Yoko Ogawa's "The Memory Police" is a thrilling and surrealist account of a young writer, who is dealing with her own memory loss. We follow her as her entire town forgets things--birds, ribbons, etc. The writing becomes sparser as she forgets more and more of the world around her, struggling to keep her editor hidden as he faces imminent danger from the government who may or may not be behind the disappearances. This book is sure to keep you riveted 'til the very last page.
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is a psuedo-autobiographical account of the experience of American 'othering.' A raw and searing novel, it follows the protagonist, Little Dog, as he grapples with his own identity by writing letters to his mother, Rose. Ocean Vuong, who is by trade a poet, packs rich prose into every corner of this novel. The book deals with heavy themes and never shies away from the absolute truth of the refugee experience, making it a beautiful and unforgettable read.
A Tale for the Time Being is a masterful addition to the genre of magical realism. Following our main character, Nao, through diary entries, it details the life of a teenage girl who has been uprooted from her home and moved to Japan. What follows is a dark reckoning with heritage and loneliness. It is one of the rawest coming of age books I've ever read, and does a wonderful job portraying the loneliness and lack of wonder that follow us in our modern world. A good book for anyone who's not afraid of a little hurt.
Either/Or by Elif Batuman is a winding, ethereal book that is amazing for those readers who love words more than they love plot. The book follows Selin, a sophomore at Harvard in her quest to understand both herself and the world around her. Though technically written as a sequel to Batuman's book The Idiot, it can be read as a standalone. The main attraction of this book is the winding path of Selin's thoughts--Batuman creates an extensive mindscape that is both fascinating and pleasurable to dive into. Once you start, it's hard to escape, and you find that you don't want to.