This year has seen the republication of several long-out-of-print forgotten classics, notably The Skin by Curzio Malaparte, & Chocolates for Breakfast by Pamela Moore. The former i’ve reviewed (in paperback) on Amazon. The latter is, among a few others from about the same time all similar in tone & theme to Catcher in the Rye (including The Bell Jar), possibly the best-written. Then there is the New Zealand poet Charles Spear. Like Ronald Firbank, it took decades after they ended for the most perfectly “findesecular” works of the 1890s to appear. I found an ex-library copy of the original edition of Twopence Coloured online; you don’t have to.
Among contemporary poets, nothing in years has impressed me like Squeezed Light by the Vancouver goldsmith-poet Lissa Wolsak. So much “post-language” writing, however skillful or sincere, could just as well have appeared twenty five or thirty five years earlier. This one feels absolutely contemporary, & has a scary music that makes me think of Alban Berg. (Distantly, Mina Loy.)
Science fiction just keeps on generating quasi-replicas of itself, like a Karel Čapek nightmare, till you wonder what ever happened to the literature of the future. Three recent authors stand out in my mind for sheer originality & verve: Lyda Morehouse, for the series which began with Archangel Protocol; combining cyberpunk & outrageous religious speculation; & Jon Armstrong, for Grey and Yarn, books whose genre can only be described as “fashionpunk”.
The Bel Dame Apocrypha trilogy of Kameron Hurley is attracting enough attention these days that any endorsement here seems almost superfluous. Still, it shares strong characterization & vivid worldbuilding with the two preceding. Make no mistake about it, God’s War is a violent book. But very few authors bother to examine the effects of violence intelligently.
Looking back, i think these all have a combination of a strong sense of the real world, with an equally strong will to reshape it aesthetically.