The Underdogs (Spanish: Los de abajo) is a novel by Mexican author Mariano Azuela which tells the story of a group of commoners who are dragged into the Mexican Revolution and the changes in their psyche due to living through the conflict. It is heavily influenced by the author's experiences during the revolution, where he participated as a medical officer for Pancho Villa's Northern Division. The novel was the first of its kind to be translated into English, as part of a project sponsored by the Mexican Government and the Mexican Renaissance intellectual movement to promote Mexico as a literature-creating country. It had been previously well received by American critics like Earl K.James from the New York Times in 1928 so the translation project went on and was released in 1929 by Brentanno's Books, at the time, the largest bookstore chain in the US. It has been considered "The Novel of the Mexican Revolution" since 1924 when journalist Francisco Monterde wrote about it for the Excélsior as an example of virile and modern post-revolutionary literature.
First published in 1921, American Indian Stories details the hardships encountered by Zitkala-Ša and other Native Americans in the missionary and manual labour schools. The autobiographical details contrast her early life on the Yankton Indian Reservation and her time as a student at White's Manual Labour Institute and Earlham College. The collection includes legends and stories from Sioux oral tradition, along with an essay titled America's Indian Problem, which advocates rights for Native Americans and calls for a greater understanding of Native American cultures. American Indian Stories offers a unique view into a society that is often overlooked though that society still persists to this day.
The True Story of Ah Q is an episodic novella written by Lu Xun, first published as a serial between December 4, 1921 and February 12, 1922. Both the novella form and the low social station of the protagonist were new in the ancient Chinese literature. But the story consisted of nine serial episodic chapters (an old Chinese method for long folklore 章回體形式, which can consist of hundreds of chapters). This is the only novella published by Lu Xun.
Cane is a 1923 novel by noted Harlem Renaissance author Jean Toomer. The novel is structured as a series of vignettes revolving around the origins and experiences of African Americans in the United States. The vignettes alternate in structure between narrative prose, poetry, and play-like passages of dialogue.
The Vortex is a novel written in 1924 by the Colombian author José Eustasio Rivera. It is set in at least three different bioregions of Colombia during the rubber boom.
Chaka is the third and final novel by Mosotho writer Thomas Mofolo. Written in Sesotho, it is a mythic retelling of the story of the rise and fall of the Zulu emperor-king Shaka. Chaka was written in three years, from 1907 to 1910. To gather material for his novel, Thomas Mofolo made several trips to the South African province of Natal, including one in 1909 where he visited the grave of Shaka
Roberto Arlt, celebrated in Argentina for his tragicomic, punch-in-the-jaw writing during the 1920s and 1930s, was a forerunner of Latin American “boom” and “postboom” novelists such as Gabriel García Márquez and Isabel Allende. Mad Toy, acclaimed by many as Arlt’s best novel, is set against the chaotic background of Buenos Aires in the early twentieth century. Set in the badlands of adolescence, where acts of theft and betrayal become metaphors for creativity, Mad Toy is equal parts pulp fiction, realism, detective story, expressionist drama, and creative memoir.
An immigrant son of a German father and an Italian mother, Arlt as a youth was a school dropout, poor and often hungry. In Mad Toy, he incorporates his personal experience into the lives of his characters. Published in 1926 as El juguete rabioso, the novel follows the adventures of Silvio Astier, a poverty-stricken and frustrated youth who is drawn to gangs and a life of petty crime. As Silvio struggles to bridge the gap between exuberant imagination and the sordid reality around him, he becomes fascinated with weapons, explosives, vandalism, and thievery, despite a desperate desire to rise above his origins. Flavored with a dash of romance, a hint of allegory, and a healthy dose of irony, the novel’s language varies from the cultured idiom of the narrator to the dialects and street slang of the novel’s many colorful characters.
Mad Toy has appeared in numerous Spanish editions and has been adapted for the stage and for film. It is the second of Arlt’s novels to be translated into English.
"Chevengur" is a utopian socio- philosophical novel by Russian writer Andrei Platonov . The most extensive and, according to many literary critics, his most significant composition; "The only completed novel in the work of Platonov". Was written in 1926 - 1928 or 1927 -1 928 years; the first edition was called The Builders of Spring (1927).
And Quiet Flows the Don or Quietly Flows the Don (Тихий Дон, lit. "The Quiet Don") is 4-volume epic novel by Russian writer Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov. The 1st three volumes were written from 1925 to '32 & published in the Soviet magazine October in 1928–32. The 4th volume was finished in 1940. The English translation of the 1st three volumes appeared under this title in 1934. The novel is considered one of the most significant works of Russian literature in the 20th century. It depicts the lives & struggles of Don Cossacks during WWI, the Russian Revolution & Russian Civil War. In 1965, Sholokhov was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for this novel.
Doña Bárbara ( lady Bárbara) is a novel by Venezuelan author Rómulo Gallegos, first published in 1929. It was described in 1974 as "possibly the most widely known Latin American novel". This regionalist novel deals with the confrontation between civilization and the barbaric aspects of the rural environment and its inhabitants. It is written in the third person and mixes vernacular language and regionalisms with literary narrative, making the main conflict more obvious and at the same time more tangible. This novel is considered a masterpiece of Venezuelan literature and a classic in Latin American literature. It establishes a psychological study of the people of the Venezuelan plains: victims of unfortunate situations, but at the same time strong and courageous.
Leyendas de Guatemala (Legends of Guatemala) was the first book to be published by Nobel-prizewinning author Miguel Ángel Asturias. The book is a re-telling of Maya origin stories from Asturias's homeland of Guatemala. It reflects the author's study of anthropology and Central American indigenous civilizations, undertaken in France, at the Sorbonne where he was influenced by the European perspective.
The nature of oral tradition is evident in Leyendas de Guatemala, as shown in the dedication: “To my mother, who used to tell me stories.” This reflects the traditional character of the origin of the stories, in which Asturias takes collective memory to a higher level of awareness through his fictionalization.
In critic Jean Franco's description, the book "gave lyrical recreations of Guatemalan folklore many of which drew their inspiration from pre-Columbian and colonial sources".
The writing style of Leyendas de Guatemala is the product of a fortunate experiment, which established a structure that can be called poetic intuition, and a style which can be seen as a precursor to the future literary movement of magical realism. Leyendas de Guatemala can be read not only from an anthropological perspective, but also as an aesthetic experience that confirms the originality of the style.
In 1955, Halldór Laxness received the Nobel Prize for Literature and is today the most important Icelandic writer of the twentieth century. This novel is about Salka Valka , one of the greatest female characters in Laxness's writing who struggles to achieve a decent life.
With 1919, the second volume of his U.S.A. trilogy, John Dos Passos continues his "vigorous and sweeping panorama of twentieth-century America" (Forum), lauded on publication of the first volume not only for its scope, but also for its groundbreaking style. Again, employing a host of experimental devices that would inspire a whole new generation of writers to follow, Dos Passos captures the many textures, flavors, and background noises of modern life with a cinematic touch and unparalleled nerve.
