In the Works

Jess Row has drawn acclaim for charting the intricacies and absurdities of race in America in his novels Your Face in Mine and The New Earth and in his essay collection White Flights: Race, Fiction, and the American Imagination. Now, in his first collection of short stories in more than a decade, he evokes white America—specifically liberal, educated white Northeasterners—awkwardly (and at times hilariously) poised on the precipice of cultural and global collapse. From summer backyard parties in Princeton to post-apocalyptic Vermont, from a camp for disadvantaged youth in Boston Harbor to a deranged visit to John Cheever’s Connecticut, STORYKNIFE is a funny, troubling, indelible look at a culture whose rituals and expectations are dissolving into thin air.

Following her breakout mystery debut, THE GOOD ONES (HarperCollins, 2023), Polly Stewart’s THE FELONS’ BALL is a rural noir set in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. Every October, the powerful Macready family gathers together for a party known as the “Felons’ Ball”. Though the Macready family has a violent past, they have rehabilitated their reputation, and see the party as an opportunity to benefit their family business. Stewart’s novel follows Natalie, a yoga teacher and the Macready’s youngest daughter and explores questions of crime, gender, and class in the South. The Macready family’s dark secrets set a chain of events in motion at their annual party and Natalie finds herself caught in the vortex of her family’s history and the Felons’ Ball’s deadly consequences.

Michael Clune is the author of the recently reissued memoir WHITE OUT, which The New Yorker called “dreamily exact…sensual and hilarious…one of the year’s best books.”  PAN is his first novel, centered on Nick, a weirdly brilliant teenager, who is kicked out of his Russian-born mother’s house for reasons he is not told and goes to live with his father in a low-grade apartment development optimistically called Chariot Courts.  And then, quite unexpectedly, panic and anxiety enter Nick’s life.  What brings some solace is his old paperback copy of IVANHOE and the work of Oscar Wilde, which he discovers by chance at the library when he’s researching anxiety panic disorders. The book is set in a northern suburb of Chicago in the mid-90s. It’s funny, sad, deeply moving, and timeless, joining the pantheon of literary coming-of-age novels alongside Paul Murray’s SKIPPY DIES and Douglas Stuart’s SHUGGIE BAIN.

Pulitzer finalist, Macarthur Fellowship Recipient, and author of SWAMPLANDIA! and VAMPIRES IN THE LEMON GROVE Karen Russell’s THE ANTIDOTE  opens on Black Sunday, as a historic dust storm ravages the fictional town of Uz, Nebraska. But Uz is already collapsing–not just under the weight of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl drought, but beneath its own violent history. The novel follows a “Prairie Witch,” whose body serves as a bank vault for peoples’ memories and secrets; a Polish wheat farmer who learns how quickly a hoarded blessing can become a curse; his orphan niece, a basketball star and witch’s apprentice in furious flight from her grief; a voluble scarecrow; and a New Deal photographer whose time-traveling camera threatens to reveal both the town’s secrets and its fate.

The novel is above all a reckoning with a nation’s forgetting—enacting the settler amnesia and willful omissions passed down from generation to generation, and unearthing not only horrors but shimmering possibilities. This gripping Dust Bowl epic echoes with urgent warnings for our own climate emergency, challenging readers with a vision of what might have been—and what still could be.

In his new collection of essays: ON BEING SHORT: MEN, MASCULINITY, AND OTHER DISASTERS, Jess Row examines the paradoxical, problematic, dysfunctional lives of American men in the 21st century. The essays will weave together Row’s own experience and social observations into a larger narrative of how American masculinity has fragmented and devolved since the 1970s. The book will be published by Graywolf.

Brandon del Pozo, Chief of Police in Burlington, VT and formerly a Senior Officer in the New York City Police Department, is writing NO ONE ELSE IS COMING to be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The book will be part memoir, part historical narrative of policing in New York City and, ultimately, a reflection on the art of being a cop.