Signed New Voices in Fiction Club
Harvard Book Store

Signed New Voice

Four times a year, Harvard Book Store offers Signed New Voices in Fiction Club members a signed first printing of a newly published debut novel or story collection, selected with an eye toward literary merit and potential collectibility.

The Signed New Voices in Fiction First Edition Club brings you some of the finest and most important debut fiction of the season—just as our flagship Signed First Edition Club has been doing across genres for years.

Sign up or give a gift membership! Spaces are limited, and there will be a wait list when we reach capacity on membership for a given season. Wait listers will be notified when space becomes available; if a spot is not available for the current selection, your membership will be activated for the following selection.

Recent and Upcoming Selections

  • Summer 2023: Emily Habeck, Shark Heart
  • Fall 2023: Shilpi Suneja, House of Caravans
  • Winter 2024: Aube Rey Lescure, River East, River West
  • Spring 2024: Jennifer Croft, The Extinction of Irena Rey

Spring 2024 Selection

The Extinction of Irena Rey by Jennifer Croft

“This book could not have been written by anyone other than Jennifer Croft, a veteran translator with a tremendous capacity for language and storytelling. When eight translators convene for a summit with their revered author Irena Rey, they have no idea they are embarking on a psychological thrillride that will destabilize not only their long-standing relationships with one another, but their entire sense of self and history. With conflicting voices that twist and tangle like vines, the characters in this novel are intertwined inseparably from one another. A smart, pensive exploration of the creative process, The Extinction of Irena Rey will transform your understanding of authorship, translation, and the sticky web cast between them.”

—Melissa S., Harvard Book Store

Winter 2024 Selection

River East, River West by Aube Rey Lescure

 “The beauty of River East, River West lies in its fissions and contradictions. The daughter of an American expat mother and an anonymous Chinese father, Alva has placed roots in neither heritage. Her American citizenship and lineage set her apart from her Chinese peers, but life in China is all she’s ever known. Unhappy with her current circumstances, she’s desperate to travel west and experience the America she’s cobbled together from her mother’s stories and bootleg Hollywood DVDs. But when she finally gets her way—admission into Shanghai’s expensive private American school—she discovers that the west has had more of a hand in her surroundings than she’s ever realized, and that sometimes the only safe place to retreat is back into the arms of your family. A cutting exploration of class, race, and the long-lasting effects of colonialism, Alva’s story will frustrate and enthrall you in equal measure.”

—Melissa S., Harvard Book Store

How does this new club compare with the pre-existing Signed First Edition Club?

Our popular Signed First Edition Club has been delivering important works of literature, memoir, and history to its members for over a decade—including debut works by emerging writers. This new, additional club will focus on debut fiction from writers who have caught the attention of our well-read staff and the literary world.

  • While the flagship club is monthly, the Signed New Voices in Fiction Club will be quarterly in its first year, with a new selection each season.
  • All selections will be hardcover first printings of first novels or story collections, noted by critics and our staff.
  • Selections in one club will not be duplicated in the other, and we will continue to consider and select debut fiction for the flagship club from time to time.

How does the subscription work? 

Once a season (four times a year), members receive a debut novel or story collection of recent publication. A collection of signed first editions will enhance any library, and many signed first editions appreciate in value. Also, your membership supports Harvard Book Store, a landmark literary institution, and helps ensure that the store will exist—and continue to host its award-winning author event series—for years to come.

What will I receive? 

Harvard Book Store’s selections represent the forefront of debut fiction and reflect the authors hosted by the store’s award-winning event series. Selections are personally chosen by our discerning staff of readers.

The books in this program are guaranteed first editions, personally signed by the author. Each book arrives in pristine condition with its jacket in a transparent protective wrapping to extend the life of the book.

Also, this is a brand new club and we have some fun stuff in store for members. Stay tuned!

How much does membership cost? 

Membership is free. All you pay is the publisher's list price on the book ($26 - $30 on average per month) plus a flat shipping and handling charge.