1919 opens to find America and the world at war, and Dos Passos's characters, many of whom we met in the first volume, are thrown into the snarl. We follow the daughter of a Chicago minister, a wide-eyed Texas girl, a young poet, a radical Jew, and we glimpse Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, and the Unknown Soldier.
The “U.S.A.” trilogy—written by Dos Passos in the late nineteen-twenties and nineteen-thirties, and consisting of “The 42nd Parallel,” “1919,” and “The Big Money”—was an attempt to describe American life in tumult, from top to bottom. Writing at a moment of economic dissolution and technological transformation, Dos Passos hoped to show how Americans of all kinds were responding to the bustling mess of modernity—what his friend Edmund Wilson called “the American jitters.” In its time, the trilogy sold well, and it was highly praised by Jean-Paul Sartre, William Faulkner, and others. But since then its fortunes have been jittery, too.
Dobry is a book by Monica Shannon first published in 1934 that won the Newbery Medal for most distinguished contribution to American literature for children in 1935. Bulgarian-born sculptor Atanas Katchamakoff illustrated the book.
Introspective, intense and poignant, The Wine of Solitude is the most autobiographical of all Irène Némirovsky's novels.
Imbued with melancholy, and regret, it explores the troubled relationship between a young girl, her distant, self-absorbed mother and her mother's lover, Max. We follow the family through the Great War and the Russian Revolution, as the young Hélène grows from a dreamy, unhappy child into an angry young woman.
Through hot summers in a fictionalised Kiev (Némirovsky's own birthplace) and the cruel winters of St Petersburg, the would-be writer Hélène blossoms, despite her mother's neglect, into a clear-eyed observer of the life around her. The Wine of Solitude is a powerful tale, telling less of the end of innocence, than of disillusionment; the story of an upbringing that produces a young woman as hard as a diamond, prepared to wreak a shattering revenge on her mother.
In this bitterly funny novel by the renowned Polish author Witold Gombrowicz, a writer finds himself tossed into a chaotic world of schoolboys by a diabolical professor who wishes to reduce him to childishness. Originally published in Poland in 1937, Ferdydurke became an instant literary sensation and catapulted the young author to fame. Deemed scandalous and subversive by Nazis, Stalinists, and the Polish Communist regime in turn, the novel (as well as all of Gombrowicz’s other works) was officially banned in Poland for decades. It has nonetheless remained one of the most influential works of twentieth-century European literature.
Ferdydurke is translated here directly from the Polish for the first time. Danuta Borchardt deftly captures Gombrowicz’s playful and idiosyncratic style, and she allows English speakers to experience fully the masterpiece of a writer whom Milan Kundera describes as “one of the great novelists of our century.”
During his long and distinguished career, the Croatian writer Miroslav Krleza (1893-1981) battled against many forms of tyranny. In On the Edge of Reason, his protagonist is a middle-aged lawyer whose life and career have been eminently respectable and respected. One evening, at a party attended by the local elite, he inadvertently blurts out an honest thought. From this moment, all hell breaks loose.... On the Edge of Reason reveals the fundamental chasm between conformity and individuality. As folly piles on folly, hypocrisy on hypocrisy, reason itself begins to give way, and the edge between reality and unreality disappears.
The Tartar Steppe is a novel by Italian author Dino Buzzati, published in 1940. The novel tells the story of a young officer, Giovanni Drogo, and his life spent guarding the Bastiani Fortress, an old, unmaintained border fortress. The plot of the novel is Drogo's lifelong wait for a great war in which his life and the existence of the fort can prove its usefulness. The human need for giving life meaning and the soldier's desire for glory are themes in the novel. Drogo is posted to the remote outpost overlooking a desolate Tartar desert; he spends his career waiting for the barbarian horde rumored to live beyond the desert. Without noticing, Drogo finds that in his watch over the fort he has let years and decades pass and that, while his old friends in the city have had children, married, and lived full lives, he has come away with nothing except solidarity with his fellow soldiers in their long, patient vigil. When the attack by the Tartars finally arrives, Drogo gets ill and the new chieftain of the fortress dismisses him. Drogo, on his way back home, dies lonely in an inn.
The Family of Pascual Duarte is a 1942 novel written by Spanish Nobel laureate Camilo José Cela. The first two editions created an uproar and in less than a year it was banned. A new Spanish edition was allowed in 1946.
Near to the Wild Heart is Clarice Lispector's first novel, written from March to November 1942 and published around her twenty-third birthday. The novel, written in a stream-of-consciousness style reminiscent of the English-language Modernists, centers around the childhood and early adulthood of a character named Joana, who bears strong resemblance to her author: "Madame Bovary, c'est moi", Lispector said, quoting Flaubert, when asked about the similarities. The book, particularly its revolutionary language, brought its young, unknown creator to great prominence in Brazilian letters and earned her the prestigious Graça Aranha Prize.
Joana, a young woman very much in the mode of existential contemporaries like Camus and Sartre, ponders the meaning of life, the freedom to be one's self, and the purpose of existence. Near to the Wild Heart does not have a conventional narrative plot. It instead recounts flashes from the life of Joana, between her present, as a young woman, and her early childhood. These focus, like most of Lispector's works, on interior, emotional states of mind.
The genre of the peasant novel in Haiti reaches back to the nineteenth century and this is one of the outstanding examples. Manuel returns to his native village after working on a sugar plantation in Cuba only to discover that it is stricken by a drought and divided by a family feud.
The Bridge on the Drina[a] is a historical novel by the Yugoslav writer Ivo Andrić. It revolves around the Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge in Višegrad, which spans the Drina River and stands as a silent witness to history from its construction by the Ottomans in the mid-16th century until its partial destruction during World War I. The story spans about four centuries and covers the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian occupations of the region, with a particular emphasis on the lives, destinies and relations of the local inhabitants, especially Serbs and Bosnian Muslims.
Andrić had been Yugoslavia's ambassador to Germany from 1939 to 1941, during the early years of World War II, and was arrested by the Germans in April 1941, following the Nazi German-led Axis invasion of Yugoslavia. In June 1941, he was allowed to return to German-occupied Belgrade but was confined to a friend's apartment in conditions that some biographers liken to house arrest. The novel was one of three that Andrić wrote over the next several years. All three were published in short succession in 1945, following Belgrade's liberation from the Germans. The Bridge on the Drina was published in March of that year to widespread acclaim.
America Is in the Heart, sometimes subtitled A Personal History, is a 1946 semi-autobiographical novel written by Filipino American immigrant poet, fiction writer, short story teller, and activist, Carlos Bulosan. The novel was one of the earliest published books that presented the experiences of the immigrant and working class based on an Asian American point of view and has been regarded as "[t]he premier text of the Filipino-American experience." In his introduction, journalist Carey McWilliams, who wrote a 1939 study about migrant farm labor in California (Factories in the Field), described America Is in the Heart as a “social classic” that reflected on the experiences of Filipino immigrants in America who were searching for the “promises of a better life”.
Nobel Prize recipient Yasunari Kawabata's Snow Country is widely considered to be the writer's masterpiece, a powerful tale of wasted love set amid the desolate beauty of western Japan.
