Against the Country by Ben Metcalf (Random House, 336 pages, January 6)
Metcalf, former literary editor of Harper's Magazine, has written a story about Man versus Nature, in which the people in one rural Virginia town struggle against the unyielding soil and one another in order to survive. Oh, and apparently, "if Gary Shteyngart grew up along the banks of the Mississippi, this is the book that he would write." Well, then, hand it over!
Munich Airport by Greg Baxter (Twelve, 272 pages, January 27)
Last year, I read Baxter's slim but powerful novel The Apartment, and was impressed by his intense but spare style. In his latest novel, Baxter tells us about three people who congregate at the Munich Airport to wait for a family member's body in order to return it to America. The three weeks in which they wait for the body to be released is filled with these characters' attempts to grieve and remember.