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FOR THE PERSON WHOSE LOVE OF BOOKS IS ONLY RIVALED BY LOVE FOR THE OBSCURE

1. Aseroë by François Dominique

The aesthetic adventures of a mad mushroom hunter. The narrator of Aseroë wanders medieval streets and dense forests, portrait galleries, and rare bookshops. As he explores the frontiers of language, the boundaries of science, art, and alchemy melt away, and the mundane is overtaken by the bizarre. Inhabited by creatures born in darkness, both terrible and alluring, Aseroë is ultimately a meditation on memory and forgetting, creation, and oblivion.

2. Body of Render: Poems by Felicia Zamora

Body of Render explores the internal and external impacts of societal and national decisions that strip away our basic human rights through a collection of poems that carve at the physical, the political, the intimate, and the structural, where poems simultaneously create and encourage voice to seek a path toward collective mending.

3. Gospel of Breaking by Jillian Christmas

In The Gospel of Breaking, Jillian Christmas confirms what followers of her performance and artistic curation have long known: there is magic in her words. Befitting someone who “speaks things into being,” Christmas extracts from family history, queer lineage, and the political landscape of a racialized life to create a rich, softly defiant collection of poems.

4. Hysteria by Jessica Gross

Hysteria follows a hypersexual, self-destructive young woman who becomes convinced, over the course of 48 feverish hours, that her Brooklyn bartender is Sigmund Freud.

5. Pink Mountain on Locust Island by Jamie Marina Lau

Blending digital fever dream and hard-boiled noir in bursts of claustrophobic prose, in Pink Mountain on Locust Island, a teenager follows her maybe-boyfriend into the seedy corners of the art world.

6. Instances of Head-Switching by Teresa Milbrodt

Focusing on themes of embodiment, disability, and economic insecurity, Teresa Milbrodt offers witty and inventive tales full of compassion for her cash-strapped, hard-luck characters. In the fictional worlds depicted in Instances of Head-Switching, sphinxes are kept as pets, unicorns are raised on ranches, and Sisyphus has escaped from Hades and is happily working as a bagger at a grocery store. But characters still struggle to pay bills, deal with cranky customers and bosses, and navigate life with partial vision, limited mobility, and chronic diseases.

7. Cockfight by Maria Fernanda Ampuero

Thirteen stories explore domestic horrors and everyday violence, providing an intimate and unflinching portrait of twenty-first-century Latin America.

HOLIDAY 2020 GIFT GUIDE: LITERARY CONNOISSEUR
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