At an isolated mountain hot spring, with snow blanketing every surface, Shimamura, a wealthy dilettante meets Komako, a lowly geisha. She gives herself to him fully and without remorse, despite knowing that their passion cannot last and that the affair can have only one outcome. In chronicling the course of this doomed romance, Kawabata has created a story for the ages, a stunning novel dense in implication and exalting in its sadness.
Osamu Dazai's No Longer Human, this leading postwar Japanese writer's second novel, tells the poignant and fascinating story of a young man who is caught between the breakup of the traditions of a northern Japanese aristocratic family and the impact of Western ideas. In consequence, he feels himself "disqualified from being human" (a literal translation of the Japanese title).
Set in South Africa under white rule, Doris Lessing's first novel is both a riveting chronicle of human disintegration and a beautifully understated social critique.
Mary Turner is a self-confident, independent young woman who becomes the depressed, frustrated wife of an ineffectual, unsuccessful farmer. Little by little the ennui of years on the farm work their slow poison, and Mary's despair progresses until the fateful arrival of an enigmatic and virile black servant, Moses. Locked in anguish, Mary and Moses -- master and slave -- are trapped in a web of mounting attraction and repulsion. Their psychic tension explodes in an electrifying scene that ends this disturbing tale of racial strife in colonial South Africa.
The Grass Is Singing blends Lessing's imaginative vision with her own vividly remembered early childhood to recreate the quiet horror of a woman's struggle against a ruthless fate.
Memoirs of Hadrian (French: Mémoires d'Hadrien) is a novel by the Belgian-born French writer Marguerite Yourcenar about the life and death of Roman Emperor Hadrian. First published in France in French in 1951 as Mémoires d'Hadrien, the book was an immediate success, meeting with enormous critical acclaim. Although the historical Hadrian wrote an autobiography, it has been lost.
The book takes the form of a letter to Hadrian's adoptive grandson and eventual successor "Mark" (Marcus Aurelius). The emperor meditates on military triumphs, love of poetry and music, philosophy, and his passion for his lover Antinous, all in a manner similar to Gustave Flaubert's "melancholy of the antique world."
Yourcenar noted in her postscript "Carnet de note" to the original edition, quoting Flaubert, that she had chosen Hadrian as the subject of the novel in part because he had lived at a time when the Roman gods were no longer believed in, but Christianity was not yet established. This intrigued her for what she saw as parallels to her own post-war European world.
First published in 1952 and immediately hailed as a masterpiece, Invisible Man is one of those rare novels that have changed the shape of American literature. For not only does Ralph Ellison's nightmare journey across the racial divide tell unparalleled truths about the nature of bigotry and its effects on the minds of both victims and perpetrators, it gives us an entirely new model of what a novel can be.
As he journeys from the Deep South to the streets and basements of Harlem, from a horrifying "battle royal" where black men are reduced to fighting animals, to a Communist rally where they are elevated to the status of trophies, Ralph Ellison's nameless protagonist ushers readers into a parallel universe that throws our own into harsh and even hilarious relief. Suspenseful and sardonic, narrated in a voice that takes in the symphonic range of the American language, black and white, Invisible Man is one of the most audacious and dazzling novels of our century.
In the Castle of My Skin is the first and much acclaimed novel by Barbadian writer George Lamming, originally published in 1953 by Michael Joseph in London, and subsequently published in New York City by McGraw-Hill. The novel won a Somerset Maugham Award and was championed by eminent figures Jean-Paul Sartre and Richard Wright, the latter writing an introduction to the book's US edition.An autobiographical coming-of-age novel, set in the 1930s–'40s in Carrington Village, Barbados, where the author was born and raised, In the Castle of My Skin follows the events in the life of a young boy named G, taking place against the background of dramatic changes in the society in which he lives. The book's title comes from a couplet in Derek Walcott's early work Epitaph for the Young: XII Cantos (1949): "You in the castle of your skin / I the swineherd."
At the beginning of this masterpiece of African literature, Clarence, a white man, has been shipwrecked on the coast of Africa. Flush with self-importance, he demands to see the king, but the king has just left for the south of his realm. Traveling through an increasingly phantasmagoric landscape in the company of a beggar and two roguish boys, Clarence is gradually stripped of his pretensions, until he is sold to the royal harem as a slave. But in the end Clarence’s bewildering journey is the occasion of a revelation, as he discovers the image, both shameful and beautiful, of his own humanity in the alien splendor of the king.
Camara Laye published his first novel in 1953, the autobiographical L'Enfant noir (The African Child, also published under the title The Dark Child). It follows his own journey from childhood in Kouroussa, his education in Conakry, and eventual departure for France. The book won the Prix Charles Veillon in 1954. L'Enfant noir was followed the next year by Le Regard du roi (The Radiance of the King).
The Poor Christ of Bomba (1956), Mongo Beti's major novel, depicts the effects of French colonial infringement on the Cameroon landscape and consciousness. The novel charts the story of Father Superior Drumont, a Catholic priest assigned to the rainforest region of Cameroon around the 1930s. His professed task is to convert the indigenes of a six-tribe region to Catholicism. Despite Father Drumont's seeming piety, he is not what he seems. Governed by the French colonial ideology of assimilation, he is bent on forcing his Christian converts to forsake their African traditions and cultural ways as a condition for Christianity. The sixa, a church establishment aimed at grooming young female converts in preparation for Christian marriage, is Father Drumont's signature project during his twenty-year tenure at the Bomba Mission. In practice, however, the sixa is a complete mockery of Catholicism and a subversion of African traditional marriages. Father Drumont's increasingly rebellious converts come into a full awareness of his complicity with French colonial administrators like Vidal. Unable to re-establish a strong foothold in a resistant parish, a disillusioned Father Drumont returns to France. The novel depicts an awakening of a growing "national" consciousness similar to the Harlem Renaissance that occurred in the United States in the early twentieth century. Just as slave narratives exposed the brutality of slavery as a means to promote abolition, this essay explores The Poor Christ of Bomba as a fictional slave narrative that exposes French imperialism by constructing a discourse of resistance that is bound to serve as a path to decolonization.
The Birds tells the story of Mattis, a deeply sensitive, intellectually disabled young man living in a small house in the Norwegian countryside with his sister Hege. Eking out a modest living knitting sweaters, Hege encourages her brother to find work to ease their financial burdens, but his attempts come to nothing. When he finally sets himself up as a ferryman, the only passenger he manages to bring across the lake is a lumberjack, Jørgen. But when Jørgen and Hege become lovers, Mattis finds the safety of his familial life threatened and his jealousy quickly spirals. In The Birds, Norway’s most celebrated writer of the twentieth century allows us to rediscover the world. By turns frightening, beautiful, confounding, and full of mystery, it is a world we come to see more vividly through Mattis’s eyes.
Aag Ka Darya is a landmark historical novel written by Qurratulain Hyder providing context to the traumatic partition of the Indian subcontinent into two nation-states. It has been described as "one of the Indian Subcontinent’s best known novels". The novel timelines spanned over two thousand years starting from the time of Chandargupta Maurya in fourth century BC to the post-Independence period in India and Pakistan. It was published in Urdu in 1959 and translated by the author into English in 1998 as River of Fire.
