Bad Men and Wicked Women
Eric Jerome Dickey
Eric Jerome Dickey’s thriller/erotic romance centers on Ken Swift, an enforcer in Los Angeles. He’s already entangled with more than one woman when his daughter shows up threatening to blackmail him, and his latest contract goes terribly awry. Dickey offers a genre-blend of equal parts fast-paced drama and steamy romance.
Lockwood blends her own memoir with a biography of her father in this exploration of family and identity. The author grew up Catholic with a priest for a father, and long ago left the Church. When the unexpected forces Lockwood and her husband to move back home, present meets past. Lockwood explores her childhood and adolescence with Father John Lockwood, along with eight months of married adult life under her parents’ roof.
Days of Awe
A. M. Homes
Homes has been lauded for her bold, original literary fiction before, and Days of Awe is a wonderful addition to her body of work. These short stories follow characters wrestling with the distance between who they are and who they once hoped they would be. Told with masterful psychological insight and a deft wit.
The author of Bone blends prose and verse in a coming-of-age memoir about growing up in northwest England. With courageous honesty, Daley-Ward tells the story of her mother, father, and little brother, or discovering her own sexuality, and the exciting dangers of pills and powder. A lyrical exploration of finding self and voice.
Josh Malerman’s dark, modern take on the Sleeping Beauty tale blends gothic horror with literary prose. Carol Evers frequently comes back from the dead–at least that’s what it seems like, after she awakens from her deep comas, which can last for days. But after she fell into her latest coma, her goldigging husband decided to proclaim her truly dead and bury her alive so that he can have her fortune. Will she be saved, or save herself?
The Shape of the Ruins
Juan Gabriel Vasquez
Vasquez weaves a complicated web of Colombian history, conspiracy theories, political secrets, and assassinations in this historical novel. It’s unclear where truth meets fiction in this account of a man arrested for the attempted theft of a murdered politican’s bullet-torn suit. The Shape of the Ruins is a timely exploration of an entire country’s dark and secret history.
This Body's Not Big Enough for Both of Us
A.Z. Kimrean are a twin brother and sister sharing one body, the body of a private investigator in California. With his logic and her creativity, they’re unstoppable, not to mention deeply subversive. When Kimrean (as they are known) is called to investigate the murders of a mob bosses’ heirs, the case is actually big enough for both of them.
Science fiction meets suspenseful thriller and literary fiction in Julian Gough’s latest novel. Naomi Chiang is a biologist and the single mother of Colt, a gamer with impressive coding skills and not-so-great IRL skills. When Colt decides that his game-based virtual reality is not all-encompassing enough, he releases his mother’s findings, setting off a chain of events involving his father and the U.S. government.
Cercas takes on the biography of Enric Marco, a Holocaust survivor who was internationally exposed as a fraud after sources revealed that he was never in a Nazi concentration camp. In The Imposter, Cercas mixes fact with fiction, biography with autobiography, detective story with war story, to explore how and why we deceive ourselves and each other.
David Peace evokes the life of Japanese writer Ryūnosuke Akutagawa in twelve connected stories. He dives into his own obsession with Akutagawa, whose use of multiple perspectives influenced many writers, by detailing a history of a life. Peace describes Akutagawa’s childhood with a mentally ill mother and his own struggle with mental illness, his reaction to Japan’s Westernization, his writing, and his ultimate suicide.
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Murakami’s acclaimed novel is a classic of genre-bending literature. A young man in a suburb of Tokyo must go to a netherworld beneath the city to look for his missing wife and her cat. It’s at once a work of fantasy, an exploration of history, the story of a marriage falling apart, and an imaginative work of detective fiction.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Jackson’s gothic mystery is a much-loved favorite of the Penguin Classics canon. When an estranged cousin arrives at the Blackwood house, he encounters an odd family: sisters Merricat and Constance, along with Uncle Julian. The three are the sole survivors of a family murder, for which Constance was arrested and acquitted. Through the ramblings of Uncle Julian as he writes notes for his memoirs, the past is slowly revealed, along with the identity of the real murderer.
Magic for Beginners
Kelly Link weaves a singular type of contemporary fantasy with her latest collection of short stories. Link plays with the unexpected in a story about a purse that serves as a portal between worlds, teenagers in the desert making nighttime phone calls to dead television characters, and zombies. Told with literary panache and a dark sense of humor.
What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours
In this collection of original fairy tales, Oyeyemi plays with keys: a key to a library, a key to a garden, the key to a heart, the keys that open doors in a perpetually locked house, and the key to a locked diary. Characters search for clues to their own personal mysteries in enchanted worlds, all the while navigating the question: who has the right to unlock these secrets? A beautiful and thought-provoking work of fantasy.
Categories of genre aren’t as stable as some might think. A memoir can involve storytelling, a poem can be written in prose-like blocks of text, a work of fiction can blend some history, and a detective story can play with elements of fantasy. Just as some people do in life, some books push boundaries, resisting neat categorization and spilling over into messier forms. The books listed here blend genres in original, often subversive, ways. In defying categorization, they become more interesting artifacts, inviting us into imaginative stories that can’t be easily labeled.