The New Order

26 Mar 2018

The New Order shows a singular writer at the top of her form dealing with contemporary themes and ideas, shining a spotlight on the dark corners of our nature, our instincts, and our country.

The critically acclaimed author of Refund returns with a new collection of stories that boldly examines the sense of instability that has grown stronger in American culture over the last two years through the increasing presence of violence, bigotry, sexual harassment, and the emotional costs of living under constant threat.

Praise for The New Order:

Longlist, The Story Prize, 2018

10 Books to Be Thankful for This November (O magazine)
11 Books to Know in November (Bustle)
Best Books of November (Refinery29)

21 Must-Read Books Set in a Post-Trump World (Read It Forward)
1 of 34 Fall 2018 Books We Can’t Wait to Read (HuffPost)
1 of 23 Hot Picks for Cool Fall Books (The Boston Globe)

1 of 80 Best Books of 2018 (Pop Matters) 



“A finalist for the National Book Award, lauded for her short stories, Bender returns with a collection that reflects America’s new reality. ” New York Times Book Review, New and Noteworthy Books

“National Book Award finalist Bender is back with more politically timely short fiction, in a collection that takes on school shootings, economic instability, campaigns for public office, sexual misconduct and beyond.” ―HuffPost, 1 of 34 Fall 2018 Books We Can’t Wait to Read

“The National Book Award finalist returns with a story collection guaranteed to unnerve.” ―The Boston Globe, 1 of 23 Hot Picks for Cool Fall Books

“The supremely crafted short fictions in the author’s second collection delight in upending expectations, playing fast and loose with the rules of tone, time, and point of view to constantly keep us guessing.” O Magazine

“Closed spaces―elevators, offices, an airplane, classrooms―amplify the inner dramas of Bender’s watchful, anxious, feverishly expressive narrators in her second short story collection . . . In each of Bender’s emotionally intimate tales, perplexed and traumatized girls and women confront the opacity of the thoughts and feelings of others, even those closest to them . . . With literary virtuosity, psychological authenticity, and breath-catching insight, Bender dramatizes gripping personal dilemmas compounded by a new order of social tyranny.” ―Booklist (starred review)

“Bender is known for her keenly observant and perceptive stories, including her collection Refund, a 2015 National Book Award finalist, and while her stories have a universality that makes them timeless, The New Order very much speaks to this particularly fraught time.” The National Book Review, 5 Hot Books

“Bender’s incisive collection (following Refund) touches on a range of hot-button issues—from gun violence and political xenophobia to sexual harassment and economic downturn…. The great strength of the collection lies in her ability to examine the ramifications of violence and casual cruelty on individuals and communities….There were many types of violence in the world, some quieter,” the speaker notes. This is a thoughtful, timely collection.” –Publisher’s Weekly

“Bender’s stories are unnerving — they track the slow warping of a mind pressured by threats of instability, danger, and falling without a net to catch them. Essentially, of us. Bender is an exquisite writer, and this book really will act as a brutally honest but empathetic guide to navigating the now.” Refinery29 magazine

“When most readers think about the American Jewish literary tradition, they’re thinking about Saul Bellow and Philip Roth. Maybe Bernard Malamud comes up or, more recently, Joshua Cohen and Michael Chabon. But there’s another tradition: the tradition of Grace Paley and Deborah Eisenberg, of the great Jewish women short story writers. Karen E. Bender (Like Normal People,Refund) belongs to that close-knit, fiery canon. She is as politicized as Paley, who famously split her time between parenting, writing, and protesting, and like Eisenberg she excels at sneaking in a joke when least expected. She’s always got an elbow in the reader’s side, nudging us to look closer at the world we live in.”-Lily Meyer, Los Angeles Review of Books

“Bender’s previous collection of stories, Refund, was deservedly shortlisted for the National Book Award. Her latest, The New Order, is even better and more trenchant, a harrowing look into our present moment..Bender’s writing is precise and exacting, and each story heartbreakingly cuts to the core of America’s numerous tragedies.” –Jonathan Russell ClarkRead It Forward

“The New Order is one of the best collections of the year.”

“She articulates our new normal in terms both empathetic and terrifying. Bender shows an utter mastery of dialogue, including the conversations her characters have with themselves…Only a writer of her caliber, her 2015 collection Refund became a National Book Award finalist, could so delicately perform an autopsy on America in the Trump years…Bender unveils the complex set of motives that caused America to impale itself….You will think about some of these stories every day”. – W. Scott Poole, Pop Matters

“American writer Karen E. Bender is a master of the short story, managing to create fully rounded characters in well-developed plots within a limited word count.” Andrea Geary, The Winnipeg Free Press

“In her short story collection Refund (a finalist for the National Book Award), Karen E. Bender delivered a set of remarkable short stories that smartly unpacked her characters’ complicated relationship with money. Now, in this new short story collection, she turns a sharp eye to the instability that has taken over America in the past few years.” Bustle magazine

“Karen E. Bender’s new story collection is steeped in the present political moment, with an eye to our future. Our cultural corrosion—especially our denial of sexual assault and gun violence—impacts Bender’s female narrators in quiet, resounding ways . . . The New Order delivers deceptively straightforward reflections on the mundane, as the reader is drawn into worlds much like our own.” —The Arkansas International

“In what feels like the most timely release, The New Order is a new collection of stories that examines American culture over the past two years where violence, bigotry, sexual harassment, and negativity loomed over the country like a cancerous cloud.” –

“What an amazing collection this is. Anyone who doubts that true art can be written in response to what’s going on in America needs to read The New Order. The book kept surprising and dazzling me―junior-high treacheries, a woman’s mean new job, and futile efficiencies in the face of danger are all turned into stories that read like legends.”
―Joan Silber, author of Improvement

“Karen E. Bender’s stories are a marvel. This collection is profound and deeply humane, a moving portrait of a culture at a moment of anxiety, its faults on display and all too recognizable.”
―Daniel Alarcón, author of The King Is Always Above the People

“Karen Bender is a tremendous writer―bighearted and wise, witty and wry―and The New Order is a powerhouse of a book: each story brilliantly crafted, propulsive, and surprising, with characters I cared for deeply and endings that knocked me flat. It’s a book that feels tailor-made for the current political moment, while still having the timeless feel of a classic. One of the best story collections I’ve read in years.”
―Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans