Samanta Schweblin - Mouthful of Birds
A haunting and mesmerizing collection of stories which burrow their way into your psyche, Mouthful of Birds features stories of women on the edge, men turned upside down, and the natural world at odds with reality. Samanta Schweblin shows us how we think life is one way, but often, it’s not - our expectations for how people act, love, fear can all be upended. Each character in Mouthful of Birds must contend with the unexpected, whether a family coming apart at the seams or a child transforming or a ghostly hellscape or a murder. Schweblin’s stories have been described as having the feel of a sleepless night, where every shadow and bump in the dark take on huge implications, leaving your pulse racing, and the line between the real and the strange blurs.
Read our full review here.
Mariana Enriquez - Things We Lost in the Fire
Thrilling and terrifying, Things We Lost in the Fire takes the reader into a world of Argentine Gothic. A world of sharp-toothed children and young girls racked by desire, where demons lurk beneath the river and stolen skulls litter the pavements. A world where the secrets half-buried under Argentina’s terrible dictatorship rise up to haunt the present day, and where women, exhausted by a plague of violence, find that their only path out lies in the flames.
Julia Armfield - Salt Slow
In the electrifying debut from the 2018 White Review Short Story Prize Winner, Julia Armfield explores bodies and the bodily, mapping the skin and bones of her characters through their experiences of isolation, obsession, love and revenge. Teenagers develop ungodly appetites, a city becomes insomniac overnight, and bodies are diligently picked apart to make up better ones. The mundane worlds of schools and sleepy sea-side towns are invaded and transformed, creating a landscape which is constantly shifting to hold on to its inhabitants. Blurring the mythic and the gothic with the everyday, Salt Slow considers characters in motion - turning away, turning back or simply turning into something new entirely.
Carmen Maria Machoda - Her Body and Other Parties
Described by the New York Times as a ‘wild thing [...] covered in sequins and scales, blazing with the influence of fabulists from Angela Carter to Kelly Link and Helen Oyeyemi’, Her Body and Other Parties, the debut of Carmen Maria Machado, demolishes the borders between magical realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. A dark, shimmering slice into womanhood, Her Body and Other Parties is wicked and exquisite. It features stories about a wife who refuses her husband’s entreaties to remove the mysterious green ribbon from around her neck; a woman recounting her sexual encounters as a plague spreads across the earth; a salesclerk in a mall who makes a horrifying discovery about a store’s dresses; and a tale about how one woman’s surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted house guest.
Read our full review here.
Shahrukh Husain - The Virago Book of Witches
The Virago Book of Witches features a collection of more than fifty stories about witches from around the world. There are tales of banshees, crones and beauties in disguise from China, Siberia, the Caribbean, Armenia, Portugal and Australia. Alluring women, enchantresses, wise old ladies and bewitching women: they are all here and ready to haunt, entice, possess, transform, challenge - and sometimes even to help.
The one on our wish list: Zadie Smith’s Grand Union