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Hell Followed with Us by Andrew Joseph White

Hell Followed With Us is a book that sinks its teeth into you from the first page. Andrew Joseph White crafts a horrifying apocalyptic world that feels at once utterly fresh yet familiar as the narrative grapples with climate change, illness, religious extremism, and LGBTQ issues. Its a furious novel– but not without hope as protagonist Benji, a young queer trans boy with a monster inside him, falls in with a found-family of other queer teens and embraces the opportunity to fight back against his oppressors who would otherwise use him as a bioweapon for their own violent ends. Hell Followed With Us is an original, unique YA horror debut guaranteed to stay with readers long after the last page.

Hell Followed with Us by Andrew Joseph White, (List Price: $18.99, Peachtree Tee, 9781682633243, June 2022)

Reviewed by Charlie Williams, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Les Fleurs Du Mal (The Flowers of Evil) by Charles Baudelaire

Read the celebrated and reviled poems that Victor Hugo called “un nouveau frisson.” Follow the trail of Symbolism that once led Rimbaud and T.S. Eliot. Witness an unparalleled vision of decadence and disgust, in an as-yet unrivaled translation by Richard Howard. Go back to 1857 to experience a poetic modernité that heralds our future

Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil) by Charles Baudelaire, (List Price: $14.95, David R. Godine, Publisher, 9781567927245,  May 2022)

Reviewed by Conor Hultman from Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

In Love by Amy Bloom

When Amy Bloom’s husband of 15 years is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he decides to end his life on his own terms – “to die on his feet, not live on his knees”. In Love is an account of how the couple made that happen, as well as a celebration of their love. It’s by turns honest, raw, unsentimental, funny, captivating, powerful and utterly devastating. I devoured it in less than a day – an experience that left me emotionally wrung out, but also very glad to have done so.

In Love by Amy Bloom, (List Price: $27.00, Random House, 9780593243947,  March 2022)

Reviewed by Jude Burke-Lewis, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Read Dangerously by Azar Nafisi

Reading might not seem the most obvious of radical acts – but in Read Dangerously, Iranian-American writer Azar Nafisi shows that it can be. Drawing on her experiences of living in the Islamic Republic of Iran and in today’s America, and citing authors as diverse as Plato, Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood and Elliot Ackerman, the bestselling writer of Reading Lolita in Tehran illustrates how literature can counter oppression. An erudite, accessible and inspiring book.

Read Dangerously by Azar Nafisi, (List Price: $26.99, Dey Street Books, 9780062947369,  March 2022)

Reviewed by  Jude Burke-Lewis, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Xstabeth by David Keenan

David Keenan joins serious fabulists and metaphormen Kundera, Coover & Co. with this perverse and metafictional novel. We follow the rise and falling-out of a pseudonymous musician, Xstabeth, with critical “essays” about the “deceased author” and the novel we’re reading in between. Herein: experimentation that succeeds.

Xstabeth by David Keenan, (List Price: $20, Europa Editions, 9781609457341, February 2022)

Reviewed by Conor Hultman, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Small World by Jonathan Evison

The only thing that’s small about this book is its title. Clocking in at just under 500 pages, Small World is a continent-spanning, era-hopping epic. In the present day, a group of strangers find themselves bound by fate on a train hurtling up the west coast, while in the 19th century their pioneering ancestors – immigrants, Native Americans and former slaves – struggle for survival. Despite juggling a large cast, Evison handles the multiple narratives with aplomb, creating an engrossing page-turner that also raises important questions about the American dream and what it means to be American.

Small World by Jonathan Evison, (List Price: $28.00, Dutton, 9780593184127, January 2022)

Reviewed by Jude Burke-Lewis, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Manifesto by Bernardine Evaristo

To many people – myself included – Bernardine Evaristo’s 2019 Booker Prize win for Girl, Woman, Other appeared to come out of the blue. But, as Manifesto reveals, her apparent overnight success was actually 40 years in the making. Recounting her life and career with the characteristic humor and insight that made Girl, Woman, Other such a success, Manifesto is a passionate paean to the power of persistence.

Manifesto by Bernardine Evaristo, (List Price: $27.00, 9780802158901, January 2022)

Reviewed by Jude Burke-Lewis, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

The Nation on No Map by William C. Anderson

In this inviting, direct manifesto, William C. Anderson outlines the influences and differentiating points about Black anarchism, outlines its necessity, and offers rebuttals to naysayers across the political spectrum. The Nation on No Map is concise, yet powerful and perfect reading if one is looking to charter further ideological horizons.

