write something fairly substantial about it and ending up instead with “Cretan Love Song,” a story that, at just over two pages, is the shortest Shepard has ever published, and a standout in The World to Come, his ...
When it seems like the world is changing minute by minute, when you can’t look away from Facebook or Twitter because you need to monitor the madness, when the onslaught of news makes you feel like your head might explode (or is that just me?), it’s good to turn off your phone and sit down with an old-fashioned novel.
Even if you want to immerse yourself in fiction, though, it can be hard to figure out what to read. Escapism ...
Photo courtesy Darshan Steven
Don’t be afraid of The Dark and Other Love Stories but be warned: Deborah Willis’s delectable fictions aren’t amorous confections.
“I think that title is a bit misleading—actually, I know it is,” says Willis, by phone from home in Calgary. “A lot of people, when I tell them the title say, That sounds so lovely! I can’t wait!”
“I can tell they think it’s going to be romantic,” she says, “and it is a book of stories ...
Photo courtesy David Crosby
George Saunders never meant to write a novel. Or maybe he had come to a certain acceptance about his work. “I had gotten to the place,” he admits, over the phone from Santa Cruz, California, where he is on book tour, “where I was all right with not writing a novel. You know, me and Alice Munro: we don’t do that.”
Saunders may be joking, but there’s a strong line of substance behind the jest. Like Munro, after ...