Dzanc Books

Dzanc books
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Dzanc publishes innovative and award-winning literary fiction, including short story collections and novels by accomplished and award-winning writers.
    Dzanc booksadded a book to the bookshelfDzanc Books7 days ago
    With Death and So Forth, esteemed writer and editor Gordon Lish returns with a new book of scintillating short fiction. With his trademark precision, wit, and wiliness, Lish writes outside the margins and around the edges of the death, loss, and the fractiousness and fragmentation of language. Death and So Forth collects a number of Lish’s acclaimed stories and introduces eight new fictions, including a tribute to Denis Johnson and so many others lost in the course of a long life. Brilliant and sharp-eyed, this is a treasure for fans of Gordon Lish, new and lifelong.
  • Dzanc booksadded a book to the bookshelfDzanc Bookslast month
    Winner of the 2019 Dzanc Prize for FictionSet in small-town West Virginia in the twilight of the eighties, Call It Horses tells the story of three women—niece, aunt, and stowaway—and an improbable road trip.

    Frankie is an orphan (or a reluctant wife). Mave is an autodidact (or the town pariah). Nan is an artist (or the town whore). Each separately haunted, Frankie, Mave, and Nan—with a hound in tow—set out in an Oldsmobile Royale for Abiquiú and the desert of Georgia O’Keeffe, seeking an escape from everything they’ve known.

    Frankie records the journey in letters to her aunt Mave’s dead lover, a linguist named Ruth, sketching out her troubled life and her complicated relationship with Mave, who became her guardian when Frankie was orphaned at sixteen. Slowly, one letter at a time, Frankie exposes the ruins of herself and her fellow passengers: things that chase them, that died too soon, that never lived.

    With lush prose and brutal empathy, Frankie tells Ruth—and herself—the story of liminality experienced by a woman standing just outside of motherhood, fulfillment, and love.
  • Dzanc booksadded a book to the bookshelfDzanc Books2 months ago
    A hypnotic, brutal, and unstoppable coming-of-age tale—told from inside the shockwaves set off by the Indian boarding schools, exacerbated by a decade and a half spent inside the Armed Forces—exposing a series of inescapable prisons and invisible scars of attempted erasure

    When he learns his father is dying, David Tromblay ponders what will become of the monster’s legacy and picks up a pen to set the story straight.
    In sharp and unflinching prose, he recounts his childhood bouncing between his father, who wrestles with anger, alcoholism, and a traumatic brain injury; his grandmother, who survived Indian boarding schools but mistook the corporal punishment she endured for proper child-rearing; and his mother, a part-time waitress, dancer, and locksmith, who hides from David’s father in church basements and the folded-down back seat of her car until winter forces her to abandon her son on his grandmother’s doorstep.
    For twelve years, he is beaten, burned, humiliated, locked in closets, lied to, molested, seen and not heard, until his talent for brutal violence meets and exceeds his father’s, granting him an escape.
    Years later, David confronts the compounded traumas of his childhood, searching for the domino that fell and forced his family into the cycle of brutality and denial of their own identity.
  • Dzanc booksadded a book to the bookshelfDzanc Books9 months ago
    “Kirby writes with skill and gusto.” --The Timesbr>

    London, 1885:

    Cora Burns has always struggled to control the violence inside of her. Does this temperament come from the mother she never knew, a convict who gave birth to her in jail? Or is Cora a product of her harsh upbringing in the workhouse, where her only light was a girl named Alice Salt, so like Cora that they were almost sisters.

    Just released from Birmingham Gaol, Cora sets out to find Alice. But her memories of Alice are hazy, entangled with the memories of a terrible crime: the murder of a little boy in the workhouse. Her sole clue is a bronze medal cut in half, engraved with the word SALT.

