Spring 2023 Catalog
Dark Days: Fugitive Essays
by Roger Reeves
Publication Date August 1 Nonfiction
A crucial book that calls for community, solidarity, and joy, even in—especially in—these dark days
In his debut work of nonfiction, award-winning poet Roger Reeves finds new meaning in silence, protest, fugitivity, freedom, and ecstasy. Braiding memoir, theory, and criticism, Reeves juxtaposes the images of an opera singer breaking the state-mandated silence curfew by singing out into the streets of Santiago, Chile, and a father teaching his daughter to laugh out loud at the planes dropping bombs on them in Aleppo, Syria. He describes the history of the hush harbor—places where enslaved people could steal away to find silence and court ecstasy, to the side of their impossible conditions. In other essays, Reeves highlights a chapter in Toni Morrison’s Beloved to locate common purpose between Black and Indigenous peoples; he visits the realities of enslaved people on McLeod Plantation, where some of the descendants of those formerly enslaved lived into the 1990s; and he explores his own family history, his learning to read closely through the Pentecostal church tradition, and his passing on of reading as a pleasure, freedom, and solace to his daughter, who is frightened the police will gun them down.
Together, these groundbreaking essays build a profound vision for how to see and experience the world in our present moment, and how to strive toward an alternative existence in intentional community underground. “The peace we fight and search for,” Reeves writes, “begins and ends with being still.”
Roger Reeves is the author of two poetry collections, King Me and Best Barbarian. His essays have appeared in Granta, the Yale Review, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of a Whiting Award, and teaches at the University of Texas at Austin.
Dark Days: Fugitive Essays by Roger Reeves
August 1, 2023
232 pages 6" x 9"
Brit. trans. audio, 1st ser., dram: William Morris Endeavor Entertainment
by Max Porter
Publication Date May 2 Fiction
A novel about guilt, rage, imagination, and boyhood, about being lost in the dark and learning you’re not alone
This is the story of a few strange hours in the life of a troubled teenage boy.
You mustn’t do that to yourself Shy. You mustn’t hurt yourself like that.
He is wandering into the night listening to the voices in his head: his teachers, his parents, the people he has hurt and the people who are trying to love him.
Got your special meds, nutcase?
He is escaping Last Chance, a home for “very disturbed young men,” and walking into the haunted space between his night terrors, his past, and the heavy question of his future.
The night is huge and it hurts.
In Shy, Max Porter extends the excavation of boyhood that began with Grief Is the Thing with Feathers and continued with Lanny. But here he asks: How does mischievous wonder and anarchic energy curdle into something more disturbing and violent? Shy is a bravura, lyric, music-besotted performance by one of the great writers of his generation.
Max Porter is the author of Lanny, which was longlisted for the Booker Prize, Grief Is the Thing with Feathers, winner of the International Dylan Thomas Prize, and The Death of Francis Bacon. He lives in Bath with his family.
Shy: a Novel by Max Porter
May 2, 2023
112 pages 5" x 7.75"
Brit.: Faber & Faber Ltd Trans., dram.: Aitken Alexander Associates Ltd 1st ser., audio: Graywolf Press
by Dorothy Tse; Translated from the Chinese by Natascha Bruce
Publication Date June 6 Fiction
A professor falls in love with a mechanical ballerina in a mordant and uncanny fable of contemporary Hong Kong
With your face covered, sneaking into a city you thought you knew, are you still yourself? Or have you crossed to another world, where the streets are unpredictable and the people strangers, where you might at any moment run into some unknown dream version of yourself?
In a city called Nevers, there lives a professor of literature called Q. He has a dull marriage and a lackluster career, but also a scrumptious collection of antique dolls locked away in his cupboard. And soon Q lands his crowning acquisition: a music box ballerina named Aliss who has tantalizingly sprung to life. Guided by his mysterious friend Owlish and inspired by an inexplicably familiar painting, Q embarks on an all-consuming love affair with Aliss, oblivious to the protests spreading across the university that have left his classrooms all but empty.
The mountainous city of Nevers is itself a mercurial character with concrete flesh, glimmering new construction, and “colonial flair.” Having fled there as a child refugee, Q thought he knew the faces of the city and its people, but Nevers is alive with secrets and shape-shifting geographies. The winner of a 2021 PEN/Heim Translation Fund grant, Owlish is a fantastically eerie debut novel that is also a bold exploration of life under oppressive regimes.
Dorothy Tse is a Hong Kong writer who has received the Hong Kong Book Prize and Taiwan’s Unitas New Fiction Writers’ Award. She is the author of Snow and Shadow (translated by Nicky Harman) and cofounder of the literary journal Fleurs des Lettres.
