On the Shelf
When I’m Gone, Look for Me in the East
By Quan Barry
Pantheon, 320 pages, $27
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Nothing thrills me more than reading a new novel and finding it completely different from the author’s earlier work. While many novelists tend to circle the same terrain, those who change up everything, every time, are both exciting and frightening to watch: Will they stick a new landing?
Quan Barry’s “We Ride Upon Sticks” was one of the most justly lauded fiction titles of 2020, a wildly funny look at a girls’ high-school field-hockey team that summons dark magick to its fields. The irresistible romp through adolescence laid the groundwork for the television hit “Yellowjackets,” the estrogen haze as powerful in its own way as the testosterone funk in any male locker room.