    Cora finds work as a servant in the home of Thomas Jerwood, a gentleman-scientist obsessed with the study of hereditary criminality. Here Cora befriends a young girl, Violet, who seems to be the subject of a living experiment into upbringing and character. But are there two identical girls called Violet? And is Jerwood also secretly studying Cora? As the secrets of her past unravel, Cora must decide if her own scarred nature is an unalterable product of biology or if she has the strength to change.

    With the power and intrigue of Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder and Sarah Schmidt’s See What I Have Done, Carolyn Kirby’s debut novel delves into Victorian London’s dark underbelly and the question of where we first learn violence: from our scars or from our hearts.
  • Dzanc booksadded a book to the bookshelfDzanc Bookslast year
    “When she refused me,” Charlie says at his trial. “Well, I had that gun. What else was I to do?”Lawrenceville, Illinois, 1952: Jean De Belle, the new high school librarian, is eager to begin the next phase of her young life after breaking off her engagement to Charlie Camplain. She has no way of knowing that in a few short hours, Charlie will arrive at the school, intent on convincing her to take back his ring.What happens next will reverberate through the lives of everyone who crossed paths with Charlie and Jean: the hotel clerk who called him a cab, the high school boy who became his getaway driver, and the English teacher who was Jean’s landlady, her confidant, and perhaps more.Based on a true crime and ideal for readers of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers and Elizabeth Strout’s beloved Anything Is Possible, Pulitzer Prize finalist Lee Martin's Yours, Jean is a powerful novel about small town manners and the loneliness that drives people to do things they never imagined.
  • Dzanc booksadded a book to the bookshelfDzanc Bookslast year
    Set on a single day in 1927, My Red Heaven imagines a host of characters—some historic, some invented—crossing paths on the streets of Berlin.

    The subjects include Robert Musil, Otto Dix, Werner Heisenberg, Anita Berber, Vladimir Nabokov, Käthe Kollwitz, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Rosa Luxemburg—as well as others history has forgotten: a sommelier, a murderer, a prostitute, a pickpocket, and several ghosts.

    Drawing inspiration from Otto Freundlich’s painting by the same name, My Red Heaven explores a complex moment in history: the rise of deadly populism at a time when everything seemed possible and the future unimaginable. A terrific read for fans of Richard Powers' The Overstory and Colum McCann's Let the Great World Spin.
  • Dzanc booksadded a book to the bookshelfDzanc Bookslast year
    Drawing upon a long-suppressed episode in American history, when thousands of German immigrants were rounded up and interned following the attack on Pearl Harbor, In Our Midst tells the story of one family’s fight to cling to the ideals of freedom and opportunity that brought them to America.
    Nina and Otto Aust, along with their teenage sons, feel the foundation of their American lives crumbling when, in the middle of the annual St. Nikolas Day celebration in the Aust Family Restaurant, their most loyal customers, one after another, turn their faces away and leave without a word. The next morning, two FBI agents seize Nina by order of the president, and the restaurant is ransacked in a search for evidence of German collusion.
    Ripped from their sons and from each other, Nina and Otto are forced to weigh increasingly bitter choices to stay together and stay alive. Recalling a forgotten chapter in history, In Our Midst illuminates a nation gripped by suspicion, fear, and hatred strong enough to threaten all bonds of love—for friends, family, community, and country.
  • Dzanc booksadded a book to the bookshelfDzanc Bookslast year
    The last place Angelina Moltisanti ever wants to go is home. She barely escaped life under the roof, and the thumb, of her violent but charismatic father, Jack. Yet home is exactly where she ends up after an SUV plows into her car just weeks after she graduates from college, fracturing her wrist and her hopes to start a career as an artist.Angelina finds herself smothered in a plaster cast, in Jack's obsessive urge to get her a giant accident settlement, in her mother Marie's desperation to have a second chance, and in her own stifled creativity — until she meets Janet, another young artist who inspires her to push herself into making the dynamic, unsettling work that tells the story of her scars, inside and out. But excavating this damage, as relations with her father become increasingly tense, will push Angelina into making a hard choice: will she embrace her father's all-consuming and empowering rage, or find another kind of strength?
  • Dzanc booksadded a book to the bookshelfDzanc Bookslast year
    Haunted by the loss of her parents and twin sister at sea, Henna cloisters herself in a Northeastern village where the snow never stops. When she discovers the body of a young woman at the edge of the forest, she’s plunged into the mystery of a centuries-old letter regarding one of the most famous stories of Arctic exploration—the Franklin expedition, which disappeared into the ice in 1845.

    At the center of the mystery is Franklin’s wife, the indomitable Lady Jane. Henna’s investigation draws her into a gothic landscape of locked towers, dream-like nights of snow and ice, and a crumbling mansion rife with hidden passageways and carrion birds. But it soon becomes clear that someone is watching her—someone who is determined to prevent the truth from coming out.

    Suspenseful and atmospheric, The Snow Collectors sketches the ghosts of Victorian exploration against the eerie beauty of a world on the edge of environmental collapse.
  • Dzanc booksadded a book to the bookshelfDzanc Bookslast year
    Montana, 1968: The small town of Paradise Valley is ripped open when popular rancher and notorious bachelor Tom Butcher is found murdered one morning, beaten to death by a baseball bat. Suspicion among the tight-knit community immediately falls on the outsider, Carl Logan, who recently moved in with his family and his troubled son Roger. What Carl doesn't realize is that there are plenty of people in Paradise Valley who have reason to kill Tom Butcher.
    Complications arise when the investigating officers discover that Tom Butcher had a secret—a secret he kept even from Junior Kirby, a lifelong rancher and Butcher’s best friend. As accusations fly and secrets are revealed one after another, the people of Paradise Valley learn how deeply Tom Butcher was embedded in their lives, and that they may not have known him at all.
    With familiar mastery, Russell Rowland, the author of In Open Spaces and Fifty-Six Counties, returns to rural Montana to explore a small town torn apart by secrets and suspicions, and how the tenuous bonds of friendship struggle to hold against the differences that would sever us.
  • Dzanc booksadded a book to the bookshelfDzanc Books2 years ago
    At twenty-six, Brian Schwan is washed up. Four years hacking away on third-rate golf courses across the South have produced a grand total of $19,000 in earnings, zero wins, and a string of spectacular tournament flame-outs. He’s just shot a horrendous opening round, his wife wants him to come home and start a family, and even his father, who dreamed of seeing his son a star golfer, seems to have given up on his game. Critically acclaimed, Spikes is a sharply observed novel about the obscurity of our motivations, our capacity for self-delusion, and the surprising, unexpected possibilities for grace.
  • Dzanc booksadded a book to the bookshelfDzanc Books2 years ago
    As a young journalist, Elizabeth Kadetsky found herself running for hours every day, eating little, and suffering from a troubling and persistent pain in her chest. On a friend’s advice, she applied to the yoga institute in India where the legendary B. K. S. Iyengar took in Western students for instruction.

    First There Is a Mountain is a tale of the longing that brings an American woman to the feet of the aging patriarch Iyengar, one of the first to share the esoteric secrets of yoga with the West. Kadetsky soon learns that the yoga she has practiced for years bears little resemblance to what she finds at the institute. Here, earnest aspirants perform intricate postures and hang upside down from ropes to explore the boundaries between the physical and the sublime.

    In Iyengar’s vast library and archives, in travels to his birthplace, and in conversations with Iyengar himself, Kadetsky pieces together the unlikely life journey of her teacher. In the process, she discovers a yoga that is part legend, part sacred scripture, and part historical chimera. She explores, too, yoga’s role in transcending India’s caste system, in nation-building, and as an emerging cultural prize. Finally, she finds herself under Iyengar’s touch, leaving behind a discordant childhood and starvation regimens, and reaching for the subtle wisdom of the body.

