Announcements

Lidia Yuknavitch says Alex Behr’s PLANET GRIM is “carved from the guts of us.” Read the full blurb here.

“Alex Behr’s Planet Grim turned me inside out. No, really, these stories of eros and ids getting loose, inner contradictions and desires crashing into each other like marbles, brutal instances of violence up against a moment of tender beauty, the people and lovers and mothers and families in this book are carved from the guts of us. What sits dead center at this hybrid of self and other is, mercifully, an unbeaten heart.”

–Lidia Yuknavitch, the author of THE SMALL BACKS OF CHILDREN and THE BOOK OF JOAN

“Wet,” an excerpt from Alex Behr’s PLANET GRIM is up at Nailed Magazine

“My husband breaks a slat of the bed I grew up in. It’s a mahogany sleigh bed from the 1800s. The headboard is stained with handprint ghosts from our son’s dreams.

My husband sets up our son’s new bed and mattress. He let our son use a box cutter to slice through the shipping cardboard, and it slips into the fake black leather. A small gouge.

Say nothing.

I say something to the boy, the almost-teen, couched as an insult to the husband. He glares at me.

This is uncomfortable.

I go to my office, the third bedroom of the sad house. I have books and fabric scraps. I have dead friendships and active stomach bacteria. Famous people never email back anymore. Was I boring? Don’t answer. Don’t answer.

Yes.

I have stained teeth and an undeniable love of cheese.

If everything is out in the open I can see it, until there is nothing to see after all. Rectangular shapes and colors. Is it moldy? A closet full of secrets—but why?”

Read the rest at Nailed Magazine.

The Editors at The Rumpus Can’t Wait to Read to PLANET GRIM

“The news, broadly speaking, hasn’t been good since November 8, 2016, and it wasn’t a picnic in the park prior to that fateful Election Day. This week, we’ve decided to eschew current events in favor of giving you some exciting literature to look forward to. (If you want a list for when everyone is talking about healthcare, find last week’s here.)

If a title is marked as a Rumpus Book Club or Poetry Book Club selection, you can receive this book before its release date and participate in an exclusive conversation with its author! Just head to our store and become a member today—and, through August 15, purchase a 6-month Book Club subscription and receive your own signed copy of Roxane Gay’s newest book, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body!

What follows is a list of books Rumpus editors can’t wait to read, forthcoming in the next six months. Take a quick break from the apocalyptic news and end your week with this list of books to eagerly anticipate (assuming the world doesn’t end) instead! If you’re feeling especially optimistic, go ahead and preorder yourself a few books, too!”

Read the rest of the list here, which includes Jesmyn Ward, Celeste Ng, Josh Weil, Jennifer Egan, Carmen Maria Machado and our Alex Behr!

Paul Cohen’s The Glamshack Now Available

Our first novel, Paul Cohen’s The Glamshack, is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and a bookstore near you. If you prefer to shop indie, call up your local bookstore today and ask them to order a copy.

A few important folks in the book world have been saying some very nice things about Paul’s book. Things like:

“There is a powerful, innate tension in his writing which comes not only from his voice but from his particular way of looking at things, an unusual way, and in art in fiction the only real worlds are likely to be the unusual.”

James Salter

“There is so much to admire in Paul Cohen’s beauty of a first book. It is smart, sexy, wonder-filled, haunting and oh so marvelously, so humanly strange. Here even meat (venison) can be graceful. Here the heart grows hot, the soul burns dark and Desire blows a thousand horns.”

Laird Hunt, author of The Evening Road

“Funny, intense and brilliant, this is a book about love but also about the self’s ability to withstand love. Every sentence is poetic, magnetized, in love with life. The language in this book cuts so close to the heart of experience that it feels very much like life itself–sacred, invincible, beautiful, full of meaning.”

–Rebecca Lee, author of Bobcat and Other Stories

“Poignant, sharp writing infused with flashes of brutal humor. Paul Cohen’s The Glamshack cuts to the quandary we all endure: the burden of desire. With a voice distinct and resonating, Cohen casts a sober eye on life and longing, love and failure. He personalizes a universal plight and casts a searing spotlight on the fact that we are all uniquely un-unique that, in the end, we all share the same fate.”

Douglas Light, author of The Trouble with Bliss and Where Night Stops

The Glamshack is that exceptionally rare, uncategorizable novel that not only finds its greatest achievements in its singularity, but also serves as a reminder of how very familiar and commonly un-daring contemporary fiction is in general.”

