Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin

From the January/February 2014 issue of
Poets & Writers Magazine

“She was the first to arrive where it seemed the wind no longer exhaled.” Radiance of Tomorrow (Sarah Crichton Books, January 2014) by Ishmael Beah. Second book, first novel. Agent: Flip Brophy. Editor: Sarah Crichton. Publicist: Sarita Varma.
“Some of us just wanted to drop out, go far away / from integrity’s demands.” Lines of Defense (Norton, January 2014) by Stephen Dunn. Nineteenth book, seventeenth poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Jill Bialosky. Publicist: Lauren Opper.

“When I was seventeen years old and still living in the seaside town where I spent my childhood, I would go for a few hours every Sunday morning to the home of a retired teacher of English literature to talk about books.” My Life in Middlemarch (Crown, January 2014) by Rebecca Mead. Second book, first memoir. Agent: Kathy Robbins. Editor: Vanessa Mobley. Publicist: Catherine Cullen.

“One day, as I crossed the bridge with my carrying-pole on my shoulder, I heard someone say that Pug-nose Xu Asan had died, so I laid down my baskets and took the towel that I wore around my neck and rubbed the sweat off my face while I listened to them talk about how it had happened, how Pug-nose Xu Asan choked to death eating New Year cake.” Boy in the Twilight: Stories of the Hidden China (Pantheon, January 2014) by Yu Hua, translated from the Chinese by Allan H. Barr. Twelfth book, seventh short story collection. Agent: Jenny Savill. Editor: LuAnn Walther. Publicist: Michiko Clark.

“I didn’t want this day to begin.” All Russians Love Birch Trees (Other Press, January 2014) by Olga Grjasnowa, translated from the German by Eva Bacon. First book, novel. Agent: Markus Hoffmann. Editor: Marjorie DeWitt. Publicist: Jessica Greer.
“I am like the colorful Quetzal Bird / glowing rich and heavy” Singing at the Gates (Grove Press, January 2014) by Jimmy Santiago Baca. Fifteenth book, twelfth poetry collection. Agent: Jennifer Gates. Editor: Corinna Barsan. Publicist: Justina Batchelor. 

“Barnabas Pierkiel held his breath so as not to distort his reflection in a pan of water he had carried from his grandmother’s kitchen and laid on a more or less level stump.” The Ballad of Barnabas Pierkiel (Henry Holt, January 2014) by Magdalena Zyzak. First book, novel. Agent: Leigh Feldman. Editor: Sarah Bowlin. Publicist: Brooke Parsons.

“When Paul’s flight landed in Cleveland, they were waiting for him.” Leaving the Sea (Knopf, January 2014) by Ben Marcus. Fourth book, second story collection. Agent: Denise Shannon. Editor: Jordan Pavlin. Publicist: Elizabeth Lindsay.

“I was almost four when it first occurred to me that no one else was missing legs.” Mermaid: A Memoir of Resilience (Norton, January 2014) by Eileen Cronin. First book, memoir. Agent: Emma Patterson. Editor: Amy Cherry. Publicist: Erin Sinesky Lovett.

“A year after graduating college, I worked downtown in the immense shadows of the World Trade Center, and as part of my freewheeling, four-hour daily lunch break I would eat and drink my way past these two giants, up Broadway, down Fulton Street and over to the Strand Book Annex.” Little Failure (Random House, January 2014) by Gary Shteyngart. Fourth book, first memoir. Agent: Denise Shannon. Editor: David Ebershoff. Publicist: Barbara Fillon.
“Leonard’s usual complaint volume was twelve calls per hour, his average dispatch time two-point-five minutes, but for three nights running, Leonard had received no complaints whatsoever.” A Highly Unlikely Scenario: Or, A Neetsa Pizza Employee’s Guide to Saving the World (Melville House, January 2014) by Rachel Cantor. First book, novel. Agent: None. Editor: Sal Robinson. Publicist: Nick Davies.

“It is known where we come from, but no one much cares about things like that anymore.” On Such a Full Sea (Riverhead Books, January 2014) by Chang-rae Lee. Fifth book, novel. Agent: Amanda Urban. Editor: Sarah McGrath. Publicist: Jynne Martin.