Palace Of The Peacock (1960) is the first novel by Guyanese writer Wilson Harris. It is considered an important early postcolonial novel and a canonical text in Caribbean Literary Studies. The novel is the first in Harris's 'Guyana Quartet' of novels, which also include The Far Journey of Oudin (1961), The Whole Armour (1962) and The Secret Ladder (1963).
The novel is set in the sixteenth century and presents the narrative of a group of men from different ethnic backgrounds making their way up a dangerous and turbulent river within the jungles of Guyana. The party is led by a man named Donne, a cruel second-generation European colonialist who was born in Guyana, and who is hunting for a woman called Mariella who has run away from him. Over the course of the journey it becomes apparent that it is not the first time the men have tried to make their way up this river and that last time they attempted to traverse the river they were all drowned. It is suggested that they now exist in a liminal or spectral state between life and death. The events of the narrative are narrated by a first person narrator who is identified simply as 'Dreamer' in the opening pages of the novel. Dreamer's presence becomes increasingly oblique as the novel progresses.
L'Aventure ambiguë is a novel by Senegalese author Cheikh Hamidou Kane, first published in 1961, about the interactions of western and African cultures. Its hero is a boy from the Diallobé region of Senegal who goes to study in France. There, he loses touch with his Islamic faith and his Senegalese roots. It won the Grand prix littéraire d'Afrique noire in 1962. A 1963 English translation of the novel was republished as part of the influential Heinemann African Writers Series in 1972.
Senja di Jakarta is an Indonesian novel written by Mochtar Lubis and first published in English by Hutchinson & Co. in 1963, with a translation by Claire Holt. It was later published in Indonesian in 1970. Senja di Jakarta was written while Mochtar Lubis was under house arrest, as ordered by the Sukarno government. The manuscript was originally entitled Yang Terinjak dan Melawan (English: Those Who are Stepped On and Fight Back), but the title was changed during translation. Half a century ago when Mochtar Lubis's Twilight in Jakarta was secreted out of Indonesia and published in London, it was the first Indonesian novel ever to be published in English translation. It is re-published as Indonesia once again has a boisterous multiparty system of competing and collaborating political parties.
Rake, drunkard, aesthete, gossip, raconteur extraordinaire: the narrator of Bohumil Hrabal’s rambling, rambunctious masterpiece Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age is all these and more. Speaking to a group of sunbathing women who remind him of lovers past, this elderly roué tells the story of his life—or at least unburdens himself of a lifetime’s worth of stories. Thus we learn of amatory conquests (and humiliations), of scandals both private and public, of military adventures and domestic feuds, of what things were like “in the days of the monarchy” and how they’ve changed since. As the book tumbles restlessly forward, and the comic tone takes on darker shadings, we realize we are listening to a man talking as much out of desperation as from exuberance.
Hrabal, one of the great Czech writers of the twentieth century, as well as an inveterate haunter of Prague’s pubs and football stadiums, developed a unique method which he termed “palavering,” whereby characters gab and soliloquize with abandon. Part drunken boast, part soul-rending confession, part metaphysical poem on the nature of love and time, this astonishing novel (which unfolds in a single monumental sentence) shows why he has earned the admiration of such writers as Milan Kundera, John Banville, and Louise Erdrich.
"This book," the author writes, "is dedicated to older women and addressed to young men -- and the connection between the two is my proposition." Taking a leaf from Ben Franklin, who also preferred the love of older women, Stephen Vizinczey recounts the amours and adventures of his young hero in a picaresque novel about love which is both funny and truthful, a minor masterpiece of serious comedy that will remind readers of Nabokov and Stendhal.
A Grain of Wheat is a novel by Kenyan novelist Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o first published as part of the influential Heinemann African Writers Series. It was written while he was studying at Leeds University and first published in 1967 by Heinemann. The title is taken from the Gospel According to St. John, 12:24. The novel weaves together several stories set during the state of emergency in Kenya's struggle for independence (1952–59), focusing on the quiet Mugo, whose life is ruled by a dark secret. The plot revolves around his home village's preparations for Kenya's independence day celebration, Uhuru day. On that day, former resistance fighters General R and Koinandu plan on publicly executing the traitor who betrayed Kihika (a heroic resistance fighter hailing from the village).
A railway freight clerk in Ghana attempts to hold out against the pressures that impel him toward corruption in both his family and his country. The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born is the novel that catapulted Ayi Kwei Armah into the limelight. The novel is generally a satirical attack on the Ghanaian society during Kwame Nkrumah’s regime and the period immediately after independence in the 1960s. It is often claimed to rank with "Things Fall Apart" as one of the high points of post-colonial African Literature.
Savušun (also spelled Savushun, Persian: سووشون) is a 1969 Persian novel by Iranian female writer Simin Daneshvar. It is the first novel in Persian written by a female author. The story is about the life of a landowning family in Shiraz faced to the occupation of Iran during World War II. Savušun has sold over five hundred thousand copies in Iran.
Savušun is "groundbreaking" and highly acclaimed work in contemporary Persian literature, with both literary and popular success within and outside Iran. The novel has been translated to English and 16 other languages. When writing about the novel's importance, critic Kaveh Bissari describing an exact translation by Ghanoonparvar in 1990 and the version A Persian Requiem by Roxane Zand in 1991.
Daneshvar uses folklore and myth in Savušun. Linguistically, savušun is a corruption of Siyâvašun, which refers to the traditional mourning for Siyâvaš, a hero in the Šâhnâme.
The Obscene Bird of Night (Spanish: El obsceno pájaro de la noche, 1970) is the most acclaimed novel by the Chilean writer José Donoso. Donoso was a member of the Latin American literary boom and the literary movement known as magical realism. The novel explores the cyclical nature of life and death and the connection between childhood and old age through shared fears and fantasies and a mutual lack of bodily control. Donoso invokes the Imbunche myth to symbolize the process of reduction of the physical and intellectual self, turning the living being into a thing or object incapable of interacting with the outside world, and depriving it of its individuality and even of its name. This can either be self-inflicted or forced upon by others.
The myth comes from the oral tradition of Chiloé Island, an island of the southern coast of Chile. In its physical manifestation, it is a grotesquely disfigured being that has been sutured, tied, bound and wrapped from birth. In this way, its orifices are sewn shut, its tongue is removed or split, its extremities and sexual organ bound and immobilised. It is then kept as a guardian to a cave. It is the product of magic and witchcraft. It is the incarnation of the very realistic fears we feel as children, when monsters, magic and imaginings all seem real – they are the deeply rooted fears that, despite rationalisation, remain present (albeit dormant) in the recesses of the subconscious.
An orphaned Masarwa girl comes to Dilepe to teach, only to discover that in this remote Botswana village her people are treated as outcasts. In the love story and intrigue that follow, the author's exploration of racism draws upon her own experiences of growing up in South Africa.
