5 Books | by Paste Magazine
All the Beloved Ghosts
An acutely observed, evocative collection of short stories blending fiction, biography, and memoir--from a Booker-longlisted author. Evocative, sensual, and tender, these stories confront our reality culture and interrogate our relationship with iconic figures, coming to life at the boundary between reality and fiction. A woman emerging from mourning spends her savings on a fur coat, a coat she will wear to a dance that will change her life. A professor of cardiovascular physiology lingers on the cusp of consciousness as he waits for his new heart to be delivered, still beating, from another body--and is carried on a tidal wave of memories to an attic room half a century ago. Visiting Sylvia Plath's grave in Yorkshire, the author imagines a conversation with the poet, a fellow North American who settled in grey England. She reflects on the treasured photograph of Princess Diana she took as a teenager, one of a multitude taken during a life cut short. And at Charleston, Angelica Garnett, child of the Bloomsbury group, is overpowered by echoes of the past; by all the beloved ghosts that spring to life before her eyes. MacLeod's characters hover on the border of life and death, where memory is most vivid and the present most elusive. Moving from the London riots of 2011 to 1920s Nova Scotia, from Oscar Wilde's grave to the Brighton Pier, these exquisitely formed stories capture the small tragedies and profound truths of existence.
Named one of the most anticipated books of 2017 by The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Book Riot, Chicago Reader, The Week, and Publishers Weekly. “Am I a person?” Borne asked me. “Yes, you are a person,” I told him. “But like a person, you can be a weapon, too.” In Borne, a young woman named Rachel survives as a scavenger in a ruined city half destroyed by drought and conflict. The city is dangerous, littered with discarded experiments from the Company—a biotech firm now derelict—and punished by the unpredictable predations of a giant bear. Rachel ekes out an existence in the shelter of a run-down sanctuary she shares with her partner, Wick, who deals his own homegrown psychoactive biotech. One day, Rachel finds Borne during a scavenging mission and takes him home. Borne as salvage is little more than a green lump—plant or animal?—but exudes a strange charisma. Borne reminds Rachel of the marine life from the island nation of her birth, now lost to rising seas. There is an attachment she resents: in this world any weakness can kill you. Yet, against her instincts—and definitely against Wick’s wishes—Rachel keeps Borne. She cannot help herself. Borne, learning to speak, learning about the world, is fun to be with, and in a world so broken that innocence is a precious thing. For Borne makes Rachel see beauty in the desolation around her. She begins to feel a protectiveness she can ill afford. “He was born, but I had borne him.” But as Borne grows, he begins to threaten the balance of power in the city and to put the security of her sanctuary with Wick at risk. For the Company, it seems, may not be truly dead, and new enemies are creeping in. What Borne will lay bare to Rachel as he changes is how precarious her existence has been, and how dependent on subterfuge and secrets. In the aftermath, nothing may ever be the same.
In Class, Francesco Pacifico tells the story of a young Italian couple who move to America, specifically Williamsburg: The Promised Land, to chase their ambitions. Once there, they fall in with a group of Italian expats. These languidly ambitious men and women will come together and fall apart, but can they escape their fates? A grand, subversive novel that bridges Italy and America, high and low, money and art; that channels Virginia Woolf and Kanye West, Henry Miller and Lil' Wayne; Class is an unforgettable, mordantly funny account of Italians chasing the American dream.
Black Mad Wheel
From the author of the hit literary horror debut Bird Box (“Hitchcockian.” —USA Today) comes a chilling novel about a group of musicians conscripted by the US government to track down the source of a strange and debilitating sound The Danes—the band known as the “Darlings of Detroit”—are washed up and desperate for inspiration, eager to once again have a number one hit. That is, until an agent from the US Army approaches them. Will they travel to an African desert and track down the source of a mysterious and malevolent sound? Under the guidance of their front man, Philip Tonka, the Danes embark on a harrowing journey through the scorching desert—a trip that takes Tonka into the heart of an ominous and twisted conspiracy. Meanwhile, in a nondescript Midwestern hospital, a nurse named Ellen tends to a patient recovering from a near-fatal accident. The circumstances that led to his injuries are mysterious—and his body heals at a remarkable rate. Ellen will do the impossible for this enigmatic patient, who reveals more about his accident with each passing day. Part Heart of Darkness, part Lost, Josh Malerman’s breathtaking new novel plunges us into the depths of psychological horror, where you can’t always believe everything you hear.
Named a “Most Anticipated Novel of 2017” by Entertainment Weekly, The Millions, and Bustle A luminous coming-of-age novel about a young female scientist who must recalibrate her life when her academic career goes off track; perfect for readers of Lab Girl and Celeste Ng's Everything I Never Told You. Three years into her graduate studies at a demanding Boston university, the unnamed narrator of this nimbly wry, concise debut finds her one-time love for chemistry is more hypothesis than reality. She's tormented by her failed research--and reminded of her delays by her peers, her advisor, and most of all by her Chinese parents, who have always expected nothing short of excellence from her throughout her life. But there's another, nonscientific question looming: the marriage proposal from her devoted boyfriend, a fellow scientist, whose path through academia has been relatively free of obstacles, and with whom she can't make a life before finding success on her own. Eventually, the pressure mounts so high that she must leave everything she thought she knew about her future, and herself, behind. And for the first time, she's confronted with a question she won't find the answer to in a textbook: What do I really want? Over the next two years, this winningly flawed, disarmingly insightful heroine learns the formulas and equations for a different kind of chemistry--one in which the reactions can't be quantified, measured, and analyzed; one that can be studied only in the mysterious language of the heart. Taking us deep inside her scattered, searching mind, here is a brilliant new literary voice that astutely juxtaposes the elegance of science, the anxieties of finding a place in the world, and the sacrifices made for love and family.