There’s something incredibly tender about falling so deeply in love with fictional worlds and their inhabitants that their loss brings us to tears. Crying is also extremely therapeutic, releasing soothing chemicals and helping us process our real-life grief. Grab one of these books, a box of tissues, and prepare to embrace the delicious tragedy of it all.
The premise of Migrations dangled in front of me like the tastiest bait—an unreliable narrator, the inherent tension of the sea, a fool's errand to Antarctica, the birds, the birds—but ultimately, it was the sad, exquisite prose that swallowed me whole. A cold, lonely novel, absolutely wild with grief. Charlotte McConaghy has broken my heart. I'd let her again.
—Beck, Firestorm Collective Member
Perhaps the most compelling figure I've encountered in literary fiction, Nahr—a Palestinian woman reflecting on her life from an Israeli prison—is neither a political mastermind nor swept up without agency, and her relationships with the women in her life are, for me, the beating heart of this story. The heavy sexual violence—much of which happens on the page—is modulated by moments of cathartic beauty and joy. A passionate exploration of family and indigeneity, and a devastating indictment of patriarchy and settler colonialism.
—Beck, Firestorm Collective Member
This story of a young woman coming to terms with herself and her family is so filled with virtues and heart that it is hard to know where to begin. It is at once tender and incisive, profound and page-turning, warm and beautifully written and very funny.
—Madeline Miller, author of Circe and Song of Achilles
When I put Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness down for the first time, I breathed an enormous sigh — a sigh in realization that perhaps everything that needs to be said, has been, that a single book could contain so much of everything, so much anguish and joy and love and war and death and life, so much of being human. It’s the kind of book that makes you feel like you’ve lived several times over.
—Anita Felicelli, the Los Angeles Review of Books
Adam Silvera uses his ample skill to force readers to examine how they live life now and how they want to live it. They Both Die at the End is a prime example of his skill at asking the most relevant questions of all of us.
Like Toni Morrison, who redrew the narrative of black experience with novels set in Midwestern small towns, Petrus is redrawing a map, creating an Eden where Caribbean, black and LGBT culture can find beauty and lushness, spirituality, history and sustenance...This novel is a love letter to Minneapolis’ Caribbean and African-American communities that does its own deep and healing work. ——Trisha Collopy, Star Tribune
Lovers who surmount the odds have always been intense emotional fodder, but rarely have we seen a story like Birthday… true and raw, haunting and undeniable.
—The New York Times Book Review
[My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness] sheds light on the complicated emotional and mental dynamics involved in lesbian relationships. Her story is an open, honest, and deeply personal look at her struggles to fight back against her eating disorder, stop self-harming, and learn more about her sexuality.
—Ana Valens, The Mary Sue
Rebecca Makkai’s The Great Believers is a page turner… among the first novels to chronicle the AIDS epidemic from its initial outbreak to the present—among the first to convey the terrors and tragedies of the epidemic’s early years as well as its course and repercussions…An absorbing and emotionally riveting story about what it’s like to live during times of crisis.
—Michael Cunningham, The New York Times Book Review