Unreliable narrators are the best narrators. Unreliable narrators with homicidal tendencies in a creepy orphanage where everyone else also seems to have homicidal tendencies are even better. For proof, read Colin Winnette’s perfectly paranoid and spooky Job of the Wasp. The narrative burrows into your mind and nips off tiny chunks of it until you are not quite sure who is telling the truth. Best read on a gray night with a hot drink.
We Are Never Meeting In Real Life is the book to read any time you need a laugh, or a cry, or, more importantly, when you need to hear someone tackle topics like body image, chronic illness, disability, and race with honesty and humor. If you think you can’t possibly relate, read it and be surprised. Samantha Irby is the hero and friend everyone needs right now.
John Crowley is a writer whose novels exist in that liminal world between myth and materiality, part lore, part fantasy, part dream. Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr (Saga, $28.99) is his first original novel in eight years, and it is a beautiful tapestry of a tale, a love letter to corvids and a fable-like look at human and crow history. It follows a crow called Dar Oakley through the centuries, from the Iron Age and early Europe, and into the post-apocalyptic future. It is a novel written by a seasoned master, for it revolves around the central theme of death, humanity’s fear and obsession with it, and our belief that there must be something more beyond our end. It is a vast and dramatic novel, spanning thousands of years and thousands of human lives, best read slowly by the fire in the depth of winter, with an ear to crows’ cries.