Community Bookstore’s pick: “Mary Toft; or, The Rabbit Queen,” by Dexter Palmer
Dexter Palmer’s latest novel, set in 18th century England, is a retelling, from the point of view of a young surgeon’s apprentice, of the life and times of Mary Toft. A married woman in her 20s, Mary gave birth to three healthy children and more than a dozen dead rabbits. Before she was revealed as a fraud, Mary’s bizarre ruse took in several of England’s most prominent surgeons, and even King George I before it was all over. Palmer’s novelization is a compelling and nuanced bit of historical fiction.
— 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: “In the Dream House,” by Carmen Maria Machado
Machado’s first non-fiction work is just as groundbreaking as her story collection. By sharing her experience with domestic abuse in a queer relationship, Machado uses her own pain to illustrate the universal desire for connection in all beings. Told in vignettes, the story is broken up with broad topics, including Disney villains and literary devices, and it proves that Machado’s written talents allow all of us a chance to be seen. A must-read for fans of Han Kang, Otessa Moshfegh, and Helen Oyeyemi.
— Wynne Kontos, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.greenlightbookstore.com].
Word’s picks: “The Deep,” by Rivers Solomon
This mermaid origin story is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It’s a fairly quick read that deals with generational trauma and the breaking of the chains that bind us. It’s as heart wrenching as it is beautiful and you can’t help but feel for the main character, Yetu – a mermaid known as the Historian. Watch as a community comes together to begin to heal from the hauntings of their past and start the process to learning how to flourish.
— Yadira Aguiar, Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbookstores.com].