News in September 2022
News in September 2022
THE FURROWS by Namwali Serpell published this week to a chorus of critical acclaim. A stunning review from Lynn Steger-Strong for The Los Angeles Times raves: “On the terms THE OLD DRIFT set out for itself, it was absolutely an accomplishment. Had I been assigned to write about it, I would have focused on all the ways, on its specific terms, it succeeded wildly. I bring in taste only to tell you that her second novel, THE FURROWS, out this week, is also a success on the terms it set out for itself. But it is a further testament to Serpell’s abilities and alacrity as an artist that, this time, I was completely in the thrall of the thing she made. The bombast of THE OLD DRIFT has been replaced with intimacy, intense emotionality and specificity, but the ambition, the acuity of the intelligence, remains… If THE OLD DRIFT put Serpell in conversation with Rushdie and García Márquez, THE FURROWS seems to stand on the shoulders of Virginia Woolf and Toni Morrison.” The New York Times ran a profile on Serpell, where Lauren Christensen writes: “Confronting sudden loss in her own life, Namwali Serpell has written THE FURROWS, a disquieting portrait of the human mind, warped by grief... [H]er breadth of expertise puts her in the intellectual minority. ‘Let’s put it this way,’ her colleague and former professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. said. ‘It’s rare to find a creative writer who also has a Ph.D. in literary studies.’” Mary Retta’s review for New York Magazine’s Vulture raves: “The sort of grief Serpell depicts is complicated and unruly, which makes it feel tangibly real…THE FURROWS is, overall, a triumph. Serpell’s deft prose and languid narration come through beautifully throughout the novel.” Serpell sat down in conversation with Juana Summers for NPR’s WNYC Radio to discuss THE FURROWS. Elsewhere, Entertainment Weekly, Lit Hub, USA Today, Oprah Daily and others featured the book on roundups of the best new releases of September. Hogarth published THE FURROWS on September 27, 2022.
Andrew Sean Greer’s LESS IS LOST debuted on The New York Times Bestsellers list for the week of October 9, 2022, appearing at #10 on the Hardcover Fiction list. Little, Brown and Company published the book on September 20, 2022.
LISTEN, WORLD! is one of USA Today’s must-read titles for this week, deemed a “rousing biography of an overlooked figure.” The book received a glowing review from Glynnis MacNicol for The New York Times, who writes: “Scheeres and Gilbert attempt to resurrect Elsie [Robinson], fill in her biography and place her in the pantheon of women we should know about. The result is an engaging tale that doesn’t gloss over the extreme adversity and restrictions Robinson faced as a woman of much ambition and few means…At times LISTEN, WORLD! reads less like biography than a heavily annotated, if enjoyable, memoir.” Seal Press published the book on September 27, 2022.
DARK EARTH by Rebecca Stott received a glowing praise from The New York Times. Alida Becker writes: “Historical fiction thrives in the empty spaces scholars have yet to fill. And thanks to poetic license, sometimes magical realism can also lurk in the shadows…[DARK EARTH is] an engaging mix of real adventure and elusive possibility.” Random House published the novel on July 19, 2022.
STRANGERS TO OURSELVES by Rachel Aviv continues to accumulate critical acclaim. The book is a National Indie Bestseller and a New York Times Editors’ Choice pick. Oprah Daily featured STRANGERS TO OURSELVES on its “20 of the Best Fall Nonfiction Books of 2022” list, deeming it a “searing…revelation of literary journalism and medical research.” Lit Hub selected the book for its “Ultimate Fall 2022 Book Preview.” Lastly, Aviv was interviewed on CBS News about the book, and about how “we can increase our understanding of mental illness by paying more attention to the stories patients tell about their individual experience to find meaning for themselves.” Farrar, Straus and Giroux published the book on September 13, 2022.
Booktrib featured Brian Haig’s THE PRESIDENT’S ASSASSIN on its list of “Six Books that will Scratch Your Tom Clancy Itch,” deeming it a “fast-paced page-turning race against time.” Grand Central Publishing published the book on February 23, 2005.
Jann S. Wenner’s memoir LIKE A ROLLING STONE debuted on The New York Times Bestsellers list for the week of October 2, 2022, appearing at #6 on the Hardcover Nonfiction list and #7 on the Combined Print & E-Book Nonfiction list. Little, Brown and Company published the book on September 13, 2022.