A social documentary set in London in the late 1960s that tells of a young, lone Nigerian mother's determination to carve a place for herself against the odds. A fascinating outsider's look at the British underclass and the Welfare State in the 1960s, no less relevant today than it would have been when published. Of particular interest will be the state's insistence that Adah give up work.
My Story is an autobiographical book written by Indian author and poet Kamala Das (also known as Kamala Surayya or Madhavikutty). The book was originally published in Malayalam, titled Ente Katha. The book evoked violent reactions of admiration and criticism among the readers and critics. It remains to date the best-selling woman's autobiography in India.
My Story is a chronologically ordered, linear narrative written in a realist style. In the book, Das recounts the trials of her marriage and her painful self-awakening as a woman and writer. The entire account written in the format of a novel. Though My Story was supposed to be an autobiography, Das later admitted that there was plenty of fiction in it.
Here is Gayl Jones's classic novel, the tale of blues singer Ursa, consumed by her hatred of the nineteenth-century slave master who fathered both her grandmother and mother.
From the back cover: "History and fiction have yielded little about those black slave women who were mistress and breeder to their white owners. There are some facts and figures, but they tell us nothing about the women themselves: their motives, their emotions, and the memories they passed on to their children. Gayl Jones's first novel is a gripping portrait of this harsh sexual and psychological genealogy....Jones's language is subtle and sinewy, and her imagination sure." —Margo Jefferson, Newsweek
Wild Thorns (Arabic: الصبار Al-Subar) is a Palestinian novel written by Sahar Khalifeh that was first published in Arabic in 1976 by Galileo Limited. Interlink International Books translated it into English in 1985. The novel portrays the lives of Palestinians under Israeli occupation in the town of Nablus in 1972 by closely following the lives of cousins who have drastically different experiences under the occupation.  The Arabic title of the novel means 'prickly pears' and indicates the sweetness at the center of something that appears to be harsh and dangerous
Tayo, a young Native American, has been a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II, and the horrors of captivity have almost eroded his will to survive. His return to the Laguna Pueblo reservation only increases his feeling of estrangement and alienation. While other returning soldiers find easy refuge in alcohol and senseless violence, Tayo searches for another kind of comfort and resolution. Tayo's quest leads him back to the Indian past and its traditions, to beliefs about witchcraft and evil, and to the ancient stories of his people. The search itself becomes a ritual, a curative ceremony that defeats the most virulent of afflictions—despair.
This Earth of Mankind is the first novel of the Buru Quartet, so called because it was composed when Pramoedya Ananta Toer was a political prisoner on Buru Island in the 60s. I say ‘composed’ rather than ‘written’ because the first version of it was told orally to his fellow prisoners. He had apparently just about finished the research and planning when he was arrested and all his notes and books were destroyed.
Which is an immediately intriguing back-story, although the relationship between the novel and his imprisonment is not particularly direct, in that Pramoedya was imprisoned by Suharto’s military dictatorship as part of an anti-Communist purge, whereas the novel is set at the very end of the C19th — 1898, in fact — in a Java which is part of the Dutch East Indies.
Still, it is, among other things, a clearly political novel; it deals with the political awakening of a young man growing up in a society structured as a formal racial hierarchy, with ‘Natives’ at the bottom, ‘Pures’ (i.e. Europeans) at the top, and a layer of ‘Indos’ (Indo-European, mixed race) stuck in the middle, operating as a local elite.
The lies we tell ourselves and the lies we tell others—is the subject of this, Tove Jansson’s most unnerving and unpredictable novel. Here Jansson takes a darker look at the subjects that animate the best of her work, from her sensitive tale of island life, The Summer Book, to her famous Moomin stories: solitude and community, art and life, love and hate.
Snow has been falling on the village all winter long. It covers windows and piles up in front of doors. The sun rises late and sets early, and even during the day there is little to do but trade tales. This year everybody’s talking about Katri Kling and Anna Aemelin. Katri is a yellow-eyed outcast who lives with her simpleminded brother and a dog she refuses to name. She has no use for the white lies that smooth social intercourse, and she can see straight to the core of any problem. Anna, an elderly children’s book illustrator, appears to be Katri’s opposite: a respected member of the village, if an aloof one. Anna lives in a large empty house, venturing out in the spring to paint exquisitely detailed forest scenes. But Anna has something Katri wants, and to get it Katri will take control of Anna’s life and livelihood. By the time spring arrives, the two women are caught in a conflict of ideals that threatens to strip them of their most cherished illusions.
"In a few days I am to die," writes the narrator at the start of this novel about a young, black South African man condemned to death for allegedly raping a white woman. He wonders if he would be in the prison cell if he had never spotted the woman sunbathing on the beach. Instead, he muses, he might have gone on to become "the first truly great African writer my country has ever produced." The author, a black who has been banished from his native South Africa, may not yet be a "great" writer, but his words flow smoothly over subject matter that is often painful. As the narrator tells the story of his childhood in a Zulu household, of his first encounter with the white sunbather and of the incident that resulted in the verdict against him, the reader becomes uncomfortably aware of the ugly political and racial ramifications of the situation. Although Nkosi is a talented writer, this work is to be read more for the strength of its message than for the power of its prose. This is a short, but by no means a small, novel.
Love Medicine is Louise Erdrich's debut novel, first published in 1984. Erdrich revised and expanded the novel in subsequent 1993 and 2009 editions. The book follows the lives of five interconnected Ojibwe families living on fictional reservations in Minnesota and North Dakota. The collection of stories in the book spans six decades from the 1930s to the 1980s. Love Medicine garnered critical praise and won numerous awards, including the 1984 National Book Critics Circle Award.
In Waves, Bei Dao—China’s foremost modern poet—turns to fiction, recording the painful years of the Cultural Revolution and its aftermath. Avoiding polemics, his attention is on individuals—intellectuals and factory workers, drifters and thieves—swept up in the turbulent political tides of contemporary China. Bei Dao himself has been a victim of the censors, and he wrote the title novella clandestinely in a makeshift darkroom while ostensibly developing photographs. The author now lives in exile.
A busy young writer struggling to cope with domestic chores, hires a housekeeper recommended by a friend. The housekeeper's reputation is one built on dependable efficiency, though she is something of an oddity. Stubborn, foul-mouthed and with a flagrant disregard for her employer's opinions she may even be crazy. She allows no-one to set foot inside her house; she masks herself with a veil and is equally guarded about her personal life. And yet Emerence is revered as much as she is feared. As the story progresses, her energy and passion to help becomes clear, extinguishing any doubts arising out of her bizarre behaviour. A stylishly told tale which recounts a strange relationship built up over 20 years between a writer and her housekeeper. After an unpromising and caustic start, benign feelings develop and ultimately the writer benefits from what becomes an inseparable relationship. Simultaneously we learn Emerence's tragic past which is revealed in snapshots throughout this book.
