He: Shorter Writings of Franz Kafka

Quercus/riverrun editions


From the publisher:

"Being asked to write about Kafka is like being asked to describe the Great Wall of China by someone who’s standing just next to it. The only honest thing to do is point." —Joshua Cohen, from his preface to HE: SHORTER WRITINGS OF FRANZ KAFKA

This is a Kafka emergency kit, a congregation of the brief, the minor works that are actually major. Joshua Cohen has produced a frame that refuses distinctions between what is a story, a letter, a workplace memo and a diary entry, also including popular favourites like The Bucket Rider, The Penal Colony and The Burrow. Here we see Kafka’s preoccupations in writing about animals, messiah variations, food and exercise, each in his signature style.

Cohen’s selection emphasises the stately structure of utterly coherent logic, within an utterly incoherent illogical world, showing how Kafka harnessed the humblest grammar to metamorphic power until the predominant effect ceases to be the presence of an unreliable narrator, but the absence of the universe’s only reliable narrator, Who is God.

View on: Quercus/riverrun editions WorldCat

ATTENTION: Dispatches from a Land of Distraction

Random House


From the publisher:

A wide-ranging, rule-bending collection from “a major American writer” (The New York Times)—reclaiming the power of attention in an age of constant distraction.

One of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists, Joshua Cohen arrives with his first collection of nonfiction, the culmination of two decades of writing and thought about life in the digital age. In essays, memoir, criticism, diary entries, and letters—many appearing here for the first time—Cohen covers the full depth and breadth of modern life: politics, literature, art, music, travel, the media, and psychology, and subjects as diverse as Google, Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, fictional animals, Gustav Mahler, Aretha Franklin, John Zorn, landscape photography, fake Caravaggios, Wikipedia, Gertrude Stein, Edward Snowden, Jonathan Franzen, Olympic women’s fencing, Atlantic City casinos, the closing of the Ringling Bros. circus, and Azerbaijan.

Throughout ATTENTION, Cohen directs his sharp gaze at home and abroad, calling upon his extraordinary erudition and unrivaled ability to draw connections between seemingly unlike things to show us how to live without fear in a world overflowing with information. In each piece, he projects a quality of thought that is uniquely his, and a voice as witty, profound, and distinct as any in American letters.

At this crucial juncture in history, ATTENTION is a guide for the perplexed—a handbook for anyone hoping to bring the wisdom of the past into the culture of the future.

View on: Random House

Moving Kings

Random House


From the publisher:

One of the boldest voices of his generation, Joshua Cohen returns with Moving Kings, a propulsive, incendiary novel that interweaves, in profoundly intimate terms, the housing crisis in America’s poor Black and Hispanic neighborhoods with the world's oldest conflict, in the Middle East.

The year is 2015, and 21-year-olds Yoav and Uri have just completed their compulsory military service in the Israel Defense Forces. In keeping with national tradition, they take a year off for rest, recovery, and travel. They come to New York City and begin working for Yoav's distant cousin, David King—a proud American patriot, Republican, and Jew, and the recently divorced proprietor of King's Moving, Inc., a heavyweight in the Tri-State area's moving and storage industries. Yoav and Uri now must struggle to become reacquainted with civilian life, but it's not easy to move beyond their traumatic pasts when their days are spent kicking down doors, working as eviction-movers in the ungentrified corners of the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens, throwing out delinquent tenants and seizing their possessions. And what starts off as a profitable if eerily familiar job—an "Occupation"—quickly turns violent, when they encounter one homeowner seeking revenge.

Driven by Cohen’s characteristic intelligence, boundless energy, psychological tension, and humor, Moving Kings is a powerful and provocative novel about faith, race, class, and what it means to have a home.

View on: Random House

Book of Numbers

Random House


From the publisher:

A monumental, uproarious, and exuberant novel about the search—for love, truth, and the meaning of Life With The Internet.

The enigmatic billionaire founder of Tetration, the world’s most powerful tech company, hires a failed novelist, Josh Cohen, to ghostwrite his memoirs. This tech mogul, known as Principal, brings Josh behind the digital veil, tracing the rise of Tetration, which started in the earliest days of the Internet by revolutionizing the search engine before venturing into smartphones, computers, and the surveillance of American citizens. Principal takes Josh on a mind-bending world tour from Palo Alto to Dubai and beyond, initiating him into the secret pretext of the autobiography project and the life-or-death stakes that surround its publication.

Insider tech exposé, leaked memoir-in-progress, international thriller, family drama, sex comedy, and biblical allegory, Book of Numbers renders the full range of modern experience both online and off. Embodying the Internet in its language, it finds the humanity underlying the virtual.

Featuring one of the most unforgettable characters in contemporary fiction, Book of Numbers is an epic of the digital age, a triumph of a new generation of writers, and one of those rare books that renew the idea of what a novel can do.

