Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin

From the July/August 2020 issue of
Poets & Writers Magazine

With so many good books being published every month, some literary titles worth exploring can get lost in the stacks. Page One offers the first lines of a dozen recently released books, including Seeing the Body by Rachel Eliza Griffiths and Parakeet by Marie-Helene Bertino.

“Nothing’ll ever fix what’s broken in this town, but it would be nice if they’d at least get the dead bear out of the parking lot at Food Country.” F*ckface (Henry Holt, July 2020) by Leah Hampton. First book, story collection. Agent: Julia Kenny. Editor: Caroline Zancan. Publicist: Marian Brown. 

“Lenworth was back on the main road to Anchovy proper, past Long Hill’s deep ravines and its corners and its peak, and long past the canopy of trees that shaded the steep road snaking up from the coast.” Tea by the Sea (Red Hen Press, June 2020) by Donna Hemans. Second book, novel. Agent: Sha-Shana Crichton. Editor: Kate Gale. Publicist: Rachel Tarlow Gul. 

“We wait.” Mansour’s Eyes (Transit Books, July 2020) by Ryad Girod, translated from the French by Chris Clarke. Second book, novel. Agent: None. Editor: Adam Z. Levy. Publicist: Adam Z. Levy. 

“What happened between or out of or in the holes of the story is the real story.” Descent (Tarpaulin Sky Press, June 2020) by Lauren Russell. Second book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Christian Peet. Publicist: None. 

“We’ve been lying here—on drainage swales, mostly, but also in the beds of pickup trucks—for nigh on four hours now.” In the Land of Good Living: A Journey to the Heart of Florida (Knopf, July 2020) by Kent Russell. Second book, memoir. Agent: Jim Rutland. Editor: Jordan Pavlin. Publicist: Jessica Purcell. 

“Dean hurries past the Phoenix theatre, dodges a blind man in dark glasses, steps onto Charing Cross Road to overtake a slow-moving woman and pram, leaps a grimy puddle and swerves into Denmark Street where he skids on a sheet of black ice.” Utopia Avenue (Random House, July 2020) by David Mitchell. Eighth book, novel. Agent: Jonny Geller. Editor: Andy Ward. Publicist: Carrie Neill. 

“One minute, La La joins a flock of geese, skating across the lake as they fly overhead, and the next, squeak, crack, she plunges into darkness.” Other People’s Pets (Celadon, July 2020) by R. L. Maizes. Second book, first novel. Agent: Victoria Sanders. Editor: Deborah Futter. Publicist: Nicole Dewey. 

“She died & I— / In the spring of her blood, I remember / my mother’s first injury.” Seeing the Body (Norton, June 2020) by Rachel Eliza Griffiths. Fifth book, poetry collection. Agent: Jin Auh. Editor: Jill Bialosky. Publicists: Michelle Blankenship and Kyle Radler. 

“Late at night, when I’m bored or broken or raging inside, I bring out the snacks and turn on true crime TV.” Mercy: A Memoir of Medical Trauma and True Crime Obsession (Barrelhouse Books, June 2020) by Marcia Trahan. First book, memoir. Agent: None. Editors: Lilly Dancyger and Mike Ingram. Publicist: None. 

“There was an intermission; it was that long.” This Is One Way to Dance (University of Georgia Press, June 2020) by Sejal Shah. First book, essay collection. Agent: None. Editors: Walter Biggins and Valerie Boyd. Publicist: Helena Brantley. 

“One week before my wedding day, upon returning to my hotel room with a tube of borrowed toothpaste, I find a small bird waiting inside the antechamber and know within moments it is my grandmother.” Parakeet (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, June 2020) by Marie-Helene Bertino. Third book, second novel. Agent: Claudia Ballard. Editor: Jenna Johnson. Publicist: Lauren Roberts. 

“In the old place, there was no place / that did not see me.” Pricks in the Tapestry (Birds, LLC, June 2020) by Jameson Fitzpatrick. First book, poetry collection. Agent: None. Editor: Sampson Starkweather. Publicist: None.