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Recommended Reading by Professionals…with Sarah McCarry

In this series, I ask various publishing professionals (including authors, bloggers, editors, agents etc.) to recommend 2-3 authors or books they feel haven’t received the recognition they deserve.

Today’s recommendations are by Sarah McCarry. Sarah McCarry is the author of the novels All Our Pretty Songs, Dirty Wings, and About A Girl (summer 2015) and the editor and publisher of the chapbook series Guillotine.

  • Maria Dahvana Headley and Kat Howard: The End of the Sentence

    Delicious and stunningly creepy, this novella from spec-fic powerhouses Kat Howard and Maria Dahvana Headley is a deft blend of old myths and new ones. Both writers have a knack for crafting stories that neatly weave other worlds into this one, and this co-written project is no exception. It begins with a series of mysterious letters to reluctant new homeowner Malcom Mays, who’s not so much trying to build a new life as he is running away from his past. The house’s previous owner, who’s serving a mysterious sentence in a sinister prison, has a number of very specific instructions for Mays, and as the end of his sentence draws nearer, Mays’s world takes a turn for the increasingly surreal. Slyly funny and frequently terrifying, The End of the Sentence is a fantastic treat for weird fiction fans.

  • Elizabeth Hand: Radiant Days

    It’s hard for me to pick a favorite of Elizabeth Hand’s books, but recently revisiting this criminally under-read 2012 masterpiece reminded me of what an utterly stunning book Radiant Days is indeed. It’s nearly impossible to do the book justice with a plot summary; though it moves between the present and the past, building a bridge between two unlikely main characters–Merle, a troubled freshman at the Corcoran School of Art in 1978, and none other than equally troubled teen Arthur Rimbaud in 1870–it’s a moving testament to the power of art to transform us into its own image, and the sacrifices artists make in service of their work. Hand’s incandescent prose is at its finest here, whether she’s describing Rimbaud’s hallucinatory nights, Merle’s devotion to her painting, or the genre-defying, decades-hopping friendship that develops between the two of them. It’s the kind of magnificent book that’s so beautiful you don’t even mind it being a thousand times better than anything you could write yourself.

Stay tuned for the next post where we get reading recommendations from Richard Kadrey!

About Kristin Centorcelli (842 Articles)
Kristin Centorcelli is the Associate Editor at SF Signal, proprietor of My Bookish Ways, a reviewer for Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly, and has also written for Crime Fiction Lover, Criminal Element, and Mystery Scene Magazine. She has been reviewing books since late 2010, in an effort to get through a rather immense personal library, while also discussing it with whoever will willingly sit still (and some that won’t).
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