“This is a jewel of a book.” —Ian McEwan
From the publisher: In 1971 Jay Parini was an aspiring poet and graduate student of literature at University of St Andrews in Scotland; he was also in flight from being drafted into service in the Vietnam War. One day his friend and mentor, Alastair Reid, asked Jay if he could play host for a “visiting Latin American writer” while he attended to business in London. He agreed–and that “writer” turned out to be the blind and aged and eccentric master of literary compression and metaphysics, Jorge Luis Borges. About whom Jay Parini knew precisely nothing. What ensued was a seriocomic romp across the Scottish landscape that Borges insisted he must “see,” all the while declaiming and reciting from the literary encyclopedia that was his head, and Jay Parini’s eventual reckoning with his vocation and personal fate.
Jay Parini is a poet, biographer, and critic who has published seven novels, most notably The Last Station, which was made into an Academy Award-nominated film in 2009 and translated into over twenty-five languages. He is the D. E. Axinn Professor of English and Creative Writing at Middlebury College, and the author of Promised Land: Thirteen Books that Changed America. Listen to him read his essay “A Beer With Borges” (NER 39.1) in Episode 5 of NER Out Loud.
Borges and Me can be purchased at Bookshop.org or your local independent bookstore.
“Exacting, hilarious, and deadly . . . A writer of exhilarating freedom and daring.” —Zadie Smith, Harper’s Bazaar
From the publisher: Edie is stumbling her way through her twenties–sharing a subpar apartment in Bushwick, clocking in and out of her admin job, making a series of inappropriate sexual choices. She’s also, secretly, haltingly, figuring her way into life as an artist. And then she meets Eric, a digital archivist with a family in New Jersey, including an autopsist wife who has agreed to an open marriage–with rules. As if navigating the constantly shifting landscapes of contemporary sexual manners and racial politics weren’t hard enough, Edie finds herself unemployed and falling into Eric’s family life, his home. She becomes a hesitant friend to his wife and a de facto role model to his adopted daughter. Edie is the only black woman who young Akila knows.
Raven Leilani‘s work has been published in Granta, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Narrative, Yale Review, Conjunctions, and the Cut, among others. She won Narrative’s Ninth Annual Poetry Contest and the Matt Clark Editor’s Choice Prize, as well as short fiction prizes from Bat City Review and Blue Earth Review. Luster is her first novel. Her story “Dead Weight” appeared in NER 39.3. Read her conversation with NER fiction reader Michael Webster Thompson here.
Luster can be purchased at Bookshop.org or your local independent bookstore.
“[Quinn’s] voice is at once poetic and scientific—exactly what we need in today’s overheated world.” —David Gessner, author of Leave It As It Is: A Journey Through Theodore Roosevelt’s American Wilderness
From the publisher: Sign Here If You Exist explores states of being and states of mind, from the existence of God to sense of place to adoptive motherhood. In it, Jill Sisson Quinn examines how these states both disorient and anchor us as she treks through forests, along shorelines, and into lakes and rivers as well as through memories and into scientific literature. Each essay hinges on an unlikely pairing—parasitic wasps and the afterlife, or salamanders and parenthood—in which each element casts the other in an unexpectedly rich light. Quinn joins the tradition of writers such as Annie Dillard, Scott Russell Sanders, and Eula Biss to deliver essays that radiate from the junction of science and imagination, observation and introspection, and research and reflection.
Jill Sisson Quinn’s essays have appeared in Orion, Ecotone, OnEarth, and many other magazines. She has received the Annie Dillard Award in Creative Nonfiction, a John Burroughs Essay Award, and a Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award. Her work has been reprinted in Best American Science & Nature Writing 2011. Her first book, Deranged, was published by Apprentice House of Loyola University Maryland in 2010. A regular commentator for Wisconsin Public Radio’s Wisconsin Life series, she lives and writes in Scandinavia, Wisconsin. An essay from this collection, “Big Night,” appeared in NER 36.1 and was selected for the 2016 Best American Essays.
Matthew Baker’s mind is an oyster producing pearl after pearl. Each story in Why Visit America offers an eerie and unsettling vision of our possible future while remaining emotionally truthful and, as always, incredibly damn fun.”
—Kelly Luce, author of Pull Me Under
From the publisher: The citizens of Plainfield, Texas, have had it with the broke-down United States. So they vote to secede, rename themselves America in memory of their former country, and happily set themselves up to receive tourists from their closest neighbor: America. Couldn’t happen? Well, it might, and so it goes in the thirteen stories in Matthew Baker’s brilliantly illuminating, incisive, and heartbreaking collection Why Visit America.
Matthew Baker is the author of the story collection Hybrid Creatures and the Edgar Award-nominated children’s novel If You Find This. He was named one of Variety‘s “10 Storytellers To Watch” and his fiction has appeared in publications including the Paris Review, American Short Fiction, One Story, Electric Literature, Conjunctions, and Best Of The Net. Born in the Great Lakes region of the United States, he currently lives in New York City. His stories have appeared in NER issues 33.2 and 35.4.
Why Visit America can be purchased at Bookshop.org or your local independent bookstore.