January 16, 2021
We are excited to open our 2021 season of literary events and urge you to check out this tantalizing selection of programs. We highlight our first event here, as well as a new biography of a literary cult figure, a much-awaited young adult novel, a stellar story collection, and some sci-fi to keep us all thoroughly entertained and engaged.
Buyer, Center for Fiction Bookstore
At the Edge of the Haight
By KATHERINE SELIGMAN
Published by ALGONQUIN BOOKS
“To read At the Edge of the Haight is to live inside the everyday terror and longings of a world that most of us manage not to see. . . . At a time when more Americans than ever find themselves at the edge of homelessness, this book couldn’t be more timely.” That’s how Barbara Kingsolver, founder of the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, describes her 2019 selection. The Center is celebrating the publication of Seligman’s novel, the 10th winner of the biennially-awarded prize. Favorite early winners of the Bellwether include Susan Nussbaum’s terrific comic, heartbreaking novel about physical disability, Good Kings, Bad Kings, and Hillary Jordan’s Mudbound, a beautiful story of racial tragedy set in Jim Crow Mississippi.
Devils, Lusts and Strange Desires: The Life of Patricia Highsmith
By RICHARD BRADFORD
Published by BLOOMSBURY
Patricia Highsmith’s New York Times 1995 obituary ended with the phrase “Miss Highsmith had no known survivors.” But her brilliant novels of psychological suspense with their morally questionable criminals endure. Her legions of fans will discover that Bradford’s biography fills in the gaps of her mysterious, alcoholic, sexually complicated, misanthropic life—from Texas to Greenwich Village to Switzerland. And he illuminates the mind of the elusive woman behind all those dubious, yet ordinary characters. Also look for the reissue of her classic, Strangers on a Train, and the forthcoming The Price of Dreams—a novel based on Highsmith’s life, focussing on her sexuality..
By ANGIE THOMAS
Published by BALZER + BRAY
Thomas (most recently of On the Come Up) became a global success when The Hate U Give was published in 2017. Her new book is a prequel to that novel. It is the late 90s and Maverick Carter is still a 17-year-old kid in Garden Heights, with his gangland father in prison. But suddenly he’s thrust into the role of teenage father and has to scramble to juggle his growing responsibilities. Mav’s journey into manhood is the heart and subject of this powerful story, no doubt destined to become another classic of young adult literature.
The Ocean House
By MARY-BETH HUGHES
Published by GROVE PRESS
Connected stories have always been a way to satisfy readers who love both short- and long-form fiction, especially in domestic settings (think Olive Kitteridge, but swap Maine for the Jersey Shore). Hughes’s new book is the portrait of a family through three generations set against the backdrop of an oceanfront neighborhood, and the characters that come in and out of their lives as they maneuver through both love and loss. Beyond the rich portrayal of a community, her sparkling prose and gift for dialogue makes this collection especially worthy..
By NNEDI OKORAFOR
Published by TORDOTCOM
Okorafor’s reputation has been building, thanks in part to her prodigious output in recent years and her ability to excel in the genre of Afrofuturistic science fiction. Her new story follows a Ghanaian girl whose brush with Death bestows upon her the power to kill with touch that results in an inconceivable personal tragedy. Empowered but burdened with this dangerous power, her only companion is a fox. Don’t miss this electrifying novella, as well as Okorafor’s award-winning Binti trilogy and the new graphic novel, After the Rain.