In her debut novel, The Wild Birds (Rare Bird Books, 2018), author Emily Strelow interrogates what it means to be “wild” by layering the word’s many meanings onto palpable, empathic, and deeply-flawed characters, all who live among the diverse and wondrous environs of the American West.
In his second novel Coyote Songs, Gabino Iglesias grabs readers by the wrist and guides them through a liminal space most readers believe exists a world away. In doing so, he illuminates the flagrant fallacy that there are some “very fine people on both sides.”
The novel takes the reader on a tour of a not-too-distant American past, when fear was weaponized and righteous rage boiled over. Smyer’s debut explores themes of the self in chaos; the prose is clean as bone and the anger is focused and piercing.
Lyrical, brooding, and delightfully dreamlike, the novel is a strange and ruthless journey into the ailing heart of humanity—and a bizarre peek into the mind of a brilliant new novelist.
“Families of victims are allowed to grieve openly and freely if they choose, because their loved one was exactly that: an innocent victim. Families of shooters don’t have the choice to grieve openly, because they not only must carry the burden of grief, but also blame.”