Who is the club for? Can I give a membership as a gift? 

This service is perfect for anyone who has been trying to read more fiction or for the bibliophile who wants the latest in boundary-pushing, cutting-edge work.

You can choose to give a gift membership either for one year or indefinitely, and you may cancel the membership at any time.

What is a signed first edition? Why is it valuable? 

A first edition is the original printing of a book. First editions are distinguished from subsequent printings, as they represent the closest edition in time and intent to the author's original work. A signed first edition is a unique addition to any library, and to dealers and collectors, a signed first edition is the most desirable—and valuable—edition.

Do I have to provide my credit card number? 

Yes. In order to efficiently manage this unique program, Harvard Book Store requires that all members provide a credit card number upon sign-up.

How do I update my credit card information? 

Credit card information cannot be updated online. In order to update card information, please give us a call at (617) 245-4039, Sundays through Thursdays from 12pm to 6pm, or leave us a voicemail outside of office hours. Please state if you do not want to leave card information via voicemail and we will call you back.

What if I don't want a certain selection? May I return a selection? 

At this time, members may not decline a selection. Signed books make great gifts! 

All selections are non-refundable and non-returnable.

Is there a limit to how many people can sign up? 

Yes. As signed first editions are difficult to procure in large quantities, Harvard Book Store must limit the number of members. If the member limit is exceeded, a wait list will be started.

I have a question that isn't answered here. Whom do I ask? 

Ask a bookseller in the store, call us at 617-661-1424 x0, or write to

How do I sign up? 

Sign up using our secure online form.

Sign Up

Join the Signed New Voices in Fiction Club, or give a gift membership, using our secure online form.

Sign up now, and your first selection will be  our Spring 2024 selection, The Extinction of Irena Rey by Jennifer Croft. 


The above sign-up form also includes current shipping and processing rates as well as the terms of membership. Thank you for supporting Harvard Book Store, a landmark literary institution, with your membership!

Past Selections

Winter 2024 Selection

River East, River West by Aube Rey Lescure

 “The beauty of River East, River West lies in its fissions and contradictions. The daughter of an American expat mother and an anonymous Chinese father, Alva has placed roots in neither heritage. Her American citizenship and lineage set her apart from her Chinese peers, but life in China is all she’s ever known. Unhappy with her current circumstances, she’s desperate to travel west and experience the America she’s cobbled together from her mother’s stories and bootleg Hollywood DVDs. But when she finally gets her way—admission into Shanghai’s expensive private American school—she discovers that the west has had more of a hand in her surroundings than she’s ever realized, and that sometimes the only safe place to retreat is back into the arms of your family. A cutting exploration of class, race, and the long-lasting effects of colonialism, Alva’s story will frustrate and enthrall you in equal measure.”

—Melissa S., Harvard Book Store

Fall 2023 Selection

House of Caravans by Shilpi Suneja

"The dissolution of the British Raj into what is now India and Pakistan was a man-made tragedy that need not have happened. A line drawn on a map was supposed to separate peoples of different faiths, but as history has shown again and again geography is not so simple. Families were ripped apart, hundreds of thousands died, and the repercussions are still being felt to this day. This amazing debut explores a family as it grapples with the scars of this event, and how they move on."

—Brad L., Harvard Book Store

Summer 2023 Selection

Shark Heart

"In a joyously original and unique novel, Emily Habeck explores the ambiguities of loss and grief by turning to the mystical. Lewis, a romantic playwright and high school theater teacher, is afflicted with a devastating condition: he’s mutating into a Great White Shark. While this isn’t a fatal diagnosis, the man he is will cease to exist once the transformation is complete. Wren, Lewis’s wife-turned-caretaker, is burdened with all of the roiling emotions that accompany such loss, along with the dangers of caring for someone who grows alarmingly more violent and dangerous. Told through many mediums, including dramatic scripts, flashbacks, and visions, Shark Heart is a whirlwind novel that skips across time and generations. And while the story itself is magical and otherworldly, the feelings it evokes are raw and relatable. Like many stories that begin in a place of hopelessness and defeat, it ultimately becomes a source of inspiration and strength." —Melissa S., Harvard Book Store

Emily Habeck is an alumna of SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, where she received a BFA in theatre, as well as Vanderbilt Divinity School and Vanderbilt’s Peabody College. She is from Ardmore, Oklahoma. Shark Heart is her first novel.

