Exploring the art of prose


New Books: March 2020

Here are the new releases we are most looking forward to this month, including several by CRAFT contributors!


Leesa Cross-Smith, So We Can Glow: Stories

“Leesa Cross-Smith is such a beguiling writer and her skills are on full display in So We Can Glow. These are stories about breathless love, lustful abandon, all that glitters, hot summers, cool pavement, sticky skin, beautifully beating hearts. There is such authenticity to these stories and nostalgia that is tempered with just enough of a clear-eyed understanding of the world as it is, not just how we hoped it might be. It’s also refreshing to see a writer crafting stories that are so unapologetically for women, about women, a love letter to who we are, the best and worst of us, held high and true, so we can glow as brightly as we dare.”—Roxane Gay

From Grand Central Publishing | March 10

Michelle de Kretser, On Shirley Hazzard 

“Hazzard’s novels revealed a deep engagement with history and especially imperialism, a topic with which de Kretser was intimately acquainted. Hazzard was also a keen craftsperson who ‘read her work aloud to herself to get the rhythms right’ and consciously sought to create high literary art. De Kretser writes that ‘movement of poetry infiltrates [Hazzard’s] prose,’ and she offers examples from various, often unnamed, novels of the ‘precision, swiftness [and] taste for compassion’ with which Hazzard used adjectives, described places and characters, and expressed political views. De Kretser’s book is strongest in its very personal, often moving appreciation for Hazzard’s work.” —Kirkus

From Catapult | March 10

Louise Erdrich, The Night Watchman

“Erdrich’s grandfather is the inspiration for her novel’s protagonist, Thomas Wazhushk, the night watchman of the title. He gets his last name from the muskrat, ‘the lowly, hardworking, water-loving rodent,’ and Thomas is a hard worker himself: In between his rounds at a local factory, at first uncertain he can really help his tribe, he organizes its members and writes letters to politicians, ‘these official men with their satisfied soft faces,’ opposing Watkins’ efforts at ‘terminating’ their reservation. Erdrich reveals Thomas’ character at night when he’s alone; still reliable and self-sacrificing, he becomes more human, like the night he locks himself out of the factory, almost freezes to death, and encounters a vision of beings, ‘filmy and brightly indistinct,’ descending from the stars, including Jesus Christ, who ‘looked just like the others.'” —Kirkus (starred review)

From Harper | March 3

Katie M. Flynn, The Companions

“This sweeping novel of near-future dystopia has an ensemble cast and covers continents and years of time, but it never loses its intimacy and immediacy. There’s a deeply moving humanity to each of these characters—even the ones who aren’t quite human. I loved this book so much I didn’t want it to end.” —Dan Chaon

From Scout Press | March 3

Megan Giddings, Lakewood

“Megan Giddings’s Lakewood is a gripping thriller of ideas in the tradition of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, depicting a terrifying world of public complicity and government-sponsored malpractice. Giddings asks: What happens when our want to be useful is weaponized against us, when the only way we see to help others is to invite harm upon ourselves? This is the rare debut that feels utterly of the now, unearthing our shared past even as it charges the reader to imagine and enact a better future, fast as they can.” —Matt Bell

From Amistad | March 24

Read “Vacations” by Megan Giddings in CRAFT

N.K. Jemisin, The City We Became

“Although the story is a fantasy, many aspects of the plot draw on contemporary incidents. In the real world, white people don’t need a nudge from an eldritch abomination to call down a violent police reaction on people of color innocently conducting their daily lives, and just as in the book, third parties are fraudulently transferring property deeds from African American homeowners in Brooklyn, and gentrification forces out the people who made the neighborhood attractive in the first place. In the face of these behaviors, whataboutism, #BothSides, and #NotAllWhitePeople are feeble arguments.” —Kirkus (starred review)

From Hachette | March 24

James McBride, Deacon King Kong

“With a Dickensian wealth of quirky characters, a sardonic but humane sense of humor reminiscent of Mark Twain, and cartoonish action scenes straight out of Pynchon, McBride creates a lived-in world where everybody knows everybody’s business. This generous, achingly funny novel will delight and move readers.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

From Riverhead | March 3

Lorrie Moore, Collected Stories, with an introduction by Lauren Groff

Publisher comments: “Moore is one of America’s most revered writers, and this career-spanning collection showcases her exceptional talent for leavening tragedy with humor, for blending sorrow with subversive wit. Her keenly observed stories are peopled by a variety of lost souls—husbands, wives, lovers, tourists, professors, students, even a ghost—who are often grappling with pain or disappointment: a divorced man obsessed with self-help books, a washed-up Hollywood actress living in a hotel, a woman with a terminal illness…. Whether moving or darkly funny, all of these pieces channel the messiness of the human condition through Moore’s characteristically knowing, wry voice, and together they confirm her as a master of the short story.”

From Everyman’s Library | March 3

Melissa Ragsly, We Know This Will All Disappear

We Know This Will All Disappear burrows under your skin looking for answers to questions you didn’t know you’d asked. These stories are dirty, brilliant, painfully human, fast, and strangely sensual. They were pulled from somewhere between a drunken phone call and a half-forgotten childhood dream. Read them.” —Gabino Iglesias

From [PANK] | Available in March

Read “Mannequin” by Melissa Ragsly in CRAFT

Mary South, You Will Never Be Forgotten: Stories

“Mary South’s wickedly, exquisitely hilarious collection dwells in the intimate aches of modern life, writ large in strange, delightful stories that include, but are not limited to, clones, brain surgery, internet trolls, and warehouses full of spare men. Dazzlingly imagined and full of wit, You Will Never Be Forgotten is a gift to readers everywhere, a ferocious transmission from one of the most audacious, most original new voices in fiction.” —Alexandra Kleeman

From FSG | March 10

Deb Olin Unferth, Barn 8

“A daring writer of wit, imagination, and conscience, Unferth has transformed her foray into hen hell into an adroitly narrated, fast-paced, yet complexly dimensional novel about emotional and environmental devastation…. Unferth sharply illuminates the contrariness of human nature, celebrates the evolutionary marvels of chickens, and exposes the horrors of the egg industry…. [A] vividly provoking and revelatory work of ecofiction spiked with mordant humor and powered by love.”Booklist (starred review)

From Graywolf | March 3

Kawai Strong Washburn, Sharks in the Time of Saviors

“Kawai Strong Washburn has written the great Hawaiian novel. He is a virtuoso who will dizzy and enchant you with sentences that are crazy lyrical but never distract from the raw, comic, devastating, loving familial magic that is the heart of the book. Sharks in the Time of Saviors is a volcanic powerhouse of a debut.” —Benjamin Percy

From MCDxFSG | March 3