View on: Random House Powell's McNally Jackson

Four New Messages

Graywolf Press


From the publisher:

A quartet of audacious fictions that capture the pathos and absurdity of life in the age of the internet.

A spectacularly talented young writer has returned from the present with Four New Messages, urgent and visionary dispatches that seek to save art, sex, and even alienation from corporatism and technology run rampant.

In "Emission," a hapless drug dealer in Princeton is humiliated when a cruel co-ed exposes him exposing himself on a blog gone viral. "McDonald's" tells of a frustrated pharmaceutical copywriter whose imaginative flights fail to bring solace because of a certain word he cannot put down on paper. In "The College Borough" a father visiting NYU with his daughter remembers a former writing teacher, a New Yorker exiled to the Midwest who refuses to read his students' stories, asking them instead to build a replica of the Flatiron Building. "Sent" begins mythically in the woods of Russia, but in a few virtuosic pages plunges into the present, where an aspiring journalist finds himself in a village that shelters all the women who've starred in all the internet porn he's ever enjoyed.

Highbrow and low-down, these four intensely felt stories explain what happens when the virtual begins to colonize the real—they harness the torrential power and verbal dexterity that have established Cohen as one of America's most brilliant younger writers.

View on: Graywolf Press Powell’s McNally Jackson WorldCat


Dalkey Archive Press


From the publisher:

On Christmas Eve 1999, all the Jews in the world die in a strange, millennial plague, with the exception of the firstborn males, who are soon adopted by a cabal of powerful people in the American government. By the following Passover, however, only one is still alive: Benjamin Israelien; a kindly, innocent, ignorant man-child. As he finds himself transformed into an international superstar, Jewishness becomes all the rage: matzo-ball soup is in every bowl, sidelocks are stylish; and the only truly Jewish Jew left is increasingly stigmatized for not being religious. Since his very existence exposes the illegitimacy of the newly converted, Israelien becomes the object of a worldwide hunt . . .

View on: Dalkey Archive Press McNally Jackson WorldCat

A Heaven of Others

Starcherone Books


From the publisher:

When a ten-year-old Jewish boy is exploded on a Jerusalem street by a ten-year-old Palestinian boy, he wakes up in a heaven no one in his tradition prepared him for, a heaven of others. Joshua Cohen’s novel stands at the crossroads of a conflicted city and wordplay that both celebrates and dismantles tradition.

View on: Starcherone Books Powell’s McNally Jackson WorldCat

Cadenza for the Schneidermann Violin Concerto

Fugue State Press


From the publisher:

This brilliant first novel is a portrait of an artist at the end of an art form. The elderly Jewish-Hungarian composer Schneidermann, who survived a musical education, survived the war, survived Europe, survived the neglect of all his music, finally and suddenly vanishes during a matinee movie on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The novel begins with Schneidermann's friend--his only friend--the violin virtuoso Laster, onstage at Carnegie Hall. He has finished playing the first movement of Schneidermann's last composition, his Violin Concerto. At this point he is supposed to begin his cadenza...his solo. Instead, he drops his instrument and lifts his voice, delivering the text of this novel to the audience.

View on: Fugue State Press McNally Jackson WorldCat


Six Gallery Press


From the publisher:

Writer Joshua Cohen and artist Michael Hafftka interpret the twenty-two letters of the “Aleph Bet,” the Hebrew alphabet. Through their images and texts, Cohen and Hafftka engage these letters, in form and function, in manners both mundane and mystical. The images, and the three texts (two stories entitled "Naming" and "Shabbos Dinner, with Letterforms," and the essayistic "A Metaphysical Disquisition Upon the Nature of the Hebrew Sophiyot"), together formulate a challenge to the Second Commandment, which forbids representation, in a style at once traditional and modern, expressively mindful of what it means to lack faith and yet, in the turn of a phrase, at the stroke of a brush, refusing the consolation of cult.

View on: Six Gallery Press WorldCat

The Quorum

Twisted Spoon Press


From the publisher:

From a review of a book about the Holocaust that's six-million blank pages to a suicide note that might only be a letter about a religious conversion; from the proverbs of King Solomon's harem to a scientific report about a group of people who interchange appearances, habits, proclivities and talents, The Quorum is an absurd yet sensitive take on the individual's lifelong quest to get someone, anyone, to listen.

View on: Twisted Spoon Press WorldCat


Useless Press

View on: Useless Press

Attention! A (Short) History

Notting Hill Editions

View on: Notting Hill Editions (UK only) Amazon (UK)

Bridge & Tunnel (& Tunnel & Bridge)

The Cupboard

View on: The Cupboard

The Review of Contemporary Fiction, The Failure Issue

Dalkey Archive Press

View on: Dalkey Archive Press