    What began as a spiritual journey ends as something more: a memoir, a love story, a portrait of a country caught between a mythical past and an ambiguous modernity, and the biography of a man who pioneered the phenomenon of modern yoga.

    First There Is a Mountain explores the mercurial and complex Iyengar as a character, as a figure in the crosshairs of post-colonial reckoning—a man born in 1918 who shrewdly connected his yoga crusade to the Indian independence movement, the West’s romance with the East of the 1960s, and, later, the Hindu nationalist movement in India.

    Upon its original publication by Little, Brown and Co. in 2004, First There Is a Mountain was quickly censured by the Iyengar family for its candid depiction of the beloved, troubled, angry, and brilliant master. The book meanwhile won admirers and supporters among yoga students and studio owners, Indian literary figures, and writers in the American MFA creative writing world for its unlocking the untold story of rigor and cruelty at the Iyengar school in India.

    First There Is a Mountain is a beautifully written and moving portrayal of the endlessly fraught but utterly compelling dance of East and West.
  • Dzanc booksadded a book to the bookshelfDzanc Books2 years ago
    Dark, irreverent, and truly innovative, the speculative stories in Homesick meditate on the theme of home and our estrangement from it, and what happens when the familiar suddenly shifts into the uncanny. In stories that foreground queer relationships and transgender or nonbinary characters, Cipri delivers the origin story for a superhero team comprised of murdered girls; a housecleaner discovering an impossible ocean in her least-favorite clients’ house; a man haunted by keys that appear suddenly in his throat; and a team of scientists and activists discovering the remains of a long-extinct species of intelligent weasels. In the spirit of Laura van den Berg, Emily Geminder, Chaya Bhuvaneswar, and other winners of the Dzanc Short Story Collection Prize, Nino Cipri’s debut collection announces the arrival of a brilliant and wonderfully unpredictable writer with a gift for turning the short story on its ear.
  • Dzanc booksadded a book to the bookshelfDzanc Books2 years ago
    This collection of William Goyen's short stories collects all of the stories found in his four earlier collections (including his Collected Stories) as well as nine additional stories, bringing all of his previously published stories into one collection for the first time. With an introduction from Goyen's biographer, Clark Davis, this collections lays out Goyen's work in short fiction in a chronological order. One of America's masters of the form finally presented in full.
  • Dzanc booksadded a book to the bookshelfDzanc Books2 years ago
    At a busy intersection on a crammed city hillside, an overworked book editor looks up long enough to watch a trio of houses go up in flames. Once the smoke clears, he becomes increasingly concerned by what he sees out his windows and starts asking questions he never bothered with before: Is the encampment in the park responsible for the fires—or are his new upscale neighbors somehow to blame? Has the man upstairs even bothered to notice, or is his time better spent battling with his boyfriend? What's his own ex-wife doing, resurfacing now just when things are getting tense? Is everyone safer with more fire trucks around? And, just a block down the hill, is the new mixed-use project the perfect urban remedy, or will it do even more damage?
    By the time the home across the street catches fire, he has to face a few questions about himself, too, including his own role in the neighborhood's upheaval. Inspired by Hitchcock's Rear Window and set in San Francisco, Jon Roemer's debut novel explores a fabled American city divided by rapid and aggressive change.
  • Dzanc booksadded a book to the bookshelfDzanc Books2 years ago
  • Dzanc booksadded a book to the bookshelfDzanc Books2 years ago
    Winner of the Dzanc Books Prize for FictionAn Indies Introduce pick«Hugely important, hauntingly brutal—Englehardt has just announced himself as one of America’s most talented emerging writers.» —Kirkus starred reviewBloomland opens during finals week at a fictional southern university, when a student walks into the library with his roommate’s semi-automatic rifle and opens fire. When he stops shooting, twelve people are dead.In this richly textured debut, John Englehardt explores how the origin and aftermath of the shooting impacts the lives of three characters: a disillusioned student, a grieving professor, and a young man whose valuation of fear and disconnection funnels him into the role of the aggressor. As the community wrestles with the fallout, Bloomland interrogates social and cultural dysfunction in a nation where mass violence has become all too familiar.Profound and deeply nuanced, Bloomland is a dazzling debut for fans of Denis Johnson and We Need to Talk About Kevin.
  • Dzanc booksadded a book to the bookshelfDzanc Books2 years ago
    Winner of the 2018 Dzanc Nonfiction Prize“Knock Wood is an absolute wonder, and Jennifer Militello is at the top of her form.” —Andre Dubus III, author of Townie and The House of Sand and FogIn Knock Wood, the first nonfiction collection by award-winning poet Jennifer Militello, a knock on wood to ward off illness sets in motion a chain of events and memories that call into question the very structure of time.Anchored by a wooden ring, Militello explores her life through the lens of three intertwined elements: the story of a mentally ill aunt in an abusive marriage; a high school romance with a boy who eventually dies of a heroin overdose; and an extra-marital affair characterized by an otherworldly connection. Cause and effect reverse as significant events—an arrest for a felony committed in high school, a trip by train to meet an illicit lover, and a suicide attempt on those same New York tracks—seem to influence one another outside of time and space. As Militello delicately threads each memory to the next, she explores the themes of family damage and the precarious ties of love.Militello has been recognized many times for her work in poetry and prose, including honors such as the Yeats Poetry Prize from the W.B. Yeats Society of New York, the Betty Gabehart Poetry Prize, and the Tupelo Press First Book Award. Her collection Body Thesaurus was named one of the top poetry books of 2013 by Best American Poetry.
  • Dzanc booksadded a book to the bookshelfDzanc Books2 years ago
    «The narrative has its requisite share of mobsters, cops and bloodshed, but for Domini these are mainly pegs upon which to explore Risto’s sense of displacement and belonging…. Domini’s novel is determined to push the noir—and us—out of well-worn ruts.» —The Washington PostA disastrous earthquake has Naples reeling. While the government scrambles to maintain appearances, poverty and anarchy rack the people on Italy’s margins—the illegal immigrants out of Africa, known as the clandestini. One of whom has just been horrifically murdered.

