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Davey Davis. Catapult, $16.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-64622-093-9

Davis (The Earthquake Room) delivers an astonishing speculative tale of sex, power, and gender. In a near future, marginalized and unwanted people are “exported” by the fascistic government to camps and abroad. Lee, the narrator, is a sadist in Brooklyn, trying to find X, the woman they have become obsessed with after X topped them in a backroom at a warehouse concert. With few clues to X’s whereabouts, Lee navigates through play parties, sex workers, and partners future and past to find X before she—or anyone else they know—is exported. Interspliced with Lee’s pursuit are memories of neglect as a child and love as an adult. Along the way, Lee explores their relationship to pain as both an expression of punishment and of affection. Vivid and witty, Davis’s prose hurtles between moments of beauty and darkness, often in the same breath. Here’s Lee recounting how they would hold a former lover underwater in the bath: “she struggled, her breasts rising and sinking like feeding koi. In the water, her face was like an angel: shining, many-eyed, misshapen.” It’s just one of many ravishing explorations of the margins of a punishing world. This one hits hard. Agent: Julia Kardon, HG Literary. (June)