Spring 2023 Selection

House of Cotton

"Fans of brave fiction would be remiss to skip this one." —Gabino Iglesias, NPR

A stunning, contemporary Black southern gothic novel about what it means to be a poor woman in the God fearing south in the age of OnlyFans, by a breakout new Affrilachian writer, perfect for readers of Mexican Gothic and Luster

 "This book is haunted—by haints, yes, but also by grief and trauma, both individual and intergenerational. Its unforgettable protagonist is Magnolia, a young Black woman living in the beautiful, brutal Appalachian South. Desolate after her grandmother’s death and desperate for rent money, she lands an odd but lucrative gig at a local funeral home: posing as the recently deceased so that their loved ones can say goodbye. As the job requirements grow more sinister and Magnolia grapples with legacies of violence—sometimes shockingly explicit, sometimes creeping and insidious—her voice cuts, startles, transports. House of Cotton digs deep into racism, misogyny, poverty, and the ways in which they intertwine while maintaining the tense, surreal atmosphere of a fever dream. This will stick with you—Monica Brashears is an author to watch." —Olivia M., Harvard Book Store

Winter 2023 Selection

Our Next Selection

Monica Brashears Brutes by Dizz Tate

The Virgin Suicides meets The Florida Project in this wildly original debut—a coming-of-age story about the crucible of girlhood, from a writer of rare and startling talent.

"Dizz tate is a staggeringly talented new novelist. She digs into classic tropes and stories, yanks out the best pieces, and molds them into something wholly new. The result is Brutes, a debut that cuts through the innocence of youth and strips away its illusions, leaving behind only the raw brutality of adolescence. Centered around the disappearance of a prominent family’s troubled pre-teen girl, the story that unfolds is much larger and darker than anyone can imagine. The unease that creeps throughout the book is underscored by Tate’s narration, a collective “we” reminiscent of Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides, executed with haunting perfection. Weird, creepy, and illusive, this coming of age mystery speaks powerfully to the beauty - and horror - of girlhood." —Melissa S., Harvard Book Store

Fall 2022 Selection

Our Next SelectionSelf-Portrait With Nothing by Aimee Pokwatka

Orphan Black meets Fringe in a story that reminds us that living our best life sometimes means embracing the imperfect one we already have.

"A thrillingly inventive, highly original debut that manages to be both a compelling mystery story and a dazzling meditation on existence. Pokwatka's particular gift is her ability to see a strange concept through to its conclusion." —George Saunders, Booker Prize-winning author of Lincoln in the Bardo

Self-Portrait with Nothing is a thoughtful, beautiful contemplation on identity and how we build ourselves from all the bones we're given, both by the people who love us and by the people who leave us. How is this a first novel? Gorgeously drawn characters in a new and compelling setting, this is a beautiful book that deserves to be read.” —Seanan McGuire, award-winning author of the October Daye urban fantasies

