2018 promises to be a year of extraordinary works from authors established and emerging. The next 12 months will bring us a posthumously published short story collection from Denis Johnson, a novel from rising literary star Ottessa Moshfegh, and a memoir manifesto from Rose McGowan. We’ve sorted through the abundance of riches to select our top 10 most anticipated books coming out in 2018, but they represent just a fraction of the volumes we’ll be adding to our shelves in the coming year.
Finished shortly before his death last year, The Largesse Of The Sea Maiden is Denis Johnson’s second short story collection after 1992’s seminal, drug- and alcohol-laced cult classic Jesus’ Son. In his same potent prose, the writer covers a lot of ground with Sea Maiden, meditating on mortality and the odd fortuity of everyday life. It’s a fitting swan song, of which the title story alone is cause for (bittersweet) excitement.
Rose McGowan has a lot to write about. Her accusations against Harvey Weinstein helped open the floodgate of women vocalizing what they haven’t been able to before, and she’s gone on to be a vocal, vehement voice for change in the misogynistic Hollywood culture. Touted as a mix of memoir and manifesto, reading McGowan’s long-form writing should prove as strong and engaging as her Twitter account.
Less celebrated, perhaps, than her fiction, Zadie Smith’s non-fiction contributions to The New Yorker and New York Review Of Books are just as incisive and clear as any of her longer-form output. Across five sections (“In The World,” “In The Audience,” “In The Gallery,” “On The Bookshelf,” and “Feel Free”) Smith writes on the the beauty of a good library and the entrapment of Facebook, among other topics, with unpublished work joining such classics as “Find Your Beach.”
Marilynne Robinson turns her probing intellect on modern politics in her latest collection of essays. Her analysis on the modern political moment is steeped deeply in the past, considering how colonial history and ingrained American ideals like exceptionalism and capitalism come to bear on the present. This looks like Robinson’s call-to-action book, albeit one from her typically deep, profound perspective.
In Jesse Ball’s latest novel, a man, upon learning he does not have long to live, leaves his home to travel the country as a census taker for a mysterious governmental agency, accompanied by his son with Down syndrome. Recently named one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists, Ball writes dystopia and fabulism with a hushed, poetic grace; as with his other work, Census promises to be beautifully and precisely wrought.
Mallory Ortberg is a treasure. Her writing is often surreal and twisted, as when she imagines classic plots through a modern lens, like she does in her book Texts From Jane Eyre. The Toast, the now-shuttered website she co-created, was home to episodic imaginings drawn from Renaissance art on one day, Harry Potter fan fiction the next. The Merry Spinster takes a darker turn for the wryly funny Ortberg, as she retells fairy tales and folk legends using the same approach she did in her Toast recurring feature “Children’s Stories Made Horrific.”
With comparisons to the work of Paul Beatty and Junot Díaz, Nafissa Thompson-Spires’ debut short story collection humorously explores black citizenship in our supposed postracial time. While the stories consider such weighted topics as suicide, grief, and gun violence, its tone can range from satirical to poignant.
This timely collection gathers essays ranging in topic but all addressing the rape culture that belittles, gaslights, and patronizes women. Contributors include actors Gabrielle Union and Ally Sheedy and writers Amy Jo Burns, Lyz Lenz, Claire Schwartz, and Bob Shacochis.
Lauded by powerhouse essayists Sarah Manguso and Maggie Nelson, Chelsea Hodson releases her much anticipated debut this year. Essay collection Tonight I’m Someone Else deals with the body, desire, and the commodification thereof. Her 2014 long essay “Pity The Animal,” which sold out its print run with Future Tense Books, is included here.
Ottessa Moshfegh can and does do whatever the fuck she wants. Her novella, McGlue, told the morbidly funny story of an alcoholic sailor who can’t remember killing his best friend; Eileen was a dark character study that transformed into a noir thriller; and Homesick For Another World, one of our favorites from last year, collected stories of unflinching brutality. We look forward to more of Moshfegh’s mordant sense of humor in her forthcoming novel, My Year Of Rest And Relaxation, which follows a rich young woman in Manhattan as she undergoes a drug-fueled experiment led by “one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature.”
More titles we’re excited about: This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins (January 30); Going For A Beer: Selected Short Fictions by Robert Coover (Febrary 6); Sunburn by Laura Lippman (February 20); Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (March 6); Creative Quest by Questlove (April 24); You Think It, I’ll Say It: Stories by Curtis Sittenfeld (April 24); The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner (April 15); Certain American States by Catherine Lacey (August 7); Severance by Ling Ma (August 14)