    Enter Risto, a rare success story: a refugee from Mogadishu, orphaned in his teens, he’s now married the Neapolitan Paola and is the proprietor of a celebrated art gallery. The murder recalls the deaths of his loved ones years ago in Mogadishu, a trauma Risto can’t outrun.

    Thinking to force the hand of the white authorities, Risto begins his own investigation. But once he starts playing detective, he quickly gets in over his head. Worse, his digging seems to have brought on a strange hallucination: a golden halo only he can see, like a visionary’s foretelling of death. Everyone he knows, including the woman he loves, seems to brim with secrets; every discovery Risto makes drives him toward an earthquake of his own.

    A portrait of turmoil inside and out, The Color Inside a Melon explores race and class, belonging and exclusion in one of the world’s ancient cities. Prolific author, critic, and essayist John Domini delivers an unforgettable portrait of humanity’s endless struggle between moving on and making a home.
  • Dzanc booksadded a book to the bookshelfDzanc Books2 years ago
    A police raid! Unfaithful spouses! A baseball player running the wrong way around the bases! In France!

    Somewhere between travelogue and a ‘Dummy’s Guide to Running a Business in France’ (if there were such a thing), I Lived in France and So Can You is a serious but light-hearted exploration of 12 years’ worth of living, working, and loving in France. Using anecdotes from his experiences running an American restaurant in a small provincial city, to managing French baseball teams in Paris, to bringing up children with two different wives, and dealing with French people from all walks of life (including an exploration of the class system that’s still alive and well), Michael Hickins describes a journey through French culture and the life-long friendships he made along the way.

    It’s the perfect book for anyone who ever thought about liquidating everything they owned and moving to France, or knows someone who has.
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