Summer 2022 Selection

Other Names for LoveOther Names for Love by Taymour Soomro

"Fahad, like most pretentious, petulant teenagers with a secret, wants to spend the summer in London with his mother, swaddled in culture and sanitized familiarity. But he’s an heir, his father, Rafik, will not stop reminding him; in the removed outskirts of up-country Pakistan, a bustling family estate awaits its prodigal son, determining everything that he has, that he is, and that he will be. In Taymour Soomro’s humane and elegant debut, the consequences of this dislocation are swift and debilitating. Rafik, once an indomitable landowner and political elite, is losing his influence within a community—within a country—where favor and power are ever-shifting, resulting in violence. And for Fahad—dear, hidden, haunted Fahad—his father’s attempts to toughen him are undone by the untamable nature of the land, the liberating influence of its inhabitants, and the inevitability of the truth. In Other Names for Love, the most protected and painful binaries—rural vs. urban, father vs. son, masculinity vs. femininity, subject vs. object—become unmoored, made fluid, transformed by the upheaving force of desire and the ailing grip of inheritance. No other book has brought me to this place before, to the mysterious places where regimented fields and ancient traditions have the unlikely ability to hatch our most private and chaotic selves. I am moved by this book’s intelligence, by its patience, and by its rare and refined beauty."  —Benjamin Q., Harvard Book Store 

Spring 2022 Selection

We Measure the Earth With Our BodiesWe Measure the Earth With Our Bodies by Tsering Yangzom Lama

"On the night Lhamo's mother dies, she makes a promise that will take generations to fulfill. She, her sister Tenkyi, their parents, their uncle, and the rest of their village have been exiled from their Tibetan homelands and forced into the Himalayas. Their trek through the mountains proves perilous for many in their group, and Lhamo and Tenkyi arrive at the refugee camp in Nepal as orphans. Any family they have left is scattered across a war-torn country, as fractured and lost as their history. Alone now with Tenkyi and their uncle, Lhamo wants nothing more than to hold onto her younger sister, whose weak body she carried into Nepal on her own back. But in a vision many months before, her mother had revealed that Tenkyi was destined for a life bigger than just the camp. Decades later, Lhamo and Tenkyi's fates have diverged, with one sister branching out to the capital and the world beyond, and another tethered to Nepal, where she struggles to keep their myths and culture from complete annihilation. At the heart of the story is a family relic that blessed their journey and sustained them all—the statue of a Nameless Saint, whose background and origin have long been erased. Bound to Lhamo and her family, this statue will set in motion a calamity that forces us to grapple with questions of history, preservation, and all that is lost to violence and war. This is a story filled with love, as magical and mystical as the gods themselves."  —Melissa S., Harvard Book Store 

Winter 2022 Selection

Our Next SelectionManywhere: Stories by Morgan Thomas

"Each of the stories in Manywhere is so surprising, with such range. A gorgeous chorus of voices joining to sing the vision of a singular and exciting artist." —Torrey Peters, author of Detransition, Baby

"Wonderful stories. Impressive range. Delightfully, compellingly queer." —Roxane Gay

"In the exhaustive, rebounding discourse surrounding banned literature, one lie—because of its especially heinous optimism—stands out: get rid of our books, our media, and the children will always, somehow, find themselves. We are inevitable, and the incidental, unconquerable stuff that makes us who we are will come out eventually, like wisdom teeth or heredity, small bulbs of the self that will bloom without nurturing. But the reality is, as always: some may, with little trouble, find their way, and many will certainly not. In Manywhere, Morgan Thomas’s tremendous debut, we follow the “many”—the dissident, the freak, the unmoored—as they pursue embodiment on the marshy, opaque margins of the American South. No feature of this terrain goes undescribed: across stories steepled with historical anecdote and private calamity, characters reckon with the body and its prejudices, the prickly heat of queer love, the limitations and erasures of the archive, and the derangement of our natural world, a necessary, emphatic reminder that the human brew requires good Earth, stable weather, an expanse. One uninterrupted expanse, I thought, until I read “Transit,” the jewel of this book, a story so damp, so isolated, so possible, that it returned to me a fondness for the manyones, the manywheres, who built me, whose likeness shattered my mundane and made a miracle out of the most paltry, inconsequential circumstances. I want to gather all my manyones in a flooded train terminal and give them my whole heart. Which is to say, I want to give them each a copy of this book, dog-eared and annotated, filled with the evidence of my, and our, aliveness." —Benjamin Q., Harvard Book Store

Fall 2021 Selection

Our Next Selection The Four Humors by Mina Seckin

This wry and visceral debut novel follows a young Turkish-American woman who, rather than grieving her father’s untimely death, seeks treatment for a stubborn headache and grows obsessed with a centuries-old theory of medicine.