A modern classic in the African literary canon and voted in the Top Ten Africa’s 100 Best Books of the 20th Century, this novel brings to the politics of decolonization theory the energy of women’s rights. An extraordinarily well-crafted work, this book is a work of vision. Through its deft negotiation of race, class, gender and cultural change, it dramatizes the ‘nervousness’ of the ‘postcolonial’ conditions that bedevil us still. In Tambu and the women of her family, we African women see ourselves, whether at home or displaced, doing daily battle with our changing world with a mixture of tenacity, bewilderment and grace.
This is Kazuo Ishiguro's profoundly compelling portrait of Stevens, the perfect butler, and of his fading, insular world in post-World War II England. Stevens, at the end of three decades of service at Darlington Hall, spending a day on a country drive, embarks as well on a journey through the past in an effort to reassure himself that he has served humanity by serving the "great gentleman," Lord Darlington. But lurking in his memory are doubts about the true nature of Lord Darlington's "greatness," and much graver doubts about the nature of his own life.
Welcome to Manila in the turbulent period of the Philippines' late dictator. It is a world in which American pop culture and local Filipino tradition mix flamboyantly, and gossip, storytelling, and extravagant behavior thrive.
A wildly disparate group of characters--from movie stars to waiters, from a young junkie to the richest man in the Philippines--becomes caught up in a spiral of events culminating in a beauty pageant, a film festival, and an assassination. In the center of this maelstrom is Rio, a feisty schoolgirl who will grow up to live in America and look back with longing on the land of her youth.
As the civil war rages in 1980s Mozambique, an old man and a young boy, refugees from the war, seek shelter in a burnt-out bus. Among the effects of a dead passenger, they come across a set of notebooks that tell of his life. As the boy reads the story to his elderly companion, this story and their own develop in tandem. Written in 1992, Mia Couto’s first novel is a powerful indictment of the suffering war brings.
Woman or man? This internationally acclaimed novel looks at the world through the eyes of Jess Goldberg, a masculine girl growing up in the "Ozzie and Harriet" McCarthy era and coming out as a young butch lesbian in the pre-Stonewall gay drag bars of a blue-collar town. Stone Butch Blues traces a propulsive journey, powerfully evoking history and politics while portraying an extraordinary protagonist full of longing, vulnerability, and working-class grit. This once-underground classic takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride of gender transformation and exploration and ultimately speaks to the heart of anyone who has ever suffered or gloried in being different.
In 1988, a retired schoolteacher named Pius Fernandes receives an old diary found in the back room of an East African shop. Written in 1913 by a British colonial administrator, the diary captivates Fernandes, who begins to research the coded history he encounters in its terse, laconic entries. What he uncovers is a story of forbidden liaisons and simmering vengeances, family secrets and cultural exiles--a story that leads him on an investigative journey through his own past and Africa's.
A tale of grief and lust, frustration and hilarity, death and family.
Penelope O’Grady and Cara Wall are risking disaster when, like teenagers in any intolerant time and place—here, a Dublin convent school in the late 1970s—they fall in love. Yet Cara, the free spirit, and Pen, the stoic, craft a bond so strong it seems as though nothing could sever it: not the bickering, not the secrets, not even Cara’s infidelities.
But thirteen years on, a car crash kills Cara and rips the lid off Pen’s world. Pen is still in the closet, teaching at her old school, living under the roof of Cara’s gentle father, who thinks of her as his daughter’s friend. How can she survive widowhood without even daring to claim the word? Over the course of one surreal week of bereavement, she is battered by memories that range from the humiliating, to the exalted, to the erotic, to the funny. It will take Pen all her intelligence and wit to sort through her tumultuous past with Cara, and all the nerve she can muster to start remaking her life.
Figiel uses the traditional Samoan storytelling form of su'ifefiloi to talk back to Western anthropological studies on Samoan women and culture. In doing so, she weaves an honest - and sometimes brutal - coming-of-age story that combines poetry with an unflinching humor to describe the abiguities of adolescent desire. Told in a series of linked episodes that recall the work of V.S. Naipaul and Sandra Cisneros, this powerful and highly original narrative follows thirteen-year-old Alofa Filiga as she navigates the mores and restrictions of her village, Malaefou, and comes to terms with her own womanhood and search for identity.
Pauline Melville conjures up vivid pictures both of savanna and forest and of city life in South America where love is often trumped by disaster. Unforgettable characters illuminate theme and plot: Sonny, the strange, beautiful and isolate son of Beatrice and Danny, the brother and sister who have a passionate affair at the time of the solar eclipse in 1919; Father Napier, the sandy-haired evangelist whom the Indians perceive as a giant grasshopper; Chofy McKinnon the modern Indian, torn between savanna life and urban future. This is a novel that embraces nearly a century, large in scope but intimate as a whisper, where laughter is never far from the scene of tragedy; a parable of miscegenation and racial elusiveness, of nature defying culture, magic confronting rationalism and of the eternally rebellious nature of love.
Set in a tribal village during the years of the Idi Amin terror in Uganda, Abyssinian Chronicles takes us into the heart of Africa, vividly immersing us in the mesmerizing extremes of beauty and brutality, wisdom and ignorance, wealth and poverty, hope and despair that define the continent today. We come to intimately know an extended family rich in centuries-old tradition, and follow the unsentimental education of the boy who takes it all in, who learns, observes and teaches, and starts to feel the very earth moving under the African experience and the people he loves. 'As Rushdie's Midnight's Children was for modern India, Abyssinian Chronicles will likely prove to be a breakthrough book for Uganda' Time Out 'A bewitching bildungsroman ...Abyssinian Chronicles is, in every sense, a big book, exploding with big themes and a rich cast of colourful characters ...a spectacular debut'
A new title from the author of The Flea Palace, shortlisted for the Independent Prize for Foreign Fiction and chosen for Waterstone’s 2005 Summer Reading promotion.
In her prize-wining novel, The Gaze, Shafak explores the subject of body image and desirability. An overweight woman and her lover, a dwarf, are sick of being stared at wherever they go, and decide to reverse roles. The man goes out wearing make up, and the woman draws a moustache on her face.
The couple deal with the gaze of passers by in different ways. The woman wants to hide away from the world, while the man meets them head on, even compiling his own ‘Dictionary of the Gaze’ to show the powerful effects a simple look can have.
The narrative of The Gaze is intertwined with the dwarf’s dictionary entries and the story of a bizarre freak-show organized in Istanbul in the 1880s as Shafak explores the damage which can be done by our simple desire to look at other people.
An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter is the story of a moment in the life of the German artist Johan Moritz Rugendas (1802-1858). Greatly admired as a master landscape painter, he was advised by Alexander von Humboldt to travel West from Europe to record the spectacular landscapes of Chile, Argentina, and Mexico. Rugendas did in fact become one of the best of the nineteenth-century European painters to venture into Latin America. However this is not a biography of Rugendas. This work of fiction weaves an almost surreal history around the secret objective behind Rugendas’ trips to America: to visit Argentina in order to achieve in art the “physiognomic totality” of von Humboldt’s scientific vision of the whole. Rugendas is convinced that only in the mysterious vastness of the immense plains will he find true inspiration. A brief and dramatic visit to Mendoza gives him the chance to fulfill his dream. From there he travels straight out onto the pampas, praying for that impossible moment, which would come only at an immense price—an almost monstrously exorbitant price—that would ultimately challenge his drawing and force him to create a new way of making art. A strange episode that he could not avoid absorbing savagely into his own body interrupts the trip and irreversibly and explosively marks him for life.
