Word’s picks: “Ohio,” by Stephen Markley
Markley’s novel broke me in half. A dazzling portrayal of heartland America in all its yearning, squalor, destruction, and beauty, “Ohio” is like a photo of a long-lost hometown girlfriend, piercing in its evocative power, crushing in its sadness.
— Michael Lindgren, Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbookstores.com].
Community Bookstore’s pick: “Notes from the Fog,” by Ben Marcus
The new story collection is an uncanny, unflinching, and (strangely) warm rumination on the human, in all its destabilized glory. Various spectral characters carry the banner; a husband and wife pair of architects memorializing a terrorist attack, a highly disease-averse child, and a tech start-up middle manager-turned-guinea pig, who must renounce solid food in order to be fed only by a “human grow light.” These stories will stick to your ribs.
— Samuel Partal, Community Bookstore [43 Seventh Ave. between Carroll Street and Garfield Place in Park Slope, (718) 783–3075, www.communitybookstore.net].
Greenlight Bookstore’s pick: “Fight No More,” by Lydia Millet
In this collection of linked stories, Lydia Millet delivers a satisfying spectrum of characters enduring the brunt of life’s surprises and tragedies. Millet uses a close, third-person voice to depict characters young and old, as they try to retain their dignity in the face of imperfect families and strain to justify their own behavior, however absurd or dysfunctional. She stretches her plot with new, unlikely incidents, returning just in time to a familiar character, which makes this collection particularly novelistic, and a successful experiment in shifting perspectives.
— Ben Hoffman, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.greenlightbookstore.com].