Calhoun & Poissant Discovered, Anselme & Dillen Rediscovered | Fiction Previews, Mar. 2014, Pt. 2

Anselme, Daniel. On Leave. Faber & Faber. Mar. 2014. 224p. tr. from French by David Bellos. ISBN 9780865478954. $24; ebk. ISBN 9780865478961. LITERARY
Anselme’s classic explains what it’s like for soldiers to return home from an unpopular war in a distant realm. No, it’s not about Vietnam. It was published in Paris in 1957, as France’s fighting in Algeria was becoming more intense, and received little notice from a public reluctant to hear bad news. Anselme, who was born Daniel Rabinovitch and renamed himself while serving in the Resistance during World War II, fiercely protested the Algerian War. Lots of in-house excitement for this rediscovered classic, brought to us by award-winning, Princeton-based translator Bellos.

Calhoun, Kenneth. Black Moon. Crown. Mar. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780804137140. $24; ebk. ISBN 9780804137157. LITERARY
In Calhoun’s awful new world, folks have lost the ability to sleep—a scary conceit with which today’s overworked masses can truly identify. Matt Briggs is among the few who can still enjoy some shuteye, but his wife has lost her mind from sleeplessness and vanished. Briggs goes after her, encountering as much craziness as one might expect after the dropping of a bomb. What recommends this first novel especially is Calhoun’s track record, which includes publication in the Paris Review, Tin House, and the 2011 Pen/O. Henry Prize Collection.

Dillen, Frederick. Beauty. S. & S. Mar. 2014. 224p. 9781476716923. $25. POP FICTION
Dillen’s Hero was named Best First Novel of 1994 by the Dictionary of Literary Biography; his second novel, Fool, was named a Book Lust Rediscoveries selection in 2012 by Nancy Pearl; and his stories have appeared in venues like Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. So check out this timely new novel, which features a heroine whose work for a mergers and acquisitions firm in New York requires traveling from factory to factory, dispensing with blue-collar workers. Then she’s fired herself.

Poissant, David James. The Heaven of Animals. S. & S. Mar. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9781476729961. $24. SHORT STORIES
Like Calhoun, Poissant is a young writer on the move, having had his work published in places like the Atlantic, Glimmer Train, and New Stories from the South and won numerous awards (e.g., the Matt Clark Prize). This first collection investigates relationships on the edge, with stories ranging from two men rushing to save an alligator to a young woman helping her anxious boyfriend to a man thinking about his brother encountering a wolf in the moonlight.


Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.