Here are the new books
we’re most excited
to curl up with this November
It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History
by Jennifer Wright (November 3)
Any book that has dual epigraphs from the unlikely duo of Buddha and Taylor Swift is worthy of a read in our opinion, and, luckily, It Ended Badly does not fail to live up to its very strong start. In it, Wright explores the relationship demises of some of history’s most notorious duos (or trios in the case of the Debbie Reynolds-Eddie Fisher-Elizabeth Taylor triangle), and brings not only a deft and humorous touch to some undeniably dark situations (see: Henry VIII), but also trenchant historical context. Handily divided up into chapters with headings like “If You Were Struggling to Find Anyone as Good as Your Ex” and “If You Have Started Snickering at Happy Couples on the Street,” this is a great read for when you want reassurance that as bad as your life is, it could also be so much worse.
The Mare: A Novel
by Mary Gaitskill (November 3)
Gaitskill is back with another book designed to draw you in and then dismantle your very being, page by page. The outline of the story is simple enough: It’s about a horse, and the girl—Velveteen—who loves her. Velvet is a Fresh Air Fund kid from a troubled home in Brooklyn who escapes every summer to a home in upstate New York with its own, very different troubles. It’s there that she falls in love with the horse, and we go along on her journey between different worlds, different cultures, different families, different mothers, and different lives. It’s a journey that will stay inside you like a first love does, whether that love is for a mare or your mère.
The Big Green Tent
by Lyudmila Ulitskaya (November 10)
When you think “Russian novel,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? It’s size, right? Or weight? Or maybe just heft. Well, if that’s your understanding of a Russian epic, Ulitskaya’s 500+ page tome will not disappoint. But, of course, “size” isn’t always—or only—literal, and, in this case, Ulitskaya’s mastery of the scope of Russian experience ranging from the 1950s onward is dizzyingly impressive, and with The Big Green Tent she leads readers on an engrossing, terrifyingly smart exploration of love and betrayal, friendship and honor, hope and despair.
Dear Mr. You
by Mary-Louise Parker (November 10)
Perhaps actress Mary-Louise Parker isn’t the first person you think of when you consider the “Brooklyn author,” but, in fact, she’s long written both in magazines and privately. When we interviewed her for this magazine two years ago, she talked to us quite a bit about her writing and how she was a huge admirer (and friend) of poet and memoirist Mary Karr. So we weren’t really surprised when we heard about the release of her book of essays addressed to the various men in her life, including everyone from a family member of Parker’s adopted daughter to a childhood priest. If Parker brings the same sly intelligence, dark humor, and understanding of the human condition to her writing as she does to her acting, then we’re in for a treat.
A Wild Swan: And Other Tales
by Michael Cunningham (November 10)
Cunningham, author of the poetic and haunting The Hours, has chosen to veer away from riffing on Virginia Woolf and instead update classic fairy tales, like Jack and the Beanstalk and Beauty and the Beast. Just how updated are they? Well, Jack is now a down-and-out, feckless Millennial stereotype, living in his mom’s basement until some magic beans come along and change his life, and the Beast can now be spotted eating jerky in a convenience store. So, you know, pretty updated! But also, thankfully, still just as twisted as the originals. As an added bonus, beautiful illustrations by Yuko Shimizu provide another level of enjoyment for the reader.