Our annual winter support keeps the Rail independent, relevant, and free
If the girl is in print, then where is her body? Girl Zoo, a collaboration between Aimee Parkison and Carol Guess, published by Fiction Collective 2, takes us into the narrative negative, into the underworld of the missing, where the bodies of captured girls are perpetually contained and observable.
Every once in a while a book comes along that is so powerful, so replete with well-sculpted prose and telling such an urgent narrative that I find it impossible to put down. Sophie Mackintosh’s debut novel is just such a book. I want everyone to read it, especially every woman, every writer.
Gardens and their particulars, mountain passes, deserts, and thickets—and the body—the tongue most of all—run through these mostly sparse, recursive, and quietly assertive poems. And yet, even as Machado leads us through this wide array of matter and landscape, she simultaneously leaves open the possibility that each location, each natural object, is principally a metaphor for language itself.
The writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (1927 – 2013) lived a life that spanned numerous wars and traversed the globe. She wrote novels and screenplays; Heat and Dust, her eighth, garnered the Man Booker Prize in 1975, and her E.M. Forster-adapted screenplays, A Room with a View and Howards End, both won Oscars. This month brings her posthumous collection of stories into the world, At the End of the Century (Counterpoint Press, 2018).
Some people are more like planets in the outsized pull they exert over the others whom they draw like satellites into their orbits. Such is the titular entrepreneurial egomaniac of James Charlesworth’s riveting and rangy debut novel, The Patricide of George Benjamin Hill, a captivating story of money and freedom, family and forgiveness, grand intentions and grave mistakes.
Is a play still a play if it’s not performed? More than anything else, the question of recognition drives Christopher Castellani’s novel, Leading Men (Viking, 2019), a book that re-envisions a Portofino summer evening in 1953, and everything else that spins out from an encounter involving writers and actors and artists, including Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, John Horne Burns, and one man so unabashedly sincere—Frank Merlo—he could never play anyone but himself.
Josip Novakovich quit studying medicine in Novi Sad to emigrate to the United States in 1976. Writing in English as a second language, he has published a dozen books and more than a hundred stories in various journals and in collections with Garywolf, Harper Collins, and lately, Dzanc Press which has just published his latest, Honey in the Carcase, including “A Taste of the Sea."
Demolition Night, Ross Barkan’s first novel, tells the story of a not-too-distant, dystopic future so terrible for most people that a young woman and her friend go back in time to change the future by killing the woman who gave birth to America’s despot president.
With attention carefully drawn to both style and substance, Jeff Jackson’s newest novel, Destroy All Monsters is an artifact in and of itself: the text split into a Side A and Side B like an old vinyl single; the text shaded different colors, different type-faces, prologues and false starts and chapters not falling in line as we’d traditionally expect from a novel.
R.O. Kwon’s debut novel The Incendiaries feels like a book meant to be read in a manic frenzy, with the reader stringing together a series of memories and clues to get to the end.
David is a prolific writer. What I find incredibly impressive, though, is how he continues to write many different kinds of books—novels, story collections, poetry collections, and even a critical tract on the philosophy of horror.