Natascha Bruce translates fiction from Chinese. Her translations include novels and story collections by Yeng Pway Ngon, Patigül, Ho Sok Fong, and Can Xue. She lives in Amsterdam.
Owlish: A Novel by Dorothy Tse; Translated from the Chinese by Natascha Bruce
June 6, 2023
224 pages 5.5" x 8.25"
Brit.: Fitzcarraldo Editions Trans., dram.: Asia Literary Agency 1st ser., audio: Graywolf Press
The Kingdom of Surfaces
by Sally Wen Mao
Publication Date August 1 Poetry
A virtuosic new poetry collection from Sally Wen Mao, “a consistently inspiring and exciting voice” (Morgan Parker)
In her garden, Empress Leizu watched the fat white worm
feasting on the mulberry leaves,
its mouth a gutter,
a hole, a maw so consumed by consumption
it falls through a hole it has eaten
into her teacup, and once steeped in that bitterness
the silkworm unravels, retching spools and spools
of thread soft as magnolia, fragrant too,
and the Empress remembered a childhood hunger
so great it turned red like the mulberries
—from “On Silk”
In The Kingdom of Surfaces, award-winning poet Sally Wen Mao examines art and history—especially the provenance of objects such as porcelain, silk, and pearls—to frame an important conversation on beauty, empire, commodification, and violence. In lyric poems and wide-ranging sequences, Mao interrogates gendered expressions such as the contemporary “leftover women,” which denotes unmarried women, and the historical “castle-toppler,” a term used to describe a concubine whose beauty ruins an emperor and his empire. These poems also explore the permeability of object and subject through the history of Chinese women in America, labor practices around the silk loom, and the ongoing violence against Asian people during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At its heart, The Kingdom of Surfaces imagines the poet wandering into a Western fantasy, which covets, imitates, and appropriates Chinese aesthetics via Chinamania and the nineteenth-century Aesthetic movement, while perpetuating state violence upon actual lives. The title poem is a speculative recasting of “Through the Looking-Glass,” set in a surreal topsy-turvy version of the China-themed 2015 Metropolitan Museum of Art Gala. The Kingdom of Surfaces is a brilliantly conceived call for those who recognize the horrors of American exceptionalism to topple the empire that values capital over lives and power over liberation.
Sally Wen Mao is the author of a previous poetry collection, Mad Honey Symposium. She has received fellowships from the New York Public Library Cullman Center, the George Washington University, and Kundiman.
The Kingdom of Surfaces: Poems by Sally Wen Mao
August 1, 2023
112 pages 7" x 9"
Brit., trans., audio: Graywolf Press 1st ser., dram: Europa Content
Elixir: In the Valley at the End of Time
by Kapka Kassabova
Publication Date May 16 Fiction
A search for a cure to what ails us in the Anthropocene by the award-winning author of Border
In Elixir, in a wild river valley and amid the three mountains that define it, Kapka Kassabova seeks out the deep connection between people, plants, and place. The Mesta is one of the oldest rivers in Europe and the surrounding forests and mountains of the southern Balkans are an extraordinarily rich nexus for plant gatherers.
Over several seasons, Kassabova spends time with the people of this magical region. She meets women and men who work in a long lineage of foragers, healers, and mystics. She learns about wild plants and the ancient practice of herbalism that makes use of them, and she experiences a symbiotic system where nature and culture have blended for thousands of years. Through her captivating encounters we come to feel the devastating weight of the ecological and cultural disinheritance that the people of this valley have suffered. And Kassabova reflects on what being disconnected from place can do to our souls and our bodies. Yet, in her search for elixir, she also finds reasons for hope. The people of the valley are keepers of a rare knowledge, not only of mountain plants and their properties, but also of how to transform collective suffering into healing.
Immersive and enthralling, Elixir is an urgent and unforgettable call to rethink how we live—in relation to one another, to Earth, and to the cosmos.
Kapka Kassabova is a writer of narrative nonfiction, poetry, and fiction. She grew up in Sofia, Bulgaria, and lives in the Scottish Highlands. She is the author of To the Lake and Border, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Elixir: In the Valley at the End of Time by Kapka Kassabova
May 16, 2023
400 pages 5.5" x 8.25"
Brit.: Penguin Random House UK Trans., 1st ser., audio, dram.: The Wylie Agency
Fat Time and Other Stories
by Jeffery Renard Allen
Publication Date June 20 Fiction
A ferocious, innovative story collection about Black lives in the past, present, and future
In Fat Time and Other Stories, Jimi Hendrix, Francis Bacon, the boxer Jack Johnson, Miles Davis, and a space-age Muhammad Ali find themselves in the otherworldly hands of Jeffery Renard Allen, reimagined and transformed to bring us news of America in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Along with them are characters of Allen’s invention: two teenagers in an unnamed big city who stumble through a down-low relationship; an African preacher visits a Christian religious retreat to speak on the evils of fornication in an Italian villa imported to America by Abraham Lincoln; and an albino revolutionary who struggles with leading his people into conflict.