Josh Kendall, Executive Editor, Little Brown, in letter nominating The Glamshack for a Pushcart Press Editor’s Book Award

“In his debut novel, Cohen manages the impressive feat of memorably documenting obsession without surrendering to it.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Cohen is creating new language, finding surprising combinations that are both familiar and wonder-inducing.”

Heavy Feather Review

“With sparse, languorous sentences that nonetheless hold a masterful deep-seated tension throughout,The Glamshack is a look into the interior landscape of a man on the edge of self-discovery, and, even larger, it chronicles the ubiquitous nature of us all.”

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Go out and get The Glamshack today!

The Glamshack (pub date: June 15, 2017) receives a fine Kirkus Review

Kirkus Review had some nice things to say about our first book, Paul Cohen’s debut novel THE GLAMSHACK, which publishes in just a few weeks:

“A tale of romantic obsession filtered through its protagonist’s fixations on history and media.Henry Folsom, our narrator, is a man with a lot on his mind. He’s become increasingly obsessed with the Plains Indian Wars of the 19th century—particularly through the lens of Evan S. Connell’s book Son of the Morning Star. His work as a celebrity journalist is eating away at him. But the thing that occupies his mind above all else is his affair with a woman, now absent, who goes unnamed throughout the book. Instead, he speaks of her in the way that others refer to their deity of choice: Henry’s narration capitalizes words like She and Her when referring to his paramour. At times, Henry’s level of focus can be difficult to reckon with: this book is a deep dive into one character’s areas of interest and preoccupation, and the specifics can sometimes venture into the overly idiosyncratic. It’s notable, though, that Cohen maintains some distance between the story he’s recounting and the story as Henry remembers it. Frequently, Henry views events through another telling of them: he mentions the film adaptation of Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and his view of the Indian Wars with which he’s obsessed is peppered with nods to Connell’s book rather than to the actual history. And periodically, the plot takes Henry down a notch or two: when he discovers that the object of his affection has Cherokee heritage, he responds, “And you let me go on like that? God, how embarrassing.” These scenes of self-awareness effectively balance Henry’s more overwrought moments. In his debut novel, Cohen manages the impressive feat of memorably documenting obsession without surrendering to it.”

Electric Lit’s The Great Indie Press Preview 2017!

Well, this was surely a long time coming — the third edition of the Great Indie Press Preview. In previous years, I encouraged the participation of the indie lit community in both nominating and endorsing their most anticipated titles of the forthcoming year. With the 2017 edition, I discovered how much the community has grown. In just a little over a year, so many new presses have been founded (including 7.13 Books, Catapult, Cinestate, and Unnamed Press). 2017 is already underway, but from one quick scroll through you’ll see just how much independent publishing is flourishing.

Read the rest of Electric Literature’s astounding list here.

Our 2018 Authors

I am beyond ecstatic to announce the 7.13 Books list for 2018. From the genre-bending to the gritty, from the cities to the suburbs, these are American stories that need to be told now. I’m looking forward to working these new authors to make their first book happen!

-L

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MR. NEUTRON, a novel by Joe Ponepinto

Set in a small, fictional American city, MR. NEUTRON is a genre-bending satire about a dimwitted giant that runs for mayor while a hapless political operative races to solve the mystery behind the giant’s origin. The whimsy and inventiveness of this novel will appeal to fans of Douglas Adams, Jonas Jonasson, and Fredrik Backman.

Joe Ponepinto is the publisher and fiction editor of Tahoma Literary Review, a nationally recognized literary journal that has had selections reproduced in Best American Poetry, Best American Essays, Best Small Fictions, and other notable anthologies. He is a former editor for The Los Angeles Review. He is the winner of the Tiferet: Literature, Art & the Creative Spirit 2016 fiction contest, and has had stories published in dozens of literary journals in the U.S. and abroad. A New Yorker by birth, he has lived in a variety of locations around the country, and now resides in Washington State with his wife, Dona, and Henry the coffee-drinking dog.

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LIKE A CHAMPION, stories by Vincent Chu

LIKE A CHAMPION is a collection of eighteen stories that shine a light on people who are far from champions. Funny and heartbreaking like the best shorts of Sherman Alexie, bizarre and familiar, LIKE A CHAMPION tells the stories of men and women, underdogs and long shots, trying to triumph as their notions of love, acceptance, and success unexpectedly change.

