Kyle A. Staff Picks
Oulipo member Anne Garreta gives herself a rigid homework assignment and along the way upends the boundaries of autofiction. Her musings on all the people she's desired or those who have desired her are moving, funny, erotic, and magical. Her gem on American "highway music" is worth it in itself.
A wild study on group psychology of children and one of the scariest books I've ever read. If you love Lispector, Spark, and Jaeggy, you'll love this.
A tightly-wound, uncanny campus novel full of long obsessed walks, odd demanding friendships, and all-consuming bedtime thoughts. read in a night, think about forever.
An expertly layered ode to story-telling families across generations, this book explores themes of love, family, and life aspirations in a society defined by national and cultural displacement. Subtle but complex, stylised but erotic, this book burns with world-richness but glitters like a fairytale.
At one deeply disturbing and quietly quotidian, The Vegetarian tells the story of an ordinary woman's struggle with dreams, sacrifice, and self-perrception. Through a readable and nuanced translation from the Korean, Han Kang broaches themes of ethics, art, family, and humanity, immediately shocking yet ultimately enlightening the reader on how far people will go to be fully themselves... or fully other.
John Berendt's nonfiction novel is not just a great addition to the genre of true crime, it is a reimagining of how intimate real-life documentation can be. Readers are not merely witnesses to what happens in the shadows of 1980s Savannah, Georgia - we are friends of jazz musicians, guests of socialites, conjurers of politically inspired hexess, dressers of drag queens, and ultimately a jury with the power to condemn someone we now cosnider a peer. Kooky and spooky doesn't even begin to cover this expertly accounted mystery.
Through subtle yet affecting musings on everyday objects, Kang weaves a story of grief together with a love letter to a sister who barely existed. Like she did with The Vegetarian and Human Acts, Kang proves that the mundane is where humanity learns its appreciation for family, art, and aesthetics, but also where it harbors its greatest fears. Han Kang is one of the few writers who has mastered beauty and horror.
It will keep you up at night. It will make you miss your stop and the subway. It invented and still defines a genre. Read it and everything Truman has ever written.
Sarah Leon captures for the reader an almost impossible thing: the experience of music without needing to hear it. Through an intensifying pattern of thawing a forgotten past and shoveling through an uncertain present, we learn not only about two extraordinary musicians and their inspirations but also a human relationship so strong, so flawed, that for them it is impossible to name but to the outsider can only be read (or played, or sung, or shouted) as love. In Wanderer Leon smooths a harsh and bleak world with melodic beauty, weaving in rhythms of fear, tension, doubt, and desire to build a concise but powerful symphony of a novel.
Compassionate in its wit, humorous in its heart, and full-blooded in its dry emotion, this story of the frustrating and charming inconsistencies of life is easy to fall into yet impossible to forget. Also its gay.
I made friends on the subway with this book. I lost nights and gained years laughing over this book. I was compelled to read full essays out loud to my roommates, my family, the cat I live with. David Sedaris has never been kookier, grosser, or more respectable.