I was delighted to discover that the author of the book I was reading last week was also one of the masterminds behind the joyful idea of Drag Queen Story Time (you may have read about it) at the Brooklyn Public Library. The book, by Michelle Tea, is Black Wave. Published by the Feminist Press, Black Wave is set at the end of the world, while the protagonist is battling her personal demons, only occasionally aware and not terribly concerned with the world ending around her. Her descriptions of people and a California set askew are so spot-on, and her struggle with alcoholism is so profound while still maintaining the right amount of levity (gallows humor is best humor). Black Wave had me frantically turning pages and then pausing to re-read portions, keeping me up way too late and causing some very strange dreams.
My Cat Yugoslavia (coming soon) by Pajtim Statovci was a strange and ecstatic joy to read as well. Twin narratives set in Kosovo in 1980, and present day Finland, shift between mother and son in those respective timelines. The best part of this really wonderfully absurd and witty book is the relationship between the manipulative, narcissistic man-sized cat who Bekim, the son, takes home after meeting in a bar. Besides his best friend boa constrictor, the cat is all Bekim has but the cat treats him terribly, in precisely the way I imagine a romantic relationship with a cat might go. I can’t think of a less creepy way to describe that, you’ll just have to read it to find out for yourself how well it works.