“Mina Seçkin writes about the human body in a way that is exacting and beautiful, and I am in awe at the way she pins pain onto the page…The narrative voice is infused with levity, generosity, and (yes) humor. The Four Humors is a gorgeous excavation of the body—its flaws and its desires—and what it means to heal.” —Katie Yee, Literary Hub

“Sibel, an aspiring medical student, is in Turkey for the summer—nominally caring for her ailing grandmother and visiting her father's grave, actually nursing her ambivalence about the future and present along with a persistent headache. As her pain grows, so does her preoccupation with ancient medical theories. The four humors of blood, choler, bile, and phlegm seem as good an explanation for the imbalances inside her as any other. Mina Seçkin's lovely debut explores the complex interplay between human storytelling and human biology, how permeable our inner and outer worlds are to each other. Sibel muses, 'I have no idea how everyone else can carry tightly sealed packages full of stories around, never to open them, and how that doesn't make everyone else feel so fat and bloated, full of phlegm and feverish.' The novel spins around this fantasy of the body as something that can be commanded by the correct input and output of humors, substances, secrets, truths. Her grandmother recommends potatoes with dirt still clinging to their skin as a cure for an omen of premature death. Sibel and her sister mediate their father's loss through consumption, grief transmuted into cigarettes furtively smoked, food overindulged in or dangerously refused. Narrative becomes flesh, and the body in turn shapes the story being told, in a poetic feedback loop that Seçkin chronicles with an alchemical blend of frankness and lyricism." —Lauren A., Harvard Book Store

Summer 2021 Selection

Our Next Selection Agatha of Little Neon by Claire Luchette

"Blazingly original, wry, and perfectly attuned to the oddness—and the profundity—of life” (Cristina Henríquez), Claire Luchette's debut, Agatha of Little Neon, is a novel about yearning and sisterhood, figuring out how you fit in (or don’t), and the unexpected friends who help you find your truest self.

"Claire Luchette's debut opens with a rupture in familiarity that snowballs—Agatha and her sisters, all women religious in their late twenties, must leave the comfort of their convent when their parish goes bankrupt. Agatha, our narrator, begins her account of their journey to their next assignment by retreating to the safety of the collective 'we,' but her selfhood snags on a hangnail of difference almost immediately; 'how wonderful,' she thinks of her sisters' outward calm in the face of their upheaval, 'it would be, to wring yourself of questions.' From this aperture of doubt, Luchette's simple and luminous prose pours forth like a cascade of ordinary pebbles tumbled to a liquid sheen. Within Little Neon's lurid green frame, her characters grapple with belief and its limits, on macro- and micro-scales: the many mechanisms and distractions available to people who want to preclude knowledge of themselves, the price of solving for uncertainty with a set of answers whose rigid application, more often than not, provides a cover for the behavior of fallible men rather than a balm for the vulnerable and struggling. As any good art about faith should, this lucid, lovely novel troubles the concept of an easy resolution. Rather, the act of choosing to keep moving through that mire of uncertainty will feel holy to any readers whose own questions, like mine, refuse to be wrung out." —Lauren A., Harvard Book Store

Spring 2021 Selection

Our Next Selection Swimming Back to Trout River by Linda Rui Feng

“Against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution, a husband and wife are afraid to share their deepest longings and regrets. With disarmingly quiet prose, Feng digs beneath Cassia’s and Momo’s reluctance to mine their emotional depths as they struggle to grasp their individual experiences as well as their fractured relationship. Filled with tragedy yet touched with life-affirming passion.”—Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