The two strands in this brilliant story collection—speculative history and tender, painful depictions of Black life in urban America—are joined by African notions of circular time in which past, present, and future exist all at once. Here the natural and supernatural, the sacred and the profane, the real and fantastical, destruction and creation are held in delicate and tense balance. Allen’s work has been said to extend the tradition of Ralph Ellison, William Faulkner, Henry Roth, and Ishmael Reed, but he is blazing his own path through American literature. Fat Time and Other Stories brilliantly shows the range and depth of his imagination.
Jeffery Renard Allen is the author of the novels Song of the Shank and Rails Under My Back, the story collection Holding Pattern, and two collections of poetry. He was raised in Chicago and divides his time between Johannesburg and the United States.
Fat Time and Other Stories by Jeffery Renard Allen
June 20, 2023
288 pages 5.5" x 8.25"
Brit., audio: Graywolf Press Trans., 1st ser., dram.: Cynthia Cannell Literary Agency
by Jennifer Grotz
Publication Date May 2 Poetry
A searching new collection by a poet who “pays exquisite attention to everything she encounters” (The Washington Post)
I thought of my mother, who’d once lain in bed
at the brink of dawn, very peaceful.
Very pleasantly, she said, for once
she felt no pain, she heard the birdsong
and knew death was right there if she chose.
It had been a preparation, she thought.
But later I understood: though they were gone,
I didn’t want to go to them, there was no other
place to go, Earth’s the right place for love.
—from “In Sicily”
Still Falling expands on Jennifer Grotz’s precise sense of craft and voice to investigate new territory in this astonishing collection. These poems are emotionally raw and introspective, exploring the profound capaciousness of grief. Grotz carefully and deftly carries the weight of losses and their aftermaths—the deaths of the poet’s mentors, friends, and mother; the endings of relationships; and the enclosures of a life spent in attendance to the world in a state of wanting rather than truly living. Here also are poems that movingly and crucially decide what dedicating one’s life to poetry might require.
But in the wake of painful loss, Grotz writes toward “this world, the living.” Her poems reveal and meditate on the paradoxical relationship between the literal and the figurative, at the heart of poetry itself, like the darkness and light of Caravaggio’s chiaroscuro. Still Falling is a book to be read slowly, calling readers back into the stillness of being, finding hope, “not death / where darkness and silence and dust are / only darkness and silence and dust.”
Jennifer Grotz is the author of Window Left Open and the award-winning author of two previous poetry collections, The Needle and Cusp. Her poetry has appeared in the New Republic, the New Yorker, and Best American Poetry. She teaches at the University of Rochester.
Still Falling: Poems by Jennifer Grotz
May 2, 2023
72 pages 6" x 9"
Brit., trans., audio: Graywolf Press 1st ser., dram.: Aevitas Creative Management
Men in My Situation
Per Petterson; Translated from the Norwegian by Ingvild Burkey
Publication Date July 11 Fiction
A tender, merciless portrait of a life going to pieces by the internationally acclaimed author of Out Stealing Horses
Arvid Jansen is in a tailspin, unable to process the grief of losing his parents and brothers in a tragic ferry accident. He spends his time drinking, falling into fleeting relationships with women, and driving around in his Mazda. A year ago, his wife Turid took their three daughters and left him. When Turid unexpectedly calls for a ride home from the train station, he faces the life they’ve made without him.
Now in paperback, Per Petterson’s latest novel, which has been hailed by critics as the equal of his international best seller Out Stealing Horses, explores Arvid’s dark night of the soul. In this moment of faltering hope and despair, his daughter Vigdis—who he’s always felt understood him best—has a crisis of her own and reaches out to him. He must find a way to respond to someone who, after everything, still needs him. Reaching the heights of Petterson’s best work, Men in My Situation is a heartrending, indelible story from a major international writer.
Per Petterson is the author of eight novels, including Men in My Situation and Out Stealing Horses, which has been translated into more than fifty languages. Petterson has received the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the Nordic Council Literature Prize, and the Norwegian Critics Prize. He lives in Norway.
Ingvild Burkey was born in Oslo in 1967. A translator of Karl Ove Knausgaard and Per Petterson, she has authored a number of her own books in Norwegian. She lives in Oslo, Norway and Borje, Croatia.
Men in My Situation: A Novel by Per Petterson
July 11, 2023
304 pages 5.25" x 8.5"
Brit., 1st ser., audio: Penguin Random House Trans., dram.: Oslo Literary Agency