THE PLACE YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO LAUGH, a novel by Jenn Rossmann
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.
BESOTTED, a novel by Melissa Duclos
BESOTTED is the ballad of Sasha and Liz, American expats in Shanghai. Both have moved abroad to escape—Sasha from her family, Liz from a broken engagement. When they move in together, Sasha finds herself considering a future with Liz, who is far less certain. For fans of PRAGUE by Arthur Phillips and THE EXPATRIATES by Janice Y.K. Lee, BESOTTED is an expat novel that explores what it means to love someone while running away from yourself.
Melissa Duclos’s work has appeared in The Washington Post, Salon, Electric Literature, Fiction Advocate, Cleaver Magazine, Full Grown People, BookTrib, Mommyish, Bustle, and English Kills Review, and her essay in Salon was named Best Personal Essay of 2015. She earned her MFA in creative writing from Columbia University, where she was awarded the Guston Fellowship. She lives in Portland, OR with her two children and is at work on her second novel. You can follow her on Twitter (@melissaduclos) and at www.melissa-duclos.com.
NOT EVERYONE IS SPECIAL, stories by Josh Denslow
A teen who can teleport just wants to make his mom happy. A midget working as an elf in a year-round Christmas-themed amusement park battles his archrival: a condescending Santa. You’ve heard of Fight Club, but have you been to the Underground Punch Market? Like the work of George Saunders crossed with Richard Linklater, NOT EVERYONE IS SPECIAL is a collection of slacker fabulist stories that are at once speculative, hilarious, and poignant.
Josh Denslow’s stories have appeared in Barrelhouse, Third Coast, Cutbank, Wigleaf, and Black Clock, among others. In addition to constructing elaborate Lego sets with his three boys, he plays the drums in the band Borrisokane and edits at SmokeLong Quarterly. You can follow him on Twitter (@joshdenslow) and at www.joshdenslow.com.
PORTRAIT OF SEBASTIAN KHAN, a novel by Aatif Rashid
Sebastian Khan is 380 days away from the end of college. An art history major who’s as much a connoisseur of members of the opposite sex as he is of Pre-Raphaelite paintings, Sebastian starts dating Fatima, a Muslim American determined to transition smoothly from campus life to a stable white-collar professional career. Sebastian’s membership in Model United Nations, though, takes him to college campuses all around North America, testing his commitment to Fatima and his readiness for adulthood. PORTRAIT OF SEBASTIAN KHAN is a humorous coming-of-age novel about a charismatic but emotionally stunted Muslim American Don Draper, who wins as many hearts as he breaks.
Aatif Rashid is a writer living in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in, among other places, The Massachusetts Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and Metaphorosis, as well as online on Medium. You can follow him on Twitter (@Aatif_Rashid) and at aatifrashid.com.
KANSASTAN, a novel by Farooq Ahmed
Inspired by the American Civil War, KANSASTAN takes place in a dystopic Kansas that is besieged by its neighboring state, Missouri. Close to the state line, an orphaned Muslim boy lives atop a minaret and is relegated to custodial work by the mosque’s imam while the threat of occupation looms. The boy plots to take over the mosque and then lead the parishioners into war against Missouri, but his plans are upstaged by the arrival of his aunt and cousin. When his cousin is hailed as a new prophet and given command of the mosque, the narrator executes his power grab, for which he is imprisoned by his cousin’s followers as the faithful march on Missouri. Like Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD, but inspired by Islamic folklore and Quranic verses, KANSASTAN is a grim and harrowing look at the role of faith in America that is leavened by Ahmed’s singular lyricism.
Raised in the great state of Kansas, Farooq Ahmed is a graduate of the Columbia University Creative Writing Program and of Brown University, where he studied biochemistry. His writing has appeared in the Financial Times, Nature, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and has been lauded by the South Asian Journalists Association. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, two children, and a fear of earthquakes. You can follow him on Twitter (@mcfruke).
THE LIGHT SOURCE, a novel by Kim Magowan
When Heather finds out her best friend Julie is engaged, she becomes enraged. She’s watched Julie cycle through one boyfriend after another since they were boarding school roommates, always refusing to acknowledge Heather’s feelings for her. On the eve of Julie’s wedding, Heather makes sure the marriage doesn’t happen. That’s just the beginning of their two-decade-long on-and-off relationship. Narrated by seven characters, including Heather’s and Julie’s friends, THE LIGHT SOURCE is reminiscent of Meg Wolitzer’s THE POSITION and shows that what’s meant-to-be becomes increasingly complicated with age.
