A WELL-MADE BED
Abby Frucht & Laurie Alberts
Red Hen Press, 2016, $15.95
Thelma and Louise with Peruvian cheese in the trunk? "Breaking Bad" in Vermont? Yes, and that's just the beginning. Linked by a childhood trauma, home-schooled odd duck Jaycee and Pakistani doctor's daughter Noor cross paths as struggling adults, sliding sidelong into a spiral of crime. Novelists rarely team up, but Frucht and Alberts share the wheel of their wild ride like naturals. Appearing 3/10 at 6pm, The Golden Notebook, Woodstock.
WRECK AND ORDER
Hogarth Books, 2016, $25
Elsie Shore announces her privilege in the opening sentence ("My father inherited a small fortune when his mother died, and on my twenty-first birthday he handed me a card with a check inside") and proceeds to upend assumptions. Praised by Amy Hempel and Claire Messud, this smart, assured, and disturbing debut novel portrays a young woman who hurts and loves furiously, cutting a swath from the California coast to Sri Lanka. Appearing 3/2 at 6pm, Oblong Books & Music, Rhinebeck.
Dr. Cicero Books, 2015, $18
Woodstock playwright, novelist, and literary magus Harrison conjures the singular voice of an English history teacher who becomes a "dosser," a rural vagrant, relinquishing speech as he goes. Roadside plants and compulsive counting become his religion, until he witnesses a murder on the Dunwich Cliffs and forms a bond with the guilty man, cracking open his insular world. A forager's banquet of language, served al fresco under "the corbelled vault of the sky."
Derek Furr, art by Andres San Millan
Fomite Books, 2015, $15
Bard College professor Furr follows his ambitious Suite for Three Voices with a polyphonic blend of fiction, poetry, and essay, rooted in musical structure and ranging from Renaissance religious painting to an eloquent Nova Scotian sparrow. San Millan's delicate line drawings incorporate written phrases, a literal fusion of word and image. "Funneled in, spiraling out: the function of accidentals is alertness to the beauty of resolution, just as the rationale for climbing is flight."
WIFE OF THE DAY
Brownstone Books, 2016, $11.95
What is Zephyr Zuckerman—accidental detective and echt New Yorker—doing in a used car lot outside Cedar Rapids, Iowa? Going undercover, of course. The irrepressible Greenwich Village heroine of Super in the City and Hotel No Tell is back, newly married and doing her best to unravel a case that seems to send tendrils in every direction at once. Dutchess County author Uviller serves up a twisty comic mystery with the lightness and fizz of a perfect egg cream.
Excelsior Editions, 2015, $16.95
Albany novelist and Peace Corps veteran Luntta crafts an international suite of stories as startling as an Olympic pool in the Kalahari Desert, the subject of his title story. "A Virgin Twice" takes place in a Botswanan village steeped in jacaranda scent, acacia cooksmoke, and cultural misunderstandings. Race also informs Luntta's American settings, like the South Boston of "Blue Jays," where "skin was an elemental fact of life." Bold and thoughtful, these stories reverberate.