Malvern Books’ Best of 2014: Fiction

On Monday we took a look at Malvern’s 2014 poetry bestsellers—now let’s give our prose wonders a turn. Interestingly, the top five fiction sellers come from just two publishers, New Directions (we’ve raved about them before) and A Strange Object, a fantastic local press that was founded just over a year ago… my, how quickly they grow! Check out our customer faves below (they’re in no particular order), then stop by the store and ask to see more of our New Strange Directions Object wares.

Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail by Kelly Luce (A Strange Object; $14.95)

Three ScenariosSet in Japan, the stories that form this extraordinary debut collection are unpredictable, beguiling, and full of the most exquisite, perfectly chosen details.

“Kelly Luce manages the impossible: each story delicate and enormous, intricate, glitteringly beautiful, never less than strange, never less than profound, ten spiderwebs astonishingly spun. Readers: here is your new favorite short story writer.” —Elizabeth McCracken

Our Secret Life in the Movies by Michael McGriff and J. M. Tyree (A Strange Object; $14.95)

Our Strange LifeThrough a series of linked stories featuring a couple of kids coming of age in the ’80s, McGriff and Tyree create an intense—and intensely moving—dream world, and a love letter to cult movies.

“As close to an interactive experience as reading a collection of cutting-edge short fiction can be… An intriguing, frequently affecting experiment that challenges its readers to think anew about sharpening and refracting their memories of both life and art.” —Kirkus Reviews

Miss Lonelyhearts & The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West (New Directions, $14.95)

Miss LonelyheartsTwo classic works of American literature in one stylish volume… what’s not to like? Miss Lonelyhearts was compared by Flannery O’Connor to As I Lay Dying, while The Day of the Locust is regarded by many as the best novel ever written about Hollywood.

“Taken together, these two novels say more about the way we live now––and the things that brought us to our present pass––than any other work of fiction I can think of.” —L.E. Sissman, New Yorker.

The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide, translated by Eric Selland (New Directions; $14.95)

The Guest CatThis is ostensibly a straightforward story about a young couple whose stale relationship perks up following the unexpected arrival of a cat—but The Guest Cat is much more profound, subtle, painful, and enchanting than this twee synopsis would suggest.

“This is a beautiful, ornate read, brimming with philosophical observation, humor and intelligence, leaving the reader anticipating more translated works of Hiraide.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald, translated by Michael Hulse (New Directions; $16.95)

The Rings of SaturnThe most astonishing account you’ll ever read of a long walk through the Suffolk countryside. Through Sebald’s eyes, even the most familiar objects become unsettling and surreal…

“Strange, unquenchable, and serious originality … A brilliantly allusive study of England’s imperial past and the nature of decline and fall, of loss and decay … It is hard to imagine a stranger or more compelling work.” —Robert McCrum, London Observer