Vincent Chu was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. His fiction has appeared in East Bay Review, Pithead Chapel, PANK Magazine, Cooper Street, Stockholm Review, WhiskeyPaper and elsewhere. He has been nominated for the Sundress Publications Best of the Net as well as the Pushcart Prize. He can be found online at @herrchu.

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THE PLACE YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO LAUGH, a novel by Jenn Rossman

THE PLACE YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO LAUGH is a wise and witty suburban drama that follows the tribulations of the working class, blended Loudermilk family as they tackle issues of race and inequality in the post-bubble Silicon Valley. This novel will appeal to fans of Tom Perrotta, Emma Straub, and Lorrie Moore.

Jenn Stroud Rossmann writes the essay series “An Engineer Reads a Novel” for Public Books. Her stories have appeared in Literary Orphans, Jellyfish Review, Tahoma Literary Review, failbetter, and other magazines. Her work has been a finalist for honors including the BOA Editions Short Fiction Prize, the Disquiet Literary Prize, and Sarabande Books’ Mary McCarthy Prize. She earned her BS and PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, and has attended workshops at Tin House, One Story, Squaw Valley and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. She’s also a professor of mechanical engineering at Lafayette College. She throws right, bats left.

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NIGHTWOLF, a novel by Willie Davis

NIGHTWOLF is a gritty, coming-of-age tale that melds the dark worldview of Denis Johnson and the dialectical authenticity of Jonathan Lethem’s early works. Set in Lexington, Kentucky, a mysterious figure named “Nightwolf” stalks the streets, tagging local businesses, wearing a trash-bag over his head with eyeholes cut out, and makes nonsensical threats to local news outlets. Milo Byers, a seventeen-year-old dropout, is convinced that Nightwolf is his older brother who ran away eight years earlier.

Willie Davis’s work has appeared in The Guardian, Salon, The Kenyon Review, The Berkeley Fiction Review, and storySouth. He is the winner of The Willesden Herald Short Story Prize (judged by Zadie Smith) and The Katherine Anne Porter Prize (judged by Amy Hempel). He received a Waiter Scholarship from The Bread Loaf Writers Conference and a fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council. He teaches English at Kentucky State University.

 

 

Talking about 7.13 over at The Millions

“I first met Leland Cheuk when he read for Dead Rabbits — a reading series I co-host in New York City. Thoughtful, charismatic, and passionate about his work and the work of others, he immediately struck me as someone thinking on multiple planes about art and its role within the world. His writing operates in the same way; The Misadventures of Sulliver Pong is at once heartwarming and wrenching, examining heritage, immigrant life, and injustice in America with bite and comedic verve.

After publishing his first two books, The Misadventures of Sulliver Pong (CCLaP Publishing, 2015) and Letters from Dinosaurs (Thought Catalog Books, 2016), he’s now moving into publishing. I talked with Leland over the course of a few days via email, discussing his new endeavor, 7.13 Books, the state of modern publishing, and issues of inclusivity, diversity, and more.

The Millions: So, tell me about the mission of 7.13 Books. As we both know, there’s a wealth of small presses in the world now. What separates 7.13 from them? What unites it with them?

Leland Cheuk: Yes, there are a ton of great small presses out there. In terms of what 7.13 is about, the authors are going to play a big role in determining what the press represents as a brand. The books will be bold, impeccably written. They’ll look great. And there will be no good literary reason why the books aren’t mainstream and award-winning. Their existence as small press titles will be an indictment on the tired traditional publishing model offered by the Big Five publishers, who in reality have been out of the business of publishing literature for years, maybe decades. Three-hundred thousand books each year are published from the Big Five and maybe a few hundred are what any reader would consider literature. An argument can be made that the big houses are really in the business of publishing cookbooks, celebrity memoirs, and adult coloring pads.

For authors publishing with 7.13, they’ll be getting no bullshit. I won’t make promises I can’t keep. I’ll set clear expectations about what the press can and can’t do. The books get lots of editorial attention from me, and I give the author tons of control and input over every aspect of the book, from the cover design to the marketing and publicity.

TM: I’m interested in knowing about the final straw in relation to 7.13 Books. What pushed you towards developing the press?

LC: Like most writers who’ve been at it for 10, 15, 20 years, I felt I had done almost everything possible to get a book published. I’d done the work, gone to top residencies, signed with agents, and had close calls at big houses. But nothing happened. And nothing happened because the numbers are so daunting. Tens of thousands of qualified writers for a couple hundred deals. Every year, it seems like everyone is talking about the same two dozen or so titles as the big literary hits. The system is as rigged as the global economy.”