The Nation on No Map by William C. Anderson, (List Price: $15.00, AK Press, 9781849354349, November 2021)

Reviewed by Conor Hultman, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Chasing Homer by László Krasznahorkai

Chasing Homer is Laszlo Krasznahorkai’s latest novella, and it is a new turn for the author’s work, and for literature entirely. An unnamed narrator is (possibly) being chased across Europe by people never seen. Every chapter starts off with a QR code for drum music that literally sets the tempo for the barrage of perspective, and pages are often broken up by illustrations of creepy, abstract humanoids. This is a multi-media piece that works like a hand-cranked movie; as always, Krasznahorkai’s writing is innovative and powerful. A must read.

Chasing Homer by László Krasznahorkai, (List Price: $19.95, New Directions, 9780811227971, November 2021)

Reviewed by Conor Hultman, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Cremation by Rafael Chirbes

Cremation is a stream-of-monologue masterpiece that harkens to Beckett and Faulkner. When Matias, the patriarch of a rich Spanish family, dies, it sets off psychological battles among the surviving members. These spats take the form of unbroken pages-long conversations and thoughts, going beyond the closet-drama scope to encompass architecture, economics, corruption, art, and the consequences of 20th century European history. Towards the end, the fictional town of Misent turns into a character, much after the fashion of Durrell’s Alexandria, but more bitter and disillusioned. By the end of a reading, these incredible speeches come through like blasts of hot air over rivers of concrete.

Cremation by Rafael Chirbes, (List Price: $20.95, New Directions, 9780811224307, November 2021)

Reviewed by Conor Hultman, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Refractive Africa by Will Alexander

These odes to African intellectuals by Will Alexander are so rich in imagery and sound that every line has something you’ve never read before. I’m not kidding! Refractive Africa is of the highest caliber of poetry on offer in these times.

Refractive Africa by Will Alexander, (List Price: $16.95, New Directions, 9780811230278, November 2021)

Reviewed by Conor Hultman, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

His Name was Death by Rafael Bernal

How do mosquitoes communicate? What does their society look like– and how would they view ours? “Wise Owl,” thus dubbed by the indigenous tribe he lives with in the Mexican jungle, is a misanthrope disgusted with society at large. When he figures out the language of the mosquitoes, Mosquil, Wise Owl hatches a plan to take ultimate revenge on human civilization. Heavy themes of faith, modernity, free will, and meaning are filtered through an ecological sci-fi sieve. Vonnegut’s Galapagos meets the Island of Dr. Moreau, with even more merited cynicism.

His Name was Death by Rafael Bernal, (List Price: $15.95, New Directions, 9780811230834, November 2021)

Conor Hultman, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Everybody in the Red Brick Building by Anne Wynter

A Fall Read This Next! Selection

An enchanting debut by author Anne Wynter with vivid illustrations by the incomparable Oge Mora (Saturday) that fairly leap of the page, Everybody in the Red Brick Building is fabulous! An engaging, story with lyrical language and wonderful sounds to mimic, we will want to live in the red brick building. We won’t get much sleep, but we will have a whole lot of fun! A joy to read for the whole family.

Everybody in the Red Brick Building by Anne Wynter, (List Price: $17.99, Balzer + Bray, 9780062865762, October 2021)

Reviewed by Kathy Neff from Square Books in Oxford, MS

Awake by Harald Voetmann

Awake is a collage of excerpts from Pliny the Elder’s Naturalis Historia, perhaps the oldest surviving encyclopedia, intercut with interior monologues from Pliny, as well as asides from his nephew, Pliny the Younger. Our narrator, of course, is most famous now for having died at the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, which the younger Pliny also witnessed. Yet this climactic scene is relegated to a post-script; what draws the most attention, justly, are memories and recreations of ancient Roman life, which of course deal with all the bigger themes of knowledge and meaning and life, fitting for a classic work. Who thought that a narrative styled after an encyclopedia would be this deeply involving?

Awake by Harald Voetmann, (List Price: 14.95, New Directions, 9780811230810, September 2021)

Reviewed by Conor Hultman, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

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