Rachel Aviv’s STRANGER TO OURSELVES received a rave review from The Wall Street Journal. Elizabeth Winkler writes: “The book unfolds in what are effectively case studies of subjects suffering from different disorders—depression, schizophrenia, psychosis—but these cases are not closed. They do not lend themselves to neat, scientific conclusions. Though the subjects come from different times and cultures, they all occupy what Ms. Aviv calls the ‘psychic hinterlands, the outer edges of human experience, where language tends to fail.’ Ms. Aviv wanders out to these far reaches, reporting with deep empathy and nuance on a category of experience that, she acknowledges, she might not have recognized ‘if I hadn’t been there myself’…Ms. Aviv paradoxically finds language for the most ineffable registers of human experience. She begins to name correctly what has been named wrongly. For a journalist, as for a psychiatrist, there is no higher achievement.” The book also received praise in a review from Wired, where Kate Knibbs writes: “If anyone knows the weight of stories, Aviv does. She’s a star New Yorker writer, capable of drilling into complicated, morally queasy situations and excavating definitive tales from the chaos…The strength of STRANGERS TO OURSELVES is in its engrossing case studies, which contribute vivid anecdotes to this ongoing conversation about the complex and perplexing nature of the mind…Aviv’s pain and empathy are palpable on the page; it is clear she doesn’t want to emphasize their differences but rather underline their fundamental similarity. She wants to end by pointing out, one last time, how porous the borders are between our stories.” Aviv also sat down for conversations and interviews with the LARB Radio Hour podcast, Shondaland, and The Maris Review podcast. Farrar, Straus and Giroux published STRANGERS TO OURSELVES on September 13, 2022.
LISTEN, WORLD! by Allison Gilbert and Julia Scheeres received stellar reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and the San Francisco Chronicle Datebook. Publishers Weekly raves: “[T]he authors paint a vivid picture of the challenges Elsie Robinson faced…The account is enlivened with copious excerpts from Robinson’s column and her memoir, all of which bring home her firebrand style. This entertaining account delivers.” Booklist praises the book as “[a] fascinating topic and solid biography that should please women’s history fans,” while Datebook writes: “Deeply researched, LISTEN, WORLD! includes passages from Robinson’s columns, books and letters, among other sources. Robinson was also an illustrator, and LISTEN, WORLD! includes a selection of her editorial cartoons, as well as photographs. The book’s prose is clear and engaging, with vivid descriptions…Over the course of this biography, readers come to recognize Robinson’s shockingly contemporary voice, and the authors highlight Robinson’s progressive views on the social issues of her time…A reminder to readers that though it’s now a century later, some things never change.” Seal Press will publish LISTEN, WORLD! on September 27, 2022.
Chelsea Manning’s forthcoming memoir README.txt was featured on the Oberver’s Fall Arts Preview. The citation reads: “It cannot be emphasized enough how many people are looking forward to [README.txt]…As a known whistle-blower, surveillance expert, and most certainly a woman with a full life, it makes perfect sense that she is putting out a memoir.” Farrar, Straus, and Giroux will publish the novel on October 18, 2022.
THE SEAPLANE ON FINAL APPROACH by Rebecca Rukeyser was reviewed by Anchorage Daily News. Reviewer Nancy Lord writes: “[A] dark but somehow still quite funny novel…[Rukeyser’s] descriptions are not only precise but rendered in the narrator’s particular, often peculiar, way of seeing and understanding…THE SEAPLANE ON FINAL APPROACH stars a complicated and engaging narrator against a well-wrought Alaska background. As it entertains, it also explores human nature and something about what draws people to Alaska.” Doubleday published the novel on June 7, 2021.
The New Yorker ran a beautiful profile on Namwali Serpell and her forthcoming novel, THE FURROWS. Lauren Michele Jackson writes: "Namwali Serpell's new novel reinvents the elegy...THE FURROWS (Hogarth), the fourth book and the second novel from Namwali Serpell, batters against the fixities of language like a moth at a windowpane...The novel’s engine is epistemic as well as emotional, Serpell being one of those novelists who have metabolized the quirks and the canniness of literary theory...Though the novel’s story lines turn and twist, the precision of Serpell’s language remains under exquisite control....The result is a novel that reclaims and refashions the genre of the elegy, charging it with as much eros as pathos. Furrows are the tracks we make and the tracks we cover up, and the shifting ground of Serpell’s novel denies every certainty save that the furrows are where we all live.” Elsewhere, THE FURROWS was featured on Fall previews and roundups from Observer, Lit Hub, The New York Times, and Harper’s Bazaar. Hogarth will publish the novel on September 27, 2022.