Read the rest of the interview here.

Our Fall 2017 Books

We’re very excited to announce our first books and authors:

THE GLAMSHACK, a novel by Paul Cohen

Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate and Prairie Lights Fiction Prize winner Paul Cohen’s debut novel THE GLAMSHACK is a lyrical, darkly humorous meditation on love, divinity, the Plains Indian Wars and the male gaze. Cohen’s prose has echoes of James Salter and Martin Amis, but is bold and original in and of itself. The story follows a doomed love affair in its final 12 days from the setting of a rent-free pool house in Silicon Valley. THE GLAMSHACK was nominated for a Pushcart Press Editor’s Book Award by an editor at a Big Five publishing house for a favorite manuscript that he tried and failed to acquire.

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Paul Cohen’s fiction has been published in Tin House, Five Chapters and Eleven Eleven. He was a finalist in the Black Warrior Review Fiction Contest and his recently completed novel The Sleeping Indian was named a finalist for the 2016 Big Moose Prize from Black Lawrence Press. His nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Village Voice, Details, the Christian Science Monitor and others. Cohen earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was awarded a teaching scholarship as well as the Prairie Lights Prize for Fiction (judged by Ethan Canin). He has taught writing at UC Berkeley Extension, the University of San Francisco MFA program and the University of Iowa, and has guest lectured at California College of the Arts. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.

ADVANCE PRAISE

“There is a powerful, innate tension in his writing which comes not only from his voice but from his particular way of looking at things, an unusual way, and in art—in fiction—the only real worlds are likely to be the unusual.”
James Salter

“[THE GLAMSHACK] is that exceptionally rare, uncategorizable novel that not only finds its greatest achievements in its singularity, but also serves as a reminder of how very familiar and commonly un-daring contemporary fiction is in general.”
Josh Kendall, senior Viking editor

“Poignant, sharp writing infused with flashes of brutal humor. Paul Cohen’s The Glamshack cuts to the quandary we all endure: the burden of desire. With a voice distinct and resonating, Cohen cast a sober eye on life and longing, love and failure.  He personalizes a universal plight and casts a searing spotlight on the fact that we are all uniquely un-unique—that, in the end, we all share the same fate.”
Douglas Light, author of Where Night Stops

PLANET GRIM, stories by Alex Behr

Alex Behr’s debut story collection PLANET GRIM is a vivid, unsettling portrait of people on the gritty fringes of San Francisco and Portland who long for connection in strange, psychologically difficult ways. Her idiosyncratic prose and wholly unpredictable characters will remind readers of the work of Miranda July and Mary Gaitskill.

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Alex Behr has taught creative writing residencies at Portland, OR, high schools through Literary Arts’ Writers in the Schools program. Alex’s work has been published, or is forthcoming, in Tin House, Salon, Nailed, Mutha, Bitch, Manifest-Station, and other publications. She has performed nationwide in the comedy show Mortified. She can be found online at alexbehr.com and on Twitter @alex_behr.

ADVANCE PRAISE

“Alex Behr’s imagination is wild, rigorous, and totally unique. I haven’t been able to decide if her stories are comedies intercut with horror or horror stories leavened by comedy, but when they’re this entertaining, who cares?”
—Tom Bissell, author of Apostle: Travels Among the Tombs of the Twelve

“Alex Behr’s Planet Grim turned me inside out. No, really, these stories of eros and ids getting loose, inner contradictions and desires crashing into each other like marbles, brutal instances of violence up against a moment of tender beauty, the people and lovers and mothers and families in this book are carved from the guts of us. What sits dead center at this hybrid of self and other is, mercifully, an unbeaten heart.”
—Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Small Backs of Children and The Book of Joan

“Alex Behr’s characters are conflicted, uncertain, and pained. What’s so compelling about her fiction is how she honors that conflictedness, explores the uncertainties, and examines the pain until it reveals itself as irreducibly human and therefore a kind of grace.”
—Dan DeWeese, author of You Don’t Love This Man and Disorder

“In Alex Behr’s funny poignant stories the kids are sharp, fearless, and insatiable, the parents conflicted, lustful, and tough. The meaning of family and love is an epic game nobody can win or stop playing.”
—Mary Rechner, author of the story collection Nine Simple Patterns for Complicated Women