Kim Magowan’s debut short story collection, UNDOING, won the 2017 Moon City Press Short Fiction Award and is forthcoming in March 2018. Her fiction has appeared in Atticus Review, Bird’s Thumb, Cleaver, The Gettysburg Review, Hobart, New World Writing, Word Riot, and other journals. She is the Fiction Editor for Corium Magazine. She lives in San Francisco and teaches in the Department of Literatures and Languages at Mills College. You can follow her on Twitter (@kimmagowan).
EDIE ON THE GREEN SCREEN, a novel by Beth Lisick
Edie Wunderlich was an twenty-eight year-old It Girl in late ‘90s San Francisco, on the cover of the city’s alt-weekly, repping the freak party scene on the eve of the first dotcom boom. Fast-forward twenty years, and Edie hasn’t changed, but the city has. Still a bartender in the Mission, Edie now serves a seemingly never-ending stream of tech bros while the punk rock parties of the millennium’s end are long gone. When her mother dies, leaving Edie her Silicon Valley home, Edie finds herself mourning in the center of the Bay Area’s tech monoculture, and embarks on perhaps a last-ditch quest to hold on to her rebel heart.
Like the work of Diablo Cody and Miranda July, New York Times bestseller Beth Lisick’s first novel Edie On The Green Screen effortlessly mixes biting observational humor with disarming pathos, while asking, “What comes after It?”
Beth Lisick is a writer and actor. She is the author of five books, including the New York Times bestseller Everybody Into the Pool and Yokohama Threeway and Other Small Shames (City Lights). Her work has been published in various anthologies, including Best American Poetry and Santa Cruz Noir. She co-founded Porchlight, San Francisco’s longest-running storytelling series, traveled the country with the Sister Spit performance tours, and received a grant from the Creative Work Fund for a chapbook series with Creativity Explored, a studio for artists with developmental disabilities. Beth has appeared in films that have screened at Cannes, Sundance, and the San Francisco International Film Festival. Edie On The Green Screen is her first novel.
MISERY BOY, a novel by Rose Servis
At a liberal arts college in Michigan in 1980, the strange, perplexing poems by Roger Ackroyd have won him a cult following. But who is Roger Ackroyd? Just about the only person on campus not asking that question is Edward, Roger Ackroyd’s secret creator. Instead, Edward is flunking his girlfriend’s psych class, fighting with his family, and suffering writer’s block. Enter Jonathan, a rival artist pretending to be Roger Ackroyd. Jonathan is everything Edward hates—phony, pretentious, narcissistic, and self-serving. In his last week of college, Edward’s obsession with exposing Jonathan leads to a series of comically unwise decisions that threaten to reveal his true identity.
A hilarious college novel in the tradition of Evelyn Waugh and Kingsley Amis, Misery Boy skewers the nature of youth, friendship, and ambition, while making us feel for the lovable, but hapless Edward.
Rose Servis’ short stories have appeared in Trop, Entropy Magazine, and Phantom Drift. She lives in San Francisco.
GOLDEN GATE JUMPERS SURVIVORS SOCIETY, stories by Ross Wilcox
A battle of wills emerges when one of the suicide survivors in the Golden Gate Jumper Survivors Society turns the meetings into a yoga class. A small town is gripped by a lawn ornamentation craze. A woman dresses up as Paul Bunyan to rob banks to pay her ailing mother’s exorbitant nursing home bills. A married couple decides to 3-D print a son…and his entire childhood.
Golden Gate Jumper Survivors Society is a funny and poignant story collection about everyday people confronting everyday challenges with escalating absurdity. Reminiscent of the work of Aimee Bender, Ross Wilcox’s stories will make you view the mundane in an entirely new way.
Ross Wilcox is from Elk Point, South Dakota. He has attended Morningside College, the University of South Dakota, and is now finishing the last year of his PhD at the University of North Texas, where he teaches writing and composition. His stories have appeared in numerous literary journals. Golden Gate Jumper Survivors Society: Stories is his debut book-length work. He is currently at work on a novel. In addition to writing and fiction, Ross is a huge lover of basketball and a full-on disciple of LeBron James. He lives in Forth Worth, Texas with his wife and two cats. You can follow him on Twitter @rossofthewilcox.