"Linda Rui Feng's humane, quietly profound debut follows estranged couple Momo and Cassia, their daughter Junie, and Momo's first love, Dawn, through the years of China's Cultural Revolution to the 80s, examining with patience and deep care how their lives have been impacted by the political, physical, and emotional boundaries they encounter in turn. The connective thread between all their lives is music. Feng writes masterfully about it, understanding it as a physical force—slipping into the heart and cracking it open like a sunflower seed's hull, pushing the body forward into a future whose shape has been changed by the transformative insistence of the melody. The low notes of grief sustain through the decades of cultural and personal upheaval within these pages, but so do each character's small and defiant turns towards pleasure, connection, and hope." —Lauren A., Harvard Book Store

Winter 2021 Selection

Our Next Selection Milk Blood Heat by Dantiel W. Moniz

“Mortality is the undercurrent in Dantiel W. Moniz’s electrifying debut story collection, Milk Blood Heat, but where there’s death there is the whir of life, too. . . . Reading one of Moniz’s stories is like holding your breath underwater while letting the salt sting your fresh wounds. It’s exhilarating and shocking and even healing. The power in these stories rests in their veracity, vitality and vulnerability.”—Washington Post

"The anniversary of another pandemic spring prompts reflection; the juxtaposition of new buds and sun against a background of mind-breaking loss—in the background, if we're lucky enough to not have experienced it directly. Lucky or not, the ability to process our many griefs has been atomized. Into this blown-apart space comes Dantiel Moniz's debut collection; fully assured and, true to its title, packing heat, profoundly embodied. This is a ferociously alive book about death in all its gradations—the extinctions of intimate worlds constructed between friends and siblings, the puncturing of self-illusion by the swift knife of circumstance, the passing of loved ones into physical and emotional realms where we can't access them. In her meticulous inventory of our failures of care for one another and our fumbling efforts to mend those breaches, she presents a taxonomy of what is mournable, and its converse: what calls us to stay in the world we've made, however painful it may be to inhabit." —Lauren A., Harvard Book Store

Fall 2020 Selection

Luster by Raven Leilani

"Edie is a painter (who isn't really painting right now) with IBS and a ravenous eye for detail. Rootless to begin with and further cut adrift by the loss of her job, she finds herself living in the spacious Jersey house of her married lover. Raven Leilani spins out her magnificent debut around this ungainly arrangement, as Edie witnesses and tries to be witnessed, to carve space for herself where none has been provided. Her narration rolls through the present moment like a katamari ball and incorporates vast swaths of our culture into its sticky gestalt—mosh pits, ComicCons, furtive adolescent nerdiness, the gig economy, racism, the specific depression of theme parks. Leilani is a masterful chronicler of all the minutiae that comprise a life, from the intimate stench of the M train at rush hour to the parallel and foreign domestic universe suggested by the extra folded towels in the lover's bathroom. This sharp, capacious novel would be a gift at any time. In lockdown, I devoured it in a day: grateful to be reminded of the gravity of observing and being observed, and that the painful and lonely fermentation of not-making is, in the end, part of the art too." —Lauren A., Harvard Book Store

Spring 2019 Selection

Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey

“Popkey’s lyrical debut novel reads like a series of short stories: Over the span of 20 years, an unnamed narrator has conversations with an eclectic set of women—conversations about shame and love, sexuality and power. Envy and guilt. Motherhood. Loneliness. The slim book is smart and raw, and Popkey dives head-on into difficult, well—how else to say it?—topics of conversation.” —The Washington Post

“Miranda Popkey's discursive debut is part Rachel Cusk, part Miriam Toews, part conglomerate of the best/most terrifying conversations you had in grad school. I found Topics of Conversation to be glued-to-the-page, heart-thumpingly good, with sentences that run and run and don't let go. Somehow Popkey covers everything in this series of dialogues between women, about women—with fresh insight, she writes about art, feminism, sex, literature, motherhood, monstrous men, all with an edge of nuance that will complicate your personal beliefs long after you've finished reading. If you're like me, you'll take Topics of Conversation and break the spine, carry it around in your back pocket, litter the pages with dirt and blood and coffee stains. Then, I hope, you'll share this novel with whomever will listen." —Spencer R., Harvard Book Store

