Staff Recommended Fiction

By Harvard Book Store

By Harvard Book Store

The Memory Police

Yoko Ogawa

$25.95 $23.36

"There's a kind of mournful pang of loss that comes with realizing you've forgotten something you once cherished. Yoko Ogawa skillfully captures that feeling and envelops all of The Memory Police in it. Ogawa's writing is as quietly moving as it is somber, each word carrying with it equal parts fondness and sadness. The novel, originally published in 1994, is also frighteningly prescient about government censorship and state abduction in a way that hauntingly resonates in this 2019 translation. The Memory Police is a quietly potent work that implores us not to forget what those with power would have us lose, to hold onto that which empowers us and keeps us resilient in the face of terror." — Nat M.

The Illness Lesson

Clare Beams

$26.95 $24.26

"Shirley Jackson meets medical history and mansplaining. I won't say more." —Audrey S.

Malina

Ingeborg Bachmann

$16.95 $15.59

"Bachmann writes from the world of sleep. Her Malina has followed me like a spectre (floating somewhere betwixt dream and memory) since reading it a few month's past. I fear it will follow me much longer." —Jillian K.

The Other Name: Septology I-II

Jon Fosse

$17.95 $16.51

"Not long into Part I of Jon Fosse’s Septology, the narrator, Asle, confesses to speaking with the dead. His young wife, Ales, has killed herself, and this death becomes the devastating gravity of the novel. “There’s no big difference or distance between life and death, between the living and the dead, even though the difference can seem insurmountable it isn’t,” Asle thinks. Jon Fosse writes with beautiful, unstopped prose, translated with grace by Damion Searls. The Other Name contains incredible depictions of grief, a generous respect for youthful naivety, and a very good pup named Bragi. An enveloping and beautiful novel for this awful isolation." - Spencer R.

Black Light: Stories

Kimberly King Parsons

$15.00 $13.80

"Like a blacklight moving over a coverlet to reveal bright stains, Kimberly King Parsons illuminates the tender, needy hearts of her characters as they self-sabotage their ways through motels, parched landscapes, and each other." —Lauren A.

Aug 9 - Fog

Kathryn Scanlan

$18.00 $16.56

"Who does this little book belong to? Kathryn Scanlan, who found a beat up diary at an Illinois estate sale 15 years ago? The 86-year-old woman who, years before, filled that diary with the everyday nothings of her life? Or to us, who meet the diary through Scanlan's erasure of it—a reading so careful, clipped, even boring, that I couldn't put it down. Scanlan tells us the diary is so fragile that when she handles it, some bits crumble onto her desk. Reading her book is much the same—with each stanza, bits of poetry, strange and mundane poetry crumble into our minds." —Jillian K.

The Organs of Sense

Adam Ehrlich Sachs

$17.00 $15.64

"A truly unique book, perfect in pitch, perfect in form, perfect in many things. The Organs of Sense is like a sour George Saunders novel or an astronomical Bernhard with a degree in the science history, but seriously, only a writer as bizarrely talented as Adam Ehrlich Sachs could have written it." —Spencer R.

Loudermilk: Or, the Real Poet; Or, the Origin of the World

Lucy Ives

$16.95 $15.59

"A social comedy of the creative class set in 2003, with the War on Terror looming behind, we follow a handful of characters at a prestigious MFA program in Crete, Illinois, that sounds not so unlike the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, of which Ives is a graduate. Written with a subtle, sardonic humor, rife with miscommunication, misdirection, and spindly sentences, Loudermilk brings to our attention the commodification of creativity by the very institutions we attend to improve our 'craft,' but inevitably leave with a false sense of talent, worth, and security." —Nathalie B.

Let's Tell This Story Properly

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

$16.95 $15.59

"Jennifer Makumbi continues to astound me. Her stories are emotionally complex and utterly sure-footed. You know how sometimes you overhear someone recounting a story on the phone and you don't get half the references and you don't know the people they're talking about, but the storyteller is so assured and compelling, you can't stop listening? That's what it's like to read Let's Tell This Story Properly as a westerner." —Rachel S.

Seasonal Associate

Heike Geissler

$16.95 $15.59

"""When Geissler's narrator, a writer and translator, is unable to afford a life on freelance wages, she takes up a seasonal position at an Amazon fulfillment center. As a prose writer, Geissler is like a German Valeria Luiselli or Sheila Heti; like no other book I've read, she makes the humiliations of wage labor unavoidably clear. Read this if you've ever purchased a book from Amazon (or a shower curtain, or anything really). This book is not a journalist's hit piece on the megacorporation—it's a nightmare, an intellectual life subdued, a novel full of nuance and dread worthy of Kafka."" —Spencer R.

Flowers of Mold & Other Stories

Seong-Nan Ha

$15.95 $14.67

"These eerie, surreal, slightly askew stories are rendered in English with such care and artistic precision by Janet Hong's translation." —Rachel S.

The Cheffe: A Cook's Novel

Marie Ndiaye

$26.95 $24.26

"This is a story about obsession but also about the inability to truly know another person. This is one of my new favorite examples of a narrator with an Agenda." —Rachel S.