Austerlitz is W. G. Sebald's haunting novel of post-war Europe.In 1939, five-year-old Jacques Austerlitz is sent to England on a Kindertransport and placed with foster parents. This childless couple promptly erase from the boy all knowledge of his identity and he grows up ignorant of his past. Later in life, after a career as an architectural historian, Austerlitz - having avoided all clues that might point to his origin - finds the past returning to haunt him and he is forced to explore what happened fifty years before. Austerlitz is W.G. Sebald's melancholic masterpiece.'Mesmeric, haunting and heartbreakingly tragic. Simply no other writer is writing or thinking on the same level as Sebald' Eileen Battersby, Irish Times'Greatness in literature is still possible' John Banville, Irish Times, Books of the Year'A work of obvious genius' Literary Review'A fusion of the mystical and the solid ... His art is a form of justice - there can be, I think, no higher aim' Evening Standard'Spellbindingly accomplished; a work of art' The Times Literary Supplement 'I have never read a book that provides such a powerful account of the devastation wrought by the dispersal of the Jews from Prague and their treatment by the Nazis' Observer'A great book by a great writer' Boyd Tonkin, IndependentW . G. Sebald was born in Wertach im Allgau, Germany, in 1944 and died in December 2001. He studied German language and literature in Freiburg, Switzerland and Manchester. In 1996 he took up a position as an assistant lecturer at the University of Manchester and settled permanently in England in 1970. He was Professor of European Literature at the University of East Anglia and is the author of The Emigrants, The Rings of Saturn, Vertigo, Austerlitz, After Nature, On the Natural History of Destruction, Campo Santo, Unrecounted, A Place in the Country. His selected poetry is published in a volume called Across the Land and the Water.
This controversial bestselling novel in the Arab world reveals the political corruption, sexual repression, religious extremism, and modern hopes of Egypt today.
All manner of flawed and fragile humanity reside in the Yacoubian Building, a once-elegant temple of Art Deco splendor now slowly decaying in the smog and bustle of downtown Cairo: a fading aristocrat and self-proclaimed "scientist of women"; a sultry, voluptuous siren; a devout young student, feeling the irresistible pull toward fundamentalism; a newspaper editor helplessly in love with a policeman; a corrupt and corpulent politician, twisting the Koran to justify his desires.
These disparate lives careen toward an explosive conclusion in Alaa Al Aswany's remarkable international bestseller. Teeming with frank sexuality and heartfelt compassion, this book is an important window on to the experience of loss and love in the Arab world.
The Book of Salt is Vietnamese-American author Monique Truong's first novel; it presents a narrative through the eyes of Bình, a Vietnamese cook. His story centers in Paris in his life as the cook in the home of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, and is supplemented by his memories of his childhood in French-colonial Vietnam. This book is structured as a stream of consciousness narrative, in which Bình's present circumstances are mixed with episodes from his past, showing bits and pieces of people and events from the Lost Generation in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s.
On election day in the capital, it is raining so hard that no one has bothered to go out to vote. The politicians are growing jittery. Should they reschedule the elections for another day? Around three o' clock, the rain finally stops. Promptly at four, voters rush to the polling stations, as if they had been ordered to appear.
But when the ballots are counted, more than 70 percent are blank. The citizens are rebellious. A state of emergency is declared. But are the authorities acting too precipitously? Or even blindly? The word evokes terrible memories of the plague of blindness that hit the city four years before, and of the one woman who kept her sight. Could she be behind the blank ballots? A police superintendent is put on the case.
What begins as a satire on governments and the sometimes dubious efficacy of the democratic system turns into something far more sinister. A singular novel from the author of Blindness.
Half of a Yellow Sun is a novel by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Published in 2006 by Knopf/Anchor, the novel tells the story of the Biafran War through the perspective of the characters Olanna, Ugwu, and Richard.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a "metafictional"novel by Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid, published in 2007.
The novel uses the technique of a frame story, which takes place during the course of a single evening in an outdoor Lahore cafe, where a bearded Pakistani man called Changez tells a nervous American stranger about his love affair with an American woman, and his eventual abandonment of America. A short story adapted from the novel, called "Focus on the Fundamentals," appeared in the fall 2006 issue of The Paris Review.
Frontier opens with the story of Liujin, a young woman heading out on her own to create her own life in Pebble Town, a somewhat surreal place at the base of Snow Mountain where wolves roam the streets and certain enlightened individuals can see and enter a paradisiacal garden.
Exploring life in this city (or in the frontier) through the viewpoint of a dozen different characters, some simple, some profound, Can Xue's latest novel attempts to unify the grand opposites of life--barbarism and civilization, the spiritual and the material, the mundane and the sublime, beauty and death, Eastern and Western cultures.
A layered, multifaceted masterpiece from the 2015 winner of the Best Translated Book Award, Frontier exemplifies John Darnielle's statement that Can Xue's books read "as if dreams had invaded the physical world."
Can Xue is a pseudonym meaning "dirty snow, leftover snow." She learned English on her own and has written books on Borges, Shakespeare, and Dante.
Signs Preceding the End of the World is one of the most arresting novels to be published in Spanish in the last ten years. Yuri Herrera does not simply write about the border between Mexico and the United States and those who cross it. He explores the crossings and translations people make in their minds and language as they move from one country to another, especially when there’s no going back.
Traversing this lonely territory is Makina, a young woman who knows only too well how to survive in a violent, macho world. Leaving behind her life in Mexico to search for her brother, she is smuggled into the USA carrying a pair of secret messages – one from her mother and one from the Mexican underworld.
A modern masterpiece from one of Italy's most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense and generous hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila. Ferrante's inimitable style lends itself perfectly to a meticulous portrait of these two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighbourhood, a city and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her two protagonists.
Using the myth of the Minotaur as its organizing image, the narrator of Gospodinov's long-awaited novel constructs a labyrinth of stories about his family, jumping from era to era and viewpoint to viewpoint, exploring the mindset and trappings of Eastern Europeans. Incredibly moving—such as with the story of his grandfather accidentally being left behind at a mill—and extraordinarily funny—see the section on the awfulness of the question "how are you?"—Physics is a book that you can inhabit, tracing connections, following the narrator down various "side passages," getting pleasantly lost in the various stories and empathizing with the sorrowful, misunderstood Minotaur at the center of it all.
A bold, epic debut novel set during the war and financial crisis that defined the beginning of our century.
An investment banker approaching forty, his career collapsing and his marriage unraveling, receives a surprise visitor at his West London town house. Confronting the disheveled figure of a South Asian male carrying a backpack, the banker recognizes a long-lost college friend, a mathematics prodigy who disappeared many years earlier under mysterious circumstances. The friend has resurfaced with a confession of unsettling power.
