By Percival Everett
(Graywolf Press, 240 pages, $15)
Ogden Walker, deputy sheriff of Plata County, New Mexico, walks the High Desert. His job puts him on the trail of the deceased, and he hears their voices—his dead father among them, listing Ogden’s foolish mistakes. This novel from the esteemed L.A. writer and USC professor, whose poetry collection Swimming Swimmers Swimming was released in April, is half silence and half contrapuntal dialogue. He saids and she saids and Ogden’s deductions echo through the canyons. This is classic Everett, a Balinese shadow play of a novel.
It Calls You Back
By Luis J. Rodriguez
(Touchstone, 336 pages, $25)
Always Running, Rodriguez’s first memoir, is now a classic. Here the poet, journalist, peacemaker, ex-addict, publisher, and bookstore owner experiences a “heartbreaking love” for his son, Ramiro, who comes home after 13 years in prison (three counts of attempted murder). Rodriguez thinks back to his own barrio gang ties in the San Gabriel Valley. His writing is marked with tenderness and forgiveness: “There were days I wanted to give up on my son, to throw him out of the house as my parents had done with me. But I felt an even stronger pull to stand by him.”