Fall 2019 Selection

The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

"In alternating chapters, the book toggles between East and West across more than a decade, dropping in on multiple pulse points of the so-called “soft-propaganda warfare”—a battle waged to win over the hearts and minds of Soviet citizens by giving them access to the rogue homegrown art and literature their government denied them. Really, though, it’s about the women who fought alongside (but officially of course, largely below) the men on that fight’s front lines, scheming and strategizing and even finding the time to fall in love, sometimes with one another. The whirl of trench coats and cocktails and midnight meetings on park benches has the heady whiff of classic old-fashioned spy storytelling, but filtered, too, through Prescott’s thoroughly modern lens." —Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

“Lara Prescott’s debut, The Secrets We Kept, is a tantalizing historical novel set amidst a backdrop of Soviets, spies, and the burgeoning feminist movement of the mid-20th century. At its heart is the biggest literary headline of the Soviet era: the suppression of Boris Pasternak’s USSR-maligning novel Doctor Zhivago (for which Pasternak won, declined, and was eventually awarded posthumously the Nobel Prize), and a true story that will be familiar to few: how the CIA got the book into the hands of publishers and readers across the world through covert operations. Prescott assembles years of research on what is now known as The Zhivago Affair into a captivating novel complete with high-stakes trysts, literary ambition, and Mad Men-esque office drama.” —Spencer R., Harvard Book Store 

Summer 2019 Selection

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

“This is one of the best novels I’ve ever read. I always want my favorite poets to write novels and here it’s happened. Ocean Vuong is a master. This book a masterpiece. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is an ode to loss and struggle, to being a Vietnamese American, to Hartford, Connecticut, and it’s a compassionate epistolary ode to a mother who may or may not know how to read. I dog-eared so many pages the book almost collapsed—I almost did.” —Tommy Orange

“The brilliance of Ocean Vuong’s book lies in its looseness, its brevity, its incoherence at times—you know, that stuff of life. Vuong’s training as a poet is obvious, as his novel is dense with metaphor. Tension occurs not by the proximity of conflicting characters, but by proximity of paragraphs, vignettes short and long that run parallel and perpendicular to one another, sometimes fluvial and sometimes engendering awesome discord. There’s an indescribable directionality to his sentences, a soft buzz that indicates the white machine of life is present no matter the tragedies that befall the narrator, Little Dog, in this autobiographical novel. Though marked by adversity, this story is not a tragedy. It’s much more complicated, and much like Proteus, multiform and difficult to pin down. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, is a novel of the opioid crisis, a novel of the Vietnam War, a novel in the name of immigrant mothers, a novel of glistening sexuality and first love—and for a stretch it becomes a novel of breathless poems, as Vuong contends directly with grief, addiction, and grief again, with one-liners that’ll make your head spin. Vuong’s first novel, much like his poetry, is unquestionably humane and filled with light.” —Spencer R., Harvard Book Store

Spring 2019 Selection

The Parisian by Isabella Hammad

The Parisian is a sublime reading experience: delicate, restrained, surpassingly intelligent, uncommonly poised and truly beautiful. It is realism in the tradition of Flaubert and Stendhal—everything that happens feels not so much imagined as ordained. That this remarkable historical epic should be the debut of a writer in her mid-twenties seems impossible, yet it's true. Isabella Hammad is an enormous talent and her book is a wonder.” —Zadie Smith

"Isabella Hammad’s The Parisian is a sweeping, Jamesian book both titanic and profound. As I carried this nearly 600-page novel with me to work, to the park, to the subway, to my favorite cafes, I was in awe of Hammad’s ability to transport, the elegance and unpretentiousness of her prose, and my intense concern for her characters." —Spencer R., Harvard Book Store

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