BY RUTH JOYNTON, Nonfiction Editor
New year, new books, new books by the deceased?
Right. This year’s theme, at least for fiction, is posthumous publication. Chilean author Roberto Bolaño will have as many as four books published, including Monsieur Pain (about a Peruvian poet with an incurable case of the hiccups) Antwerp, andThe Return. David Foster Wallace’s unfinished novel, The Pale King, is set to appear at some point on shelves highlighting another trend of 2010′s new fiction: the promotion of unfinished work. Three Days Before the Shooting, Ralph Ellison’s “true” second novel (say some critics) awaits release next week, and in April comes The Microscripts, a book which reproduces the note cards on which Nabokov charted The Original of Laura.
Though considered a crime novel, Bolaño’s Antwerp is also rumored to read as an extended prose poem. If poetry is more up your alley, look for Like a Sea by Samuel Amadon or A Little Middle of the Night by Molly Brodak, both Iowa Poetry Prize winners, appearing in March. Elizabeth Spires sixth book, The Wave-Maker is already on sale at Amazon, but let’s get back to first-book poetry collections. One we’re all anticipating here at Sycamore Review is Joe Hall’s Pigafetta is My Wife, set to come out sometime this spring from Black Ocean Press.
Lastly, Nick Flynn has a new book: The Ticking Is the Bomb, a memoir which explores becoming a parent in the age of terror. In the few months before Flynn’s daughter is born, the author’s “growing outrage and obsession with torture, exacerbated by the Abu Ghraib photographs, [leads] him to Istanbul to meet some of the Iraqi men depicted in those photos.” Flynn’s first memoir, the award-winning Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, centers on the author’s reunion with his own father, whom he meets while working for a homeless shelter. Equipped with the added painful memory of his mother’s suicide, Flynn treks into early fatherhood hoping to make up for his own losses.
Happy New Year. Now go read.