Zia Haider Rahman takes us on a journey of exhilarating scope, ranging over Kabul, London, New York, Islamabad, Oxford, and Princeton and dealing with love, belonging, finance, science, and war. Its framework is an age-old story: the friendship of two men and the betrayal of one by the other, both of them desperate in their different ways to climb clear of their wrong beginnings. Set against the breaking of nations and beneath the clouds of economic recession, the novel chronicles the lives of people carrying unshakable legacies of class, culture, and faith as they struggle to tame their futures.
In the Light of What We Know is by turns tender, intimate, and panoramic, telescoping the great upheavals of our young century into a first novel of rare ambition and profundity.
Argentinian literary star Pola Oloixarac’s visionary new novel races from the world of 19th-century science to an ultra-surveilled near future, exploring humanity’s quest for knowledge and control, and leaping forward to the next steps in human evolution.
Canary Islands, 1882: Caught in the 19th-century mania for scientific classification, explorer and plant biologist Niklas Bruun researches Crissia pallida, a species alleged to have hallucinogenic qualities capable of eliminating the psychic limits between one human mind and another.
Buenos Aires, 1983: Born to a white Argentinian anthropologist and a black Brazilian engineer, Cassio comes of age with the Internet and becomes a prominent hacker, riding the wave of transformations brought about by distributed networks, mass surveillance, and new flows of globalized capital.
The southern Argentinian techno-hub of Bariloche, 2024: A research group works on a project that will allow the Ministry of Genetics to track every movement of the country’s citizens without their knowledge or consent, using sensors that identify DNA at a distance. But the new technology contains within it the seeds of a far more radical transformation of human life and civilization. In a novel of towering ambition, Oloixarac’s complexly intertwining stories reveal the power that resides in the world’s most deeply shadowed spaces.
Convenience Store Woman is the heartwarming and surprising story of thirty-six-year-old Tokyo resident Keiko Furukura. Keiko has never fit in, neither in her family, nor in school, but when at the age of eighteen she begins working at the Hiiromachi branch of “Smile Mart,” she finds peace and purpose in her life. In the store, unlike anywhere else, she understands the rules of social interaction ― many are laid out line by line in the store’s manual ― and she does her best to copy the dress, mannerisms, and speech of her colleagues, playing the part of a “normal” person excellently, more or less. Managers come and go, but Keiko stays at the store for eighteen years. It’s almost hard to tell where the store ends and she begins. Keiko is very happy, but the people close to her, from her family to her coworkers, increasingly pressure her to find a husband, and to start a proper career, prompting her to take desperate action…
A brilliant depiction of an unusual psyche and a world hidden from view, Convenience Store Woman is an ironic and sharp-eyed look at contemporary work culture and the pressures to conform, as well as a charming and completely fresh portrait of an unforgettable heroine.
Home Fire is the seventh novel by Kamila Shamsie. It reimagines Sophocles's play Antigone unfolding among British Muslims. The novel follows the Pasha family: twin siblings Aneeka and Parvaiz and their older sister Isma, who has raised them in the seven years since the siblings were orphaned by the death of their mother; their jihadi father, whom the twins never knew, is also dead. Parvaiz attempts to follow in his father's footsteps by joining ISIS in Syria, but when he decides he has made a serious mistake, his twin sister attempts to help him return to Britain, in part through her romantic relationship with Eamonn Lone. Eammon is the son of British Home Secretary Karamat Lone, who has built his political career on his rejection of his own Muslim background. The effort to bring Parvaiz home fails: Parvaiz is shot to death trying to escape, then Eamonn and Aneeka, trying to return Parvaiz's body to the UK over the objections of Karamat Lone, die in a terrorist attack.
Set in the eighteenth century London underworld, this bawdy, genre-bending novel reimagines the life of thief and jailbreaker Jack Sheppard to tell a profound story about gender, love, and liberation.
Recently jilted and increasingly unhinged, Dr. Voth throws himself into his work, obsessively researching the life of Jack Sheppard, a legendary eighteenth century thief. No one knows Jack’s true story—his confessions have never been found. That is, until Dr. Voth discovers a mysterious stack of papers titled Confessions of the Fox.
Dated 1724, the manuscript tells the story of an orphan named P. Sold into servitude at twelve, P struggles for years with her desire to live as “Jack.” When P falls dizzyingly in love with Bess, a sex worker looking for freedom of her own, P begins to imagine a different life. Bess brings P into the London underworld where scamps and rogues clash with London’s newly established police force, queer subcultures thrive, and ominous threats of an oncoming plague abound. At last, P becomes Jack Sheppard, one of the most notorious—and most wanted—thieves in history.
Back in the present, Dr. Voth works feverishly day and night to authenticate the manuscript. But he’s not the only one who wants Jack’s story—and some people will do whatever it takes to get it. As both Jack and Voth are drawn into corruption and conspiracy, it becomes clear that their fates are intertwined—and only a miracle will save them both.
An imaginative retelling of Brecht’s Threepenny Opera, Confessions of the Fox blends high-spirited adventure, subversive history, and provocative wit to animate forgotten histories and the extraordinary characters hidden within.
In Iran, 1953, a driver named Behrouz discovers an abandoned baby in an alleyway. When he adopts her, naming her Aria, he has no idea how profoundly this fiery, blue-eyed orphan will shape his future.
As she grows, Aria is torn between the three women fated to mother her: the wife of Behrouz, who beats her; the wealthy widow Fereshteh, who offers her refuge but cannot offer her love, and the impoverished Mehri, whose secrets will shatter everything Aria thought she knew about her life.
Meanwhile, the winds of change are stirring in Tehran. Rumours are spreading of a passionate religious exile in Paris called Khomeini, who seems to offer a new future for the country. In the midst of this tumult, Aria falls in love with an Armenian boy caught on the wrong side of the revolution. And before long she will be swept up in an uprising which will change the destiny of the land - and its people - forever.
An eco-thriller with a fierce feminist sensibility, The Disaster Tourist engages with the global dialog around climate activism, dark tourism, and the #MeToo movement.
For ten years, Yona has been stuck behind a desk as a coordinator for Jungle, a travel company specializing in vacation packages to destinations devastated by disaster and climate change. Her work life is uneventful until trouble arises in the form of a predatory colleague.
To forestall any disruption of business-as-usual, Jungle makes Yona a proposition: a paid "vacation" to the desert island of Mui. But Yona must pose as a tourist and assess whether Jungle should continue their partnership with the unprofitable destination.
Yona travels to the remote island, whose major attraction is an underwhelming sinkhole, a huge disappointment to the customers who've paid a premium. Soon Yona discovers the resort's plan to fabricate a catastrophe in the interest of regaining their good standing with Jungle--and the manager enlists Yona's help. Yona must choose between the callous company to whom she's dedicated her life, or the possibility of a fresh start in a powerful new position. As she begins to understand the cost of the manufactured disaster, Yona realizes that the lives of Mui's citizens are in danger--and so is she.
In The Disaster Tourist, Korean author Yun Ko-eun grapples with the consequences of our fascination with disaster, and questions an individual's culpability in the harm done by their industry.